Game of the Week
No.3 Michigan 45-23 No.2 Ohio State
The eleventh meeting between Michigan and Ohio State when both are in the Top 5 didn't disappoint. Always tipped as one of the season must-see games, Ohio State were looking to avenge last season's 42-27 loss to the Wolverines.
Aside from their dominant win, the most surprising element of Michigan's performance was their willingness to throw the ball, picking apart the Buckeyes' safeties to stunning effect. An offense built on the run this season unleashed the athleticism and arm strength of quarterback J.J. McCarthy, giving the Wolverines' attack a different dimension. McCarthy ran for one touchdown and threw three scoring passes, two to Cornelius Johnson for 69 and 75-yard scores. The first, on a 3rd-and-9 play with Michigan 10-3 down, appeared to galvanise the visiting team. Michigan's offensive line sprung Donovan Edwards for two huge scoring runs, 75 and 85 yards respectively, posting a 216-yard rushing performance as Ohio State were outscored 28-3 in the second half and humbled in their own backyard.
"They were trying to stop our identity. We're a smashfest football team and (they) were trying to stop the run so they let the passes get open deep. I was trying to get back to when I was five years old, dreaming about playing on this field, and it was magical." - J.J. McCarthy
No.5 LSU 23-38 Texas A&M
A huge upset over LSU in College Station saw Texas A&M give a glimpse of their promising future and the fans something to cheer about after a desperately disappointing season. In freshman Connor Weigman, they have a promising talent at quarterback. How they must wish they could have Devon Achane for another season or two. The junior running back looks set for the NFl and signed off potentially his last game for Texas A&M with two touchdowns and 215 yards on 38 carries.
The loss dented LSU's slim chances of making the College Football Playoff, but they have an unexpected appearance in the SEC championship game against Georgia to look forward to.
South Carolina 31-30 No.8 Clemson
Down 14-0, South Carolina rallied in the state's big rivalry game with Clemson, ending the Tigers' 40-game winning streak at home. Gamecocks' coach Shane Beamer described the match as South Carolina's "college football playoff". His team have ended the season on a real high and the return to form of Spencer Rattler has been a big factor. Rattler completed 25 of 39 passes for 360 yards and three total touchdowns, capitalising on three Clemson turnovers.
His opposite number, DJ Uiagalelei, has sadly not shown the promise he so briefly displayed in patches, notably over Notre Dame when he stood in for the injured Trevor Lawrence two seasons ago. Uiagalelei completed just 8 of 29 passes for 99 yards. Dabo Swinney will surely hand the future reins to Cade Klubnik as Clemson regroup for next season after their ACC title showdown with North Carolina.
Iowa State 14-62 No.4 TCU
A first quarter saw TCU score 24 points, a departure from their normal end-of-game heroics that have propelled them to a 12-0 regular season. The Horned Frogs didn't look back after opening up a big lead over Iowa State in Fort Worth, amassing 377 total yards of offense and were able to give their starters a break in the fourth quarter. TCU takes on Kansas State in the Big 12 championship game today, a win that should see them earn a deserved spot in the College Football Playoff.
No.15 Notre Dame 27-38 No.6 USC
One of college football's oldest rivalries saw USC quarterback Caleb Williams stamp his authority over Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl. Williams' ability to escape pressure and extend plays has been a highlight of this college football season and he is the clear front-runner for the Heisman Trophy. He ran for three touchdowns and passed for another, his season scoring total now at 44 touchdowns, a USC record. Southern California finish a remarkable first-season under Lincoln Riley at 11-1, for the first time since 2008.
Auburn 27-49 No.7 Alabama - The Iron Bowl
The Crimson Tide finished their regular season with a win over Auburn in Tuscaloosa. Alabama posted their fifteenth straight season with 10 wins or more, but will feel disappointed not to make the Top 4. Off to the NFL go quarterback Bryce Young and defensive standout Will Anderson, both potential top-five picks in April's NFL Draft.
While Alabama will lick their wounds and regroup, Auburn quickly addresses their future, announcing the hire of Liberty's Hugh Freeze as their new head coach on an six-year contract, worth a reported $6.5million per year.
