College football rankings: after Week 13

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No Jim Harbaugh, no problem.

For the third year in a row, the Michigan Wolverines beat the Ohio State Buckeyes in The Game to clinch the Big Ten East title.

It’s only the second time in 26 years that Michigan has tripled up Ohio State. The last time the Wolverines enjoyed this kind of success against their hated rival, they won a share of the 1997 national title.

The Wolverines are now just three wins away from doing just that — winning the national title. 

It’s impressive to to think that Harbaugh could not only win the Big Ten, but a national championship, while coaching just six regular season games, in the midst of a sign-stealing scandal. 

That he could do so after being forced to part with a co-offensive coordinator (Matt Weiss), a linebackers coach (Chris Patridge) and an analyst (Connor Stalions), while watching his trusted lieutenant, Sherrone Moore, act as head coach against two top 10 opponents — Penn State, Ohio State.

That he could go through all of this, and remain perfect.

If this is not the Michigan team that wins a national title, I’d love to find out what team that is.

Michigan beats Ohio State for the third year in a row

Michigan beats Ohio State for the third year in a row

Here are my Top 25 rankings after Week 13.

1. Michigan (12-0)

Defeated Ohio State, 30-24

“We proved ourselves right,” said J.J. McCarthy after Saturday’s triumph. That self-belief, along with a whole lot of talent, has carried the Wolverines to the Big Ten championship game.

2. Georgia (12-0)

Defeated Georgia Tech, 31-23

Kendall Milton rushed for 156 yards and two touchdowns as the Bullldogs took down the Yellow Jackets.

3. Washington (12-0)

Defeated Washington State, 24-21

The Huskies secured their first 12-0 season since winning a share of the 1991 national championship.

No. 4 Washington escapes Washington State in the Apple Cup

No. 4 Washington escapes Washington State in the Apple Cup

4. Florida State (12-0) 

Defeated Florida, 24-15

The Noles gutted out the game against the Gators without injured quarterback Jordan Travis to remain undefeated.

5. Ohio State (11-1)

Lost to Michigan, 30-24

The Buckeyes have lost three in a row against Michigan for the first time since 1997. Day is 41-0 against non-Michigan, Big Ten competition, but 0-3 in his last three outings of The Game.

6. Oregon (11-1)

Defeated Oregon State, 31-7

The Ducks clinched a spot in the Pac-12 title game with a win against their in-state rival. They’ll get a chance to avenge their only loss of the regular season against the Huskies on Friday night.

Oregon’s Bo Nix looks like the Heisman Trophy winner

Oregon's Bo Nix looks like the Heisman Trophy winner

7. Texas (11-1)

Defeated Texas Tech, 57-7

The Longhorns clinched the No. 1 seed in the Big 12 title game and will face Oklahoma State for the chance to win the program’s first Big 12 title since 2009.

8. Alabama (11-1)

Defeated Auburn, 27-24

Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe found wideout Isaiah Bond in the back of the end zone on fourth-and-31 to come from behind to win the Iron Bowl — and keep the Tide’s hope of playing in the CFP alive.

9. Penn State (10-2)

Defeated Michigan State, 42-0

The Nittany Lions finished with 10 wins and stand a great shot at earning a bid to a New Year’s Six Bowl game for the second time in as many years.

10. Missouri (10-2)

Defeated Arkansas, 48-14

The Tigers’ win against the Hogs makes this Missouri’s first 10-win season since 2014. Eli Drinkwitz is a worthy candidate for SEC Coach of the Year.

11. Ole Miss (10-2) 

Defeated Mississippi State, 17-7

The Rebels had not won 10 games in a season between 1897 and 2020. But with their gritty win against in-state rival Mississippi State, Lane Kiffin has led Ole Miss to two 10-win seasons in two of the last three years.

12. Oklahoma (10-2)

Defeated TCU, 69-45

The Sooners secured a 10-win season one year after going 6-7.

Oklahoma takes care of business vs. TCU

Oklahoma takes care of business vs. TCU

13. Iowa (10-2)

Defeated Nebraska, 13-10

Without their starting quarterback Cade McNamara for most of the season, without their best player in cornerback Cooper DeJean, and having announced that offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz won’t return for the 2024 season, all the Hawkeyes have done is win 10 games and take the Big Ten West title for the second time in as many years.

14. Louisville (10-2)

Lost to Kentucky, 38-31

The Wildcats have won five straight against the Cardinals. While the Cardinals could still make a New Year’s Six Bowl game with a win in the ACC title game, their hopes of playing in the CFP were dashed with the loss.

15. Oklahoma State (9-3)

Defeated BYU, 40-34. 2OT

The Pokes fought back from a 24-6 deficit to defeat the Cougars and punch their ticket to their second Big 12 title game appearance in three years.

16. Arizona (9-3)

Defeated Arizona State, 59-23

Wildcats QB Noah Fifita completed 30 of 41 passes for 527 yards with five TDs and one INT to seal the program’s first nine-win season since 2014.

17. Tulane (11-1)

Defeated UTSA, 29-16

The Green Wave not only clinched a spot in the American Athletic Conference Championship but will host it in New Orleans. Tulane has lost just three games in three years and hasn’t lost to a Group of 5 team since November 2022 — when UCF was still a member of the AAC.

18. LSU (9-3)

Defeated Texas A&M, 42-30

It was another big day for Heisman candidate Jayden Daniels — 355 total yards, including 235 yards and four TDs through the air.

19. Notre Dame (8-3)

Defeated Stanford, 56-23

The Irish have won four of their last five. Audric Estime led the way in this one, rushing for 238 yards and four TDs.

20. Toledo (11-1)

Defeated Central Michigan, 32-17

The Rockets secured their second 11-win season since 2017 and will seek their first 12-win season in school history in the MAC title game

21. NC State (9-3)

Defeated North Carolina, 39-20

That’s five straight wins for the Wolfpack, who have only lost once since September. 

22. Liberty (12-0)

Defeated UTEP, 42-28

The Flames led 35-7 entering the fourth quarter and cruised the rest of the way.

23. SMU (10-2)

Defeated Navy, 59-14

That’s eight straight wins for the Mustangs, who got 322 passing yards from QB Preston Stone.

24. James Madison (11-1)

Defeated Coastal Carolina, 56-14

Jordan McCloud passed for 324 yards and scored six total TDs.

25. Clemson (8-4)

Defeated South Carolina, 16-7

Will Shipley gained 112 total yards as the Tigers won their fourth straight. 

RJ Young is a national college football writer and analyst for FOX Sports and the host of the podcast “The Number One College Football Show.” Follow him on Twitter at @RJ_Young and subscribe to “The RJ Young Show” on YouTube.

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