College Football Power Rankings - Week 14

Originally Published: December 5, 2012
By ESPN.com staff

How did the final week of the regular season affect this week's ESPN Power Rankings?

The usual suspects are perched at the top, with Notre Dame and Alabama leading the way. Four SEC teams (Alabama, Florida, Georgia and LSU) are in the top 10.

The Fighting Irish, who'll face the Crimson Tide in the BCS National Championship Game, finished with 19 of 20 first-place votes.

Check back after bowl season for our final rankings for the 2012 season.

1. Notre Dame (12-0)

It's pretty easy to figure out how the Irish punched their ticket to Miami. They're first in the nation in points allowed (10.3), fourth in run defense (92.4) and sixth in total defense (286.8 ypg).

2. Alabama (12-1)

After escaping Georgia in the SEC title game, the Tide get some time off before looking ahead to the BCS Championship Game. Alabama hopes to finish off its season with a third national title in four years.

3. Ohio State (12-0)

Despite a bowl ban, Urban Meyer's debut season couldn't have gone much better for the Buckeyes, as they finished undefeated for the sixth time in school history.

4. Florida (11-1)

The Gators will face former defensive coordinator Charlie Strong and Louisville in the Sugar Bowl. Florida is 3-5 all-time in the Sugar, including a 51-24 victory over Cincinnati after the 2009 season.

5. Oregon (11-1)

Points shouldn't be hard to come by when the Ducks face Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl. Oregon ranks second in the nation in scoring (50.8 ppg), while the Wildcats are 10th (40.7).

6. Georgia (11-2)

Georgia is heading to Florida, but it's not the bowl game the Dawgs were hoping for. They'll face Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl, marking the first time the two teams will meet since the 1969 Sun Bowl.

7. Kansas State (11-1)

Kansas State clinched the Big 12 crown Saturday by claiming its fifth straight victory over Texas. The Wildcats also tied their team record for victories in a season with 11.

8. Stanford (10-2)

The Cardinal earned their first conference title since 1999 and reached at least 10 wins for only the fourth time in school history. They'll take a seven-game winning streak to the Rose Bowl.

9. LSU (10-2)

The Tigers' two losses were by a combined 12 points to Alabama and Florida. They'll face Clemson and its high-scoring offense in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on New Year's Eve.

10. Texas A&M (10-2)

One of the bowl season's best matchups will be at the Cotton Bowl when the Aggies and potential Heisman-winner Johnny Manziel face Oklahoma. It marks A&M's 13th trip to the Cotton Bowl.

11. South Carolina (10-2)

After another double-digit win season, the Gamecocks head to the Outback Bowl to face Michigan. The two teams have met twice, with the last matchup occurring in 1985.

12. Oklahoma (10-2)

The Sooners won a share of their eighth Big 12 title with a victory at TCU. Their reward? A date with Johnny Football at the Cotton Bowl.

13. Florida State (11-2)

The Seminoles earned their 13th ACC title with a win over Georgia Tech in the league title game. Next up: They'll face BCS party crasher Northern Illinois in the Orange Bowl.

14. Clemson (10-2)

Call it the Redemption Bowl for Clemson, which was embarrassed by West Virginia 70-33 in the Orange Bowl in 2011. The Tigers hope history doesn't repeat itself in Atlanta.

15. Oregon State (9-3)

From 3-9 to 9-3, it's been a remarkable turnaround for the Beavers, who will play in a bowl game for the first time since 2009 when they face Texas in the Alamo Bowl.

16. UCLA (9-4)

The Bruins meet Baylor for the first time ever in the Holiday Bowl. UCLA faces a Baylor offense which ranks No. 1 in the nation (578.8 ypg) and a defense which is No. 119 (513.9 ypg).

17. Northern Illinois (12-1)

QB Jordan Lynch takes his multitalented game to the national stage against Florida State in the Orange Bowl. But the Huskies will do it without coach Dave Doeren, who bolted for NC State.

18. Utah State (10-2)

The Aggies make their second straight appearance in the Idaho Potato Bowl after losing to Ohio in 2011. Utah State will bring a six-game winning streak into its game vs. Toledo.

19. Northwestern (9-3)

The Wildcats reached nine victories for the first time since 2008. Nine is also the number of bowl games they've lost in a row. Can they break the streak against Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl?

20. Michigan (8-4)

You'd expect a low-scoring game when the Wolverines play South Carolina, as both teams are in the nation's top 20 in scoring defense. Michigan looks to win its second straight bowl game after beating Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl last season.

21. Louisville (10-2)

QB Teddy Bridgewater will get some much-needed rest before the Cards play in the Sugar Bowl vs. Florida. Louisville has faced the Gators twice, losing both games in 1980 and 1992.

22. Boise State (9-2)

The Broncos won a share of the MWC title after beating Nevada. Even more impressive? Boise earned its seventh consecutive 10-win season, currently the best streak in the nation.

23. Penn State (8-4)

The Nittany Lions won't go bowling, but it was a remarkable season nevertheless. Players and coaches deserve plenty of credit for an 8-4 record, including a 6-2 mark in the Leaders Division.

24. Nebraska (10-3)

How will Nebraska respond against Georgia after a humiliating showing in the Big Ten title game? The Huskers played in the Capital One Bowl game last season -- and lost to South Carolina 30-13..

25. San Jose State (8-4)

The Spartans bring a six-game winning streak into their Military Bowl matchup with Bowling Green. It marks San Jose State's first bowl appearance in six years.

Also receiving votes: Wisconsin (36), Kent State (26), Vanderbilt (26), San Diego State (14), Texas (6), Tulsa (4), Baylor (1)

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