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Ranking strength of college football for Week 12



The national defending champion, Clemson, has won 26 matches in a row, but the 11 teams occupied by the Tigers this season have not been exactly a line of killers. At least Trevor Lawrence & Co. completely crush their opposition.

Ohio State may be the most complete team at FBS, but it is difficult to gauge how good the Buckeyes were when they defeated Maryland and Rutgers.

LSU may have the most impressive workforce to date with victories over Texas, Florida, Auburn, and Alabama, but at least two of those wins don't look as impressive as they once were. And the Tigers aren't really the Steel Curtain in defense after allowing a 614-yard offense in the 58-37 win over Ole Miss on Saturday. It was the fourth time this season that the Tigers had produced 450 yards or more. LSU violations are as good as anyone's violations. The defense? Yes, not much.

So who is No. 1 with two weeks left in the regular season? Here are ESPN Power Rankings after Week 12.

The defending national champions are likely to move on with only one match remaining in the regular season. The Tigers condemned Wake Forest 52-3 in Death Valley for their 26th consecutive win on Saturday, and they have only won unbeaten in the regular season for the second year in a row. Clemson has scored at least 45 points in six consecutive matches and has not let opponents score more than 14 points during that stretch. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, the Tigers are only the third team during the AP poll era (since 1936) – 1971 Nebraska and 1944 Army are the others – to win four direct contests with at least 45 points. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence equaled his career with four goal passes; He finished 21 of 27 passes 272 yards. Tailback Travis Etienne ran for 121 yards with 16 carries, and Tee Higgins scored three times at the reception. The Tigers have a goodbye before closing the regular season against rivals South Carolina on the road.

Next: in South Carolina (November 30, TBD)


The Buckeyes handled the business in their last warm-up before two challenging matches to close the regular season, beating Rutgers 56-21 on the road to their 16th straight win. Quarterback Justin Fields made a career-high throw 305 yards with four goals in a 15-for-19 pass, while the J.K tailback. Dobbins ran for 89 yards with two scores, when Ohio State fouls piled 594 yards. Dobbins has scored many goals from Scrimmage in four straight matches, the longest record by a Buckeyes player since Ezekiel Elliott in 2014. Ohio State hosts Penn State next week, before closing the regular season at Michigan rivals on November 30.

Next: vs. Penn State (Saturday, noon ET, Fox)


3. LSU (10-0)

Tigers high offenses continued to develop in the 58-37 victory at Ole Miss on Saturday night. But how much should we care about LSU's defense? Tigers allowed violations of 614 meters, including 402 rushing on 44 attempts (9.1 meters per carry). Rebel quarterback John Rhys Plumlee crossed 123 yards and ran 21 times for 212 yards with four scores. However, the Tigers were too productive on offense to be in serious trouble, piled up 714 yards, including 489 passes. The Heisman Trophy, Joe Burrow, throws five goals and completes 32 passes. It was his fourth match of the season with at least five touchdown operands, which bind Drew Lock (2017) from Missouri for most of SEC history. Ja 'Marr Chase caught eight passes for 227 yards with three scores, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran 23 times for 172 yards with one score. The Tigers remain in control of the Western SEC, with home games remaining against Arkansas and Texas A&M.

Next: vs. Arkansas (Saturday, 7 pm ET, ESPN)


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As expected, the Ducks didn't receive as many challenges from Arizona in their 34-6 win, because they held their fifth opponents this season to seven points or less. Quarterback Justin Herbert threw for the highest season 333 yards with four touchdown pass and pick. With 28 touchdowns qualifying for just three interceptions, Herbert has played himself into the Heisman Trophy discussion and could find himself in New York if he finishes strong, with matches against Arizona State and Oregon State remaining. More importantly, Oregon remains in a good position to reach the playoffs.