Georgia Tech 14-37 No.1 Georgia - Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate
Georgia scored 37 unanswered point after an early deficit to Georgia Tech, Stetson Bennett was held to just 28 yards passing in the first half, but the Bulldogs' running game dominated, amassing 264 yards as Georgia finished 12-0 in the regular season in back-to-back years.
Kansas 27-47 No.12 Kansas State - The Governor's Cup
A 23-point first quarter from Kansas State was too much for state rival Kansas, who had started the season promisingly at 5-0 and slipped to 6-6. The Wildcats unleashed star back Deuce Vaughn, who had 230 total yards on offense, 147 on the ground, Kansas State's win sealed their place in this weekend's Big 12 championship game against TCU at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.
Purdue 30-16 Indiana - The Old Oaken Bucket
Purdue clinched a tight Big Ten West and the historic Old Oaken Bucket with a road win over Indiana. The Boilermakers will face Michigan in the Big Ten championship game, unranked, but with nine wins over top-two ranked teams in their history, hope they can pull off what would be a huge upset.
No.13 Washington 51-33 Washington State - The Apple Cup
484 yards' passing and five total touchdowns from Michael Penix, Jr. gave Washington an important Apple Cup win over rival Washington State. The win gives the Huskies hope of a New Year's Bowl game and avenged their defeat to the Cougars last year. Washington's win also denied Oregon a spot in the Pac-12 championship game.
No.9 Oregon 34-38 No.21 Oregon State
Down 31-10, Oregon State pulled off a stunning comeback to upset Oregon, scoring 21 unanswered points in a rivalry game formerly know as the Civil War. The Beavers' running offense racked up 268 yards to overwhelm the Ducks.
No.22 UCF 46-39 USF - The War on I-4
An astonishing catch by UCF receiver Alec Holler gave the Knights a close win over South Florida to seal their place in the AAC championship game against Tulane this weekend.
Minnesota beat Wisconsin 23-16 to win Paul Bunyan's Axe, while No.11 Penn State ended a 10-win season, to beat Michigan State and win the Land Grant Trophy. No.10 Tennessee ended their regular season without Hendon Hooker, Joe Milton ably stepping in with a 56-0 shutout of Vanderbilt.
Will Levis closed out his Kentucky career, leading the Wildcats to a 26-13 win over No.25 Louisville to clinch The Governor's Cup.
No.14 Utah warmed up for their Pac-12 title game with USC by thrashing Colorado 63-21. The Buffaloes are rumoured to be announcing Jackson State coach Deion "Prime Time" Sanders as their new head coach this weekend. Jackson State will play Southern in the SWAC title game this weekend, who beat Grambling State 34-17.
No.16 Florida State won their fifth game in a row, beating Florida 45-38 in a thriller in Tallahassee. No.17 UNC face Clemson in the ACC title game this weekend, and lost a close one to rival North Carolina State in Chapel Hill, 30-27.
No.19 Tulane beat No.24 Cincinnati 27-24. The Bearcats will lose coach Luke Fickell at the end of the season. He is heading to Madison to take charge of Wisconsin. No.23 Texas will look back on a promising season with much to build on. The Longhorns rounded off an 8-4 season with a 38-27 win over Baylor. Bijan Robinson impressed again and heads off for the NFL, likely to be snapped up as a first-round pick.
All change in Nebraska too. The Cornhuskers beat Iowa 24-17 and then announced former Baylor and Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule as their new head coach, signed on an eight-year contract. Rounding off coaching speculation, one man likely to stay put is Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin, reportedly about to sign an extension, after three years in Oxford.
Changes in the Top 4 in the College Football Playoff rankings this week. Georgia remain at No.1, but Michigan and TCU move up to No.2 and No.3 respectively, while USC is a new entry at No.4. Ohio State slips three places to No.5 and will be nervously waiting on the outcome of this weekend's championship games to see if they can squeak in to the playoff places.
UK & Ireland Top 25
I am fortunate to be part of a UK and Ireland media group who cast their vote on a Top 25 from this side of the pond.. Here are our rankings from (Rivalry) Week 13: