AP Top 25 college football poll reaction: What's next for each ranked team?

ByESPN college football reporters ESPN logo
Sunday, November 13, 2022

The AP Top 25 college football poll is out after another wild weekend of games.

So what happens from here? We break down what's next for each ranked team.

1. Georgia Bulldogs(10-0)

Previous ranking: 1

Week 11 result:45-19 win vs. Mississippi State

What's next: at Kentucky (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET)

The Bulldogs have needed a big-play receiver with Arian Smith and Adonai Mitchell missing much of the season with injuries. They might have found one in sophomore Ladd McConkey in a 45-19 victory at Mississippi State. Georgia botched a two-minute drill near the end of the first half, allowing the other Bulldogs to score on a 63-yard punt return to cut UGA's lead to 17-12 at the half. But on the second play of the second half, McConkey took a handoff on an end-around and ran 70 yards for a touchdown to make it 24-12. On Georgia's next possession, McConkey caught a 17-yard scoring pass from Stetson Bennett. McConkey finished with five catches for 71 yards with one score. Not bad for a player who was ranked the 152nd-best receiver in the country in the class of 2020, according to ESPN's recruiting rankings, and his only other FBS scholarship offer was from Vanderbilt. "I don't care what anybody's offers were," Bennett said. "Mine were ... not here. You can tell when someone's running routes, and when you have to scramble, they find open spots, you can play football. He can catch. He loves it, and he's tough as nails. He's just a dadgum football player, and I love having him on our team." -- Mark Schlabach

2. Ohio State Buckeyes(10-0)

Previous ranking: 2

Week 11 result:56-14 win vs. Indiana

What's next:at Maryland(Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET)

The Buckeyes have one final tuneup before Michigan, as they visit a Maryland team that has cratered the past few weeks. Health remains a big concern for Ohio State, which has had key offensive players out all season. Coach Ryan Day didn't sound too concerned about running back Miyan Williams' injury Saturday, and said starting running back TreVeyon Henderson (foot) could return at Maryland after missing the past two games. Ohio State has won its past two games against Maryland by a combined score of 139-31. -- Adam Rittenberg

3. Michigan Wolverines(10-0)

Previous ranking:3

Week 11 result:34-3 win vs. Nebraska

What's next: vs. Illinois(Saturday, noon ET)

Michigan is 10-0 for the first time since 2006 and has Illinois next on the schedule. The Illini have had a good season, but star running backChase Brownsustained an injury in their most recent game. The Wolverines can't look past Illinois, but the game against rival Ohio State looms. If both teams are undefeated when they meet on Nov. 26, it'll be the first time that has happened since 2006, when the Buckeyes were ranked No. 1 and the Wolverines were ranked No. 2. The road to the College Football Playoff will go through Ohio State, and the winner of that game will have an excellent shot at being one of the final four teams. -- Tom VanHaaren

4. TCU Horned Frogs (10-0)

Previous ranking:4

Week 11 result:17-10 win vs. No. 18 Texas

What's next: at Baylor(Saturday, noon ET)

The Horned Frogs have a two-game lead in the Big 12 standings and have already clinched a spot in the conference title game, but after weeks of dancing around the idea of a playoff spot, TCU is aiming higher. The Horned Frogs travel to Baylor on Saturday looking to continue making an impression on the College Football Playoff committee. TCU is 7-1 in its past eight games against Baylor, including last year's 30-28 upset of the Bears in the week following Gary Patterson's ouster in Fort Worth. This year, Baylor is coming off a stunning 31-3 loss at home to Kansas State on Saturday, another confounding game in a disappointing season for the Bears. But TCU knows it will still have a fight on its hands.-- Dave Wilson

5. Tennessee Volunteers(9-1)

Previous ranking:5

Week 11 result:66-24 win. vs. Missouri

What's next: at South Carolina(Saturday, 7 p.m. ET)

The Vols (9-1) know what's at stake the rest of the way. They need to be as convincing as they possibly can these next two games against South Carolina and Vanderbilt, both on the road, and hope an 11-1 record (without an SEC championship) will be enough to get them into the playoff. If their 66-24 beatdown of Missouri on Saturday is any indication, coach Josh Heupel won't take his foot off the gas. Tennessee, holding on to a comfortable 52-24 lead, scored a pair of touchdowns in the final six minutes of the game, including one with 36 seconds remaining. The Georgia loss is the only game all season in which Tennessee's offense has been stymied. -- Chris Low