Next: at Arizona State (Saturday, TBD)


It wasn't easy, but the Bulldogs won the third SEC SEC title in a row with a 21-14 decision at Auburn on Saturday. It was the longest streak for the SEC East crown since Florida won five times in a row from 1992 to 1996. The Bulldogs were 21-0 ahead in the fourth quarter and survived to move to 6-1 at the conference. Georgia closes the SEC game at home against Texas A&M next week and then plays at Georgia Tech in the regular season final. With their fourth straight win, the ESPN Football Power Index gives UGA a 42% chance to make a CFP. Quarterback Jake Fromm finished 13 of 28 passes for 110 yards with three scores, and the tailback D 'Andre Swift ran for 106 yards with 17 carry. The Bulldogs finished with only 251 offensive yards, the lowest total for a team that won against top-15 AP enemies since LSU had 239 yards in a 9-6 victory in extra time at Alabama in 2011.

Next: vs. Texas A&M (Saturday, 3:30 pm ET, CBS)


Crimson Tide slid past Mississippi State 38-7 on the road on Saturday but lost quarterback to Old Star Tagovailoa for the rest of the season. Tagovailoa, who underwent surgery on his right ankle about five weeks ago, injured his right hip with about three minutes left in the first half. He suffered from sprained hips and posterior wall fractures. Tagovailoa was injured with Tide leading 35-7, and coach Nick Saban will no doubt be second because he still has his star midfielder in the match. Defensive linemen Raekwon Davis (left foot), DJ Dale (knee) and recipient Henry Ruggs III (withheld) were also injured. Davis was transported to the dressing room at the end of the first half, and he did not return. Mac Jones' reserve quarterback finished 7 of 11 passes for 94 yards when Tagovailoa missed. The Tide only scored three points after halftime.

Next: vs. West Carolina (Saturday, afternoon ET)


7. Utah (9-1)

Utes maintains control of the Pac-12 South and moves one step closer to the Pac-12 championship match and a chance at the Rose Bowl (or CFP?) By blowing up UCLA 49-3 at home on Saturday. Utah's stingy defense limited the Bruins with 269 yards offensively, forced five turnovers and fired quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson five times. He throws two interceptions and loses a pair of stumbling blocks. UCLA's three points are the fewest scored in the game since it was closed by USC on November 26, 2011. Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley threw for a season-high 335 yards with two scores, and Zack Moss withdrew 17 times for 127 yards with two scores. The Utes have a one-match advantage over USC in the South Pac-12 standings, and they will be heavy favorites in their last two matches in Arizona next week and home to Colorado on November 30.

Next: in Arizona (Saturday, TBD)


Oklahoma retained his 12th Degree and hopes the CFP will live with a large dose of Sooner Magic in the 34-31 decision at Baylor on Saturday. The Sooners are 25 points behind in the second quarter and 21 in the first round. But OU defeated Baylor 24-0 in the second half and won with Gabe Brkic's 31-yard field goal with 1:45 to play. It was the biggest comeback in school history and only marked the second time in the last 15 years that the team trailed 25 points to the ranking team on the road coming from behind to win (teams 1-906 in such situations). Oklahoma's quick breach resulted in touchdown drives of 12, 13 and 13 playing after the break, spending more than 16 minutes. OU's 58 offensive games in the second half were the most by the FBS team this season, according to data from ESPN Stats & Information. Quarterback Jalen Hurts had three turnovers, including failing in the Bears final zone, but he bounced back to complete 30 of 42 passes for 297 yards with four goals and one interception. He also ran 27 times for 114 yards. The Sooners without the recipient of the star CeeDee Lamb, who did not play because of an undisclosed "medical problem".

Next: vs. TCU (Saturday, TBD)


Nittany Lions bounced back from their first defeat of the season with a 34-27 victory over Indiana at home. After the Hoosiers cut Penn State's lead to 27-24 with 10:45 left, Nittany Lions put together an 18-play, 75-yard drive that took 9:01 of the time. 1-quarterback run Sean Clifford gave PSU a 10-point advantage. Clifford scored three goals, while passing for 179 yards and rushing for more than 55. Journey Brown added 100 yards rushing with one score. KJ Hamler star receiver left after the return of the first-quarter kickoff with an undisclosed injury, but coach James Franklin hopes he will play next week. The Nittany Lions stay in one match from the State of Ohio in the Top Ten East. They play Buckeyes at Horseshoe next week.

