The Week 12 college football roundup. The 5 things that matter, winners and losers, overrated and underrated, and what it all means.
College Football Week 12 Roundup
CFN 1-130 Rankings | Bowl Projections
Early Week 13 Line Lookahead
Rankings: AP | USA Today Coaches | FWAA
– CFP Rankings Projection
– Predicting every remaining game, conference race
Quick Thoughts: Big Ten | SEC
5. Winners & Losers From Week 12
Winner: QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
Remember way, way back to the old days of mid-October when Trevor Lawrence was supposedly freelancing, making too many big mistakes, and throwing eight interceptions in his first seven games?
Remember when he was overrated, not worthy of being considered a slam-dunk No. 1 overall NFL prospect, and was regressing in his sophomore year?
Yeah … in his last four games he hit close to 80% of his passes and averaged over 12 yards per throw with 13 touchdowns and no interceptions. If that wasn’t enough, he also ran for 130 yards with two touchdowns as Clemson hung up 52 points or more on the board in each of those four games.
Loser: Arizona’s passing game
In recent years, a mediocre day from the Arizona passing attack usually happened because the ground game was going off. The Wildcats only threw for 68 yards against Oregon State back in 2017, but that’s because they ran for 534.
Against Oregon on Saturday, Arizona’s Khalil Tate and Grant Gunnell combined to throw for a season-low 132 yards with no touchdown passes. Worse yet, the 4.4 yards per pass were the fewest by any Arizona team since a 51-13 loss to the Ducks back in 2014.
Winner: RB Najee Harris, Alabama
Alabama’s passing game carried the team, but now with Tua Tagovailoa done for the year, it’ll be up to Harris and the ground game to start doing a whole lot more. Harris has rushed for eight touchdowns in the last four games and caught touchdown passes in each of the last two. He wasn’t needed much in blowouts over Arkansas and Mississippi State – running for 86 and 88 yards, respectively – but he took off for over 100 yards in the other three of the previous five games.
Loser: Georgia Tech’s running game
Going back to early in the 2009 season in a loss to Miami, Georgia Tech failed to run for 100 yards just three times in a span of 134 games.
It has failed to run for 100 yards twice in the last three weeks.
The program went on a run of 40 straight games going back to 2016 with 100 yards rushing or more. That streak snapped a few weeks ago when Pitt allowed just 86 yards in a 20-10 win. On Saturday, Virginia Tech beat the Yellow Jackets 45-0, allowing just 53 yards on 31 carries.
It was the first time Georgia Tech was held to under 75 yards since Clemson gave up just 71 in the middle of the 2015 season.
Winner: The quarterbacks in the LSU 58-37 win over Ole Miss
Defense, schmefense. In LSU’s wild and crazy win over Ole Miss, Joe Burrow further cemented his Heisman credentials by completing 32-of-42 passes for 489 yards and five scores, and he ran for 26 yards.
Ole Miss freshman QB John Rhys Plumlee came up with 212 yards and four touchdowns … rushing. He also threw for 123 yards with a pick, and Matt Corral threw for 89 yards and a touchdown.
In all, the quarterbacks in the game accounted for 945 yards of total offense.
Loser: Northwestern’s quarterback play
The good news: Northwestern finally won a game again. It rocked a miserable UMass team – with the nation’s worst defense, by far – 45-6.
The bad news: the passing game completed 7-of-13 passes for 76 yards and two picks. Two weeks earlier, the Minutemen gave up 488 passing yards and five touchdowns to Liberty.
Winner: Kent State’s fourth quarter vs. Buffalo
0-60. That’s what Kent State was in its previous 60 games when down by 21 points or more. It was down 27-6 to a Buffalo team looking for its sixth win, bow eligibility, and a big step forward in the MAC East race.
Instead, in the final eight minutes of the game, Kent State scored a touchdown, recovered the onside kick, scored on a 41-yard pass play for a score, blocked a punt, tied the game on a fourth down touchdown pass, and won on the last play of regulation with a 44-yard Matthew Trickett field goal.
Loser: Baylor in the second half vs. Oklahoma
Everything was going so well. Baylor was up 31-10 at halftime, the party was just getting started, and then … Oklahoma score 24 in the second half – 31 unanswered overall – and Baylor suffered a brutal collapse. It couldn’t move the chains at all after halftime – Oklahoma ended up controlling the clock for over 41 minutes.
Rice had one win over an FBS program in its previous 31 games going back to September 9th of 2017. It won last year’s season finale against Ole Dominion, and it was competitive through most of the first part of the season despite the 0-9 start, and then … Rice 31, Middle Tennessee 28. The Owls failed to score in the second half, and it got WAY too tight, but it was the program’s first win of the season.
Didn’t you used to be Duke? The Blue Devils started the season 4-2 with acceptable losses to Alabama and Pitt, and since then they’ve not only lost four straight, but the offense has gone bye-bye.
They scored 30 or more in five straight games, and 44 total in the last four losses in blowout after blowout. A once sure-thing bowl season is now destined to be a loser, bottoming out in a 49-6 home loss to a Syracuse team that hadn’t won an ACC game.