The College Football Playoff race and even just the Top 25 college football rankings that the CFP Selection Committee will unveil for Week 13 just got a whole lot more intriguing after a wild Saturday throughout the country.
On one hand, we saw several Playoff contenders seemingly have their backs against the wall in tough road matchups on Saturday with Washington going to the wire with Oregon State, Louisville doing the same with Miami, Texas having early trouble at Iowa State, and perhaps most shockingly with Michigan holding on against Maryland.
The flip side of that, however, was other College Football Playoff hopefuls like Georgia, Ohio State, Alabama, and Oregon taking care of business. Florida State did the same too, but at the cost of a season-defining injury to Jordan Travis.
So what does that mean for the Top 25 college football rankings that the CFP committee will reveal on Tuesday? Let's find out as we take a look at our latest projections after Tennessee, UNC, Utah, and Kansas all fall out of the CFP rankings.
Projected Top 25 College Football Playoff rankings after Week 12: No. 25-21
25. Clemson Tigers
Look, I didn’t expect Clemson to find its way back into the Top 25, but here we are. The Tigers have been cooking a bit of late after it looked like the wheels might be falling off with back-to-back losses to Miami and NC State. On Saturday, they upended UNC, previously ranked No. 20, in an overall dominant defensive effort to shut down a potent Tar Heels offense. Even with four losses, wins over Notre Dame and UNC along with their brand is enough to get them into the back of the Top 25.
24. Toledo Rockets
One of several Group of 5 newcomers in the latest CFP Top 25 projections, the Toledo Rockets are absolutely deserving. At 10-1 behind DeQuan Finn, Jason Candle’s team had to come from behind to topple Bowling Green in MACtion this past week, but they are heading to the conference championship game yet again and look the part of one of the best G5 teams in college football.
23. SMU Mustangs
In a battle for a possible spot in the AAC Championship Game, the SMU Mustangs came up big on the road against Memphis. Though the Tigers poked some holes in what has been a great SMU defense this season, Preston Ston and LJ Johnson Jr. had every answer needed. They held off a late attempt at a rally from Memphis to ultimately secure the 38-34 win and move to 9-2 on the season, now only needing a win at home against Navy next week to play for the AAC crown.
22. Liberty Flames
With teams like Tennessee, North Carolina, Utah and Kansas losing this week, I’m not sure what excuse the Selection Committee has at this point to keep undefeated Liberty outside of the Top 25. The Flames completely worked lowly UMass on Saturday and, though their schedule has been nothing impressive to this point, they’ve dominated behind Kaidon Salter in Jamey Chadwell’s offense. It’s time; rank the Flames.
21. Tulane Green Wave
For the first time in literally a month, Tulane didn’t win a one-possession game in Week 12! The Green Wave defense went on the road to FAU and submitted one of its best performances in quite a while to hold the Owls to just eight points, which came in the fourth quarter. Behind Michael Pratt’s three scores, Tulane notched a 24-8 victory and remains in the driver’s seat for both the AAC title and a spot in a New Year’s Six game.