I want to preface what I am about to say with this: I am a current senior at Clemson. This loss hurt. Really bad. My last game in Death Valley turned into this. South Carolina came in and won the game, and I’ll be honest, Clemson lost it just as much. Not giving your best player the ball more than two times in the fourth quarter? Indefensible. Running a trick play on a kickoff return when we had all the momentum and giving it all to the Gamecocks? Inexcusable. Losing at home to your most hated rival, ending the longest active home winning streak in the country? Embarrassing. With that said, this team needs to turn the page and focus on a reeling North Carolina team. Go win the ACC back, and then go win the Orange Bowl.
In other areas, Ohio State got blown out at home to Michigan (I was expecting the opposite result), TCU and USC kept winning to solidify their chances, and LSU got smoked by *checks notes* Texas A&M. That’s right. Texas A&M. College football is a mysterious sport, and you have to be insane trying to rank teams before the championship. Luckily for the reader, us voters are all insane. Let’s see how we stacked the top teams in the nation this week:
Last Week STS Poll: 1
Current CFP Ranking: 1
Avg. Rank: 1.2 (78.3% of First-place votes)
Last Week: W vs. Georgia Tech, 37-14
Would you believe me if I told you that Georgia Tech was winning after the first quarter? Would you also believe that after scoring on their opening drive Georgia Tech didn’t score again until there were less than 3 minutes left in the game? Turns out, both of those statements are true. Georgia overcame a rather slow start to whip the Yellow Jackets, securing their second consecutive 12-0 start. Stetson Bennett threw for 140 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Kenny McIntosh ran for 86 yards, caught 2 passes for 96 yards, and rushed for a touchdown. Georgia’s defense still looks like the cream of the crop, while the offense just needs to show up and score some points in order for the Bulldogs to win. They look like the best team in the country as long as the offense gets off the bus. Georgia will look to secure an SEC Championship this week against an LSU team that is definitely asking itself “how in the world did we lose to Texas A&M?”
Next Up: vs. #14 LSU, 4:00 PM, CBS (Game in Atlanta, Georgia - Mercedes-Benz Stadium)
Most Unique Writer’s Opinion: 5 voters had Georgia at number 2 this week: Ryan Kantor (TigerNet), Marty Coleman (Rubbing the Rock - Fansided), Mark Sturgis (Sturgis Sports), Calvin Craft (STS - SB Nation), and Brian Lewis (STS - SB Nation)
Last Week STS Poll: 3
Current CFP Ranking: 2
Avg. Rank: 1.8 (21.7% of First-place votes)
Last Week: W @ #2 Ohio State, 45-23
Michigan heard the noise. They heard that this was Ohio State’s year and that The Game would end quite differently than it did last year. They heard it and they didn’t like it. The second half belonged to the Wolverines, overcoming a 3-point deficit and turning it into a 22-point win. J.J. McCarthy had his best game passing, throwing for 263 yards and 3 touchdowns (on only 12 completions), Cornelius Johnson caught 4 passes for 160 yards and 2 touchdowns, and Donovan Edwards rushed 22 times for 216 yards and 2 touchdowns (his touchdown runs were from 75 and 85 yards out, icing this game late). Michigan is on top of the world, beating their hated rival and all but securing their second consecutive playoff bid. Going into Columbus and beating Ohio State the way they did was surprising to me, and I honestly believe that Michigan has the pieces to win it all this year.
Next Up: vs. Purdue, 8:00 PM, FOX (Game in Indianapolis, Indiana - Lucas Oil Stadium)
Most Unique Writer’s Opinion: Nick Tully (The Clemson Pawcast) was the only voter not to have the Wolverines at #1 or #2 (had them at #3)
Last Week STS Poll: 4
Current CFP Ranking: 3
Avg. Rank: 3.1
Last Week: W vs. Iowa State, 62-14
TCU absolutely took it to Iowa State. The Horned Frogs want to send a point to the committee: put us in the bracket. Max Duggan threw for 3 touchdowns, Kendre Miller ran for 2 more, and TCU coasted. If they can take care of business against Kansas State this weekend, they will have secured the first Big 12 playoff bid not by a team named Oklahoma in the playoff era. After getting screwed out of a spot in 2014, and because Clemson was officially eliminated this year, I am officially in TCU’s corner for the rest of the year. Don’t run from HypnoToad. Embrace him.
