College Football Rankings: What Ohio State’s Loss to Michigan Means for Alabama, LSU, USC and More

For the first time since 2000, Michigan clinched a second straight win over Ohio State, potentially eliminating the Buckeyes from contention for the college football playoffs in the process.

The third-ranked Wolverines withstood the absence of star running back Blake Corum to post a dominant 45-23 win over the No. 2 Ohio State. Michigan beat the home team 28-3 in the second half, sending the Buckeyes home.

Quarterback JJ McCarthy, running back Donovan Edwards and wide receiver Cornelius Johnson were the stars of the show as the former completed 12 of 24 passes for 263 yards and three touchdowns (adding another point on the floor).

Edwards, who replaced Corum, had 22 rushes for 216 yards and two points in the fourth quarter from 75 and 85 yards, respectively. Johnson had four receptions for 160 yards and two yields of 69 and 75 yards respectively.

MORE: Dominant second half lifts Wolverines past Buckeyes in ‘The Game’

Defense was also impressive, limiting Heisman Trophy hopeful CJ Stroud to a 31-of-48 day for 349 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. The defense also forced three three-and-outs and a turnover on downs.

It was a masterclass in Wolverine dominance that will impact the latest college football rankings—not just for Michigan and Ohio State, but for college football as a whole:

Georgia (12-0)

Previous rank: 1

The Bulldogs have their second unbeaten regular season, beating rivals Georgia Tech 37-14 after a narrower-than-expected first half that saw them lead the Yellow Jackets 10-7. The only thing standing in the way of Georgia and a second straight playoff finish is an SEC championship game meet with No. 6 LSU. Will the Bulldogs be No. 2 given how close their game was with Tech?

Ohio State (11-1)

Previous rank: 2

This one stands out for the Buckeyes not only because of the way they were mistreated against Michigan, but also because this is the first time since 1999-2000 that the Wolverines have won consecutive games (and also at Columbus). The way Ohio State lost and was beaten 28-3 in the second half almost certainly rules out making the playoffs.

The question is how far the Buckeyes will fall and whether losses to other teams in the playoffs will help them sneak back into the playoff talk. But Ohio State would need nothing short of chaos for the remainder of Rivalry Week and the conference championship weekend and doesn’t have the advantage of playing in the final week. A berth in the Rose Bowl may be the best OSU can hope for.

Michigan (12-0)

Previous rank: 3

Marching into Ohio Stadium without one of their best playmakers, Michigan beat Ohio State like no other team… at least since the Wolverines in 2021. Any questions about the Wolverines’ playoff candidacy are out the window, and they should be no lower than No. 2 in the country in next week’s rankings. Again, will Georgia’s lackluster win over Tech result in a new No.1?

TCU (11-0)

Previous rank: 4

TCU got some breathing room from the loss to Ohio State and will move up to 3rd overall in next week’s rankings – assuming the Horned Frogs beat an Iowa State team 4-7 in the final game of the regular season. There’s still next week’s Big 12 championship game to consider as well, but TCU can’t be caught looking past the Cyclones.

MORE: When will the college football playoff rankings be released?

LSU (9-2)

Previous rank: 5

The possibility of LSU becoming the first two-loss team to make the playoffs is now a significant possibility: The Tigers are likely to move up to No. 4 in the latest CFP rankings, assuming they beat a Texas A&M- Team Not Going to Bowl – Eligible this season. That would make next week’s SEC title game against the Bulldogs a meeting between teams who, if the season ends then and there, would both be eligible for the CFP.

If the Tigers beat Georgia in Atlanta, the selection committee would have no choice but to put LSU in the playoffs.

USC (10-1)

Previous rank: 6

The Trojans have new life in the playoffs as well; USC has an opportunity to beat No. 15 Notre Dame in Rivalry Week and then move up to one of two ranked teams at No. 9 Oregon, No. 13 Washington, or No. 14 Utah in the Pac-12 championship game. If the Trojans win both games, then either Georgia or LSU will lose in the SEC championship game should enough to put Lincoln Riley, Caleb Williams and Co. at No. 4 in the postseason.

Alabama (9-2)

Previous rank: 7

The Crimson Tide also have new life in the playoffs, but need a lot more help than the teams before them. These include a defeat by Michigan in the Big Ten championship game; a loss by TCU during Rivalry Week or the Big 12 championship game; and a loss by USC to Notre Dame and the Pac-12 championship game.

The hope for Alabama is to move up to No. 5 — ahead of Ohio State — ahead of the championship weekend when LSU is expected to suffer a loss to Georgia. Tuesday night’s leaderboard show will be very important for Alabama.

MORE: College football week 13 bowl projections: USC controls playoff fate

Clemson (10-2)

Previous rank: 8th

Perhaps Saturday’s biggest loser is Clemson, who lost to an unranked South Carolina team 31-30 to ensure the Tigers were eliminated from playoff contention. Dabo Swinney and company lost a 31-30 thriller at home to the Gamecocks, the second top-10 team Shane Beamer’s side have secured in as many weeks.

Clemson can still beat North Carolina during conference championship week to capture the ACC title and an Orange Bowl berth. But the playoffs are no longer possible.

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