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College Football Rankings: NCAAF Top 25 (After Week 12)

C.J. Stroud, Ohio State Buckeyes Football

Weekly college football top 25 rankings are a big part of every season, and Athlon Sports will update its top 25 following the games each weekend. The 12th weekend of the 2021 season was headlined by Ohio State's dominant win against Michigan State, Alabama's close call against Arkansas, Utah's victory versus Oregon and UTSA's last-second win over UAB. Georgia, Ohio State, Alabama and Cincinnati take the top four spots, with Michigan at No. 5 and Notre Dame at No. 6 in the post-Week 12 top 25 rankings. With the 12th week of the 2021 season officially in the books, here are the top 25 teams in college football:

College Football Top 25 Rankings (After Week 12)

1. Georgia (11-0)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated Charleston Southern

As expected, the Bulldogs crushed Charleston Southern in a 56-7 blowout. Barring a major surprise, a win by Georgia against Georgia Tech next Saturday should lock up a spot for coach Kirby Smart’s team in the CFB Playoff.

2. Ohio State (10-1)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated Michigan State

An anticipated Big Ten showdown turned into a rout in Columbus. Ohio State’s high-powered offense recorded 655 yards (7.6 per play) in a 56-7 win over Michigan State. Quarterback C.J. Stroud was unstoppable (32 of 35 for 432 yards), and the Buckeyes' defense limited the Spartans to just 224 yards.

3. Alabama (10-1)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated Arkansas

Bryce Young’s big day (559 yards and five passing touchdowns) helps Alabama book a trip to the SEC title game. However, the Crimson Tide’s defense (468 yards allowed to Arkansas) left a lot to be desired on Saturday.

4. Cincinnati (11-0)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated SMU

Statement made? The Bearcats thoroughly dominated SMU in a 48-14 win to clinch a trip to the AAC title game. Quarterback Desmond Ridder guided the offense to 544 yards (7.7 per play), and Cincinnati’s defense limited the high-powered Mustangs’ offense to just 199 yards.

5. Michigan (10-1)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated Maryland

The Wolverines crushed Maryland 59-18 to ace their final test before next week’s showdown versus Ohio State. 

6. Notre Dame (10-1)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated Georgia Tech

Saturday’s 55-0 win over Georgia Tech clinched a fifth consecutive season of at least 10 victories for Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish have allowed just nine points over their last three contests.

7. Oklahoma State (10-1)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated Texas Tech

The Cowboys booked a trip to the Big 12 Championship Game with a 23-0 win at Texas Tech on Saturday night. Oklahoma State’s defense turned in a dominant effort by allowing just 108 total yards and limiting the Red Raiders to three third-down conversions on 14 attempts.

8. Ole Miss (9-2)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt gave Ole Miss a fight, but coach Lane Kiffin's team was never really in jeopardy of losing in a 31-17 win on Saturday night. The Rebels face off against rival Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl on Thursday.  

9. Baylor (9-2)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated Kansas State

Quarterback Gerry Bohanon left due to injury, but backup Blake Shapen (181 total yards) filled in admirably, and the defense allowed just 263 yards in a 20-10 win over Kansas State. 

10. Oklahoma (10-1)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated Iowa State

Oklahoma stayed alive for the Big 12 title with a 28-21 win over Iowa State on Saturday. The Sooners recorded only 305 yards, but the defense came up with several key plays, including three forced turnovers – and one that was returned for a touchdown – and 11 tackles for a loss. 

11. Oregon (9-2)
Week 12 Result:
Lost to Utah

The Ducks’ playoff hopes are over after Saturday night’s 38-7 defeat at Utah. Oregon’s offense never got on track (294 yards), and the defense was battered for 208 yards on the ground. A win over Oregon State next week would clinch the Pac-12 North for coach Mario Cristobal’s squad.

12. Michigan State (9-2)
Week 12 Result:
Lost to Ohio State

Mel Tucker has made a lot of progress in East Lansing, but Saturday’s loss to Ohio State shows this program has a gap to the top team in the conference. Michigan State managed only 224 yards, allowed 655 to the Buckeyes and trailed 49-0 in the first half (lost 56-7).

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13. Texas A&M (8-3)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated Prairie View A&M

The Aggies crushed Prairie View A&M 52-3 to win their eighth game this year. Coach Jimbo Fisher’s squad will close out the regular season at LSU next Saturday.

14. BYU (9-2)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated Georgia Southern

The Cougars handled Georgia Southern 34-17 to win their ninth game of the year. BYU will close its regular season at USC next Saturday.

15. Wisconsin (8-3)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated Nebraska

Braelon Allen’s impressive freshman season continued with 228 rushing yards and three scores in Wisconsin’s 35-28 victory over Nebraska. The Badgers allowed 452 yards to the Cornhuskers but made two timely stops on downs and forced two takeaways to hold onto the victory.

16. Utah (8-3)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated Oregon

The Utes booked a trip to the Pac-12 title game in dramatic fashion with a dominant 38-7 victory over Oregon. Utah controlled the trenches on both sides of the ball, quarterback Cam Rising was efficient (10 of 18), and the ground game led by running back Tavion Thomas gashed the Ducks for 208 yards.

17. Iowa (9-2)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated Illinois

The Hawkeyes were outgained (312 to 255) by Illinois, but coach Kirk Ferentz’s team used scores on defense and special teams to stay alive in the Big Ten West Division title picture.

18. Pitt (9-2)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated Virginia

The Panthers clinched the Coastal Division title and a trip to the ACC Championship Game after Saturday’s 48-38 win over Virginia. Quarterback Kenny Pickett threw for 340 yards and four scores, with receiver Jordan Addison (14 catches for 202 yards and four touchdowns) as the primary target.

19. Wake Forest (9-2)
Week 12 Result:
Lost to Clemson

Saturday’s defeat at Clemson wasn’t pretty for coach Dave Clawson’s team, but there’s still plenty to play for next week. If the Demon Deacons beat Boston College, they will still win the ACC Atlantic and play for the conference title.

20. San Diego State (10-1)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated UNLV

The Aztecs held off upset-minded UNLV on Friday night to notch the program’s 10th victory and move one step closer to a trip to the Mountain West title game.

21. Houston (10-1)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated Memphis

The Cougars beat Memphis 31-13 on Friday night to clinch the program’s first double-digit win total since 2015. Houston recorded 461 yards behind a strong performance from quarterback Clayton Tune (264 yards), while the defense limited the Tigers to 4.4 yards per play and forced two takeaways.

22. UTSA (11-0)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated UAB

Quarterback Frank Harris connected on a one-yard touchdown with three seconds left to lift UTSA to a win over UAB and clinch a spot in the C-USA title game.

23. Arkansas (7-4)
Week 12 Result:
Lost to Alabama

No shame in the Razorbacks’ loss at Alabama (42-35). Quarterback K.J. Jefferson was excellent (326 yards and three touchdowns), and Treylon Burks (179 receiving yards and two scores) continued to show why he’s one of the nation’s best receivers.

24. Mississippi State (7-4)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated Tennessee State

The Bulldogs cruised to their seventh win of 2021 with an easy 55-10 victory against Tennessee State. Quarterback Will Rogers has passed for 300 or more yards in nine straight games and owns the school record in most passing touchdowns in a single season (34).

25. NC State (8-3)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated Syracuse

Saturday provided plenty of good news for NC State. The Wolfpack dispatched Syracuse 41-17 to win their eighth game, and Wake Forest’s loss to Clemson keeps NC State’s Atlantic Division title hopes alive going into Week 13.

Up Next: Clemson, Louisiana