5 takeaways from Week 12 CFP rankings: Oregon, Washington get some help from Beavers, Wildcats
Georgia, take your rightful spot.
After back-to-back wins over top-12 conference opponents — including a 52-17 beatdown of Ole Miss on Saturday — the 10-0 Bulldogs claimed the top spot in Tuesday’s third release of the 2023 College Football Playoff rankings.
Healthy for the first time in weeks and with a passing game that has taken significant strides this year, the Bulldogs bumped ahead of No. 2 Ohio State, which beat Michigan State, 38-3.
Resounding victories by (most of) the rest of the top 8 teams meant maintaining the status quo, but Missouri’s impressive 36-7 win over then-No. 14 Tennessee sent the Tigers soaring. They fall right behind No. 3 Michigan, No. 4 Florida State, No. 5 Washington, No. 6 Oregon, No. 7 Texas and No. 8 Alabama.
Here is a look at the entire top 25…
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— College Football Playoff (@CFBPlayoff) November 15, 2023
Now let’s dive into some takeaways and try to make some sense of what it all means.
1. Is Georgia here to stay?
The Dawgs early season schedule was not particularly impressive, but a gauntlet loomed large late in the year.
Psssh, gauntlet? A 38-3 run to send the Rebels reeling helped Georgia jump the 2nd-ranked Buckeyes, whose blowout over a down Spartans squad did little to stack up.
With the Bulldogs’ ranked run continuing against the 21st-ranked Volunteers in Week 12 — before a bit of a reprieve in Week 13 against Georgia Tech — Ohio State might not have the time to wrestle the top spot back. The Buckeyes host mediocre Minnesota on Saturday before the all-important regular season finale against the No. 3 Wolverines.
2, Missouri climbs high, leapfrogs 1-loss Louisville
The Tigers bounced back from a disheartening 9-point loss to the Bulldogs to throttle the Vols behind a fantastic all-around performance by running back Cody Schrader. The diminutive back had more than 320 total yards, including 205 on the ground, against a very good Tennessee team.
That was enough to help the 2-loss Tigers — who also have a 10-point loss to then-No. 23 LSU on Oct. 7 — take the No. 9 spot ahead of 1-loss Louisville.
A month removed from their lone blemish, a 17-point defeat at Pitt, the Cardinals have the biggest gripe on the list, though an unconvincing 7-point win over Virginia did them few favors.
3. Big-12 gets a gut punch
One was by a lot, and one was by a little, but losses by 2 of the 5 ranked Big-12 teams caused the 2 biggest drops on the list.
After a truly stunning 45-3 loss to unranked UCF, which followed a thrilling Bedlam victory over Oklahoma, Oklahoma State was sent tumbling, dropping 8 spots.
That’s bad? How about Kansas falling 9 spots to No. 25 after a 16-13 loss to Texas Tech.
The other big fallers were Ole Miss (down 4), Tennessee (down 5) and Utah (down 4).
4. Oregon State, Arizona helping pac-12
With the Utes ravaged by injuries, UCLA falling off big time and USC’s defense causing Lincoln Riley migraines, the once-vaunted Pac-12 needed some other teams to emerge.
One you expected — well-coached Oregon State, which moved up one spot to No. 11 with a sound 62-17 steamrolling if Stanford — and one you didn’t.
What Jedd Fisch has done this season in Tucson is downright shocking, and the CFP committee looked very favorably on the Wildcats’ 3-point, last-second win over Colorado, 34-31. The Cats have now won 4 straight — including 3 ranked wins — bumping them up 4 spots to No. 17.
But the Beavers have daylight in front of them with games against the Huskies and Ducks the next 2 weeks. Can Oregon State spoil the Pac-12 party once more? Don’t beg against it.
5. What do we make of Alabama?
That Week 2 loss to Texas is going to eat at Nick Saban for the rest of his days. All it meant? The world.
But the Crimson Tide are surging, with 3 straight 2-touchdown wins, as Jalen Milroe is taking flight. What was it, 6 touchdowns on Saturday against Kentucky? Not bad.
Very bad? Bama’s remaining regular season schedule. Chattanooga. Chattanooga?! Come on. Yeah, Auburn in the season finale is nothing to sneeze at. But there aren’t a ton of resume-builders left. Is an SEC Championship matchup with Georgia enough?