College football rankings: USC jumps into top 5, Clemson moves past Alabama in CBS Sports 131

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The 2022 college football regular season schedule is drawing to a close as teams lose their chance to impress both ranked voters and members of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee. While the new CFP leaderboard 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 leaderboard.

USC has moved up from #7 to #5 in the latest update of CBS Sports 131, our comprehensive ranking of all FBS teams compiled by ballots from CBS Sports and 247Sports experts. The Trojans skipped LSU and took the place of Tennessee, who fell four places from No. 5 to No. 9 after their stunning loss in South Carolina.

The Trojans ended their Pac-12 calendar with an 8-1 league record thanks to a 48-45 win over UCLA and secured one of their two spots in the Pac-12 championship game. Now, USC will jeopardize its playoff hopes in a rivalry game against Notre Dame on Saturday, because with Ohio State (No. 2 on CBS Sports 131) and Michigan (No. 3) also opening the door this weekend, USC making its first-ever appearance in the College Football Playoffs appears to be up in the air.

Clemson was another big winner of the weekend and another team to see some upward movement in the CBS Sports 131 top 10. While not dramatic, the move from No. 9 to No. 7 included a notable adjustment to the voter, as the one-loss Tigers have now skipped two-loss Alabama. Both Alabama and Clemson lost on Nov. 5 — the Crimson Tide at LSU and the Tigers at Notre Dame — and our voters dropped both teams in the reordering of the top 15, but Clemson continued to move down despite fewer losses. The Tigers have corrected their course in back-to-back victories over Louisville and Miami and now look to their own season-ending playoff push.

Further down the rankings there were more dramatic adjustments, like North Carolina’s plunge from the top 10 to No. 18 after losing at home to Georgia Tech and Ole Miss, falling six places to No. 20 after defeating the Rebels for a third time in four games . For a breakdown of the biggest and most notable weekly changes in CBS Sports 131, see the Mover’s Report under the top 25 chart.

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

1 Georgia 11-0 1
2 State of Ohio 11-0 2
3 Michigan 11-0 3
4 TCU 11-0 4
5 U.S.C 10-1 7
6 LSU 9-2 6
7 Clemson 10-1 9
8th Alabama 9-2 8th
9 Tennessee 9-2 5
10 Oregon 9-2 12
11 Pennsylvania 9-2 13
12 Washington 9-2 fifteen
13 State of Kansas 8-3 17
14 Utah 8-3 11
fifteen Notre-Dame 8-3 20
16 UCLA 8-3 16
17 State of Florida 8-3 18
18 North Carolina 9-2 10
19 Tulane 9-2 21
20 Ole Fraulein 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 Mover

  • No. 31 South Carolina (+23): Putting a 60 burger on the scoreboard against a top 5 conference rival will draw the attention of the CBS Sports 131 voters. Shane Beamer’s Gamecocks, now 7-4 this year, aim to play spoilers during Rivalry Week by traveling to Death Valley to face off against Clemson.
  • No. 30 Louisville (+12): With victory over NC State, a No. 24 CFP ranked team going into the weekend, Scott Satterfield clinched a second ranked win during the Cardinals’ impressive late-season upswing. Louisville has won five of six since an embarrassing loss at Boston College, against the Wolfpack on Saturday with star quarterback Malik Cunningham sidelined through injury.
  • No. 32 Iowa (+11): Four straight wins, all against division opponents, kept a win in Nebraska from Kirk Ferentz’s ability to reach the Big Ten title game for a second straight season. That team only had two FBS wins on Oct. 28, but the Hawkeyes defense has only allowed nine points per game during the winning streak, and now a division title is at stake in Rivalry Week.
  • No. 47 Arkansas (+10): The Razorbacks defense may have allowed Ole Miss to put on 700+ yards of offense, but when Arkansas won the turnover fight (3-0) and amassed more than 500 yards of their own (335 on the floor), Arkansas was able to secure the bowl -Eligibility with a 42-27 win over the Rebels.
  • No. 39 NC state (-10): After Devin Leary lost to injury earlier in the year, NC State shut out promising freshman quarterback MJ Morris before kickoff against Louisville and then benched Jack Chambers in favor of fourth quarterback Ben Finley during the loss to Louisville. Injury worries and offensive struggles go hand-in-hand for the wolf pack in this postseason chute.
  • No. 50 Kansas (-10): The return of star QB Jalon Daniels brought some additional intrigue to the Jayhawks’ effort to defeat Texas, but a loss to the Longhorns marks their fifth loss in six games and another drop in the rankings.
  • #52 Freedom (-17): The Flames peaked at No. 19 on the CBS Sports 131 on November 7 after a win in Arkansas improved the team to 8-1 from the previous year, with their only loss to Wake Forest coming by a point. But Liberty followed that SEC win with a loss at UConn that caused the CBS Sports 131 to drop 16 spots, and now Saturday’s home loss to Virginia Tech has caused a drop to just outside the top 50.
  • No. 49 Florida (-19): Though the best of Florida this season guaranteed the Gators’ top-30 status ahead of this week, Saturday’s loss to Vanderbilt puts Billy Napier’s 6-5 roster back in the middle of the field among Power Conference teams.

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

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