6. LSU Tigers (8-2)

Previous ranking:7

Week 11 result:13-10 win vs. Arkansas

What's next: vs. UAB(Saturday, 9 p.m. ET)

It's not always pretty, but the Tigers just keep finding ways to win and are now headed to the SEC championship game in a couple of weeks -- as improbable as that seemed back in September. Their 13-10 road win over Arkansas combined with Alabama's win over Ole Miss ensures that LSU, in Brian Kelly's first season as coach, will play for an SEC title. Up next is a nonconference game against UAB and then the regular-season finale against Texas A&M on the road. If the Tigers can win those two games and then win the SEC championship game, they would put themselves in prime position to make the playoff.-- Chris Low

7. USC Trojans(9-1)

Previous ranking:8

Week 11 result:55-17 win vs. Colorado

What's next: at UCLA(Saturday, 8 p.m. ET)

For all intents and purposes, USC's trip to the Rose Bowl next week is a playoff game. If the Trojans win, they will be in the Pac-12 championship game and stay alive for the CFP. As the Pac-12's only one-loss team at this point, USC is the conference's only team still in the CFP mix. After wrapping up the conference schedule, it will host Notre Dame the following week.-- Kyle Bonagura

8. Alabama Crimson Tide(8-2)

Previous ranking:10

Week 11 result:30-24 win vs. No. 11 Ole Miss

What's next:vs. Austin Peay (Saturday, noon ET)

Even with no chance at playing in the SEC championship in Atlanta, the Crimson Tide didn't quit. The streak of 184 games without consecutive regular-season losses remains intact after a hard-fought victory on the road at Ole Miss. It's too little, too late, but the defense in particular showed signs of improvement heading into the homestretch with the Iron Bowl still left to play.-- Alex Scarborough

9. Clemson Tigers(9-1)

Previous ranking:12

Week 11 result:31-16 win vs. Louisville

What's next: vs. Miami(Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET)

Even though the Tigers remain a long shot to make the College Football Playoff, they will stay in the race as long as they keep winning. Next up is a Miami team that is coming off a win on the road against Georgia Tech, but the Canes have not been competitive in their past three matchups against Clemson, getting blown out in all three. The status of Miami starting quarterback Tyler Van Dyke is up in the air, but freshman quarterback Jacurri Brown presents a different dynamic for the Clemson defense because of his ability to run the ball. DJ Uiagalelei rebounded from his performance against Notre Dame with a solid outing against Louisville, thanks to an effective run game and receiver Antonio Williams, who had 106 all-purpose yards. -- Andrea Adelson

10. Utah Utes(8-2)

Previous ranking:13

Week 11 result:42-7 win vs. Stanford

What's next: at Oregon(Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET)

The matchup against Oregon lost a bit of juice after the Ducks fell to Washington in dramatic fashion on Saturday. But the stakes actually haven't changed: Utah needs to beat Oregon next week in Autzen to keep its Pac-12 title hopes alive.-- Paolo Uggetti

11. Penn State Nittany Lions (8-2)

Previous ranking:14

Week 11 result:30-0 win vs. Maryland

What's next: at Rutgers(Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET)

The Nittany Lions are 8-2 with losses to Michigan and Ohio State, both ranked in the top five of the College Football Playoff rankings. The team went 7-6 last season despite some unfortunate injuries and now has a chance to finish out this season at 10-2 with Rutgers and Michigan State remaining on the schedule. The staff has found answers in the run game and has freshman quarterback Drew Allar preparing for the future. -- Tom VanHaaren

12. Oregon Ducks (8-2)

Previous ranking:6

Week 11 result:37-34 loss vs. No. 24 Washington

What's next: vs. Utah(Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET)

Pour one out for the Ducks. The path was there for them to reach the CFP, but what's clear now is that it wouldn't have gone well if they had reached the playoff. Regardless, it doesn't get any easier with Utah coming to Eugene this week in a must-win game with Pac-12 championship game purposes, followed by a tough rivalry trip to Oregon State.-- Kyle Bonagura

