College football: Top 10 team rankings after Week 12

New York, New York - The final week of the college football regular season is here and the reigning national champions Georgia will finish as the top 'dogs of the gridiron.

Heading into the final week of the regular season, the Georgia Bulldogs defeated Kentucky on the road over the weekend to remain the best team in the nation.
Heading into the final week of the regular season, the Georgia Bulldogs defeated Kentucky on the road over the weekend to remain the best team in the nation.  © ANDY LYONS / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Like daytime television, Week 12 delivered all the drama college football fans were not expecting.

After losing to No. 1 Georgia in Week 10, the Tennessee Volunteers were on the cusp of the College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings' top four.

Upended by South Carolina over the weekend, the Vols are now not only out of the playoffs entirely, but have lost their starting quarterback Hendon Hooker to a season-ending injury and dropped five spots down in our TAG24 rankings along the way.

No. 1 Georgia and No. 2 Ohio State both passed big tests from divisional opponents this week, while No. 4 TCU and No. 3 Michigan almost sent their fans packing after narrowly escaping huge upsets from conference foes.

The USC Trojans arguably had the best showing of the bunch over the weekend in the dramatic "Battle of Los Angeles," defeating UCLA and clinching a berth into the Pac-12 championships.

The Trojans sit just outside the top four in our rankings and are expecting to climb up the official CFP rankings on Tuesday.

LSU, Alabama, and Clemson all took care of business and remain on our top teams list, while the Oregon Ducks have slid back into the top 10 after defeating the reigning conference champions Utah.

This week's rankings are:

1. Georgia

2. Ohio State

3. Michigan

4. TCU

5. USC

6. LSU

7. Alabama

8. Clemson

9. Oregon

10. Tennessee

How does Tennessee's loss impact the college football playoffs picture?

Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel will have to regroup his Volunteer football team after a huge upset from South Carolina on Saturday.
Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel will have to regroup his Volunteer football team after a huge upset from South Carolina on Saturday.  © Donald Page / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

The SEC is the only conference in the modern CFP era to have two of its schools enter the playoffs at the same time.

Before Week 12, the conference was projected to again send two programs to the playoffs this season: No. 1 Georgia and No. 5 Tennessee.

However, with Tennessee now joining the Crimson Tide as a two-loss team that's out of the SEC championship, the likelihood of the conference having multiple teams rank in the top four this year has largely diminished.

Tennessee's loss was an enormous gain for the loser of the upcoming Ohio State-Michigan game, USC, and possibly Clemson – who are all contenders that no longer have to worry about competing against the Volunteers for a top-four spot on Selection Day.

With the SEC champion, the Big Ten champion, and undefeated TCU all unofficial locks to finish in the top four, only one spot for the playoffs remain.

And while college football is very unpredictable - as fans witnessed over the weekend - the Big Ten is looking real pretty to be represented in the playoffs by two programs this year instead.

There is still one week of the regular season to go, and surely anything can happen. Needless to say, if one conference sends two programs to the playoffs this year, it unfortunately won't be the SEC.

Cover photo: ANDY LYONS / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

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