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Early Projections for the CFP Rankings: Where Each Team Stands At Week 14

Before the CFP Rankings are released on Tuesday, here is a projection of what the top 25 will look like.

The college football regular season ended this past weekend and there was plenty of drama to shake up the college football playoff rankings heading into conference championship play.

Alabama outlasted Auburn in four overtimes, Michigan dominated Ohio State and Oklahoma was taken down by Oklahoma State. Each of these games—as well as plenty of others— will make a huge impact on which teams make it into the playoffs in a few weeks.

Although the official CFP rankings will not be released until Tuesday evening, here is an early projection of where each team will fall.

#1 Georgia (12-0)

Georgia has been the top-ranked team in the CFP rankings since the list first came out, and that won’t change. After routing in-state rival Georgia Tech 45-0, the Bulldogs finished the regular season undefeated. They have a stellar defense and explosive offense that has been no match for any team this season.

#2 Michigan (11-1)

Michigan pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the day when they took down Ohio State 42 to 27. The Wolverines dominated the entire game and didn’t let up, knowing what was at stake. Now, the team should be in the top four with a great chance of making the playoffs, provided that they claim the overall conference championship against Iowa.

#3 Cincinnati (12-0)

For a while, it was unknown if Cincinnati was a legitimate team. Sure, they had a great record, but they were playing weaker opponents than most other teams in the top 25. The Bearcats have proven themselves over the past few weeks and deserve a spot in the playoffs as long as they win their conference championship against Houston next weekend.

#4 Alabama (11-1)

If Alabama won this weekend, then why are they dropping to the fourth spot in the rankings? The Crimson Tide’s win over Auburn this weekend was ugly, to say the least. They were held scoreless for the first three quarters and miraculously scored 10 points in the last frame to send it to four overtimes. Alabama will likely be out of the playoff race next weekend after they face off against Georgia in the SEC championship.

#5 Oklahoma State (11-1)

Oklahoma State tallied a huge win against their biggest rivals, the Oklahoma Sooners, on Saturday. The team’s 37-33 comeback win against the #10 team in the country showed their resilience and ability to produce on the field. The Cowboys should be right on the edge of playoffs this week, but a win over Baylor in the Big 12 Championship and an Alabama loss should put them in the playoffs for the final rankings.

#6 Notre Dame (11-1)

The Irish have been overlooked this season, but for good reason. Although they sit at 11-1 on the season, they have played a weaker schedule and suffered a tough loss to No. 3 Cincinnati. Plus, after last year’s embarrassing performance in the playoffs, the committee likely doesn’t want to give them another chance. Notre Dame still deserves respect and will likely end up in a New Year’s Six bowl.

#7 Ohio State (10-2)

What a horrible weekend for Ohio State. Not only did they lose to the despised Michigan Wolverines, the loss pretty much knocked them out of playoff contention. The Buckeyes can still salvage the season, but unlike last year, an appearance in the national championship game likely won’t happen.

#8 Ole Miss (10-2)

If Ole Miss would have beat either Auburn or Alabama, things would look very different for them right now. The first 10-win season for the program is impressive and the reason why they jumped up in the rankings. Unfortunately, the record-setting season wasn’t good enough to make it to the SEC Championship, but a New Year’s Six bowl appearance is guaranteed.

#9 Baylor (10-2)

Baylor won this weekend, but will likely fall back in the ranking simply because they have not been as impressive as Ole Miss this year. The Bears have had yet another good year and look to finish it off in a big bowl game to show exactly how much they have accomplished.

#10 Oregon (10-2)

Can Oregon beat Utah this time? That’s the big question. After defeating Oregon State 38-29 this weekend, the Ducks will face the Utes in the Pac-12 Championship. Oregon was blasted by Utah a few weeks ago in a regular-season matchup but needs to change things fast if they want a chance at making it to a big-time bowl game.

#11 Michigan State (10-2)

Michigan State rebounded well following a 56-7 loss to Ohio State last weekend. The Spartans defeated Penn State by a score of 30-27. Although their potential postseason destination is very up in the air, the Spartans hope that they have just enough to make it to a New Year's Six bowl. 

