College football Power Rankings after Week 13

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2:00 AM ET

  • ESPN staff

All season we wait for Rivalry Week, and it never disappoints.

Michigan beat Ohio State in Columbus for the first time since 2000, and it was merely just the beginning of a day full of chaos in the top 10.

Clemson fell to rival South Carolina, all but ending any College Football Playoff hopes for the Tigers. LSU followed suit, losing to a 5-7 Texas A&M team, which likely ends any hope of the SEC sending two teams to the four-team playoff field.

Out west, Oregon lost to rival Oregon State, spoiling any hopes of a Rose Bowl for the Ducks in Dan Lanning’s first season at the helm in Eugene.

But while upsets may have highlighted the day, top teams such as Georgia, TCU and USC all took care of business ahead of conference championship week.

And with that, the regular season comes to an end. Don’t be sad it’s over; be glad it happened. Oh, and check out this week’s Power Rankings.

It was a slow start Saturday for the Bulldogs, who also stumbled around on offense a week earlier in a 16-6 win over Kentucky. But after falling behind 7-0 to nonconference rival Georgia Tech, Georgia reeled off 37 unanswered points and cruised to a 37-14 victory at Sanford Stadium, the Bulldogs’ 26th straight regular-season win dating to the end of the 2020 season. Georgia, which did give up a first-quarter touchdown to the Yellow Jackets, was stifling after that on defense. The Bulldogs haven’t allowed more than 22 points in any game this season and have given up 14 or fewer points eight times. — Chris Low

Up next: SEC championship game vs. LSU (Mercedes-Benz Dome, Atlanta, Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, CBS)

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After falling behind early, No. 1 Georgia scores 30 straight points as QB Stetson Bennett throws for two touchdowns in the 37-14 win over the Yellow Jackets.

Michigan beat Ohio State in Columbus for the first time since 2000 in a convincing 45-23 win. The Wolverines had just 10 rushing yards in the first half, but finished the game with 252 total rushing yards. Running back Donovan Edwards had 170 yards rushing in the fourth quarter alone and his 216 rushing yards for the game are the second-most all-time by a Michigan player against Ohio State. Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy connected on three passing touchdowns of 45 yards or more in the game and had a rushing touchdown of his own in the dominant win for the Wolverines. — Tom VanHaaren

Up next: Big Ten championship game vs. Purdue (Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, Fox)

The Horned Frogs completed a magical — and highly unlikely — 12-0 regular season with perhaps their most complete, dominating performance of the season. TCU put up a stunning 62 points on an Iowa State defense that was allowing 16.5 points per game and had only allowed Baylor to score more than 30 points this year. They did it with two Kendre Miller rushing TDs, three Max Duggan TD passes, two pick-sixes and a 62-yard kickoff return that set up another score. It was just the performance the Horned Frogs needed going into the Big 12 title game next week, allowing them to rest banged-up star receiver Quentin Johnston and get backups some needed playing time. — Dave Wilson

Up next: Big 12 championship game vs. Kansas State (AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, Saturday, noon ET, ABC/ESPN app)

In some ways, the Trojans didn’t need to put on a show for the committee against Notre Dame given that no. 5 LSU lost and two wins would likely be enough to make it into the playoff field. Caleb Williams had other ideas and a Heisman to win. Despite the 38-27 score, the Trojans controlled the game from start to finish thanks to more daring plays by Williams and more takeaways by a defense that now has 25 this season. The Irish couldn’t keep up and now USC has an 11-1 regular season after going 4-8 last year and the turnaround isn’t over yet. — Paolo Uggetti

Up next: Pac-12 championship game vs. Utah (Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, Friday, 8 p.m. ET, Fox)

It took until the final game of the regular season, but Alabama finally put together a complete game offensively when it beat Auburn at home 49-27 to win the Iron Bowl. Jahmyr Gibbs, Jase McClellan and the running game accounted for 173 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 5.1 yards per carry. Meanwhile, Bryce Young was sharp in the passing game, throwing for 343 yards and three scores — with all three going to different receivers in Ja’Corey Brooks, Traeshon Holden and McClellan. — Scarborough