Next Up: vs. #10 Kansas State, 12:00 PM, ABC (Game in Arlington, Texas - AT&T Stadium)
Most Unique Writer’s Opinion: Alex Craft (STS - SB Nation) is the lowest on the Horned Frogs, slotting them at #5
Last Week STS Poll: 5
Current CFP Ranking: 4
Avg. Rank: 4.1
Last Week: W vs. #15 Notre Dame, 38-27
Playing in what many people pegged as a trap game, USC took care of business and defeated Notre Dame, 38-27. If there is one thing I can take from this game, it is this: Caleb Williams wants the Heisman. Williams threw for 232 yards and a touchdown, and he also ran for 3 touchdowns, striking a Heisman pose after one of them. He has a chance to put together a strong resume, as he and the Trojans get another crack at Utah in the PAC-12 Championship game this weekend. Austin Jones continues to step up for USC, as he rushed for 154 yards against a tough Fighting Irish defense.
Next Up: vs. #11 Utah, 8:00 PM on Friday, December 2, FOX (Game in Las Vegas, Nevada - Allegiant Stadium)
Most Unique Writer’s Opinion: Brandon Rink (TigerNet) put the Trojans at #6
5. Ohio State
Last Week STS Poll: 2
Current CFP Ranking: 5
Avg. Rank: 4.8
Last Week: L vs. #3 Michigan, 45-23
The fact that Ryan Day is receiving some thoughts on being fired after this season is absolutely bonkers to me. This man has done nothing but win games, get playoff bids, and continue to recruit well. But, because of two straight losses to Michigan, and some losses in the playoff, some Ohio State fans have seen enough. Buckeyes, you’re most likely going to the Rose Bowl with Michigan playing Purdue in the Big Ten Championship. This season may have been disappointing, but I think you’re overreacting to a handful of games. Dabo got beat by South Carolina 5 times in a row. Look where Clemson is now.
I find myself liking C.J. Stroud as a person more and more each day. After losing to Michigan for the second consecutive year, Stroud stood up at a podium and apologized to Buckeye fans for not being able to “climb the mountain.” All he did in this game was throw for 349 yards and 2 touchdowns (albeit he did have 2 interceptions). Marvin Harrison, Jr. continues to show he is a potential number-one overall pick next year, hauling in some impressive catches throughout the game.
Next Up: Bowl Game
Most Unique Writer’s Opinion: Alex Craft (STS - SB Nation) is still high on the Buckeyes, putting them at #3
Last Week STS Poll: 8
Current CFP Ranking: 6
Avg. Rank: 7.0
Last Week: W vs. Auburn, 49–27
In one of college football’s most recognizable rivalries, Alabama cruised to victory in the Iron Bowl behind 343 passing yards from Bryce Young. Young also threw for 3 touchdowns, and Jahmyr Gibbs rushed for 76 yards and a touchdown of his own. Auburn actually held a lead until Alabama tied it up with 6:25 remaining in the first quarter, but it was pretty much all Tide from there. Nick Saban’s side ends the campaign at 10-2. Notably, they will not be participating in the SEC Championship Game this weekend. The committee has so far held Alabama up (probably because of their name), and it will be interesting to see if they keep ranking them ahead of Tennessee, who beat them head-to-head.
