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

Lincoln Riley, USC Trojans 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 2022 season was headlined by close road victories by Michigan, TCU and Ohio State, USC's win over UCLA and South Carolina's upset of Tennessee. Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan and TCU take the top four spots, with USC at No. 5, LSU at No. 6 and Alabama at No. 7 in the post-Week 12 top 25 rankings. With the 12th week of the 2022 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 Kentucky

It wasn’t pretty, but Georgia found a way to survive and advance in Lexington to beat Kentucky 16-6. The Bulldogs had trouble finishing drives (three field goals in the red zone) and gave up a couple of plays through the air. However, those small concerns will help coach Kirby Smart keep his team focused into the rivalry game versus Georgia Tech and the SEC title game against LSU.

2. Ohio State (11-0)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated Maryland

A road game a week before playing Michigan is always dangerous, but the Buckeyes found a way to hold off Maryland 43-30. Quarterback C.J. Stroud threw for 241 yards, and freshman running back Dallan Hayden ran for 146 yards and three scores in relief of an injured TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams. Also, the defense stepped up late and forced a fumble that was returned for a touchdown to move the final outcome to 13 points.

3. Michigan (11-0)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated Illinois

Four field goals by kicker Jake Moody – including a 35-yard boot with nine seconds left – helped Michigan beat Illinois 19-17. Running back Blake Corum suffered a knee injury in the first half, and despite returning for a carry in the third quarter, was unable to play the remainder of the game. His status looms large for next week’s showdown at Ohio State. Quarterback J.J. McCarthy (18 of 34) also has to play better for the Wolverines to knock off the Buckeyes.

4. TCU (11-0)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated Baylor

Another week, another thriller for TCU in a last-second 29-28 victory at Baylor. Injuries took a toll on quarterback Max Duggan’s supporting cast, but he delivered once again in the clutch, leading the Horned Frogs on nine-play, 46-yard drive to put Griffin Kell in position to nail the game-winning field goal as time expired.

5. USC (10-1)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated UCLA

A familiar formula guided USC to a 48-45 victory over UCLA. Quarterback Caleb Williams was brilliant (470 passing yards and two touchdowns), and the defense made just enough timely plays to give the Trojans a three-point win and a spot in the Pac-12 title game. The Trojans still have tough obstacles remaining with Notre Dame next Saturday and the conference championship the following week, but coach Lincoln Riley’s team is in the driver’s seat for a trip to the playoff with two more wins.

6. LSU (9-2)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated UAB

Quarterback Jayden Daniels accounted for 408 total yards and two scores in an easy 41-10 victory against UAB. The Tigers limited a standout UAB rushing attack to just 48 yards and pitched a shutout over the final two quarters.

7. Alabama (9-2)
Week 12 Result: Defeated Austin Peay

As expected, Alabama didn’t have to sweat too much in Saturday’s 34-0 victory over Austin Peay. The Crimson Tide outgained the Governors 527 to 206, and the defense allowed just one of the last seven drives to enter Alabama territory. The playoff is still a longshot, but coach Nick Saban’s team has a big one next week in the Iron Bowl against Auburn.

8. Clemson (10-1)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated Miami

Upsets around college football in Week 12 and a dominant 40-10 victory over Miami will keep Clemson’s playoff hopes alive for the next two weeks. The Tigers allowed only 98 yards – with 67 coming on two plays – to the ‘Canes. Quarterback DJ Uiagalelei was steady through the air (227 yards and two scores) and paced the team on the ground (89 yards).

9. Oregon (9-2)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated Utah

The Ducks are a win away from the Pac-12 title game after a hard-fought 20-17 victory over Utah. Quarterback Bo Nix was clearly not at full strength, but his play (287 passing yards), along with a couple of timely stops and takeaways by the defense, was enough for Oregon to win.

10. Tennessee (9-2)
Week 12 Result:
Lost to South Carolina

Tennessee’s playoff hopes ended with a surprising 63-38 loss to South Carolina on Saturday night. The Gamecocks shredded the Volunteers through the air (453 yards and six scores) and punted only once over 12 drives. Quarterback Hendon Hooker’s status for next Saturday's game against Vanderbilt is uncertain after leaving the second half with a knee injury.

11. Penn State (9-2)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated Rutgers

Quarterback Sean Clifford had a quiet day through the air (157 yards), but the Nittany Lions scored twice on defense and once on special teams to cruise to a 55-10 win over Rutgers. Penn State has won its last three games by a combined score of 130-24.

