Tomorrow's Top 25 Today: Ohio State will make biggest jump in new college football rankings
Projecting the new AP Top 25 college football rankings after an upset-filled Week 13
No team in college football had a more resounding win than Ohio State's 62-39 win against Michigan. The Wolverines place among the sport's top tier had been established by virtue of their success on the "revenge tour," but another year has come and gone and championship hopes for the season -- carried this year all the way into late November -- have been replaced by the disappointment of watching another team represent the Big Ten East in the conference title game.
Michigan was No. 4 in the AP Top 25 heading into the game and could end up staying in the top 10, but the shake up at the top of the poll is much more dramatic when considering where Ohio State, No. 10 in the AP Top 25, will land on its rise up the rankings. The Buckeyes have been a flawed product throughout Big Ten play, relying on fourth quarter comeback victories to keep slim College Football Playoff hopes alive. But all Ohio State had to do was avoid a second loss and get to "The Game" with everything on the line. On the outside, we wondered if this was going to be Jim Harbaugh and Michigan's breakthrough moment, but once the game got rolling in Columbus, Ohio, it was the same old script we've come to expect from the Urban Meyer era.
That wasn't the only shake up from the weekend. Oklahoma bounced West Virginia from the Big 12 Championship Game with a road win on Friday night, while Washington was handing Washington State a home loss to clinch the Pac-12 North.
After all the debris has cleared, here's how we think the new AP Top 25 will look on Sunday.
1. Alabama (Last week -- 1): What we saw in the Iron Bowl was that Alabama is not free from game-changing mistakes, but it's difficult to expect too many of those opportunities across four quarters. The Tide's runaway win against the Tigers leaves the No. 1 team in the country in the top spot heading into the SEC Championship Game.
2. Clemson (2): South Carolina did a good job of pushing Clemson early, but once the Tigers settled down, they started getting the stops and turnovers on defense that have been the most reliable part of their game during this season. Jake Bentley put some things on tape during his prolific first half that Clemson will have to address and correct before the postseason, but that's of no concern to the AP voters.
3. Notre Dame (3): For the second time in his nine-year career as coach of the Fighting Irish, Brian Kelly is going to finish the regular season a perfect 12-0. Notre Dame now gets to watch conference championship Saturday from the comfort of home and wait to find out its playoff opponent on Selection Sunday.
4. Georgia (5): It was a nice workout for the Bulldogs in Clean, Old Fashioned Hate. Everyone got to run a little and the team cruised to a 45-21 home win against Georgia Tech in the run-up to next week's national title game rematch against Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.
5. Oklahoma (6): The raging debate in this sport for the next week will be a question of "Oklahoma or Ohio State?" The AP voters get to be some of the first to contribute to the debate with their Sunday morning balloting. The most weighty opinions come from the members of the CFP Selection Committee. You'll have an opinion, I'll have an opinion, and then both teams will get to back up their respective arguments on the field in conference championship games against ranked opponents.
6. Ohio State (10): You cannot overstate how impactful a number like 62 is to AP voters. The Buckeyes get enough breaks on talent and brand alone, but when anyone hangs a 60-burger on the No. 4 team in the country, it's going to draw instant and dramatic adjustments from the voters.
7. UCF (8): It's difficult to know how, or if, the voters will change their positioning of UCF after McKenzie Milton's injury. I think it's spot in relation to Michigan will be the biggest tell, and here I'm guessing the Knights' undefeated record and the AP voters' more friendly treatment of Group of Five teams keeping UCF ahead of LSU and the Wolverines.
8. Michigan (4): You can look at Michigan as a team that could see a big drop in the rankings based on a knee-jerk reaction to the big loss at Ohio State, but this is a two-loss team whose only defeats came on the road to top-10 teams. The Wolverines might be out of the CFP picture, but they still have a better profile than most of the top 25.
9. Texas (11): A late charge by Kansas made an otherwise decided game look much closer than it was on the scoreboard, and it's possible that voters who did not pay attention to the early games on Friday dock the Longhorns some points as a result.
10. Florida (13): By crushing Florida State and sending the Seminoles packing for the winter, the Gators put themselves in position for a high-profile finish in the New Year's Six. Dan Mullen has immediately reestablished an advantage in the rivalry and has had arguably one of the best debuts among first-year coaches in 2018.
11. West Virginia (12): There is a chance that West Virginia gets jumped by Florida, but I don't see it falling too far from the No. 12 spot. The Mountaineers went blow-for-blow against the No. 6 team in the country and came up short. That's not worthy of a major adjustment to their position in the polls.
12. Washington (16): The one-sided nature of the Apple Cup really highlights Washington's schematic advantage against teams thanks to that defensive staff and the players on the field who can execute the game plans at a high level. The Huskies just have the Air Raid's number, and it's got them back in Pac-12 Championship Game.
13. Washington State (7): Rivalry losses are tough enough, but this one is going to come with a drop in the polls and the loss of a championship opportunity. Gardner Minshew will be celebrated when it's time to talk accolades over the next couple of weeks, but the Cougars' run as Pac-12 frontrunners is done after losing to Washington.
14. LSU (8): There aren't enough fingers on two hands to count the number of breaks that didn't go LSU's way in its 74-72 seven-overtime loss at Texas A&M. The AP voters that went to bed will see the score and make a routine adjustment, but those who watched probably have LSU closer to the top 10.
15. Penn State (15): No major movements ahead after a solid 38-3 win against Maryland keeps Penn State in place in the pecking order among three-loss teams.
16. Kentucky (17): We haven't gotten to see the Wildcats offense really open up many times this season, but Louisville is just the opponent that might contribute to such results here in late 2018. Kentucky exorcised some rivalry demons as it hung 50 on the scoreboard in Cardinals Stadium.
17. Utah (18): After trailing at halftime to BYU, the Utes made a strong comeback in the second half to maintain their winning ways heading into Friday's Pac-12 title game against Washington.
18. Syracuse (19): Eric Dungey healthy had a big day against Boston College's defense. Syracuse, at 9-3, wrapped up its best season since 2001. The Orange have the second-most wins in the ACC behind Clemson, and with a bowl win, they'll secure a final AP ranking for the first time since that 2001 season.
19. Texas A&M (NR): You beat a top-10 team, you get a boost in the polls. Texas A&M will ride this LSU win up to the front of the line among four-loss Power Five teams in the AP rankings after outlasting the Tigers in the 7OT epic.
20. Northwestern (20): By holding on for a 24-16 win against Illinois, the Wildcats capped off an incredible 15-3 run across the last two seasons of Big Ten play. Northwestern was already set to make program history next week in Indianapolis, but now it's got a little more juice than if it tripped up against its rival.
21. Boise State (21): The Broncos locked up a spot in the Mountain West title game by holding off Utah State at home on Saturday night. The Broncos will face Fresno State, a team it beat home earlier this season, next Saturday night with the conference championship on the line.
22. Mississippi State (22): Joe Moorhead has had moments of frustration in his first year as Mississippi State's coach, but he finished the regular season in style with a big rivalry win against Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl.
23. Army (23): Army was off in Week 13.
24. Iowa State (25): The Cyclones probably get to hold their spot in the top 25 but only thanks to a 21-0 run in the final 12 minutes against Kansas State to improve to 7-4.
25. Fresno State (NR): Having the division clinched and San Jose State on the schedule made for an easy week inside the Bulldogs' facility. Now it's up to Jeff Tedford's group to try and knock off Boise State in a rematch of one of the better games from this year in MWC play.
Projected to drop out: Utah State (14), Pitt (24)
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