The Week 12 scores and outcomes clearly showed how college football has a very small margin for error. The scoreboard indicated a few upsets for top-25 teams, but the college football rankings were just a few bounces away from complete mayhem.
With five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and a 10-point lead, No. 1 Georgia was backed up into the red zone by Kentucky before forcing a missed field goal and a turnover on downs to maintain its perfect record. In a contest with Maryland, No. 2 Ohio State led by just three points late. This game was played on the road against an unranked opponent. Third-ranked Michigan and fourth-ranked TCU both triumphed in the meantime on last-second field goals. The AP Top 25 voters would have a difficult time sorting through the chaos in their updated ballots if a few plays had different outcomes.
- Georgia (Last week’s No. 1): The Bulldogs are still ranked No. 1 after a 16-6 victory over Kentucky because there isn’t a clear favorite to unseat them.
- Ohio State (2): After scoring a flurry of points late in a 43-30 victory at Maryland, the Buckeyes may pick up a few more first-place votes, but voters who followed the scores throughout the day will remember that this game was still within three points in the fourth quarter. With 146 yards and three touchdowns, all after halftime, freshman running back Dallan Hayden had a standout effort as Ohio State overcame an early deficit and took control of the game in the third quarter.
- Michigan (3): Coming off of Saturday’s victory over Illinois, Michigan has a lot to worry about, including Blake Corum’s health and how frequently scoring opportunities seem to result in field goal attempts. However, just hanging on for the victory will be enough to keep Michigan in the top five of the rankings.
- TCU (4): Thanks to quarterback Max Duggan’s leadership of a few fourth-quarter touchdown drives, TCU’s dream season is still going strong and has given them a chance to move up to the top three of the rankings. Our prediction is that the AP voters will maintain the results from last week, but the playoff committee, which has fewer voters, maybe more unpredictable. Because of the game-winning field goal at Baylor, TCU might end up being ranked No. 3 on Tuesday night instead of No. 4 on Sunday.
- USC (7): The Trojans came back from a 14-0 deficit in the first quarter to defeat the Bruins 48-45, outscoring them by 17 points in the second 45 minutes to maintain their status as the only unbeaten Pac-12 team. Due to Tennessee’s defeat and USC’s impressive performance to secure a position in the Pac-12 Championship Game, the Trojans should move LSU, who has two losses, up to the fifth spot.
- LSU (6): The Tigers are playing UAB right now.
- Clemson (9): The Tigers have won 40 straight home games after defeating Miami 40-10. Things are improving for Clemson’s chances of winning the CFP thanks to some of Saturday’s outcomes elsewhere. Since Nebraska won 47 straight home games from 1991 to 1998, this is the first 40-game home winning streak in FBS history.
- Tennessee (5): The program, which saw its playoff hopes dashed with the lopsided loss to a division rival, has been further let down by the injury to star QB Hendon Hooker.
- Alabama (8): A 34-0 victory over FCS Austin Peay required no significant alterations.
- Utah (10): The Utes are playing at Oregon right now.