College News & Analysis

College Football: Week 14 top 25 rankings

2NHRH5Y PISCATAWAY, NJ - NOVEMBER 05: Michigan Wolverines running back Blake Corum (2) and Michigan Wolverines running back Donovan Edwards (7) prior to the college football game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on November 5, 2022 at SHI Stadium in Piscataway, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

• Michigan takes over the top spot: The Wolverines earned the No. 1 ranking due to their win over Ohio State on Saturday.

• Ohio State falls to fifth: The Buckeyes fall out of the current College Football Playoff after losing to Michigan.

• Eight playoff contenders still alive: There are still eight teams alive for the College Football Playoff heading into conference championship weekend.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

We’ve made it to conference championship weekend, the final chance for schools to stamp their resumes to the College Football Playoff committee. 

After mapping out the playoff paths for the eight remaining contenders, here’s how we’d order the top 25 teams entering Week 14.

(Please note: These are not the same as PFF’s power rankings.)

1. Michigan Wolverines (Record: 12-0)

Conference Championship Matchup: vs. No. 18 Iowa Hawkeyes (Big Ten Championship Game)

For the first time all season, Georgia isn’t the top team in this ranking. Michigan earned the No. 1 next to its name after its 30-24 victory over then-No. 2 Ohio State this past Saturday. It’s the third straight time the Wolverines took down the Buckeyes, and Michigan can also clinch a third consecutive Big Ten title and College Football Playoff appearance against Iowa this Saturday. 

If Michigan somehow loses (currently 23-point favorites), it’ll likely need two of Florida State, Texas and Alabama to lose.

2. Georgia Bulldogs (Record: 12-0)

Conference Championship Matchup: vs. No. 8 Alabama Crimson Tide (SEC Championship Game)

While the Bulldogs fell to No. 2 this week, that move might only be temporary. Georgia can still reclaim the top spot if it beats Alabama in the SEC Championship Game this weekend.

Like Michigan, the defending back-to-back national champions aren’t necessarily eliminated with a loss. The Bulldogs would likely need two of Florida State, Texas and Michigan to lose in order to sneak into the final four.

3. Washington Huskies (Record: 12-0)

Conference Championship Matchup: vs. No. 8 Oregon Ducks (Pac-12 Championship Game)

Washington barely survived Washington State this week in the Apple Cup, winning 24-21. Even though the Huskies are undefeated with a win over Oregon already, they are still nine-point underdogs to the Ducks in the Pac-12 Championship Game. That’s because Washington has won its last six games by an average of just 6.5 points while Oregon’s won by an average of 26 points. The winner of Friday’s game is essentially locked into a playoff spot, making it a pseudo-quarterfinal. 

If the oddsmakers are correct, there still might be an avenue where the Huskies get in with a loss. For that to happen, Washington will likely need Florida State, Texas and Alabama to lose. Even then, the decision will come down to a 12-1 Washington and an 11-1 Ohio State.

4. Florida State Seminoles (Record: 12-0)

Conference Championship Matchup: vs. No. 14 Louisville Cardinals (ACC Championship Game)

Even on backup quarterback Tate Rodemaker, Florida State kept its undefeated season alive with a 24-15 win over Florida this past weekend. Even with a 12-0 record, many have debated whether or not the Seminoles belong in the playoff conversation since star signal-caller Jordan Travis is out for the season. 

Let’s end that conversation right now. An undefeated Power Five champion has to get into the College Football Playoff, no matter who’s under center for them. Since the four-team playoff’s inception in 2014, an unbeaten Power Five champion has never been left out of the final four. In fact, there’s only been one instance where a one-loss champion was left out, and that was when Baylor and TCU shared the Big 12 title in 2014. A one-loss Ohio State won the national championship that season despite entering the playoff on its third-string quarterback (Cardale Jones), providing even more evidence for Florida State to make it in with a backup signal-caller. A loss to Louisville on Saturday eliminates the Seminoles from playoff contention though.

5. Ohio State Buckeyes (Record: 11-1)

Conference Championship Matchup: N/A

After losing to Michigan on Saturday, Ohio State is the only team that can still make the playoff despite not playing in a conference championship game this weekend.

For that to happen, the Buckeyes need Florida State, Texas and Alabama to all lose this weekend. It also wouldn’t hurt for Washington to beat Oregon since there’s a chance the committee puts both of them in the playoff over Ohio State if the Ducks win.

6. Texas Longhorns (Record: 11-1)

Conference Championship Matchup: vs. No. 19 Oklahoma State Cowboys (Big 12 Championship Game)

The Longhorns likely need some help to make the playoffs. First, Texas needs to beat Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Championship. After that, it’ll require Michigan or Florida State to lose in order for the Longhorns to sneak into the final four.

It’s also possible that a Georgia loss is enough since Texas has the head-to-head advantage over Alabama, although it’s not guaranteed that the committee will side with the Longhorns in that scenario.

7. Alabama Crimson Tide (Record: 11-1)

Conference Championship Matchup: vs. No. 2 Georgia Bulldogs (SEC Championship Game)

Alabama needed a miracle fourth-and-goal conversion from the 31-yard line in order to beat Auburn in the Iron Bowl this past weekend. The victory kept the Crimson Tide’s playoff hopes alive heading into an SEC Championship Game with Georgia. 

A win over the defending back-to-back champions might be enough for Alabama to make the final four. However, it wouldn’t hurt for Michigan, Florida State or Texas to lose as well.

8. Oregon Ducks (Record: 11-1)

Conference Championship Matchup: vs. No. 3 Washington Huskies (Pac-12 Championship Game)

Oregon has a very simple path to the College Football Playoff: avenge its loss to Washington. The Ducks are also heavily favored to do just that, as they’re currently favored by 9.5 points over the Huskies. 

Not only does the winner of that game win the conference and clinch a playoff berth, it could also determine the Heisman Trophy. Oregon quarterback Bo Nix is the current betting favorite (-160) according to DraftKings while Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. is third at (+1600). 

9. Missouri Tigers (Record: 10-2)

Conference Championship Matchup: N/A

Missouri clinched its first 10-win season in nine years with a 48-14 win over Arkansas on Saturday. It’ll also likely be the first time in a decade that the Tigers play in a New Year’s Six bowl as well. 

10. Ole Miss Rebels (Record: 10-2)

Conference Championship Matchup: N/A

Lane Kiffin became the first Ole Miss coach since John Vaught in the early 1960s to post multiple 10-win seasons with a 17-7 victory over Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving night. The Rebels’ only two losses came to two playoff contenders in Georgia and Alabama, setting up a strong argument for Ole Miss to make its second New Year’s Six bowl in three years.

11. Penn State Nittany Lions (Record: 10-2)

12. Oklahoma Sooners (Record: 10-2)

13. LSU Tigers (Record: 9-3)

14. Louisville Cardinals (Record: 10-2)

15. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Record: 9-3)

16. Liberty Flames (Record: 12-0)

17. Iowa Hawkeyes (Record: 10-2)

18. Tulane Green Wave (Record: 11-1)

19. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Record: 9-3)

20. NC State Wolfpack (Record: 9-3)

21. Arizona Wildcats (Record: 9-3)

22. James Madison Dukes (Record: 11-1)

23. Tennessee Volunteers (Record: 8-4)

24. Utah Utes (Record: 8-4)

25. SMU Mustangs (Record: 10-2)

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