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Playoff Picture - Week 12

by Aaron Lynn and Jonny Gaunt




#1 Georgia Bulldogs (10-0)


Aaron: Georgia handled the last competent team on their schedule in Tennessee and should truly be able to coast in their next two games before the SEC Championship. I personally have a hard time seeing anybody really competing against this Georgia team given their incredible defense.

Jonny: Tennessee took the lead and gave the Bulldogs more of a fight than they are used to on the road. The defense still lead the way with game changing plays despite mounting injuries. The path is now clear to the SEC Title game.


#2 Alabama Crimson Tide (9-1)


Aaron: So long as the Crimson Tide don't slip up against either Arkansas or Auburn in the next two weeks, Alabama will be SEC Championship-bound. While I expect them to handle business, there have been shaky games against LSU and Tennessee, so an upset is certainly within the realm of possibility. And oh by the way, the home team has won the last five Iron Bowls, and Auburn is the host team this season.

Jonny: A de facto bye week for the Tide allowed them to rest and get ready for their final tests of the season. This week, they have the chance to wrap up the SEC West with a win over the Arkansas Razorbacks.


#3 Oregon Ducks (9-1)


Aaron: I've had the Oregon/Utah game circled for weeks, because this is the matchup that, I believe, will ultimately hand the Ducks their second loss of the season. The Utes are a tough team to beat at home, and I'm afraid the injuries will finally catch up to a relatively depleted Oregon. The offense will need to have their best game of the season.

Jonny: The Ducks continue to "play with their food" but survived another game of PAC-12 After Dark. Now, their biggest test of the season since the game in Columbus arrives in the form of a trip to Salt Lake City and perhaps a PAC-12 title game preview.


#4 Ohio State Buckeyes (9-1)


Aaron: The offense finally came alive against Purdue and quickly reminded fans just how lethal the passing game can be, especially considering Ohio State will have 3 1,000 yard receivers this year in front of Heisman candidate QB C.J. Stroud. The defense will need to step up against Michigan State's Heisman favorite Kenneth Walker. Expect a lot of points as we essentially get a Playoff quarterfinal in Columbus, the site of Gameday.

Jonny: Ohio State's win over Purdue was easily the most complete game of the season. OSU was ready for the upset-minded Boilermakers and dominated the game on offense. Getting pressure on the QB remains an issue for an otherwise solid team.


#5 Cincinnati Bearcats (10-0)


Aaron: Cincinnati sure hasn't inspired much confidence in the Playoff committee and continues to flirt with disaster. However, the Bearcats have had the help needed to threaten for a Top 4 spot. An Oregon loss would eliminate the PAC-12 from Playoff contention and there's a good chance further chaos in the Big 12 also removes that conference. The Bearcats need to step up their play, and quickly.

Jonny: Something still remains off for the Bearcats as they have struggled to put away seemingly inferior opponents for the last several weeks. They better figure it out soon, because the SMU Mustangs have the talent, skill, and coaching to end Cincinnati's potential fairytale season.

Michigan Logo.png

#6 Michigan Wolverines (9-1)

Aaron: Credit the Wolverines for a gritty win at Penn State. Assuming there's not a slip up against Maryland this week, once again the season will come down to The Game, where Jim Harbaugh has yet to win. Take care of the Terrapins first.

Jonny: Winning in Happy Valley is never easy, but the Wolverines did, and in their own fashion. Now, they need to remain focused to avoid a slip-up against Maryland, before facing their arch rival in a game with the potential to make their first appearance in the Big Ten Championship.

