There were no major shakeups to the College Football Playoff picture this past weekend. Although a couple of games were closer than most had expected, the teams vying for spots in the CFP took care of business in victories.
The highest-ranked team to lose was No. 13 Oklahoma State, but the Cowboys were already considered out of the national picture following losses to TCU and Oklahoma.
Biggest Win of Week 12 – Wisconsin 24, Michigan 10
The Badgers finally picked up a win over a ranked opponent, although Michigan will no longer be ranked following this loss. Jonathan Taylor and the Wisconsin ground game were able to hit a few big plays against Michigan’s front seven, which gave the Badgers enough on offense. Meanwhile, the defense was able to shut down the Wolverines as Brandon Peters struggled to move the ball through the air and Michigan averaged less than two yards per carry.
Now the question is whether or not the win will push Wisconsin into the top four in this week’s rankings. The Badgers were ranked No. 5 last week and picked up a much better win than No. 4 Oklahoma, which also has one loss. Badger fans can be assured of a playoff spot if the team wins out, but a defeat probably dooms Wisconsin due to such a weak schedule.
Close Call of Week 12 – Notre Dame 24, Navy 17
Notre Dame’s faint hopes of a spot in the CFP were almost snuffed out altogether against Navy. The Midshipmen were able to methodically chew up yards and clock against Notre Dame’s defense and ended up running the ball 72 times on the day. The Golden Domers trailed 17-10 midway through the third quarter, but Brandon Wimbush found Kevin Stepherson for touchdowns on the next two drives to secure the win.
If Notre Dame is going to get to the CFP, the Irish need a lot of help. Oklahoma probably has to lose twice, Auburn has to lose to Alabama, and setbacks from Ohio State and Wisconsin are probably needed, too. There is a path to the playoff for the Irish, but it’s a very narrow one.
Upset Win of Week 12 – Kansas State 45, Oklahoma State 40
The Wildcats became bowl eligible by going into Stillwater and knocking off the Cowboys as a 20-point underdog. Kansas State jumped on Oklahoma State in the middle frames, outscoring Mike Gundy’s team 35-10 in the second and third quarters, and it withstood a furious fourth-quarter rally to pick up the win. The loss makes it very difficult for Oklahoma State to find a way into the Big 12 title game.
Oklahoma State’s defense just couldn’t stop the Wildcats. Kansas State was able to compile 420 yards worth of offense and five touchdowns on just 62 plays with Byron Pringle leading the way. All Pringle did was make big plays, catching four passes for 166 yards and three scores in the upset. Mason Rudolph tried to keep Oklahoma State in it with his arm, but it just wasn’t enough. His two interceptions were costly. Although he hit James Washington twice for touchdowns, the Cowboys were outgunned in the end.
Best Performance in a Losing Effort – Josh Rosen of UCLA
It’s a real shame that Rosen’s last game as a collegiate quarterback might be next week against Cal. Rosen has been phenomenal all season and has dragged a bad UCLA team to a 5-6 record on willpower alone. The numbers aren’t as impressive as Baker Mayfield or even J.T. Barrett, but there is no denying how great he is.
Before last week’s game against USC, CBS Sports asked five NFL front office types for their opinions on who is the better prospect between Sam Darnold and Rosen. Amazingly, all five gave Darnold the nod. Evaluating college quarterbacks is tough, but there really is no comparison between Rosen and Darnold. Rosen showed why he should be the No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft with an incredible performance as the Bruins almost knocked off the Trojans. I’d bet those executives were re-thinking their opinions following that one.