USC Skips LSU in Joel Klatt’s Top 10 Rankings

Week 12 of the college football season featured a handful of close games involving top 10 teams. The four top-ranked teams in the nation – Georgia, State of OhioMichigan and TCU — won Saturday by 16 points combined.

Georgia looked anything but dominant in a 16-6 win over Kentucky on Saturday, while Ohio State used a late defensive touchdown to make its win over Maryland look more impressive than it was. Michigan and TCU both had narrow wins thanks to game-winning field goals.

FOX Sports college football analyst Joel Klatt kept the Bulldogs, Buckeyes, Wolverines and Horned Frogs at the top of its top 10 list, but there are some shakes after that, including a new team coming into the mix this week.

Here are Klatt’s updated rankings after week 12.

1. Georgia (Previous ranking: 1)

Result week 12: Defeated Kentucky, 16-6

Why they are listed here: It wasn’t pretty, but good teams find a way to win on the road and that’s what the Bulldogs did in 1st place on Saturday. Stetson Bennett didn’t play his best, but senior running back Kenny McIntosh picked up on the weakness and rushed for a career-best 143 yards, including a crucial 9-yard score late in the third quarter, to secure a 16-6 win .

Key Stats: With Saturday’s win, Georgia became the first SEC team to go unbeaten in consecutive conference play since Alabama in 2008-09.

What’s next? The Bulldogs will take on rival Georgia Tech in an out-of-conference matchup (Saturday, noon ET).

2. State of Ohio (Previous placement: 2)

Result week 12: Defeated Maryland, 43-30

Why they are listed here: Ryan Day’s team proved once again that they have the most explosive offense in college football. Without Miyan Williams and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the Buckeyes still played 43 points against a solid Maryland team that held a 13-10 lead at halftime. Third-row running back Dallan Hayden ran across the terps for 146 total yards and three rushing touchdowns.

Key Stats: Ohio State improved to 89-0 and has more than 30 points since 2014.

What’s next? The Buckeyes host the No. 3 Michigan Wolverines in Week 13 (Saturday, noon ET, FOX).

3. Michigan (Previous ranking: 3)

Result week 12: Defeated Illinois, 19-17

Why they are listed here: JJ McCarthy did just enough to lead the Wolverines to victory in a game where the star is running back Blake Corum fell to the ground with an injury. McCarthy threw for 208 yards and added 18 yards on the ground while the Wolverines’ defense kept the Illini scoreless in the fourth quarter to secure a comeback win. McCarthy completed 74.6% of his passes in the first eight games of the season — leading all FBS quarterbacks — but completed only 50% of his shots in the last three games. That needs to change if Michigan is to overtake rival Ohio State next weekend and earn a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game.

Key Stats: Corum scored his 18th rushing touchdown of the year on Saturday, becoming the first player in program history to have a touchdown in 11 different games in a season.

What’s next? The Wolverines head out to take on state No. 2 Ohio (Saturday, noon ET, FOX).

4. TCU (Previous ranking: 4)

Result week 12: Defeated Baylor, 29-28

Why they are listed here: TCU kept their magical season intact as Griffin Kell kicked a 40-yard field goal in the final game and led the Horned Frogs to a 29-28 win over Baylor. Max Duggan threw for 327 yards and a touchdown while adding 50 yards and a score on the floor as TCU scored nine points in the last 2:07 to survive.

Key Stats: TCU is 11-0 for the fourth time in program history.

What’s next? The Horned Frogs (11-0) take on Iowa State in Week 13 (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET).

5. U.S.C (Previous ranking: 8)

Result week 12: Defeated UCLA, 48-45

Why they are listed here: Caleb Williams had the best game of his young career on Saturday when he rushed for a career-high 470 yards in USC’s 48-45 win over inner-city rivals UCLA. The Trojans have secured a berth in the Pac-12 championship game and are a legitimate threat in the college football playoffs.

Key Stats: USC has scored 40 or more points in nine games this season, a school record.

What’s next? The Trojans will host Notre Dame in week 13 (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET).

6. LSU (Previous ranking: 6)

Result week 12: Defeated UAB, 41-10

Why they are listed here: If LSU scores 30 points, it wins. Jayden Daniels continues to look like a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender, throwing for 297 yards and a score and adding another 111 yards and a touchdown on the floor. The Tigers have won 13 straight times by surpassing the 30-point mark.

Key Stats: LSU has won 12 straight games and 61 of the last 62 games against non-conference opponents at Tiger Stadium.

What’s next? The Tigers head to Texas A&M in Week 13 (Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET).

7. Alabama (Previous ranking: 7)

Result week 12: Defeated Austin Peay, 34-0

Why they are listed here: Nick Saban’s team rode to an easy win. Jase McClellan filled in admirably for the injured Jahmyr Gibbs, totaling 156 yards on ground and two quick touchdowns. With two losses already, this hasn’t been the dream season that Alabama fans have grown accustomed to. Nonetheless, this team went about their business on Saturday and deserve to stay in 7th place here. The Crimson Tide will end the regular season with a home game against rival Auburn.

Key Stats: Alabama’s victory over Austin Peay was that of the program Game on November 12 against an FCS opponent in Nick Saban’s tenure. Alabama has won those games by an average margin of 49-6.

What’s next? Alabama will host Auburn in Week 13 (Saturday, 3:30 ET).

8th. Pennsylvania (Previous ranking: 9)

Result week 12: Defeated Rutgers, 55-10

Why they are listed here: The Nittany Lions continue to impress, and while James Franklin’s team won’t play in the Big Ten Championship Game, there’s a compelling argument that this team is among the best in the country. Establishing a solid running game has been key for the Nittany Lions heading into this season, and they’ve accomplished that with a dominant double-winning duo of Kaytron Allen and Nick Singleton. Allen ran for a team-high 117 yards and a touchdown on Saturday, while Singleton added 62 yards on the ground and a 100-yard kickoff return for a score.

Key Stats: The last time Penn State scored in a game on offense, defense and special teams was in 2017 against Indiana.

What’s next? The Nittany Lions will host Michigan State in Week 13 (Saturday, open).

9. Clemson (Previous ranking: NR)

Result week 12: Defeated Miami (FL), 40-10

Why they are listed here: Despite playing only one top-10 opponent, Clemson is 10-1 and only held Miami for less than 100 yards of total offense. Don’t ignore the tigers. DJ Uiagalelei threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third Saturday while Clemson’s defense dominated from start to finish. This is a good team, but let’s remember to judge the Tigers on what they’ve done this season, not the last ten years.

Key Stats: Clemson has won 105 of his last 106 games while keeping teams under 23 points.

What’s next? Clemson will host South Carolina in an out-of-conference matchup in Week 13 (Saturday, noon ET).

10 Washington (Previous ranking: NR)

Result week 12: Beat Colorado 54-7.

Why they are listed here: After blowing out the sad Buffaloes, the Huskies are 9-2 and on the rise. Washington’s two losses came down the road to UCLA and Arizona State, and the Huskies go into the annual Apple Cup rivalry game with an outside shot at making the Pac-12 championship game. Michael Penix Jr. leads Division I with 3,869 passing yards. Washington had a touchdown on his first offensive possession for the ninth time in 11 games this season. In contrast, the Huskies have conceded just one opening drive touchdown in 11 games.

Key Stats: Washington’s nine wins this season under coach Kalen DeBoer are the most in program history in a head coach’s first season. The previous peak came in 2014 when Chris Petersen led the Huskies to an 8-6 record.

What’s next? The Huskies travel to Pullman to face rivals Washington State in Week 13 (Saturday, 7:30 p.m).

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