Oklahoma, Clemson and Florida State Orchestrate Key Wins
With a Saturday before the conference championship weekend, it boils down to this:
Ohio State beat Michigan State, Michigan did the same with Maryland and the two will face off in seven days to decide who will win the Big Ten East and play for a spot in the playoffs of the college football.
Alabama ultimately pulled out of Arkansas to secure SEC West and carve out a place against Georgia, where the question will become whether the conference will send one or two teams to the semifinals.
Oklahoma clinched a narrow victory over Iowa State, rebounding from last Saturday’s horrific loss to Baylor, and will face Oklahoma State in what could be the most anticipated meeting in rivalry history.
Cincinnati has pushed SMU into the kind of balanced performance that will only impress the members of the playoff selection committee.
And after weeks of flirting with disaster, Oregon finally recorded its second loss in a 38-7 against Utah, ending any blow the Pac-12 had to end a prolonged playoff drought. .
Here are the winners and losers from a crucial Week 12 list:
The Buckeyes put on the show on Saturday in the flagship game, bulldozing Michigan State 56-7 and taking a big step towards the Big Ten Championship in one of the most impressive performances of the season. Quarterback CJ Stroud added to his Heisman Trophy credentials by making 32 of 35 shots for 432 yards and six touchdowns, while the Buckeyes’ star receiving duo Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave combined for 14 catches for 266 yards and four scores. The defeat eliminates the Spartans from the playoffs. For the Buckeyes, the victory sets up another decisive game next Saturday against Michigan.
Playoff Selection Committee
After being criticized for placing Michigan State behind the Wolverines in each of the last two rankings despite the Spartans ‘head-to-head victory last month, the committee may take a victory lap after the Buckeyes’ unbalanced victory – unless that we decide to “define in addition to watching the games,” suggested committee chairman Gary Barta on Tuesday night.
After months near the bottom of the Football Bowl subdivision in most major categories, the offense broke through with 543 yards, including a high of 333 rushing, as Clemson beat Wake Forest 48-27. Prior to the victory, Clemson had scored no more than 30 points in a game against the Power Five competition. Surprisingly, given the team’s struggles all season, the Tigers could win the ACC Atlantic if the Demon Deacons lose next weekend to Boston College and North Carolina State to North Carolina.
What was supposed to be Cincinnati’s biggest test since Notre Dame was anything but: SMU was swallowed up by the Bearcats defense and Desmond Ridder hit the winning trifecta – passing, rushing and receiving – in an elegant 48- win. 14 which should carry weight with the selection committee. Cincinnati then undertakes a devious test in East Carolina before meeting Houston in the US Championship game. A playoff spot could very well be on the line in early December.
It wasn’t the best win, but it wasn’t the best season for Lincoln Riley and the Sooners. For the second game in a row, quarterback Caleb Williams struggled through the air, completing just 8 of 18 attempts, but the rookie hit a 74-yard touchdown to help OU secure a 28-21 victory over Iowa State and head to the next game of the week at Oklahoma State at 10-1.
Quarterback Jordan Travis threw three touchdowns without an interception and the FSU fended off a late Boston College charge to beat the Eagles 26-23 and move short of a bowl eligibility win – a remarkable turnaround for a team that lost four straight games to open the year. It sets up a huge season finale against rivals Florida, with a win sending the Seminoles to the playoffs and fueling optimism around the program and coach Mike Norvell.
Caroline from the south
Georgia’s Kirby Smart is slated to be the SEC Coach of the Year – and National Coach of the Year – for building this year’s juggernaut. If the coaches were to go with the coach who best exceeded expectations, however, the nod would go to South Carolina’s Shane Beamer, who led the Gamecocks to a 21-17 victory over Auburn and his first. team in bowl play. Selected to finish last in the East and as the second-worst team in the conference, ahead of only Vanderbilt, USC is the story of the year in the SEC, non-Georgia edition.
The reason Oregon is not among the best teams or programs in the country, even after beating Ohio State earlier this season, is due to losses like that on Saturday night, which would be surprising without its sheer predictability. After spending most of the season playing competitively and not looking like a playoff contender, the 31-point loss to the Utes marks the end of the Ducks’ playoff hopes. And that Oregon couldn’t avoid several conference losses over the course of a year when no other Pac-12 team will have less than three losses in the regular season is a major disappointment.
What was lost in Saturday’s loss: The Big Ten East, a chance to win the Big Ten, and a chance to make the playoffs. Worse yet, the beating at the hands of Ohio State increases the odds that MSU won’t even hit a New Years Six bowl, even if the Buckeyes end up in the top four. Individually, running back Kenneth Walker III was just 25 yards and trailing behind Stroud and Alabama quarterback Bryce Young in the race for the Heisman. Still, one important thing to keep in mind: At 9-2 heading into the last game of the regular season, it’s still a hugely successful year for the Spartans and coach Mel Tucker.
It just keeps getting worse for Texas, and you’d think it couldn’t get worse after last week’s overtime loss to Kansas. Let’s make it six straight losses for Steve Sarkisian and the Longhorns, the latest 31-23 decision against West Virginia that drops UT to 4-7 and out of the bowl. The six-game losing streak is the longest on the program since 1956, also the last time the Longhorns lost more than seven games in a season. With Kansas State on the side, the streak should reach eight before a long, cold, dark and dismal offseason in Austin.
Notre Dame took a 45-0 halftime lead and won 55-0 over the hapless Yellow Jackets, in total embarrassment from a performance by a team mired in a five-game losing streak. Georgia Tech has not won a game since October 9, has not held an opponent under 26 since September 25 and is now 1-7 in games against teams with an unbeaten record. . Coach Geoff Collins was given the lead to rebuild Tech into a more modern image after inheriting the program from Paul Johnson three years ago. But you can’t ignore the records: 3-9 in 2019, 3-7 last year and now 3-8 in 2021, with a ninth loss looming next Saturday against Georgia.
After losing 24-23 in overtime to Missouri, Florida are 2-9 in their last 11 games against the Power Five, 5-6 this year and are in danger of missing the playoffs in season four. Mullen. The loss to the Tigers could be the worst of the lot: In addition to a pair of confusing fourth down calls, Mullen decided to play in overtime with one minute remaining in regulation instead of trying to gain the 40 yards necessary to attempt a goal on the field. This drop in the SEC claim has Mullen in the hot seat and potentially jobless if the Gators lose to Florida State to end the year 5-7.
Follow varsity journalist Paul Myerberg on Twitter @PaulMyerberg
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: College Football Winners and Losers: Oklahoma, Cincinnati, ACC Shine