College football rankings: Ohio State’s loss makes room for USC in top 4


The Michigan Wolverines entered Ohio Stadium as underdogs by more than a touchdown. Most were without the services of Blake Corum and the Heisman candidate. Their coordinators on both sides of the ball were new this season. And they were facing a Buckeyes team that vowed revenge after losing to the program they call That Team Up North last season.

If that wasn’t enough, the Wolverines threw in freshmen quarterback and running back JJ McCarthy and Donovan Edwards, respectively, against an Ohio State defense that had been retooled with a new scheme and coordinator specifically to win this game

Despite all that, the Wolverines still blanked OSU, 45-23, for their first win in Columbus since 2000. It was the largest margin of victory in the most intense rivalry of United States in games at the Shoe since 1976.

With McCarthy throwing for 263 yards and four total TDs, and Edwards rushing for 216 yards and two TDs on 21 carries, Michigan claimed the title of best football program north of the Mason-Dixon line. Now, with a Big Ten title to defend for the second year in a row, eyes in the South have to wonder if this will be the team to beat with the conference title games upon us.

On the other side of this rivalry, the Buckeyes’ loss leaves room for a team waiting in the wings.

Does Michigan deserve No. 1 consideration?

Does Michigan deserve No. 1 consideration?

RJ Young reacts as the Michigan Wolverines beat the Ohio State Buckeyes in The Game.

1. Georgia (12-0)

defeated Georgia Tech, 37-14

The Dawgs dispatched the Yellow Jackets with a career win. Stetson Bennett attempted just 18 passes for 140 yards as the Dawg defense held Tech scoreless in the second and third quarters.

2. Michigan (12-0)

Ohio State defeated, 45-23

The question for the Wolverines now is whether they can summon that type of performance in the Big Ten Championship Game and possibly the College Football Playoff, especially if they face Georgia.

3. TCU (12-0)

defeated State of Iowa, 62-14

The Horned Frogs left no doubt about their Big 12 prowess with their 48-point win over the Cyclones to end the regular season undefeated. With a win in the Big 12, they will make their first trip to the CFP.

4. USC (11-1)

Defeated at Notre Dame, 38-27

Caleb Williams put on a show with four total TDs as he dipped, dodged and spun away from the ND defense, even hitting the Heisman post just before halftime, en route to a dominating victory.

Williams set the program record for TDs in a season with 44.

No. 6 USC knocks off No. 15 Notre Dame

No. 6 USC knocks off No. 15 Notre Dame

RJ Young reacts to USC’s win over Notre Dame and reflects on Trojans QB Caleb Williams’ Heisman case.

5. Ohio State (11-1)

Loses to Michigan, 45-23

The book about CJ Stroud will be marked by two glaring omissions. If he looks to the NFL, he will leave as one of the most accomplished players in Ohio State history, but without a win against Michigan or a trip to the Big Ten title game.

6. Tennessee (10-2)

Vanderbilt defeated, 56-0

Without Heisman contender Hendon Hooker, the Vols offense accounted for 513 yards of offense as the defense found its form. After giving up 63 to South Carolina last week, they held the Commodores to zero.

7. Alabama (10-2)

defeated Auburn, 49-27

Bryce Young looked like the Heisman winner, completing 20-of-30 passes for 343 yards with three TDs and an INT in the Tide’s win over its in-state rival.

8. Penn State (10-2)

defeated State of Michigan, 35-16

Quarterback Sean Clifford completed 19 of 24 passes for 202 yards and four TDs to lead the Nittany Lions to their 10th win of the season.

9. Kansas State (9-3)

Kansas defeated, 47-27

With the win, the Wildcats punched their ticket to the Big 12 title game for the first time since the Chris Klieman era.

Behind quarterback Will Howard and running back Deuce Vaughn, K-State racked up 443 yards of offense in the win.

10. Oregon (9-3)

Lost at Oregon State, 38-34

The Ducks gave up 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to the Beavers, squandering an excellent passing performance by quarterback Bo Nix. The signal caller finished 27 of 41 for 327 yards with two TDs in the loss.

