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College football rankings 2021: Projected AP Top 25 for Week 15 after Alabama blasts Georgia, Michigan rolls Iowa

Fansided logo Fansided 12/5/2021 Cody Williams
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Predicting the AP Top 25 college football rankings for Week 15 after Alabama, Michigan and Cincinnati won their conference championship games. 

Conference championship Saturday in college football is certainly not the busiest week in terms of the number of games on the docket. However, it was undeniably a busy Friday and Saturday when it came to the college football rankings and the implications with some of the country's best teams facing off.

Georgia, the consensus No. 1 team for much of the season, saw their mystique smashed to bits by Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. But elsewhere, Michigan and Cincinnati took care of their business to win conference championships. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

So while many will look to the playoff rankings, let's take a look at what the AP Top 25 college football rankings will look like now that we're entering bowl season.

Projected AP Top 25 college football rankings after Championship Saturday

25. Texas A&M Aggies

It's wild that the season that Jimbo Fisher beats Alabama in sees the Aggies barely crack the AP Top 25 but, with some perplexing losses, that ultimately makes sense.

24. Kentucky Wildcats

Kentucky was a solid team that continued to fight week-in and week-out, even when they got removed from the national picture at the top. Mark Stoops remains a wizard in Lexington.

23. Arkansas Razorbacks

The Hogs finished the season at 8-4 but there wasn't a bad loss on the ledger. Arkansas is a program on the rise under Sam Pittman and this year solidified that.

22. Clemson Tigers

Clemson fans were probably hate-watching the ACC title game but, at the end of the day, the Tigers fell just short. Still, the way they recovered after a highly shaky start was admirable.

21. Iowa Hawkeyes

As expected, Iowa was no match for Michigan in the Big Ten Championship Game. The Hawkeyes have their formula but they are no match for a team that, frankly, does it better than them.

20. UTSA Roadrunners

After losing the regular-season finale, the Roadrunners' perfect season fell by the wayside. With that said, it was great to see UTSA bounce back and still win the C-USA title to put a cherry on a terrific year.

19. Houston Cougars

Though the Cougs hung with Cincinnati for a half, they were clearly not in the same league as the Bearcats. That said, finishing the season at 11-2 is nothing to scoff at by any metric.

18. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

It does feel slightly unfair to leave the Deacs at No. 18 and have them below NC State but, had they kept it closer in the ACC title game, it might've been a different story.

17. NC State Wolfpack

Congratulations, NC State — you didn't play in the ACC Championship Game and still moved up four spots in the AP Top 25. That's what happens when a ton of teams below you got wallopped.

16. Oregon Ducks

Maybe Utah is just the world's-worst matchup for the Ducks. Or maybe Oregon was above-average and nothing more all year but played the game of their lives against Ohio State.

15. Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns

Billy Napier gave the Ragin' Cajuns one heck of a parting gift before he heads off to Gainesville as they got the double-up on App State to win the Sun Belt.

14. Pittsburgh Panthers

Pitt was locked in a dogfight with Wake Forest — until they weren't. An explosive mid-second half saw the Panthers pull away in a monster way to clinch the ACC title.

13. Oklahoma Sooners

Quite a week in Norman considering that the Sooners weren't active on Chamionship Saturday. Regardless of the coaching situation, their 10-2 record nets them a top-15 spot.

12. BYU Cougars

Are the Cougars the champions of the west? They went 5-0 against the Pac-12 and beat both the Pac-12 (Utah) and Mountain West (Utah State) champs while going 10-2 overall in a great year.

11. Michigan State Spartans

Seemingly in an instant, Michigan State went from the Big Ten Championship picture to well outside of it. Still, the Spartans put together a great overall season at 10-2.

10. Oklahoma State Cowboys

It does feel a bit harsh to move the Pokes down five spots after coming so close to a College Football Playoff berth but that's the breaks of championship weekend.

9. Utah Utes

Frankly, I don't care if Utah has three losses. With the way they've beaten Oregon, once a top-10 team, twice now, the Utes deserve the bump into the top 10.

8. Ole Miss Rebels

Lane Kiffin secured the program's first 10-win season in history and now has been extended. The Rebels are surely New Year's Six bowl-bound.

7. Ohio State Buckeyes

Outside of the Lucas Oil Stadium scoreboard misnaming Iowa, the Buckeyes weren't in the Big Ten title game. Still, Ohio State is easily one of the top 10 teams in college football this season.

6. Baylor Bears

This might be a slight hot take but I think Baylor proved to be a top-six team with winning the Big 12 and redeeming one of their two losses on the season in the process.

5. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Now coached by Marcus Freeman, the Irish were obviously off with no conference championship to play for. But the big-time losses still help them move up a spot.

4. Georgia Bulldogs 

Kirby Smart and the Dawgs got pantsed by Nick Saban yet again but, rest assured, Georgia remains one of the best in the country and will get their shot at redemption.

3. Alabama Crimson Tide

With the way the SEC Championship played out, Alabama is now the top dog. And there will be arguments that the Tide should be No. 1 or 2 in the poll.

2. Cincinnati Bearcats

The AP Top 25 has long valued Cincinnati more than the playoff college football rankings and we'll continue to see that after manhandling Houston.

1. Michigan Wolverines

While I highly doubt Michigan hits No. 1 in the CFP rankings, the Wolverines dominated Iowa and should move up from No. 2 without being jumped.

For more NCAA football news, analysis, opinion and unique coverage by FanSided, including Heisman Trophy and College Football Playoff rankings, be sure to bookmark these pages.


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