Alabama leads Michigan for No. 1 spot

December 5, 2021
Alabama defensive back DeMarcco Hellams (2) celebrates with teammates after an interception against Georgia during in the second half during the SEC championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.


In addition to providing a fairly clear picture for the upcoming College Football Playoff pairings, conference championship weekend cause considerable shakeups in the final USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll of the regular season.

Alabama is back where it began the season at No. 1 on the heels of its decisive victory against previously unbeaten Georgia in the SEC championship game. The Crimson Tide received 54 of 62 first-place votes and will likely head into the playoff as the top seed.

It wasn’t unanimous, however, as Big Ten champion Michigan picked up five No. 1 votes and claims the No. 2 ranking. Georgia slips to No. 3 after the defeat, but still should be in the semifinals. American Athletic Conference champ Cincinnati remains No. 4, and the Bearcats also claimed the remaining three first-place nods as the lone undefeated team heading into the postseason.

Notre Dame, in the clubhouse at 11-1, rounds out the top five, followed by Big 12 champion Baylor. Ohio State and Mississippi hold steady and No. 7 and 8, respectively, and await their likely invitations to New Year’s Six bowls. Oklahoma State falls four places to No. 9.

TOP 25:Complete USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll

BOWL PROJECTIONS:Will Alabama or Michigan be the No. 1 seed?

HIGHS AND LOWS:Winners and losers from Week 14 in college football

There is some curious shuffling among teams who weren’t playing this weekend in order to accommodate a couple of teams that did. Michigan State gains three positions to No. 10, while Oklahoma fell a couple of slots to No. 13. Moving in between them are Pac-12 winner Utah, up six places to No. 11, and ACC champion Pittsburgh, climbing three notches to No. 12.

Texas San Antonio is back in the poll at No. 25 after bouncing back from its first loss to win the Conference USA championship.

San Diego State falls out after losing the Mountain West title to Utah State.


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