12. Washington (9-2)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated Colorado

The Huskies easily dispatched Colorado 54-7 to keep their Pac-12 title hopes alive on Saturday night. Next week’s Apple Cup could have significant implications for the conference championship, but it’s also an opportunity for Washington to get revenge after Washington State won in Seattle last year.

13. Kansas State (8-3)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated West Virginia

Morgantown can be a tricky place to play, but Kansas State took care of business in a 48-31 win against West Virginia. The victory over the Mountaineers moved coach Chris Klieman’s team to one victory from a trip to the Big 12 title game.   

14. Notre Dame (8-3)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated Boston College

Total domination is the easiest way to sum up Notre Dame’s 44-0 win over Boston College. The ground game churned out 281 yards behind Logan Diggs (122) and Audric Estime (71), while the Fighting Irish defense limited the Eagles to only 173 yards.

15. UCLA (8-3)
Week 12 Result:
Lost to USC

Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson turned in a heroic performance (390 total yards and six overall scores), but four turnovers and a defense that had no answers against the pass (470 yards allowed) doomed UCLA’s hopes of a victory against USC.

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

The Utes had opportunities (three drives without scores in Oregon territory) but fell short of a road win in Autzen Stadium (20-17). Quarterback Cam Rising tossed three picks, and the offense was unable to generate any big gains (no play went longer than 18 yards) in the defeat.

17. Florida State (8-3)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated Louisiana

With rival Florida up next, it would’ve been easy for Florida State to have a sluggish showing against Louisiana. Instead, the Seminoles dominated from the opening snap, winning 49-17 to earn their fourth victory in a row. The ground attack recorded 251 yards, while the defense limited the Ragin’ Cajuns to just 4.1 yards per play. 

18. North Carolina (9-2)
Week 12 Result:
Lost to Georgia Tech

The Tar Heels seemed poised for an easy win after jumping out to a 17-0 lead against Georgia Tech. However, things fell apart after that fast start, as North Carolina dropped a surprising 21-17 game to the Yellow Jackets. The Tar Heels averaged only 3.7 yards per play in the second half, and the defense allowed Georgia Tech to put together a couple of long drives, which was just enough to pull off the upset and end any longshot hopes of North Carolina of making the CFB Playoff.

19. Tulane (9-2)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated SMU

A week after a disappointing loss to UCF, Tulane took its frustration out on SMU with a 59-24 victory on Thursday night. The Green Wave pounded the Mustangs for 310 rushing yards and five scores, and the defense limited SMU’s high-powered offense to just 4.9 yards per play. Tulane will host the AAC Championship Game if it beats Cincinnati on Friday.

20. Oregon State (8-3)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated Arizona State

Freshman running back Damien Martinez continued his impressive debut season in Corvallis by punishing Arizona State’s defense for 138 rushing yards and two scores in Saturday’s 31-7 win. Oregon State closes its regular season by hosting rival Oregon next week. 

21. Ole Miss (8-3)
Week 12 Result:
Lost to Arkansas

Despite a productive day on the stat sheet (703 total yards), Ole Miss left Arkansas with a 42-27 loss and its third defeat in four games. The Rebels couldn’t slow the Razorbacks on the ground early on (335 rushing yards) and trailed 42-6 early in the third quarter before making the final score more respectable in the final 15 minutes.

22. Cincinnati (9-2)
Week 12 Result:
Defeated Temple

The Bearcats suffocated Temple’s offense (202 total yards and three points) in a dominant 23-3 victory. Cincinnati can book a return trip to the AAC title game with a win over Tulane next week. The status of quarterback Ben Bryant is uncertain after he left Saturday’s game due to injury.

23. Coastal Carolina (9-1)
Week 12 Result:
Off Week

Coastal Carolina’s Week 12 matchup at Virginia was canceled. The Chanticleers play at James Madison next Saturday.

24. Texas (7-4)
Week 12 Result
: Defeated Kansas

Bijan Robinson's big day (243 rushing yards and four scores) anchored a ground game that gashed Kansas for 427 yards on the ground in an easy 55-14 victory.

25. UCF (8-3)
Week 12 Result:
Lost to Navy

A week after winning at Tulane to take control of the American Athletic Conference title race, the Knights suffered a surprising 17-14 defeat to Navy. The offense lost two costly turnovers, while a standout ground game was limited to only 84 yards. UCF needs to beat USF next week to clinch a trip to the conference title game. 

The Next Tier: UTSA, Troy, Louisville, South Carolina, Washington State, South Alabama, Liberty, Purdue, Iowa, Illinois