South Carolina suffered one of its biggest losses of the season as the Gamecocks shattered Tennessee’s college football playoff hopes with a 63–38 victory over fifth-place Volunteers. The top four teams in the playoff rankings this week were on the verge of losing, but Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan, and TCU all but survived by appearing in the AP Top 25 Poll in Week 13.
TCU scored a field goal to beat Baylor in the closing seconds, and Michigan’s game-winning shot to defeat Fighting Illini kept the Wolverines undefeated ahead of next week’s showdown with the Buckeyes.
USC defeated UCLA by a single loss in a crazy finish in a key Pac-12 game and blasted their ticket to the title game with a 48–45 win. Oregon held Utah in Saturday night’s game and is now one win over Oregon State from claiming a spot in the league championship game against the Trojans in Las Vegas.
Here’s a live, early preview of what the new rankings might look like.
1. Georgia Bulldogs (11-0)
saturday result: Defeat Kentucky, 16-6
The SEC East champ and high-profile Georgia player took on the feisty Kentucky team, making several key stoppages to remain undefeated. The defending national champions will be No. 1 in Sunday’s poll and in Tuesday’s new playoff rankings and have nearly cemented their place in the final four this season. They will play Georgia Tech in the finals and then take on LSU in an SEC title game to determine the playoff seeding.
2. Ohio State Buckeyes (11-0)
saturday result: Defeat Maryland, 43-30
Dallan Hayden rushed for 147 yards and threw three touchdowns, CJ Stroud threw a touchdown pass, and a late defensive touchdown helped the Buckeyes avoid a colossal loss in Maryland and set up a win-win game against Michigan next weekend. The winner of the “Game” receives the highest score in the playoff race along with Georgia and enters the “Big Ten East”. The loser may still have a chance to make it to the final four, but will no longer be in control of their destiny as the elite group continues to fight for the spot.
3. Horned Frogs TCU (11-0)
saturday result: Beat Baylor, 29-28
TCU’s magical season almost ended on Saturday, but the Horned Frogs scored nine points in the last two minutes at Baylor and went undefeated, 29–28, with a no-break win as time expired. Griffin Kell’s 42-yard field goal at the end of time gave TCU its 11th straight win this season. After finishing 4th in the latest playoff rankings this week, TCU produced another of their patented away comebacks to continue their journey to a place in the Final Four.
Baylor scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to win after trailing 20-14 by one point to a 12-yard Blake Shapen pass to Kelsey Johnson. After another touchdown by the Bears in the middle of the final frame, TCU had a chance late in the competition to score and potentially tie with a two-point conversion, but Baylor’s defense maintained a two-point lead. It was then that TCU returned the ball after a punt and Max Duggan got the Horned Frogs the distance needed to win.
4. Michigan Wolverines (11-0)
saturday result: Defeat Illinois, 19-17
michigan running back Choir of Blake came out of Saturday’s victory over Illinois and after dropping to the turf on his knee in the second quarter. Corum, Heisman’s nominee for 12 weeks, ran for 103 yards and landed 17 carries before he hobbled into the locker room. He returned for play in the third quarter with a 5-yard rush, but Michigan reserve CJ Stokes handled reps from there in the backfield. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh does don’t know how Corum’s status is progressing before next week’s game against Ohio State.
He said Corum’s knee was “structurally good, which is great news” before moving on to another issue after the Wolverines nearly blew against Fighting Illini.
5. Trojans USC (10-1)
saturday result: Defeat UCLA, 48-45
With a Heisman-caliber game from Caleb Williams, USC secured a spot in the Pac-12 championship game with a thrilling win over UCLA to keep playoff hopes alive. USC should climb Sunday’s rankings after Tennessee’s loss to South Carolina and looks to be in control of their Final Four fortunes by winning. Williams, one of Heisman’s leaders, threw for 470 yards and two touchdowns on UNC night quarterback Drake May, who failed to score a touchdown in his team’s 21–17 loss to Georgia Tech.
6. LSU Tigers (9-2)
saturday result: Beat UAB, 41-10
LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels passed for 297 yards and threw for 111 more during a notable victory over UAB that led to the following week’s SEC Finals for the Tigers. LSU, already locked into the SEC championship as the winner of the West, could make the playoffs this season if the Tigers win their next two contests. This would make LSU the first team to suffer two playoff losses. Daniels is doing his best to become the SEC Player of the Year and is fighting for this award with Hendon Hooker.
7. Alabama Crimson Tide (9-2)
saturday result: Defeat Austin P, 34-0
Without Jameer Gibbs, reserve Jace McClellan rushed for 156 yards and scored two points as Alabama beat the Austin P. to win their ninth game of the year. Bryce Young threw two touchdown passes and helped the Crimson Tide get off a somewhat slow start and continue their home winning streak. Alabama will host Auburn at the Iron Bowl next week, with a spot in the New Year’s Six at stake for the Crimson Tide Top 10.
8. Clemson Tigers (10-1)
saturday result: Beat Miami, 40-10
Needing a flashy win to keep up with the college football playoff picture, Clemson poured it early on Miami during Saturday’s 40-10 home win. The Tigers went on to win back-to-back games as a loss at Notre Dame knocked Dabo Sweeney’s team out of the top four of the selection committee. Miami freshman coach Mario Cristobal was heavily criticized on social media in the first half after his team was 24 points behind at halftime, continuing the Hurricanes’ alarming start-of-game trend.
9. Tennessee Volunteers (9-2)
saturday result: Lost to South Carolina, 63–38
Tennessee College football playoff hopes burned out against South Carolina on Saturday night as the Gamecocks set several program records during a 63–38 upset over the fifth-place Volunteers. Josh Hoipel and the nation’s top forward couldn’t match the firepower of Spencer Rattler, who threw for 438 yards and threw for a school-record six touchdown passes.
10. Oregon Ducks (9-2)
saturday result: Defeat Yuta, 20-17
Oregon bounced back from a loss to UCLA with a decisive home victory over defending Pac-12 champion Utah, setting up next week’s game against Oregon State for a place in the conference title game. If the Ducks beat the Beavers, Dan Lanning’s team will travel to Los Vegas to face USC in a one-loss final. Many thought Bo Nicks would miss Saturday’s game against Utah, but Oregon’s all-star quarterback played throughout the game and finished 25 of 37 passes, and his only turnover comes in the fourth quarter.
11. Penn State Nittany Lions (9-2)
saturday result: Defeat Rutgers, 55-10
The Nittany Lions are one win away from a 10-win season, with their only losses coming against undefeated Ohio and Michigan State following Saturday’s victory over Rutgers. Kytron Allen rushed for 117 yards and hit 17 carries and Sean Clifford added a touchdown while the Pennsylvania defense did the rest for the second week in a row.
12. Washington Huskies (9-2)
saturday result: Defeat Colorado, 54-7
Washington rushed for five touchdowns and…