College football is setting up for its big finale. Heading into the drama of rivalry week, how do the top teams compare in Power Rankings?

By Martin Rickman
November 25, 2014

Finales are tricky. How do you sum up something that meant so much and had so much work put into it with one episode or a single event? By their very nature, finales only invite failure and disappointment.

If you leave it up to interpretation (think The Sopranos) you run the risk of not saying enough for your viewer. If you check off all the boxes and make it neat and tidy (Breaking Bad, for instance), you’re not giving your audience enough credit. The shows that get canceled and really shouldn’t have been -- Freaks and Geeks comes to mind, and more recently, the short-lived Fox show Enlisted -- sometimes get it right on accident. There’s something more natural about an unexpected finish.

Finales are, well, final, but when they’re scripted, they don’t feel that way. Thankfully we don’t have to worry about that with college football. The end of the regular season has plenty of storylines that need closure, but even when we think we have it all figured out, something like the 2013 Iron Bowl happens. As finales go for the general college football viewing public, that was perfect. Unless of course you’re an Alabama fan.

It’s time to see what happens when we close the book on the 2014 regular season before conference championships effectively put a coda on the year and set the stage for the first College Football Playoff.

• ELLIS: Bowl Projections: Can Baylor make late playoff surge?

1Alabama Crimson Tide
last week: 1
record: 10-1

2Florida State Seminoles
last week: 2
record: 11-0

3Oregon Ducks
last week: 3
record: 10-1

Next game: Saturday at Oregon State

4Baylor Bears
last week: 4
record: 9-1

Next game: Saturday vs. Texas Tech

5Mississippi State Bulldogs
last week: 5
record: 10-1

6TCU Horned Frogs
last week: 6
record: 9-1

Next game: Thursday at Texas

7Ohio State Buckeyes
last week: 7
record: 10-1

Next game: Saturday vs. Michigan

8Michigan State Spartans
last week: 8
record: 9-2

Next game: Saturday at Penn State

9Georgia Bulldogs
last week: 10
record: 9-2

Next game: Saturday vs. Georgia Tech

10Kansas State Wildcats
last week: 11
record: 8-2

Next game: Saturday vs. Kansas

11UCLA Bruins
last week: 12
record: 9-2

Next game: Friday vs. Stanford

12Arizona State Sun Devils
last week: 13
record: 9-2

Next game: Friday at Arizona

13Arizona Wildcats
last week: 14
record: 9-2

Next game: Friday vs. Arizona State

14Wisconsin Badgers
last week: 15
record: 9-2

Next game: Saturday vs. Minnesota

15Auburn Tigers
last week: 16
record: 8-3

Next game: Saturday at Alabama

16Colorado State Rams
last week: 18
record: 10-1

Next game: Friday at Air Force

17Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
last week: 19
record: 9-2

Next game: Saturday at Georgia

18Marshall Thundering Herd
last week: 17
record: 11-0

Next game: Saturday vs. Western Kentucky

19Missouri Tigers
last week: 21
record: 9-2

Next game: Friday vs. Arkansas

20Oklahoma Sooners
last week: 23
record: 8-3

Next game: Dec. 6 vs. Oklahoma State

21Ole Miss Rebels
last week: 9
record: 8-3

Next game: Saturday vs. Mississippi State

22Clemson Tigers
last week: NR
record: 8-3

Next game: Saturday vs. South Carolina

23Louisville Cardinals
last week: NR
record: 8-3

Next game: Saturday vs. Kentucky

24Boise State Broncos
last week: NR
record: 9-2

Next game: Saturday vs. Utah State

25Minnesota Golden Gophers
last week: NR
record: 8-3

Last game: Beat Nebraska, 28-24
Next game: Saturday at Wisconsin

Next five: Nebraska, Arkansas, LSU, USC, Memphis

• STAPLES: Rivalry week set to bring playoff picture into focus

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