13.North Carolina Tar Heels (9-1)

Previous ranking:15

Week 11 result:36-34 win vs. Wake Forest

What's next: vs. Georgia Tech(Saturday, 5:30 ET)

The Tar Heels get to close out the final two games at home, starting with Georgia Tech. North Carolina has already clinched a spot in the ACC championship game opposite Clemson, and these final two games can be used to clean up the mistakes so the team can be prepared for the Tigers. North Carolina had eight penalties in the win over Wake Forest and gave up over 300 yards passing -- but the defense got an interception when it mattered most. These last few games are also an opportunity for Drake Maye to keep making an impression on a national audience as a potential Heisman Trophy finalist. -- Andrea Adelson

14. Ole Miss Rebels(8-2)

Previous ranking:11

Week 11 result:30-24 loss vs. No. 10 Alabama

What's next: at Arkansas(Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET)

Lane Kiffin surely wanted to beat Alabama. He had his former boss, Nick Saban, on the ropes with a double-digit lead in the first half. But it evaporated, and now Kiffin can't let one loss become two. A solid season is still possible at 8-2 with games against Arkansas and Mississippi State left.-- Alex Scarborough

15. Washington Huskies (8-2)

Previous ranking:24

Week 11 result:37-34 win vs. No. 6 Oregon

What's next: vs. Colorado(Saturday, 9 p.m. ET)

Not only did the Huskies' thrilling win against Oregon eliminate the Ducks from CFP contention; it also kept the Huskies' slim Pac-12 title hopes alive. If UW beats Colorado and WSU, it will finish 7-2 in conference play, which doesn't guarantee it'll reach the title game, but it's possible. One plausible scenario: USC beats UCLA; Oregon beats Utah and loses to Oregon State.-- Kyle Bonagura

16. UCLA Bruins (8-2)

Previous ranking:9

Week 11 result:34-28 loss vs. Arizona

What's next: vs. USC(Saturday, 8 p.m. ET)

It is not the kind of battle for Los Angeles that many, including the Bruins themselves, expected, but it is a rivalry game nonetheless. As USC heads to the Rose Bowl next week to face a UCLA team coming off its second loss of the season, there's still plenty up for grabs, including a shot at the conference title for both teams. The Bruins may be kicking themselves after squandering away a long shot at the playoff, but they'll be happy to play spoiler to USC's chances next week.-- Paolo Uggetti

17. UCF Knights (8-2)

Previous ranking:22

Week 11 result:38-31 win vs. No. 16 Tulane

What's next: vs. Navy (Saturday, noon ET)

The Knights' running game (336 yards) was ready to create a little chaos inside the AAC during their 38-31 win at Tulane, setting up a three-way tie for first atop the AAC with two weeks to play. Senior QB John Rhys Plumlee getting back in the flow throwing the football (17-of-30 passing, 132 yards, one touchdown) and crisper play (eight penalties for 69 yards against Tulane) would be welcomed developments. The Knights figure to be in good shape to grab at least a share of the top spot with games against Navy and at South Florida to finish out the year. -- Blake Baumgartner

18. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-3)

Previous ranking:20

Week 11 result:35-32 win vs. Navy

What's next: vs. Boston College (Saturday, 2:30 p.m. ET)

Improvement is not linear, as Notre Dame showed Saturday in Baltimore. The Fighting Irish have been dominant for some stretches (entire Clemson game, first half at Navy) and shaky for others throughout the season. They will need to figure out what went wrong in the second half against the Mids, especially with the run game. Notre Dame can't take any opponent for granted, especially on its home field, and Boston College comes in after stunning NC State on the road. The Irish can still be a spoiler this season -- they visit USC on Nov. 26 -- and secure a solid bowl berth. But inconsistency continues to surround Marcus Freeman's team. -- Adam Rittenberg

19. Kansas State Wildcats (7-3)

Previous ranking:23

Week 11 result:31-3 win vs. Baylor

What's next:at West Virginia(Saturday, 2 p.m. ET)

It's been a topsy-turvy Big 12 race, and with Saturday's surprisingly easy 31-3 win over Baylor in Waco, Kansas State moved back into second place, a game up on Oklahoma State and Baylor (over whom they hold a tiebreaker advantage) and Texas (whom they don't) for the second spot in the Big 12 championship game. Next up: a trip to Morgantown to face an up-and-down West Virginia, then possibly the most intriguing rivalry game with Kansas in years. -- Bill Connelly

