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College football rankings: ESPN updates top 25 poll for Week 14

CFB-HQ on FanNation 11/27/2022 James Parks

College football rankings: ESPN updates top 25 poll for Week 14, Championship Saturday

ESPN Football Power Index (FPI) college football rankings and computer prediction model are a measure of team strength that predicts a team’s future performance.

Rankings and scores predictions are based on 20,000 simulations of a team’s season, using a combination of analytics, including scores to date, quality of opponents, and a team’s schedule.

Editor's note: This isn't a conventional "power ranking" of the best teams, but a projection of how every team would finish against an average opponent on a neutral field, ranked by expected point margin per game.

ESPN updated its top 25 college football rankings © Provided by CFB-HQ on FanNation ESPN updated its top 25 college football rankings

25. Louisville. Despite a season-ending loss to rival Kentucky, the Cardinals have done just enough to stay in the ESPN rankings, dropping five points in the poll.

24. Oklahoma. Brent Venables' debut season ends in a 6-6 quagmire after a road loss to Texas Tech and now the Sooners face a crucial offseason to fix things.

23. Oregon State. The Beavers moved to 9 wins with a statement comeback against rival Oregon, who had built a 31-10 lead in the third quarter.

22. Washington. Michael Penix led an offense that stacked up over 700 yards in the Apple Cup to finish the year with 10 wins in Kalen DeBoer's first season.

21. Baylor. Not an ideal response to last season's Big 12 title campaign as the Bears stumble to a 6-6 mark following a loss to Texas in the regular season finale.

20. Illinois. Thrashing in-state rival Northwestern wasn't enough to keep its former hold on the Big Ten West title chase, thanks to three straight losses late in the season, including to eventual division champ Purdue.

19. Minnesota. A strong finish for the Gophers, who move up 2 spots in the ESPN rankings after a statement win over rival Wisconsin to recover Paul Bunyan's axe.

18. Mississippi State. The Bulldogs clinched a win over rival Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving to move into third place in the SEC West.

17. Notre Dame. That five-game win streak came to an end on the road at USC, but Marcus Freeman's first year still ends on a strong note moving into Year 2.

16. Ole Miss. The Rebels stay ahead of the Bulldogs in the rankings owing to a slim 0.7 point per game edge over their rivals, according to the ESPN computers.

15. Oregon. After building a 21-point lead at rival Oregon State, the Ducks stumbled through second-half miscues and questionable decisions, losing two of their last three overall after that brilliant 8-game win streak midseason, only to miss out on the Pac-12 title game.

14. USC. A lower-than-expected ranking for the resurgent Trojans owing to the index projecting the team is 14.9 points better than an average team. AP and College Football Playoff voters will be kinder to this CFP hopeful in their polls.

13. Florida State. A solid finish for Mike Norvell's team, winning five straight games and scoring over 40 in four of them, including a strong finale performance against rival Florida, moving into second in the ACC Atlantic.

12. LSU. A surprise loss at Texas A&M in the finale drops Brian Kelly's team to a costly third loss, and out of the College Football Playoff race, but there's still a date against Georgia in the SEC title game with a chance to cause some chaos.

11. Kansas State. The Wildcats edged rival Kansas for a 14th straight year, booking a date for the Big 12 Championship Game against undefeated TCU with a chance to throw a monkey wrench into the College Football Playoff rankings next week.

10. TCU. Again, this low ranking is a result of FPI's projected per game scoring margin, estimating the Horned Frogs to be 16.5 points better on a neutral field. In the real polls, TCU should move into third after Ohio State's loss.

9. Clemson. A stunning upset at home to South Carolina drops the ACC favorites to a second loss and drops them out of the College Football Playoff picture as this offense finally regressed back to the mean when it mattered most.

8. Utah. The Utes clinched a chance to defend their Pac-12 title against USC thanks to Oregon's loss on Saturday.

7. Penn State. Winning the Land Grant Trophy away from Michigan State is enough to finish with 10 wins and a likely invite to a good bowl game for the Nittany Lions, but this program is still behind OSU and Michigan in the Big Ten East.

6. Texas. ESPN has been unusually high on the Longhorns all season, still forecasting them as being 20.4 points better than an average team on a neutral field, hence this high ranking. We'll test that theory when they get a bowl invite.

5. Tennessee. Big Orange stumbled out of the College Football Playoff chase with that loss at Georgia and a stunner at South Carolina, but it finished strong by stomping on Vanderbilt and is looking to make a statement in the bowl.

4. Michigan. This ranking will definitely rile Wolverine fans, and it should. FPI stubbornly put Michigan behind Ohio State despite a statement win in Columbus, its second straight, after the offense went on a bombing campaign against the OSU secondary. UM will play for the Big Ten championship and will place No. 2 in the rankings that actually count.

3. Ohio State. The index projects the Buckeyes has being one point better than Michigan against a so-called average team after being 22 points worse on the same field than the team it ranked behind them. This offense can move, but in-game coaching maneuvers and sloppy defense continue to hold this team back.

2. Alabama. A nice big win over Auburn in the Iron Bowl moves the Tide to 10 wins on the year and heading into a quality bowl game. Will that game include Bryce Young at quarterback? He's yet to make that decision.

1. Georgia. The index forecasts college football's defending national champions to be a nation-best 28.1 points better than teams on a neutral field after running the table in the regular season. Up next is a date against LSU in the SEC Championship Game hoping to ward off the upset-minded Tigers and cruise into the playoff as the No. 1 team in the country.

More college football from SI: Top 25 Rankings | Schedule | All Teams

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