Jonny's Week 12 Top 25

1. Georgia (10-0)

2. Ohio State (9-1)

3. Alabama (9-1)

4. Oregon (9-1)

5. Cincinnati (10-0)

6. Michigan State (9-1)

7. Michigan (9-1)

8. Notre Dame (9-1)

9. Mississippi (8-2)

10. Oklahoma State (9-1)

11. Wake Forest (9-1)

12. Baylor (8-2)

13. Oklahoma (9-1)

14. Houston (9-1)

15. Arkansas (7-3)

16. Texas A&M (7-3)

17. UTSA (10-0)

18. Wisconsin (7-3)

19. Iowa (8-2)

20. BYU (8-2)

21. San Diego State (9-1)

22. Pittsburgh (8-2)

23. Louisiana (9-1)

24. Utah (7-3)

25. Kentucky (7-3)

Heisman Standings

Kenneth Walker - RB

Michigan State Spartans

1,473 YDS, 17 TD

85 Rec YDS, 1 TD

Matt Corral - QB

Mississippi Rebels

2,774 YDS, 17 TD/2 INT

523 Rush YDS, 10 TD

C.J. Stroud - QB

Ohio State Buckeyes

3,036 YDS, 30 TD/5 INT

Bryce Young - QB

Alabama Crimson Tide

3,025 YDS, 33 TD/3 INT


J. Davis, DL, UGA

D. Ridder, QB, UC

K. Pickett, QB, PITT

S. Hartman, QB, WF

J. Warren, RB, OKST

Michigan State Logo.png

#7 Michigan State Spartans (9-1)


Aaron: The season essentially comes down to a huge showdown against Ohio State in Columbus. Of course, Penn State still awaits if the Spartans can pull off the upset, but clearly the focus is on the Buckeyes. Kenneth Walker has been sensational and should have opportunities to make big plays considering the inconsistencies of the Buckeye offense. The Michigan State defense is in serious danger of getting exposed in the passing game, which is one of the best in the country.

Jonny: The Spartans recovered from their disappointing loss to Purdue. Walker remains a front runner for the Heisman and now leads his team into Columbus. The game between the Buckeyes and Spartans has the makings of a potential game of the year. Whichever defense finds a way to make some stops will survive this clash.


#8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-1)


Aaron: It's finally time to list the Fighting Irish as a contender, not so much for what they have done but because of teams around them (cough, Oklahoma) falling. Notre Dame still needs quite a lot of chaos to get that Top 4 spot but I have to admit it's not impossible. I'm not sure even Irish fans actually want to see their team in the Playoff facing Georgia, however.

Jonny: Since falling to Cincinnati at home, the Fighting Irish seem to have found their rhythm. Coan has finally settled into the starting QB role and the defense is thriving under the new system. The CFP is a long shot, but a New Year's Six game seems almost guaranteed.

Oklahoma State.png

#9 Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-1)


Aaron: It's pretty clear the Playoff committee doesn't respect the Big 12, but how far would the Pokes be able to jump if they can beat Oklahoma in Bedlam and then Baylor (for the second time this season) in the Big 12 championship game? Those are two major hurdles for an offense that has been shaky at times, but the defense is truly impressive.

Jonny: In the Pokes most complete game of the season, Oklahoma State ran crazy over the Horned Frogs. With the Sooners loss, the Cowboys not only have a strong chance to make the Big 12 Title game, but keep their biggest rival out.


Oklahoma - The game at Baylor was a disaster. Caleb Williams got benched for Spencer Rattler who was also benched earlier this year, so the quarterback situation continues to be an issue. The offense has not been the usual dynamic OU offense and the defense isn't a great strength, either. There isn't a single solid win on the schedule from this team, and the Committee jumped on that, ranking the Sooners #13. 

On the Verge

#10 Wake Forest - The schedule just isn't strong enough to build an actual Playoff resume. At this point, the goal for this team is to win an ACC title which would be pretty amazing for the Demon Deacons. Clemson is a big roadblock in that goal this week, who still has yet to lose at home despite the Tigers' struggles this season.

UTSA - The Roadrunners are 10-0! Obviously, there's no Playoff hopes here, but a serious congrats to this team. Hopefully, if UTSA finishes 13-0, the Committee respects them enough to give them a (deserved) spot in the New Year's Six.

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