College football rankings 2023, Projected Week 14 CFP Top 25: Michigan downs OSU, Alabama, Washington hang on

  • Michigan ended Ohio States Playoff hopes with a third straight win in The Game
  • Alabama and Washington held on for dear life in rivalry games
  • Louisville's CFP dreams died in shades of Bluegrass

Ohio State v Michigan
Ohio State v Michigan / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages
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For so much of the season, particularly since the College Football Playoff rankings first began being released, fans have expected a week of complete chaos. But so often, it felt like we were being teased with that chaos only to have the rug pulled out from under us. That had to change in Rivalry Week, the final week of the regular season, right?

Nope. It was more of a tease. Whether it was Alabama in the Iron Bowl, Washington in the Apple Cup, Florida State with a backup quarterback in The Swamp, or a number of other big games, we were so close to having the big upsets and they were taken away from us at the last second. Of course, we did get the big CFP-deciding game to start Saturday with Michigan winning once again over Ohio State in The Game. 

Not only was the much-anticipated matchup of unbeaten rivals in Ann Arbor a battle to win the Big Ten East and go to face Iowa in Indianapolis for a conference championship next week, but it was also likely for a College Football Playoff berth. And it was Sherrone Moore and the Wolverines that prevailed, as many expected all season long. 

But now that the dust has settled, how far will Ohio State drop in the college football rankings handed down by the CFP Selection Committee on Tuesday, the penultimate Top 25 of the season? Will teams like Oregon, Texas and Alabama have a case to move up? Let’s take a look at how it could shake out with our latest projections. 

Projected Top 25 College Football Playoff rankings after Week 13: No. 25-21

25. Toledo Rockets

With Kansas State losing in Farmageddon, we're running out of reasons for Toledo to be left outside of the Top 25. For a long time, head coach Jason Candle -- a hot name in the coaching carousel this offseason -- has been atop the MAC but has accrued some baffling results and losses along the way. This season, though, he led Dequan Finn and the Rockets to a perfect conference record and 11-1 overall record, completing that with a win over Central Michigan in Week 13. They deserve the nod for the work they've done this year.

24. Liberty Flames

There will be six teams who finish the 2023 regular season undefeated at the FBS level. Liberty is the only one who isn’t even remotely close to the College Football Playoff. But Jamey Chadwell’s Flames continued their run of dominance with a 42-28 win on the road at UTEP that wasn’t as close as it might appear. Now, they’ll look to stay perfect as they’ll host New Mexico State in the Conference USA Championship Game on Friday, Dec. 1. 

23. Clemson Tigers

Not much of what Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers have done over the past month-plus has been particularly pleasing to the eye. However, the final scores have been as the Tigers have seemingly gotten this thing heading back in a positive direction. On Saturday night, that meant not losing to rival South Carolina for the second consecutive year. It was a complete war of attrition in Columbia but the Clemson defense held the Gamecocks to just 169 yards of offense, which proved to be more than enough for the 16-7 win on the road to finish 8-4. 

22. Tulane Green Wave

Hand up, I was fully prepared for UTSA to prove that Tulane was fraudulent on Friday afternoon in Yulman Stadium. Instead, Willie Fritz’s defense came to play in a massive way as they forced turnover after turnover from the Roadrunners. Michael Pratt and the offense weren’t perfect, but were more than enough to secure a perfect record in AAC play and punch a ticket to the conference championship game with a possible NY6 bid on the line against SMU.

21. Oregon State Beavers

It’d be difficult to have a worse week at Oregon State than what we’ve seen over the past two days. Not only did the Beavers get shellacked in their rivalry game against Oregon in a 31-7 loss, but the day after, head coach Jonathan Smith accepted the job at Michigan State. Now, the Beavs will have their bowl game looming and should be wholly proud of this season, but their eyes will surely be on keeping what Smith has built in Corvallis rolling