The REAL Top 25 - Week 12

Another week down - with plenty of great matchups and surprises! With only two weeks left (plus conference championship games) we still have nine teams with zero or one losses. It's likely that six of them will face each other in conference championship games (Georgia/Alabama, Washington/Oregon, Florida Sate/Louisville) and then of course Ohio State vs. Michigan in the "de facto" Big Ten championship.

Unfortunately this week is a little light on key matchups, but I'm sure we'll still end up with a big surprise or two. Anyway, on to the rankings! Let me know if you agree or disagree with any of my choices below.

1) Georgia (10-0) The sleeping giant is now fully awake. Georgia wasn't particularly impressive across the entire month of September, but they seem to be getting better and better each week now. (Last week: 3)

2) Ohio State (10-0) The Buckeyes are cruising toward a season-defining showdown at Michigan. (Last week: 1)

3) Washington (10-0) Their win over Utah makes *six* consecutive wins by a single-digit margin. However, their body of work (including four ranked wins) still keeps them ahead of Michigan for now. (Last week: 4)

4) Michigan (10-0) The Wolverines finally got a ranked win, but it sure would be nice to see them play at least more ranked team before they're (essentially) handed a play-in game vs. Ohio State for a CFP spot.(Last week: 5)

5) Florida State (10-0) Their three spot drop this week is less about them and more about the three teams that were directly behind them and all picked up ranked wins. Florida State should make the CFP if they win out, but any slip-up will likely be costly. (Last week: 2)

6) Texas (9-1) TCU gave Texas a bigger test than we were expecting. And with the other top Big 12 teams looking slightly less impressive in recent weeks, it remains to be seen how far their early-season win over Alabama will carry them in the minds of the CFP committee.(Last week: 6)

7) Alabama (9-1) Alabama handled Kentucky comfortably. While they still have the Iron Bowl coming up, all eyes will be squarely focused on their SEC championship matchup with Georgia. A win there could catapult them ahead of teams like Florida State and Texas in the CFP rankings. (Last week: 7)

8) Oregon (9-1) If Oregon can avoid a slip-up over its next couple of games, it will get a chance in the Pac-12 championship game to avenge its earlier loss against Washington. If Oregon wins out, they will certainly be in the playoff conversation. (Last week: 8)

9) Louisville (9-1) Currently sliding a bit under the radar, Louisville could still sneak into the CFP if they win out and knock off Florida State in the ACC championship. But even then, they would still need a ton of help. (Last week: 10)

10) Ole Miss (8-2) Three of the four teams previously below them also lost, so their demoralizing loss to Georgia shouldn't hurt them too much in the polls. (Last week: 9)

11) LSU (7-3) They comfortably handled Florida while many of the teams around them in the rankings struggled. They beat Missouri earlier this year, which (in my opinion) should keep them above their fellow Tigers for now. (Last week: 17)

12) Oregon State (8-2) The Beavers only have one ranked win (Utah), so to me they're currently a bit overrated in most polls. But they'll get two big chances as the season wraps up, as they close with Washington and Oregon. (Last week: 15)

13) Missouri (8-2) Most people were expecting a close game, but Missouri quickly separated themselves from Tennessee. (Last week: 19)

14) Oklahoma (8-2) They beat Texas, but lost to Kansas and Oklahoma State - all in very close games. It's a bit of a headscratcher trying to rank their resume as all four teams have similar records, but in the end I took the easy way out and used total losses as a tiebreaker. (Last week: 14)

15) Penn State (8-2) As expected, their offense completely disappeared when facing a competent opponent. They wrap up with Rutgers and Michigan State, so ten wins is very realistic. It would be a crime if they qualify for an at-large New Years Six bowl and they'll probably find a way to sneak in. (Last week: 11)

16) Notre Dame (7-3) Idle this week. (Last week: 20)

17) Oklahoma State (7-3) This team is the gridiron version Jekyll & Hyde. They have beaten Oklahoma, Kansas State, and Kansas - but also have unranked losses against South Alabama, Iowa State, and UCF. Genuinely not sure where to stick them. (Last week: 12)

18) Utah (7-3) They hung tough with Washington but couldn't quite pull off the upset. (Last week: 16)

19) North Carolina (8-2) UNC just picked up an exciting overtime win over Duke and are crawling their way back up the rankings after suffering back-to-back unranked losses. (Last week: unranked)

20) USC (7-4) Like Utah, they pushed a top conference opponent but ultimately fell short. I don't think they should be penalized for that, but most pollsters will just look at the number in their loss column (which are all against ranked teams). (Last week: 21)

21) Arizona (7-3) They have really come on strong in the last month, but a close call this week against Colorado doesn't bode well for its upcoming matchup with Utah.(Last week: 22)

22) Kansas (7-3) I thought they might suffer a hangover after their big win over Oklahoma, and it did happen - just one week later than expected. (Last week: 13)

23) Tennessee (7-3) Well, that was disappointing. But time to move on. Georgia comes to town, and who knows? Maybe the Dawgs will be a bit complacent since they've already locked up a spot in Atlanta. (Last week: 18)

24) Kansas State (7-3) There are a few other teams with arguments to be in the rankings, but ultimately I went with K-State here. Their case is basically having no bad losses, as all three of their losses were one possession losses to ranked teams - and they've been racking up wins against the rest of the conference. (Last week: unranked)

25) James Madison (10-0) They won again, so they get to stay in the rankings another week. (Last week: 25)

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