Up next: Bowl game

After getting snowed over by Michigan in 2021, Ohio State pointed to The Game as a chance for redemption and progress. But the defensive strides made under first-year coordinator Jim Knowles blew up on the Buckeyes, who allowed five touchdowns of 45 yards or longer and four of 69 yards or longer to J.J. McCarthy, Donovan Edwards and the Wolverines. “Way too many big plays,” coach Ryan Day said. Ohio State lost a chance to compete for a Big Ten championship and quarterback C.J. Stroud slipped in the Heisman Trophy race, despite passing for 349 yards in what was likely his final game at Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes lost to Michigan at home for the first time since 2000 and saw their 29-game Big Ten home win streak snapped. — Adam Rittenberg

Up next: Bowl game

The Vols were embarrassed a week ago in a blowout loss at South Carolina and were clearly hell-bent on taking out that embarrassment on somebody. That somebody was Vanderbilt. Backup quarterback Joe Milton III, filling in for the injured Hendon Hooker, led a balanced attack, and Tennessee cruised to a 56-0 romp over the Commodores in a game that was never in doubt. As much as anything, Tennessee’s defense took out some frustration Saturday after giving up 63 points and 606 yards last week to the Gamecocks. — Low

Up next: Bowl game

Sixth-year senior quarterback Sean Clifford’s four touchdown passes on senior day helped stave off Michigan State’s late push as Penn State won 35-16 on Saturday. Clifford (19-of-24 passing for 202 yards) hit eight different receivers to complement a running game that struggled a bit in the second half. Freshmen running backs Kaytron Allen and Nicholas Singleton did combine for 160 yards on 38 carries in the win. — Blake Baumgartner

Up next: Bowl game

A late-night, Pac-12 After Dark Apple Cup was bound to get weird. This one had the privilege of deciding whether Utah or Oregon would face USC in the Pac-12 title game too. In a shootout, the Huskies prevailed thanks to a 485-yard performance from Michael Penix Jr. and a couple of defensive stops in the fourth quarter to finish the regular season with 10 wins and keep rival Oregon from playing for the conference title — Uggetti

Up next: Bowl game

Utah had won its past five games against Colorado by an average score of 35-14 and came into Saturday’s game a 30-point favorite, but even with that high a bar, the Utes still made a resounding statement, going up 42-0 at halftime, outgaining the hopeless Buffaloes 662-185 and cruising to a 63-21 win that, honestly, flattered the hosts. The win, combined with other events (namely, Oregon’s loss to Oregon State), was enough to push the Utes into the Pac-12 Championship for the fourth time in five seasons. — Connelly

Up next: Pac-12 championship game vs. USC (Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, Friday, 8 p.m. ET, Fox)

The LSU defense picked a bad time — and a strange opponent — to have arguably its worst performance of the season. Even if the Tigers were looking ahead to the SEC championship game against Georgia next week, it still doesn’t explain giving up 38 points in a loss to a Texas A&M team which hadn’t scored more than 28 points since Week 1 against Sam Houston. A week after holding the FBS’ leading rusher, UAB’s DeWayne McBride, to 38 yards, Texas A&M’s Devon Achane was able to rack up 215 yards and three touchdowns. –Alex Scarborough

Up next: SEC championship game vs. Georgia (Mercedes-Benz Dome, Atlanta, Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, CBS)

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2:12

Devon Achane totals 215 yards and two touchdowns on the ground to lead Texas A&M to a dominant 38-23 win over the Tigers.