20. Florida State Seminoles (7-3)

Previous ranking:25

Week 11 result:38-3 win vs. Syracuse

What's next: vs. Louisiana(Saturday, noon ET)

The Seminoles will welcome Louisiana to town next week hoping to extend their winning streak to four against a Sun Belt opponent and just before they head into rivalry week against the Gators. Running back Trey Benson has paced FSU's offense these past three games and will be looking for his fourth straight game with 100 rushing yards or more. Safe to say the Noles will be heavily favored, and after two sub-.500 seasons under Mike Norvell, a win next week will give him and the program its first season with at least eight wins since 2016. -- Paolo Uggetti

21. Tulane Green Wave (8-2)

Previous ranking:16

Week 11 result:38-31 loss vs. No. 22 UCF

What's next: vs. SMU (Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET)

Willie Fritz's team will need to turn the page quickly after giving up a season-high 468 yards to UCF. SMU will be in town Thursday as Tulane still controls its fate in terms of grabbing a piece of the program's first conference title since 1998 (Conference USA). Cleaning up the penalties (eight for 76 yards against UCF) and getting junior QB Michael Pratt (64 first-half passing yards) off to a quicker start is paramount. Now in a three-way tie with Cincinnati and UCF atop the AAC, the Green Wave host SMU before finishing the regular season at Cincinnati on Nov. 25. -- Blake Baumgartner

22. Cincinnati Bearcats (8-2)

Previous ranking:unranked

Week 11 result:27-25 win vs. East Carolina

What's next: at Temple(Saturday, 4 p.m. ET)

In Friday's 27-25 win over East Carolina, Cincinnati struggled yet again to run the football, managing only 66 yards. Through 11 weeks, Cincinnati ranks second-to-last in the AAC in rushing (127.6 YPG). More consistency on the ground with two weeks to go (at Temple, vs. Tulane) to take pressure off senior QB Ben Bryant and the passing game could make or break hopes of a third straight conference title. The Bearcats picked up their 32nd straight home victory -- the country's second-longest active streak (Clemson) -- and moved into a three-way tie for first in the AAC. -- Blake Baumgartner

23. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (9-1)

Previous ranking:unranked

Week 11 result:26-23 win vs. Southern Miss

What's next: at Virginia(Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET)

Jamey Chadwell's Chanticleers clinched the Sun Belt East title with Saturday's comeback victory over Southern Miss. At 9-1 overall and 6-1 in conference play, they now head to Virginia for their last couple of games -- first to Charlottesville to face UVa, then to Harrisonburg to take on James Madison. Jarrett Guest and Bryce Carpenter both took snaps on Saturday in the absence of injured quarterback Grayson McCall; we'll see how Chadwell manages the situation with a couple of games to prep for the Sun Belt championship. -- Bill Connelly

24. Oklahoma State Cowboys

Previous ranking:unranked

Week 11 result:20-14 win vs. Iowa State

What's next: at Oklahoma (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET)

This could be one of the last Bedlam Rivalry games we see for a while. Once Oklahoma moves to the SEC, the in-state rivalry likely won't be played for some time -- "at some point in the 2030s," Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said in September. It won't have the cachet of last year's matchup, when Oklahoma State rallied and upset Oklahoma 37-33 in a battle of top-10 teams. There's still an outside chance the 7-3 Cowboys make the Big 12 championship game, and beating the 5-5 Sooners would be imperative toward that. -- Matt Eisenberg

25. Oregon State Beavers

Previous ranking:unranked

Week 11 result:38-10 win vs. Cal

What's next: at Arizona State (Saturday, 2:15 p.m. ET)

The Beavers will head to Arizona State next week for a matinee matchup against the Sun Devils. Running backDamien Martinezwill be looking for his fifth straight game of 100 rushing yards or more, and OSU will be hoping to head into the regular-season finale against its in-state rival Oregon the following week with eight wins for the first time since 2012. -- Paolo Uggetti

Dropped out: NC State (17), Texas (18), Liberty (19), Illinois (21)