Next: in the State of Ohio (Saturday, ET noon, Fox)


The Gators remained in the mix for the New Six Year bowl game after defeating Missouri 23-6 on the road. After struggling in the first round, Florida midfielder Kyle Trask made two touchdowns in the third quarter to help the Gators retreat. He finished 23 of 35 passes for 282 yards with two goals. He has thrown at least two goals in eight consecutive games, which is the longest blow by a Florida player since Tim Tebow did it in 10 straight contests in 2008. But the story for Florida is his defense, which allows only 52 yards to rush and has 10 tackles for losses. , including five with two sacks by Jonathan Greenard. The Gators get a week off before closing the regular season against rivals Florida State in Swamp on November 30.

Next: vs. Florida State (November 30, TBD)


The Bears wasted a golden opportunity on Saturday, blowing a 25-point lead in their Big 12 fight against four-time Oklahoma league champions at home. The Bears were ostracized in the second round and could not commit many offenses. With Sooners dominating possession time, Baylor only had five possession in the second half, which produced an error, three kicks and interception. Quarterback Charlie Brewer has 194 yards passing with two touchdowns and one interception while running 17 times for 65 yards and two scores. The Bears can still reach the Big 12 championship game – and a potential rematch with Sooners – if they take care of business in their last two matches against Texas at home and in Kansas.

Next: vs. Texas (Saturday, TBD)


The Golden Gophers' dream of an unbeaten season ended in Iowa with a 23-19 loss, just a week after they shocked Penn State 31-26 for one of the biggest wins in program history. Minnesota has dropped nine straight matches against the Hawkeyes and hasn't won at Kinnick Stadium since 1999. The Gophers dug an initial hole, trailing 20-3 with 6:20 remaining in the second quarter, and they couldn't clear the deficit in the second round. Quarterback Tanner Morgan threw for 368 yards with one goal. The Hawkeyes had six sacks, and Morgan was eliminated at the last minute with the possibility of a concussion. The Gophers ran only 63 yards on 30 carries. Despite the loss, Minnesota is still in the driver's seat in Big Ten West. It plays at Northwestern next week, followed by a home battle against Wisconsin on November 30.

Next: in Northwestern (Saturday, TBD)


Badgers lived within close proximity of Minnesota in Big Ten West by winning 37-21 in Nebraska. It was Jonathan Taylor's performance once again, as the full-back star ran 25 times for 204 yards with two goals. It was the third time Taylor had rushed for 200 yards or more against Cornhuskers. He has 11 career matches with at least 200 yards, which tie Ron Dayne, Ricky Williams and Marcus Allen to the most in FBS history, according to data from ESPN Stats & Information. With 5,634 career rushing yards, Taylor passed the 1982 Heisman Trophy NCAA winner Herschel Walker's record for most rushing yards by players through his junior season. Walker had 5,596 yards from 1980 to 1982. Taylor still has two regular season games and at least one bowl game for add to the total.

Next: vs. Purdue (Saturday, TBD)


The Wolverines new offense is to click at the right time, with the fight against Ohio State at The Game in just two weeks. Quarterback Shea Patterson threw for 384 meters the highest season with four goals on 24-for-33 passes in 44-10 beating Michigan State on Saturday. It was the first time he had at least 300 yards with three goals in a match in Michigan. He had 182 yards passed in the first round, the most by Wolverines players since Chad Henne against the Spartans in 2005. Ronnie Bell caught nine passes for 150 meters. Michigan defeated the Spartans for the third time in the last four meetings, having lost seven of the previous eight matches.