Next Up: Bowl Game
Most Unique Writer’s Opinion: Jonathan Smith (STS - SB Nation) and Qualk (105.5 The Roar) had the Tide at #10, while Brian Lewis (STS - SB Nation) put them at #11
Last Week STS Poll: 10
Current CFP Ranking: 7
Avg. Rank: 7.8
Last Week: W @ Vanderbilt, 56-0
This one was all Tennessee, as the Vols made the Commodores look like a high school team. Joe Milton III threw for 147 yards and a touchdown in his first start since Hendon Hooker’s injury. Tennessee relied upon the rushing attack in this one, finishing with 31 carries for 362 yards and 6 touchdowns. Jaylen Wright only needed 5 carries to gain 160 yards and 2 touchdowns, Dylan Sampson carried the rock 12 times for 131 yards and 1 touchdown, and Jabari Small gained 79 yards on 11 carries and 2 tuddies. Tennessee needed a nice bounce-back game after losing to South Carolina last week, and they prevented Vanderbilt from reaching a bowl game.
Next Up: Bowl Game
Most Unique Writer’s Opinion: Mark Sturgis (Sturgis Sports) put Tennessee at #15
8. Penn State
Last Week STS Poll: NR
Current CFP Ranking: 8
Avg. Rank: 8.3
Last Week: W vs. Michigan State, 35-16
This was actually a close game until 2 late touchdown passes from Sean Clifford put this game away. Clifford ended with 202 yards and 4 touchdowns as the Nittany Lions continued to win against every team on their schedule not named Michigan or Ohio State. Honestly, I am not too impressed with this team. I think they benefited from a weak Big 10, but the national media sees Michigan and Ohio State and instantly props the Big 10 up. I think the bottom of the Big 10 is worse than the bottom of the ACC, but clearly, national media pundits disagree.
Next Up: Bowl Game
Most Unique Writer’s Opinion: Three voters had Penn State outside of their top 10: Nick Tully (The Clemson Pawcast) at #11, Matt Goldin (STS - SB Nation) at #13, and Nick Vivona (me, STS - SB Nation) at #15. I am not high on Penn State.
Last Week STS Poll: NR
Current CFP Ranking: 12
Avg. Rank: 9.9
Last Week: W @ Washington State, 51-33
I feel as though Washington has had a very quiet, but very strong season. The Huskies had back-to-back loss at UCLA and at Arizona State. Since then, they boast wins over Oregon State, at Oregon, and now an impressive win over Washington State in Pullman. Michael Penix Jr. threw for 485 yards and 3 touchdowns, while Wayne Talapapa ran for 126 yards and a touchdown. Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillan each went north of 150 receiving yards and hauled in a touchdown. Washington also knocked Oregon out of the PAC-12 Championship Game this weekend, paving the way for Utah to attempt a repeat. I am not sure which bowl game the Huskies will go to, but I can’t imagine them not playing in a prestigious game.
Next Up: Bowl Game
Most Unique Writer’s Opinion: D’Arve Robinson (STS - SB Nation) put Washington at #15
Last Week STS Poll: 6
Current CFP Ranking: 9
Avg. Rank: 10.3
Last Week: L vs. South Carolina, 31-30
I said it at the beginning and I will say it again. This one hurt. To save my dignity, that is all I would particularly like to talk about for this past week. Instead, I will be looking forward to playing North Carolina in the ACC Championship game, and I hope the Tigers show up and play a complete game. Limit the turnovers, run the ball, and let’s go win another ACC championship. Till I die, Go Tigers!
Next Up: @ #23 North Carolina, 8:00 PM, ABC (Game in Charlotte, North Carolina - Bank of America Stadium)
Most Unique Writer’s Opinion: Matthew Johnson (Nachos & Analysis) put Clemson at #15, while Houston Burnett (Rubbing the Rock - Fansided) slotted the Tigers at #14
This week, we asked our voters two questions:
Who is most likely to start the ACC Championship game?
Who is most likely to be the starting quarterback next year?
Of 23 voters:
21/23 (91.3%) said that D.J. Uiagalelei will start the ACC Championship, with 1 voter (4.35%) saying Cade Klubnik, and 1 voter (4.35%) saying “Prefer not to say.”
18/23 (78.3%) said that Cade Klubnik will most likely start at quarterback next year, 4/23 (17.4%) said D.J. Uiagalelei, and 1 (4.3%) said: “Prefer not to say.”
What do you think of our rankings? What are your thoughts on the quarterback situation? Let us know in the comments!