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Friday, June 21, 2024

Michigan, TCU, USC move up in Joel Klatt’s rankings


Week 13 of the college football season featured plenty of upsets, breakout performances and thrilling comeback wins, but nothing matched Michigan‘s unforgettable 45-23 victory over Ohio State in the 117th edition of “The Game.”

J.J. McCarthy and Donovan Edwards put on a clinic in the Wolverines’ win, which shook up the college football universe. But did Jim Harbaugh’s team do enough to overtake Georgia for the top spot in Joel Klatt‘s rankings?

FOX Sports’ lead college football analyst had plenty to think about when it came to updating his rankings following a wild, jam-packed weekend.

Here are Klatt’s updated rankings after Week 13.

1. Georgia (Previous ranking: 1)

Week 13 result: Defeated Georgia Tech, 37-14

Why they’re ranked here: As good as Michigan was on Saturday, it would be awfully hard to penalize the Bulldogs after they took care of business in a 37-14 rout over Georgia Tech. Stetson Bennett & Co. started slow, but they put their foot on the gas in the second half, outscoring the Yellow Jackets 27-7 in the second half. Bennett threw two touchdown passes as Georgia completed back-to-back undefeated regular seasons for the first time in school history.

Key stat: Georgia has now won 27 straight regular-season games, which is a school record.

What’s next? The Bulldogs (12-0) will take on SEC foe LSU in the SEC Championship Game (Saturday, 1 p.m. ET).

2. Michigan (Previous ranking: 3)

Week 13 result: Defeated Ohio State, 45-23

Why they’re ranked here: The Wolverines are a special group, and they showed why on Saturday in a memorable 45-23 victory over rival Ohio State. They did it with efficient QB play, a dominant run game and an opportunistic defense that made the plays when it had to. The second half of this year’s matchup between Michigan and Ohio State was a near-carbon copy of last year’s game, as the Wolverines carried the ball 24 times for 242 yards after halftime this year, while totaling 20 carries for 188 yards on the ground last year. This marked the first time since 1999-2000 that Michigan has won two games in a row over Ohio State.

Key stat: Michigan’s 22-point victory over the Buckeyes on Saturday marked the program’s largest win in Columbus since 1976.

What’s next? The Wolverines (12-0) will take on Purdue in the Big Ten Championship Game (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, FOX).

3. TCU (Previous ranking: 4)

Week 13 result: Defeated Iowa State, 62-14

Why they’re ranked here: Iowa State entered Saturday’s tilt against TCU giving up just 16.5 points per game. Max Duggan and the Horned Frogs ran circles around the Cyclones on Saturday in a dominant 62-14 win. Duggan threw for 212 yards and three touchdowns as TCU completed the first undefeated regular season by a Big 12 team since 2009 and inched one step closer to securing a spot in the College Football Playoff.

Key stat: TCU running back Kendre Miller has now scored a rushing touchdown in 13 straight games, which is the longest active streak in the nation.

What’s next? The Horned Frogs (12-0) will play host to Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship Game (Saturday, 12 p.m. ET).

4. USC (Previous ranking: 5)

Week 13 result: Defeated Notre Dame, 38-27

Why they’re ranked here: Caleb Williams is a bona fide superstar, and he has this USC team playing its best football of the year at just the right time. Williams and the Trojans ran all over a talented Notre Dame defense on Saturday, piling up 436 yards of total offense in an impressive 38-27 win over the Fighting Irish. If Lincoln Riley’s team can win the Pac-12 title game, this team should feel good about its chances to get to the playoff.

Key stat: USC is now 11-1, which is the program’s best start to a season since 2008, when they finished 12-1 and defeated Penn State in the Rose Bowl.

What’s next? The Trojans advance to play (Oregon/Washington) in the Pac-12 Championship Game (Friday, 8 p.m. ET).

5. Ohio State (Previous ranking: 2)

Week 13 result: Lost to Michigan, 45-23

Why they’re ranked here: Despite losing to rival Michigan on Saturday, this is a really good football team that can play with just about anybody in the country. We know C.J. Stroud is a special talent, and the same can be said for his talented group of wide receivers. But Ohio State couldn’t get much going on the ground Saturday, and also came up short on several crucial third-down plays and had to settle for field goals. That simply can’t happen if this team wants to compete for national championships moving forward.

Key stat: Ohio State had won 29 Big Ten games at home in a row before losing to Michigan on Saturday.

What’s next? The Buckeyes’ regular season ended in Week 13. Ohio State finished 11-1, second in the Big Ten East.

6. Alabama (Previous ranking: 7)

Week 13 result: Defeated Auburn, 49-27

Why they’re ranked here: Bryce Young shined bright in perhaps his final home game for Alabama, passing for 343 yards and three touchdowns and running for another score in the Crimson Tide’s 49-27 win over Auburn on Saturday. Nick Saban’s program reached double-digit wins for the 15th consecutive season. This is a talented group that lost two games this season by a combined four points. 

Key stat: Alabama has scored 40-or-more points in 46 of its last 68 games played.

What’s next? The Crimson Tide’s regular season ended in Week 13. Alabama finished 10-2 (6-2 SEC).

7. Penn State (Previous ranking: 8)

Week 13 result: Defeated Michigan State, 35-16

Why they’re ranked here: Much like Alabama, this is a really good Penn State team that just so happened to lose two games to two good opponents this season: Michigan and Ohio State. Sean Clifford and the Nittany Lions closed out the Big Ten regular season with an impressive showing against Michigan State. The senior QB threw for 202 yards and four touchdown passes in a 35-16 win. The Nittany Lions have won four in a row, out-scoring opponents 165-40 during that span.

Key stat: Penn State has logged it’s fourth 10-win season since 2014, which was the first season James Franklin took over as the program’s head coach.

What’s next? The Nittany Lions’ regular season ended in Week 13. Penn State finished 10-2 (7-2 Big Ten).

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