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#12 Oklahoma (10-2)

Oh no, Oklahoma. After starting the season as playoff hopefuls, the Sooners have fallen apart in more ways than one. Their 37-33 loss to Oklahoma State knocked them out of playoff contention for good, and head coach Lincoln Riley has reportedly signed a deal with USC. Things aren't looking good for the Sooners, but hopefully, they can make a decent bowl game and salvage one more win. 

#13 BYU (10-2)

As a member of the FBS Independents, BYU's football program has been respected for many years. Although they likely don't have the quality wins and high enough ranking needed to make it to a New Year's Six bowl, the team should be proud of the feats they have accomplished this season and expect a rewarding postseason performance. 

#14 Pittsburgh (10-2)

Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett has led his team to unprecedented heights this season and is one of the top players in this year's draft class. Pittsburgh may be ranked a little lower than they would like, but their record is impressive. Expect them to have a chance at a New Year's Six bowl appearance by the time it is all said and done. 

#15 Wake Forest (10-2)

If Wake Forest would not have suffered an ugly loss to Clemson a few weeks ago, they would likely be in the playoff picture. The Demon Deacons can't go back and change anything, but they can look to improve their standings and make it to a reputable bowl game when they face Pittsburgh in the ACC championship this weekend. 

#16 Iowa (10-2)

Honestly, it's a miracle that Iowa has maintained a 10-2 record. The Hawkeyes have looked dismal on offense and have seemingly squeaked by the last few weeks. The upcoming Big 10 conference championship matchup will either make them or break them. 

#17 Utah (9-3)

Can the Utes beat Oregon yet again this weekend? That's a question that will shake up the college football world when answered. Utah routed Oregon 38-7 when they faced off on Nov. 20, but they will have to do that again in the Pac-12 championship to prove themselves and potentially make it to a big-time bowl game. 

#18 NC State (9-3)

The Wolfpack has had a season filled with plenty of ups and a few downs. A few losses against teams they should have beaten coupled with some big wins have given NC State an interesting season, to say the least. Nevertheless, the future is bright for this team.

#19 Clemson (9-3)

At the beginning of the season, the thought of Clemson being ranked in the CFP rankings was almost comical. After losing star quarterback Trevor Lawrence in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Tigers started the season 2-2 and had some close wins against teams such as Georgia Tech and Syracuse. However, they improved as the season went on and showed that they could rise to the top of the college football world yet again in the future.

#20 Houston (11-1)

All eyes will be on Houston this weekend as they look to take down Cincinnati in the American Athletic Conference championship. If they succeed, not only will the Bearcats likely be out of the playoffs, but Houston will find themselves closing in on a potential New Year's Six bowl berth.

#21 San Diego State (11-1)

Is San Diego State really as good as their record suggests? Despite the fact that they play in the smaller Mountain West conference, the Aztecs have held their own against some impressive opponents this season. The upcoming conference championship matchup against Utah State will prove a lot about the program if they can win. 

#22 Arkansas (8-4)

The Razorbacks might be one of the most confusing teams in the country. They started the season with low expectations, jumped up high in the rankings, fell out and are back again. Obviously, they have had a very up-and-down season, but they have been riding a lot of momentum this month. Sure, they lost to Alabama...but it was awfully close. That in itself says a lot about the strides that the program has made.

#23 Wisconsin (8-4)

Wisconsin seems to sneak into the rankings every year despite not producing like they should on the field. The Badgers haven't had any overly impressive wins--unless Iowa counts-- and they play like a mediocre team. After a 23-13 loss to Minnesota this past weekend, they will likely fall pretty significantly in the rankings. 

#24 Texas A&M (8-4)

Every year, Texas A&M is hyped up as a super team and ends the season in disappointment. The Aggies fell apart pretty quickly after the season began, but a big win against Alabama brought them back to life. Looking back, that victory may not have been as impressive as it seemed at the time. There's no telling where Texas A&M will be heading into next season, but odds are they will be ranked in the top 10 and fall off yet again. 

#25 Louisiana-Lafayette (11-1)

The Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns deserve a spot in the CFP Rankings. After UTSA suffered a bad loss to North Texas on Saturday, ULL should replace them in the top 25. Coach Billy Napier has put the team on the map in ways that once seemed unimaginable.