It is safe to say this is not the way the Tigers envisioned closing out the regular season — with their first home loss since 2016 to rival South Carolina 31-30, essentially eliminating them from the College Football Playoff for the second straight year. Once again DJ Uiagalelei was ineffective, completing just 28% of his passes, the worst completion percentage in any game of his career with at least five pass attempts. Clemson had three turnovers in all, including a critical fumble on a punt return late in the game. The loss broke a 40-game home winning streak and a seven-game winning streak over its in-state rivals. — Andrea Adelson

Up next: ACC championship game vs. North Carolina (Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN app)

Jordan Travis put the Seminoles on his back with some eye-dropping — and gravity-defying — runs to help Florida State beat rival Florida 45-38 in one of the best games in the history of the rivalry. Travis threw for 270 yards and a score and ran for 83 yards and two touchdowns, as once again the Seminoles found success on the ground. Florida State has seven straight games with 200 rushing yards for the first time since 1987 and has won five straight for the first time since 2016 — the last time the Seminoles beat in-state rivals Miami and Florida in the same season. — Adelson

Up next: Bowl game

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Kansas State will play for its first Big 12 title in a decade next Saturday thanks to a 47-27 win over Sunflower State rival Kansas on Saturday night. Kansas tried its best to challenge the Wildcats, using a gutty 16-play drive to get to within 10 in the fourth quarter, but K-State just had too many weapons. Deuce Vaughn gained 229 combined rushing and receiving yards, Malik Knowles had a 29-yard run and a 69-yard kick return, and freshman DJ Giddens’ touchdown run with 4:30 left capped the win. In Jerry’s World next Saturday, the Wildcats will get a chance to avenge an October loss to TCU. — Connelly

Up next: Big 12 championship game vs. TCU (AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, Saturday, noon ET, ABC/ESPN app)

Down by 21 to Oregon at one point, the Beavers willed their way to finish their best regular season since 2006 by beating their in-state rival and keeping them out of the Pac-12 title game — following a Washington win over Washington State. It was the perfect signature conclusion to a banner year for Jonathan Smith’s team and the Beavers did it in the least fashionable way possible. Starting quarterback Ben Gulbranson threw for only 60 yards on 13 pass attempts. The game was won on the ground, where the Beavers had seven players run for a combined 268 yards, led by Damien Martinez with 103. It was a grind of a game in Corvallis but when it came down to it, Oregon State showed why it’s been one of the more underrated teams in the country this season. — Uggetti

Up next: Bowl game

Junior running back Tyjae Spears’ season-high 181 rushing yards and two touchdowns spearheaded Tulane’s 27-24 win at Cincinnati on Friday. Spears went for at least 120 yards for the sixth straight game, the longest active streak in the country. The Green Wave won 10 games in a season for the first time since 1998 while winning its first AAC regular season title. Tulane, which boasted the AAC’s best scoring defense coming into Friday, limited the Bearcats to 102 passing yards and made life difficult for sophomore quarterback Evan Prater for much of the contest. — Blake Baumgartner

Up next: American Athletic Conference championship game vs. UCF (Yulman Stadium, New Orleans, Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN app)

After two straight losses, UCLA needed its ninth win to help validate the progress it made this season. The Bruins overcame a halftime deficit against Cal and rushed for 352 yards in a 35-28 win, getting to nine victories for the first time in the regular season since 2014. Zach Charbonnet supplied his usual brilliance (119 yards), but TJ Harden, Colson Yankoff and Dorian Thompson-Robinson added 236 yards as UCLA pounded away, never gaining more than 21 yards on any run. The Bruins defense once again wasn’t great, especially against the pass, but forced a fumble in the closing minute to secure the win. Thompson-Robinson became UCLA’s all-time completions leader and the first Bruin to eclipse 12,000 career yards of offense. — Rittenberg

Up next: Bowl game

With a trip to the Pac-12 title game on the line, Oregon simply couldn’t get it done. Up by 21 at one point against Oregon State, the Ducks offense stalled and could not get the touchdown it needed inside the Beavers’ 20-yard line. Their two last drives ended on fourth downs that the Ducks couldn’t complete, and despite outgaining Oregon State by over 150 yards, Dan Lanning’s team was not able to end his debut regular season on a high note. — Uggetti

Up next: Bowl game

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Oregon State’s defense comes up big with a fourth-down stop late in the fourth quarter to secure an incredible 21-point comeback victory.