Next: in Indiana (Saturday, 3:30 pm ET, TBD)


Fighting Irish hasn't sold a home game for the first time since Thanksgiving Day 1973, and fans who didn't show up missed one of their most complete performances this season. Quarterback Ian Book throws 284 yards with five goals – four of them at Chase Claypool. It was Book's third match with at least five goals this season, which is the most in the history of Notre Dame; it also ties Brady Quinn to the most in a career by an Irish player. Claypool has seven catches for 177 yards, and four touchdown receptions tie Maurice Stovall's single-game school record, set against BYU in 2005. The Irish defense forced four failed, which were converted to 24 points, and it did a pretty choking job. Three-option violations Navy. Ireland has matches left against Boston College (home) and Stanford (street), and they might be able to sneak into the Six New Years bowl with help.

Next: vs. Boston College (Saturday, 2:30 pm ET, NBC)


The Tigers started slowly in Houston – they fell behind 17-7 at the end of the first quarter – before racing 35 points in the second and third quarters to retreat with a 45-27 victory. Memphis won the fourth match in a row and maintained its position for the automatic invitation of the Group 5 league to the Six New Years bowl. Quarterback Brady White threw for 341 yards with five goals and ran for another score. He threw a touchdown at four different players. Tailback Kenneth Gainwell ran for 99 yards on 17 carries, as the Tigers defeated Cougars 531-256 in total yards. Memphis rose 9-for-13 in the third down. The tiger remained in a tie in the AAC Western Division with one loss in the conference game. The Tigers will play at USF next week and host Cincinnati in the November 29 regular season final.

Next: at USF (Saturday, TBD)


17. Iowa (7-3)

The Hawkeyes ruined Minnesota's perfect season with a 23-19 defeat to Golden Gophers at home on Saturday. It was the sixth time since 2008 that the Hawkeyes beat ranked opponents at the Kinnick Stadium in November – and the third time in four seasons they defeated a top-10 enemy. The Hawkeyes also defeated Penn State Number 3 in 2008; 15 Michigan in 2011; 3 Michigan and No. 16 Nebraska in 2016; and No. 6 Ohio State in 2017. Iowa scored on its first three possession to lead 20-3 and held back the Minnesota rally in the second round. Quarterback Nate Stanley threw for 173 yards with two goals, and Tyler Goodson ran for 94 yards with one score. Iowa can still achieve 10 wins this season with the remaining contest against Illinois at home and Nebraska on the road, followed by a bowl game.

Next: vs Illinois (Saturday, ET during the day, BTN)


Even with third-string quarterback Jaylon Henderson called to start his first match for the Broncos because of injury, New Mexico did not provide many obstacles. The 42-9 one-sided affair is Boise State's third consecutive win since losing to BYU, and it has started a different quarterback on each of them. The Broncos can take the Mountain Conference Mountain division with victory in the State of Utah next week, while defeat could lead to a three-way bond above the division with the Aggies and Air Force.

Next: at Utah State (Saturday, 10:30 PM ET, CBSSN)


The Bearcats have been guilty of succumbing to their competition this season, and that was the case in the 20-17 victory in South Florida on Saturday. The Bearcats trailed 10-0 in the round after gaining only 46 yards of offense in 27 plays in the first two quarters. But they rose to score 20 points after the break and won Sam Crosa's 37 yard field goal as time ended for their eighth straight win. Cincinnati won at least one part of the AAC East Division title. With a 6-0 record in conference games, the Bearcats are two games ahead of UCF and Temple in league ranking. Cincinnati overcame off-night quarterback Desmond Ridder, who finished nine of 18 passes for 78 yards. The Bearcats lost a total of 438-278 in total yards.

Next: vs. Temple (Saturday, TBD)


For the third time this season, the Tigers came short against the top 10 opponents, losing to Georgia 21-14 at home. After trailing 21-0 at the end of the third quarter, the Tigers scored two goals in the fourth quarter to make everything interesting. The Tigers had two chances to tie the game late but failed to convert a fourth pair of play – in Georgia 34 and Auburn 27. Quarterback Bo Nix finished 30 of 50 passes for 245 yards with one touchdown, and Seth Williams caught 13 passes for 121 yards. The Bulldogs have won 12 of the last 15 meetings in the oldest competition in the Deep South. The Tigers have games left against FCS enemies Samford and Alabama No. 5, and the defeat of Crimson Tide will only increase scrutiny on Auburn coach Gus Malzahn, who may be a prime candidate for the Arkansas void.

