College Football Playoff rankings: Nos. 1-5
5. Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1, -3): “The Game” has not been kind to the Buckeyes in recent years, with Michigan handing them their third consecutive rivalry loss. Junior quarterback Kyle McCord threw for 271 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions, one of which came in the closing seconds of the duel. Marvin Harrison Jr. did all he could, reeling in five catches for 118 yards and a touchdown. Some have started to point fingers at head coach Ryan Day, who is 56-7 while in charge of the Buckeyes, while in reality, the Buckeye defense needed to step up and force some turnovers to give their offense a short field against the top defense in the nation; all 10 Buckeye drives started within the Ohio State 35. Currently, the Buckeyes sit outside the top four and will need a near-perfect scenario to jump into playoff contention.
4. Florida State Seminoles (12-0, +1): Still, without star Jordan Travis, the Seminoles find themselves back in the CFP after a loss ahead of them. Junior quarterback Tate Rodemaker made his first career start and earned his first FBS win against Florida 24-15. Rodemaker did not fully inspire, however, only throwing for 134 yards on 12-for-25 completions. This game was won by Trey Benson. The star back powered his way to three touchdowns on 95 yards. While Florida State is favored against Louisville in the ACC title game, they have their work cut out for them. If unproven Rodemaker can make a statement and earn FSU a perfect 13-0 record and an ACC title, they will most definitely be rewarded with a CFP appearance.
3. Washington Huskies (12-0, +1): The Huskies have made a living out of winning tight games. After winning the Apple Cup 24-21 against Washington State in walk-off fashion, this is now their eighth consecutive win by ten or fewer points. Senior quarterback Michael Penix Jr. once again pushed his team to a victory to maintain an unblemished record. Penix Jr. went 18-for-33 with 204 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. However, the real star was once again Rome Odunze, who racked up 120 receiving yards, two scores, and a crucial fourth-down 23-yard run to set up their game-winning field goal. As previously discussed, Washington has a rematch date with Oregon in the final Pac-12 title game with a playoff spot on the line.
2. Michigan Wolverines (12-0, +1): Silencing all the noise, the Wolverines stand strong at No. 2 in the country after winning the 119th edition of “The Game” over No.. 2 Ohio State 30-24. Junior quarterback JJ McCarthy looked as good as he has all year, posting 148 yards and a touchdown on an 80 percent completion rate. Senior running back Blake Corum was electric with 88 yards and two scores. With the Big Ten title against No. 16 Iowa on the horizon, the Wolverines have to be careful to not overlook their opponents with growing eyes for the CFP.
1. Georgia Bulldogs (12-0, NC): The most true testament to this team’s skill and talent is that they won 31-23 against Georgia Tech and it was only their second one-possession game of the year. Junior quarterback Carson Beck threw for 175 yards including a touchdown and interception. Senior running back Kendall Milton could not be denied as he ran for 156 yards and two touchdowns. It would not be an undefeated campaign in the SEC if not having to go through the dreaded Alabama at one point or another, and a win over the current No. 8 squad win the SEC Championship will have them as the unanimous No. 1 headed into the College Football Playoff.