What had been an impressive run back up the rankings for the Irish after a slow start to their season ran into the Caleb Williams buzzsaw on Saturday. The Irish tried their best to slow down Williams and USC’s offense to no avail. The offense did their part too: quarterback Drew Pyne didn’t throw an incompletion until the fourth quarter and the USC defense could not stop tight end Michael Mayer. It was still not enough to pull off the road upset. — Uggetti

Up next: Bowl game

What a way to close out the regular season for the Gamecocks. A week after throttling Tennessee, South Carolina upset rival Clemson 31-30 to become the first team to win consecutive games against AP Top-10 opponents as an unranked team since Auburn did it in 2003. Spencer Rattler hit on several big plays down the field — going 6 of 8 for 248 yards and a touchdown on passes 20 or more yards down the field. Those big plays accounted for the majority of his 360 yards passing in the game. Going back to 2011, no quarterback has more completions of 20 or more yards than Rattler did Saturday. — Adelson

Up next: Bowl game

After Quinn Ewers lost a fumble and Baylor returned it for a touchdown to take a 27-24 lead early in the fourth quarter, Steve Sarkisian let the run game take over. The Longhorns ran the ball 22 straight times and fed Bijan Robinson, who finished with 22 of his 29 carries and 150 of his 179 yards in the second half, while Roschon Johnson added 13 carries and 77 yards and two touchdowns. After a 5-7 record in Sarkisian’s first year, the Longhorns closed out the regular season by winning three of their past four to finish 8-4, something Sarkisian says shows the program is on the right track. “I think the style of play is really starting to come to fruition,” he said. “We’re playing a physical brand of football.” — Wilson

Up next: Bowl game

The Tar Heels have now lost two straight heading into the ACC championship game after losing at home to rival NC State 30-27 in double overtime. Quarterback Drake Maye could never get into a consistent rhythm, as NC State — one of the best defenses in the ACC — brought heavy pressure and made life uncomfortable. Still, it was Maye who rallied North Carolina to make it to overtime, with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Antoine Green with no time left in regulation. But in the extra period, North Carolina could not find the end zone as the Wolfpack came up with the plays to win. Maye finished with 233 yards, a touchdown and an interception. — Adelson

Up next: ACC championship game vs. Clemson (Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN app)

Needing only to beat Arkansas State to secure their first Sun Belt championship berth, Jon Sumrall’s Trojans made life awfully hard on themselves, committing a pair of first-half turnovers that led to points for the Red Wolves and had Troy trailing 19-14 heading into the fourth quarter. But then they got angry. Kimani Vidal rushed for three late touchdowns — he finished the game with 208 rushing yards and four scores — as Troy scored 34 points in the final 15 minutes. In Sumrall’s first year in charge, they are your Sun Belt West champions. — Connelly

Up next: Sun Belt championship game vs. Coastal Carolina (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN app)

The Roadrunners dug out of a 24-0 hole with the largest comeback in school history, kicking a field goal with four seconds left to beat UTEP 34-31. Senior quarterback Frank Harris continued his late-game magic as he threw for 382 yards and three touchdowns. The win completed an undefeated conference season at 8-0 in Conference USA and finished a 10-2 regular season with only a triple-overtime loss to Houston to open the season and a Week 3 loss to Texas in Austin. — Wilson

Up next: Conference USA championship game vs. North Texas (Alamodome, San Antonio, Friday, CBSSN)

Mike Leach won his first Egg Bowl, a rainy 24-22 victory on Thanksgiving night that saw the Bulldogs survive a late 2-point conversion attempt by Ole Miss. Mississippi State (8-4) looked like it was going to nail down the win in the final minutes and had a first down at the Ole Miss 1-yard line. But quarterback Will Rogers fumbled, and the Rebels drove 99 yards for a touchdown. Ole Miss called a shovel pass on the 2-point try, but it was batted down by Mississippi State defensive lineman Randy Charlton. — Low

Up next: Bowl game



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