Winners, losers, overreactions in week 13 of college football: the playoffs continue the transition to a new era

In the first seven years of college football playoffs, Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, and Oklahoma have been responsible for 20 of 28 available appearances and six of seven national championships. As the regular season wraps up in Week 13, chances are none of these four stalwarts will be represented as 2022 College Football Playoff contenders.

Instead, welcome new funds to the table: Georgia and Michigan. The No. 3 Wolverines shocked rival Ohio State on home turf with a breakout performance from quarterback JJ McCarthy and will now join the short list of back-to-back playoff entrants. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, are the defending national champions and should be overwhelming favorites to repeat.

college football has always been cyclical, but we are witnessing the sports cycle in real time. Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State are still among championship contenders, but the noose has been loosened as new programs have an opportunity to crush the oligarchy for the first time in years. Lincoln Riley’s USC and Sonny Dykes’ TCU are programs with an immediate chance. Brian Kelly’s LSU, Josh Heupel’s Tennessee and Dan Lanning’s Oregon are programs that could make their case sooner rather than later.

Certainly it is technically possible for Ohio State or Alabama to sneak into the field. A second loss for USC in the Pac-12 title game could cause chaos in fourth place. Either way, the new era is clearly upon us.

Here are more winners, losers and overreactions from Week 13 action in college football.


Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh: Most of the attention has been on Ohio State’s collapse over the past two years, but Michigan’s rise is impossible to ignore. The Wolverines hadn’t beaten Ohio State since 2011 before Harbaugh and his team upset the Buckeyes in Ann Arbor, Mich., last season. Michigan hadn’t beaten Ohio State in consecutive seasons since 2000. That’s now over. Harbaugh struggled with near impossible expectations for a Michigan program that hasn’t built consistent Big Ten dominance in 20 years, but after six seasons, Harbaugh has evolved and transformed that program into a program ready for the national scene.

Texas Technology: The Red Raiders took a chance on signing former high school coach Joey McGuire, but the decision quickly paid off. Texas Tech shocked Oklahoma 51-48 in overtime to beat the Sooners and Texas Longhorns in the same season for the first time in program history. The Red Raiders hadn’t beaten Oklahoma since 2011 and had lost the last three games by a combined 104 points. Texas Tech quarterback Tyler Shough threw for 436 yards and two touchdowns in the win, while running back SaRodorick Thompson added two rushing scores. Oklahoma finished with 672 yards of offense, but it wasn’t enough to survive the atmosphere in Lubbock, Texas. The Sooners finished 6-6 in the first year of the Brent Venables era.

Tulan: The Green Wave entered the season ranked seventh in the AAC preseason poll after missing a game of bowling. After defeating two-time defending AAC champion No. 24 Cincinnati in Tulane’s first ranked win since 1984, the green wave is set to host the AAC championship game and play for its second conference crown. since 1949. Running back Tyjae Spears was huge with 181 rushing yards and two scores in the narrow 27-24 victory, and now Tulane will host UCF with a trip to the Cotton Bowl on the line. It has a chance to end as one of the most successful seasons in the program’s history.


USL: No. 5 LSU was just on the verge of the college football playoffs and headed for an easy matchup against bottom-place Texas A&M. Unfortunately for the Tigers, the Aggies had other plans. Texas A&M ultimately put on a 30-point performance against FBS competition with a 38-23 shellacking of LSU to hand the Tigers their third loss of the season. Texas A&M running back Devon Achane bruised LSU for 215 yards and two touchdowns to give the Aggies some hope ahead of a bitter offseason. LSU should still end up with the SEC’s Sugar Bowl slot, but a brutal one-point loss to Florida State in Game 1 and that performance will stay on freshman coach Brian Kelly’s mind for an entire offseason. .

Memphis: The Tigers were recently one of the most dominant programs at the Group of Five level with three division titles and two conference championships since 2014. But three years into the Ryan Silverfield era, Memphis is headed in the wrong direction. Coming off a 30-11 record in the last three years of the Mike Norvell era, Silverfield sits at 20-14, including back-to-back 6-6 seasons after a disappointing loss to SMU. The two-year spell is the worst in Memphis since 2013. The difficulties couldn’t come at a worse time as the program prepares to enter a new era of AAC after being left out of the Big 12 expansion There may never have been a more important offseason for Memphis Athletics under athletic director Laird Veatch.


Here is the sport of Caleb Williams: When Ohio State vs. Michigan ended with CJ Stroud struggling and Blake Corum injured, the Heisman race was officially up in the air. Luckily for voters, USC quarterback Caleb Williams was perfectly happy to make a few of his miracle plays and take center stage.

Williams completed 18 of 22 passes for 232 yards, rushed for 35 yards and scored four touchdowns in a decisive 38-27 win over No. 15 Notre Dame. That doesn’t even come close to describing the magic Williams showed with countless scoring plays in a highly effective performance against the defense that stopped Clemson.

Remember, the Heisman Trophy is a narrative prize, and there’s no better narrative in college football than Williams transferring to a 4-8 USC team and taking them to the door of the college football playoffs during his first season.

CFP is a four-team race: There are four teams that split from the rest of college football: No. 1 Georgia, No. 3 Michigan, No. 4 TCU, and No. 6 USC. No. 2 Ohio State for the second straight season, this time on the Buckeyes’ home court. Georgia overcame a slow start to overtake Georgia Tech. TCU wiped out Iowa State 62-14 to nearly quadruple the Cyclones’ worst previous loss.

On the other side, LSU No. 5 was bombarded by a last-place Texas A&M team. No. 8 Clemson and No. 9 Oregon slammed the dirt against lesser opponents, while No. 7 Alabama’s best win could fall in the standings after loss to No. 20 Ole Miss against Mississippi State on Thursday night.

TCU and USC have tough matchups ahead against competitive opponents in conference championship games. Georgia has a manageable LSU team, while Michigan has a lackluster Purdue team on the other side. Regardless, these are the four most deserving teams in America. Anyone other than these four entering on November 4 would be a huge disappointment.

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