Oregon State upsets #9 Oregon

Oregon State upsets #9 Oregon

RJ Young talks about how good the Beavers’ defense looked at the end of their impressive win over Oregon.

11. Our Lady (8-4)

Loses to USC, 38-27

The Fighting Irish couldn’t stop Williams or USC’s rushing attack. They’ll have to take comfort in knowing they beat the ACC champion, whether it’s North Carolina or Clemson.

12. Clemson (10-2)

Lost in South Carolina, 31-30

The Gamecocks fought back from a double-digit halftime deficit to defeat the Tigers for the South Carolina state title and end Clemson’s 40-game winning streak in Death Valley.

Entering the ACC title game, Clemson’s chances of making the playoffs are dashed, with hopes of a New Year’s Six bowl bid still to play for.

13. Washington (10-2)

defeated Washington State, 51-33

Michael Penix Jr. torched the Cougars for 485 yards and three touchdowns as the Huskies posted their first 10-win season since 2018.

14. State of Oregon (9-3)

Oregon defeated, 38-34

Despite getting just 60 yards from quarterback Ben Gulbranson, who also threw two INTs, the Beavers picked up their first win against a top-10 Oregon team in the CFP era.

15. State of Florida (9-3)

defeated Florida, 45-38

Behind the legs of Jordan Travis, the Seminoles defeated their hated in-state rival to cap an outstanding season for Mike Norvell with his first win against the Gators since 2016. Travis completed 13 of 30 passes for 270 yards with a TD

16. LSU (9-3)

Lost in Texas A&M, 38-23

The term “overrated” was coined for games like this. After the CFP committee ranked LSU No. 5, the Bayou Bengals responded by losing to an A&M team that has been woefully underachieving.

However, LSU has a chance to redeem itself in the SEC title game against Georgia on Saturday.

LSU, Clemson knocked out

LSU, Clemson knocked out

RJ Young reacts to Clemson’s upset of the South Carolina Gamecocks and Texas A&M’s upset of LSU.

17. UCLA (9-3)

defeated must, 35-28

The Bruins rolled up 541 yards of offense, including 352 rushing, to come back from a 21-10 deficit to beat Cal in the Battle of the Bears.

18. Utah (9-3)

defeated Colorado, 63-21

Quarterback Cam Rising was terrifyingly efficient against the worst team in the league, completing 17-of-19 passes for 234 yards with three TDs. Running back Ja’Quinden Jackson added 117 rushing yards and three TDs on just 10 carries.

19. South Carolina (8-4)

Defeated Clemson, 31-30

The Gamecocks defeated another top-10 CFP-ranked team for the first time in back-to-back weeks as they ended the Tigers’ 40-game home winning streak in Death Valley.

20. Texas (8-4)

defeated Baylor, 38-27

The Longhorns finished their season on a high (three wins better than 2021) and gave themselves a chance to reach nine wins for the first time since 2018.

21. Purdue (8-4)

defeated Indiana, 30-16

The Boilermakers made the most of Iowa’s loss to Nebraska to punch their ticket to the Big Ten title game for the first time in school history. Biletnikoff Award semifinalist Charlie Jones caught four passes for 143 yards with a TD in the win.

22. North Carolina (9-3)

Lost in State of NC, 30-27

Drake Maye and the Tar Heels fell short for the second straight week against an ACC opponent. They will look to cap their season with a 10th win against their league’s best program in the last decade at Clemson in the conference title game.

23. Tulane (10-2)

defeated Cincinnati, 27-24

With the win, the Green Wave earned the right to host the conference title game against the Bearcats next weekend and snapped Cincy’s 32-game winning streak at Nippert Stadium.

24. Mississippi State (8-4)

He defeated Ole Miss, 24-22

The Bulldogs overcame three turnovers, including an interception by quarterback Will Rogers, to earn Leach its first Egg Bowl victory.

25. be miss (8-4)

Loses to Mississippi State, 24-22

The Rebels were held to just six points in the second half of their loss, the first for Lane Kiffin against Mike Leach in the Egg Bowl.

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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 i subscribe to “The RJ Young Show” on YouTube.


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