USC leapfrogs LSU in Joel Klatt’s top 10 rankings

Week 12 of the college football season featured a handful of close games with top 10 teams. The top four ranked teams in the country: Georgia, Ohio StateMichigan and TCU: Won by a combined 16 points on Saturday.

Georgia looked far from dominant in a 16-6 win over Kentucky on Saturday, while Ohio State needed a late defensive touchdown to escape Maryland. Michigan and TCU pulled out narrow victories thanks to game-winning field goals.

College Football Analyst for FOX Sports Joel Klatt kept the Bulldogs, Buckeyes, Wolverines and Horned Frogs at the top of his top 10 list, but there are some changes after that, including a new team entering the mix this week.

Here are Klatt’s updated rankings after Week 12.

1. Georgia (Previous ranking: 1)

Week 12 result: Defeated Kentucky, 16-6

Why they rank here: It wasn’t pretty, but good teams find a way to win on the road, and that’s what the No. 1 Bulldogs did Saturday. Stetson Bennett didn’t play his best, but senior running back Kenny McIntosh took over , adding a career-best 143 yards, including a crucial 9-yard score late in the third quarter to help seal a 16-6 victory. . With the win, Georgia clinched its second consecutive undefeated season in SEC play.

Key Stats: With Saturday’s win, Georgia becomes the first SEC team to go undefeated in back-to-back conference games since Alabama in 2008-09.

What’s next? The Bulldogs will face in-state rival Georgia Tech in a non-conference matchup (Saturday, noon ET).

2. Ohio State (Previous ranking: 2)

Week 12 result: Defeated Maryland, 43-30

Why they rank here: Ryan Day’s team proved once again that it has the most explosive offense in college football. Playing without Miyan Williams and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the Buckeyes still managed 43 points against a solid Maryland team that held a 13-10 halftime lead. Third-string running back Dallan Hayden ran all over the Terps, totaling 146 yards and three rushing touchdowns.

Key Stats: Ohio State improved to 89-0 when scoring 30+ points since 2014.

What’s next? The Buckeyes host the No. 3 Michigan Wolverines in Week 13 (Saturday, noon ET, FOX).

3. Michigan (Previous ranking: 3)

Week 12 result: Defeated at Illinois, 19-17

Why they rank here: JJ McCarthy did enough to lead the Wolverines to a victory in a game where the star running back Core Blake he went down with an injury. McCarthy threw for 208 yards and added 18 on the ground as the Wolverines’ defense held the Illini scoreless in the fourth quarter to secure a comeback win. McCarthy completed 74.6 percent of his passes through the first eight games of the season, which led all FBS quarterbacks, but is only completing 50 percent of his throws over the past three games. That will have to change if Michigan is to face rival Ohio State next weekend and secure a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game.

Key Stats: Corum scored his 18th touchdown of the year on Saturday, becoming the first player in program history to rush for a touchdown in 11 different games in a season.

What’s next? The Wolverines hit the road to face No. 2 Ohio State (Saturday, noon ET, FOX).

4. TCU (Previous ranking: 4)

Week 12 result: Defeated Baylor, 29-28

Why they rank here: TCU kept its magical season intact as Griffin Kell kicked a 40-yard field goal on the final play, leading the Horned Frogs to a 29-28 victory over Baylor. Max Duggan threw for 327 yards and a touchdown while adding 50 yards and a score on the ground as TCU scored nine points in the final 2:07 to survive.

Key Stats: TCU’s win over Baylor gives the Horned Frogs 11 wins, the fourth 11-0 start in program history.

What’s next? The Horned Frogs (11-0) will face Iowa State in Week 13 (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET).

5. USC (Previous rank: 8)

Week 12 result: Defeated UCLA, 48-45

Why they rank here: Caleb Williams had the best game of his young career Saturday, passing for a career-high 470 yards in USC’s 48-45 win over in-state rival UCLA. The Trojans clinched a spot in the Pac-12 championship game and should be considered a legitimate threat to make the College Football Playoff.

