The fourth College Football Playoff rankings are coming soon now that Week 12 is over. There was a big change at the top as Ohio State and Georgia swapped top spots, while Michigan and Florida State held firm in the three and four, rounding out the playoff slots.
Washington and Oregon were still at Nos 5 and 6, respectively, on the fringes of notching their second CFP appearances. Texas remains at No. 7, with Alabama still at No. 8, and Missouri, Louisville, Oregon State, and Penn State round out the top 12, a threshold that will be more significant in the near future.
Week 12 saw no real upsets at all — No. 20 North Carolina was a road dog against Clemson. In the wake of this rather predictable slate, I would argue the CFP rankings for Week 13 will look like this:
25. Clemson Tigers (7-4, NR): This is nowhere near the season Tigers fans had hoped for. A few early-season losses derailed Dabo Sweeney’s first season with sophomore quarterback Cade Klubnik at the helm, ending it before it really began. But, Clemson has a sneaky good résumé that could get them introduced back into the top 25. Just in the month of November, the Tigers are 3-0, 2-0 against ranked opponents, with an average win margin of 13.3 points, granted all of those games were in Death Valley so their defense was aided by their rabid fanbase. This past weekend, the Tigers beat UNC 31-20. Will Shipley’s output was elite, posting 126 rushing yards, a rushing touchdown, and another 53 yards receiving yards. Clemson visits South Carolina for rivalry week to close out the season.
24. UNLV Rebels (9-2, NR): The Rebels grabbed their third win in a row over previously ranked Air Force and sneak into the rankings at No. 24. They hold their own destiny in the Mountian West, standing alone as the only one-loss team in conference play. UNLV hosts San Jose State with a championship bid on the line on Saturday.
23. North Carolina Tar Heels (8-3, -3): After starting 6-0 and peaking at No. 10 in the AP Poll, the Tar Heels continue to slide. Sophomore quarterback Drake Maye and UNC’s high-powered offense were held to a season-low 20 points against Clemson. The Heels fell to Clemson 31-20, giving them their third loss in their past five games. Maye had a very bad day by his standards, going 16-for-36 on 209 yards with a touchdown and an interception as well as 67 yards on the ground. The only reason Carolina stayed in this game was sophomore running back Omarion Hampton who notched 178 yards and two scores. If UNC cannot come out on top in Raleigh against rival NC State, it will find itself outside the top 25 again and relegated to the Sun Bowl or an equivalent.
22. Tulane Green Wave (10-1, +2): The Green Wave saw a multiple-possession win for the first time since their trip to Memphis in mid-October. Michael Pratt had a great day, throwing for 252 yards (12 yards per completion) and three touchdowns. Freshman Chris Brazzell II was an elite receiver, pulling in seven receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown, and junior tight end Chris Carter was efficient on his three receptions, 26 yards, and two touchdowns. The defense shined, only allowing eight points, 32 rushing yards, and tallying five sacks. Despite being undefeated in conference play, Tulane has not clinched a spot in the AAC Championship Game; both SMU and UTSA are also undefeated. The Green Wave hosts UTSA for a win-and-in opportunity to make consecutive AAC title games.
No. 21: Tennessee Volunteers (7-4, -3). The Vols have not been able to string together consecutive wins this season. After losing 36-7 at Missouri last week, Tennessee lost 38-10 against the country’s best, Georgia. Joe Milton III was unremarkable again, posting only 147 passing yards on 56% completion. One of, if not the only, highlight on the night for the Volunteers was Junior RB Jaylen Wright ripping off a first-play 75-yard rushing TD. Wright only posted 15 more rushing yards in the last 59 and a half minutes of the game. The Vols were outclassed by Carson Beck and Georgia. Tennessee hosts Vanderbilt in their season final.