College football rankings: USC jumps into top five, Clemson moves past Alabama in CBS Sports 131

The 2022 college football regular season schedule is winding down as teams are running out of chances to make an impression on rankings voters and College Football Playoff Selection Committee members alike. While the new CFP Rankings won’t be updated until Tuesday night, our CBS Sports 131 voters have already identified one of the biggest winners from Week 12 in our updated rankings.

USC moved from No. 7 to no. 5 in the latest update to the CBS Sports 131, our comprehensive ranking of every FBS team as compiled by ballots from CBS Sports and 247Sports experts. The Trojans jumped LSU and took the place of Tennessee, which dropped four spots from No. 5 to No. 9 after its stunning loss at South Carolina.

The Trojans closed out their Pac-12 schedule with an 8-1 league record thanks to a 48-45 win against UCLA, clinching one of the two spots in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Now, USC will put its playoff hopes on the line in a rivalry game against Notre Dame on Saturday, because with Ohio State (No. 2 in CBS Sports 131) and Michigan (No. 3) also squaring off this weekend, the door for USC to make its first-ever College Football Playoff appearance seems to be open.

Clemson was another big winner from the weekend, and another team that saw some upward movement within the top 10 of the CBS Sports 131. While the move from No. 9 to no. 7 was not dramatic, it did include a notable adjustment from the voters as the one-loss Tigers have now jumped two-loss Alabama. Both Alabama and Clemson lost on Nov. 5 — the Crimson Tide at LSU and the Tigers at Notre Dame — and in the reshuffling of the top 15, our voters dropped both teams but moved Clemson down further despite having fewer losses. The Tigers have course-corrected in back-to-back wins against Louisville and Miami, now eyeing their own playoff push to close the season.

There were more dramatic adjustments further down the rankings, like North Carolina’s tumble from the top 10 to No. 18 after losing at home to Georgia Tech and Ole Miss falling six spots to No. 20 after the Rebels were defeated for a third time in four games. For a breakdown of the largest and most notable week-to-week changes throughout the CBS Sports 131, check out the Mover’s Report below the top 25 table.

College football experts from CBS Sports and 247Sports contribute ballots each week, which are averaged together for our rankings. You can see the top 25 below and 26-131 on our rankings page.

1 Georgia 11-0 1
2 Ohio State 11-0 2
3 Michigan 11-0 3
4 TCU 11-0 4
5 USC 10-1 7
6 LSU 9-2 6
7 Clemson 10-1 9
8 Alabama 9-2 8
9 Tennessee 9-2 5
10 Oregon 9-2 12
11 Penn State 9-2 13
12 Washington 9-2 15
13 Kansas State 8-3 17
14 Utah 8-3 11
15 Notre Dame 8-3 20
16 UCLA 8-3 16
17 Florida State 8-3 18
18 North Carolina 9-2 10
19 Tulane 9-2 21
20 Ole Miss 8-3 14
21 Cincinnati 9-2 23
22 Texas 7-4 22
23 Coastal Carolina 9-1 25
24 Oregon State 8-3 24
25 UCF 8-3 19

Biggest movers

  • no. 31 South Carolina (+23): If you put a 60-burger on the scoreboard against a top-five ranked conference rival, you are going to draw some attention from the CBS Sports 131 voters. Now 7-4 on the year, Shane Beamer’s Gamecocks look to play spoiler during rivalry week with a trip to Death Valley to take on Clemson.
  • no. 30 Louisville (+12): In defeating NC State, a team ranked No. 24 in the CFP Rankings heading into the weekend, Scott Satterfield has delivered a second ranked win during this impressive late-season surge by the Cardinals. Louisville has won five of six since an embarrassing loss at Boston College, and did so on Saturday against the Wolfpack with star quarterback Malik Cunningham sidelined by injury.
  • no. 32 Iowa (+11): Four straight wins, all coming against division opponents, have put Kirk Ferentz a Nebraska win away from reaching the Big Ten title game for a second straight season. This team had just two FBS wins to its name on Oct. 28, but the Hawkeyes defense has allowed just nine points per game during the winning streak, and now a division title is on the line in rivalry week.
  • no. 47 Arkansas (+10): The Razorbacks defense may have allowed Ole Miss to total more than 700 yards of offense, but in winning the turnover battle (3-0) and compiling more than 500 yards of their own (335 coming on the ground), Arkansas was able to secure bowl eligibility with a 42-27 win against the Rebels.
  • no. 39 NC State (-10): After losing Devin Leary to injury earlier in the year, NC State ruled out promising freshman quarterback MJ Morris prior to kickoff against Louisville and then benched Jack Chambers in favor of fourth-string quarterback Ben Finley during the loss to Louisville. Injury woes and offensive struggles are hand-in-hand for the Wolfpack in this late-season slide.
  • no. 50 Kansas (-10): The return of star QB Jalon Daniels brought some extra intrigue to the Jayhawks’ efforts to take down Texas, but a blowout loss to the Longhorns marks the fifth defeat in six games and another drop in the rankings.
  • no. 52 Liberty (-17): The Flames peaked at No. 19 in the CBS Sports 131 back on Nov. 7 after a win at Arkansas improved the team to 8-1 on the year with the only loss coming to Wake Forest by one point. But Liberty followed that SEC win with a loss at UConn that resulted in a 16-spot drop in the CBS Sports 131, and now Saturday’s home loss to Virginia Tech has resulted in a fall to just outside the top 50.
  • no. 49 Florida (-19): Although the best of Florida this season has warranted the top-30 status held by the Gators prior to this week, Saturday’s loss to Vanderbilt brings Billy Napier’s 6-5 squad back to the middle of the pack among power conference teams.

Check out the rest of the CBS Sports 131: Teams ranked 26-131

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