Key Stats: USC has scored 40 or more points in nine games this season, breaking the school record for most 40-point games in a season.

What’s next? The Trojans host Notre Dame in Week 13 (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET).

6. LSU (Previous ranking: 6)

Week 12 result: Defeat UAB, 41-10

Why they rank here: When LSU scores 30 points, they win. Jayden Daniels continues to look like a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate, throwing for 297 yards and a score and adding another 111 yards and a touchdown on the ground in LSU’s 41-10 win. The Tigers have won 13 in a row when they surpass the 30-point mark.

Key Stats: LSU has won 12 straight games and 61 of its last 62 games against non-conference opponents at Tiger Stadium.

What’s next? The Tigers hit the road to face Texas A&M in Week 13 (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET)

7. Alabama (Previous ranking: 7)

Week 12 result: Defeated Austin Peay, 34-0

Why they rank here: Nick Saban’s team cruised to an easy 34-0 victory over Austin Peay. Jase McClellan filled in admirably for the injured Jahmyr Gibbs, totaling 156 yards and two rushing touchdowns. With two losses already, this wasn’t the dream season Alabama fans were hoping for and have grown accustomed to seeing lately. However, this team got the job done on Saturday and deserves to stay here at No. 7. The Crimson Tide will close out the regular season with a home matchup against rival Auburn.

Key Stats: Alabama’s win over Austin Peay on Saturday was the show’s one Nov. 12 showdown against an FCS opponent in Nick Saban’s tenure. Alabama has won those games by an average margin of 49-6.

What’s next? Alabama hosts Auburn in Week 13 (Saturday, 3:30 ET).

8. Penn State (Previous rank: 9)

Week 12 result: They defeated Rutgers, 55-10

Why they rank here: The Nittany Lions continue to impress, and while James Franklin’s team won’t be playing in the Big Ten Championship Game, there’s a compelling case for this team to be among the best in the country. Establishing a solid running game was key for the Nittany Lions heading into this season, and they have done so with a dominant freshman duo of Kaytron Allen and Nick Singleton. Allen rushed for a team-high 117 yards and a touchdown Saturday, while Singleton added 62 yards on the ground and a 100-yard punt return for a score.

Key Stats: The last time Penn State scored on offense, defense and special teams in a game was in 2017 against Indiana.

What’s next? The Nittany Lions will host Michigan State in Week 13 (Saturday, TBD).

9. Clemson (Previous ranking: NR)

Week 12 result: Defeated Miami (FL), 40-10

Why they rank here: Despite playing just one top ten opponent, Clemson is 10-1 and just held Miami (FL) to less than 100 yards of total offense. Don’t ignore the Tigers. DJ Uiagalelei threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third Saturday, while Clemson’s defense was dominant from start to finish. This is a good team, but let’s remember to rank them based on what they’ve done this season, not over the last decade.

Key Stats: Clemson has won 105 of its last 106 games against teams with fewer than 23 points.

What’s next? Clemson will host in-state foe South Carolina in a non-conference matchup in Week 13 (Saturday, noon ET).

10. Washington (Previous ranking: NR)

Week 12 result: Beat Colorado 54-7.

Why they rank here: After knocking off the woeful Buffaloes, the Huskies are 9-2 and on the rise. Both of Washington’s losses came on the road against UCLA and Arizona State, and they face the annual Apple Cup rivalry with an outside chance to reach the Pac-12 championship game. Michael Penix Jr. leads Division I with 3,869 yards passing. Washington scored a touchdown on its first offensive possession for the ninth time in 11 games this season. Instead, they’ve allowed just one kickoff in 11 games this season.

Key Stats: Washington’s nine wins this year under coach Kalen DeBoer are the most in program history in a head coach’s first season in office. The previous high came in 2014 when Chris Petersen led the Huskies to an 8-6 record.

What’s next? The Huskies travel to Pullman, Washington to face in-state rival Washington in Week 13 (Saturday, 7:30 p.m).

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