Next: vs. Samford (Saturday, noon ET)


The Cowboys have quietly won three matches in a row to move up to the Top 12, the last decision 31-13 over Kansas. Tailback Chuba Hubbard ran for 122 yards with two goals on 23 carries. It was his seventh match of the season with at least 100 yards and two goals, which is the second most in a season in the history of the Big 12, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Texas Ricky Williams had eight matches like that in 1997. The OSU defense turned out to be one of the better performances this season, limiting the Jayhawks to only 290 meters in total, including 39 hurries. Pokes also choose three operands.

Next: in West Virginia (Saturday, TBD)


After a 2-2 start, the Hokies continued their revival by getting rid of Georgia Tech 45-0 on the road on Saturday. It was Virginia Tech's fifth win in its last six matches since losing to Duke 45-10 on September 27. The Yellow Jackets were held goalless for the first time since losing 38-0 to Florida State on October 18, 1997. Virginia Tech's unit coordinator, Bud Foster, restricted Georgia Tech to the first eight downs, 2-for-15 third downs, 134 total offensive yards and 53 yards hurried. Virginia Tech is now 5-0 up in a match started by quarterback Hendon Hooker, who threw 159 yards with one touchdown and ran for two more scores. With the remaining matches against Pittsburgh (home) and Virginia (road), the Hokies are desperately hunting for the ACC Coastal Division title and automatic league places at Capital One Orange Bowl (provided Clemson makes a CFP).

Next: vs. Pittsburgh (Saturday, TBD)


Mountain climbers trailed Georgia state 21-7 on the road after Chris Bacon intercepted the pass and returned it 34 yards to touchdown with 1:38 to play in the first quarter in Atlanta. Then Mountaineers scored 49 consecutive points to beat the Panthers 56-27. The Appalachian State Defense forced seven three-and-out in the stretch, and one of the other assets ended in interception. Quarterback Zac Thomas did four touchdowns and ran for another score. Darrynton Evans had 131 yards rushing with one touchdown. The Mountaineers remain one match ahead of South Georgia in the Sun Belt East standings. Appalachian State closes the regular season against Texas State at home next week and at Troy on November 29.

Next: vs. State of Texas (Saturday, 2:30 pm ET, ESPN +)


The Aggies ran 319 yards and held off South Carolina fouls in Saturday's 30-6 victory at Kyle Field, their fourth straight win. Quarterback Kellen Mond throws 221 yards with one touchdown and runs for another score. Cordarrian Richardson ran 130 yards, including a 75 yard goal, and Isaiah Spiller made 129 yards in 24 attempts. The Aggies could not produce many violations in the third quarter before entering 17 points in the fourth quarter. South Carolina fouled 260 yards, and The Aggies controlled the ball for more than 41 minutes. They have to be as efficient as in the last two matches of their regular season in Georgia and at LSU.

Next: in Georgia (Saturday, 3:30 pm ET, CBS)


The Aztecs moved in one win by securing a place in the Mountain West Conference title match by beating league champions Fresno State 17-7 on Friday night. The Aztecs restricted the Bulldogs to 206 offensive yards – 70 rushing and 136 passing. Fresno State was only 3-for-12 when it came down third and turned the ball three times. San Diego State quarterback Ryan Agnew finished 33 of 47 passes for 323 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He is the first Aztec player to throw 300 yards since Quinn Kaehler had 326 against the Air Force in 2014. Aztec won at least one part of the MWC West crown for the fourth time in the format of two conference divisions, and they can secure a place in a championship match league with a win in Hawaii next week.

Next: in Hawaii (Saturday, 11 PM ET, TBD)


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