Rivalry Week certainly delivered. Losses by Alabama and Miami threw the College Football Playoff picture into disarray before Championship Weekend, and it’s clear that all four spots in the CFP are up for grabs.
This week’s rankings are extremely important as they will give us an idea of what the selection committee thinks each team needs to do in order to make the playoff.
Biggest Win of Week 13 – Auburn 26, Alabama 14
The SEC has already fined Auburn $250,000 after its fans rushed the field following an amazing win over Alabama on Saturday, but the result was well worth it for the Tigers. Auburn now finds itself only needing to knock off Georgia in the SEC Championship in order to become the first two-loss team to ever make the CFP.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this game was that Auburn simply outplayed Alabama. Each of Auburn’s last two Iron Bowl wins were so incredible that the games received nicknames and their own Wikipedia entries. However, this time around, Auburn was just the better team. The Tigers racked up over 400 total yards with Jarrett Stidham having a phenomenal performance. Unfortunately, star running back Kerryon Johnson injured his shoulder in the win and his status for the SEC Championship is in doubt.
Best Game of Week 13 – Central Florida 49, South Florida 42
This game had everything you could ask for. Although the War on I-4 is a relatively new rivalry, it’s very intense as both UCF and USF have over 40,000 students. The atmosphere in Spectrum Stadium was incredible as this game teetered on a knife’s edge with one incredible play after another.
Quinton Flowers was absolutely incredible in a losing effort. He was a one-man show for the Bulls, making play after play to keep his team in it. He ended up with over 600 yards of total offense and was responsible for five touchdowns.
However, UCF was too much in the end. McKenzie Milton missed a few throws, but he had a very nice game, and nimble running back Adrian Killins Jr. was impossible to stop one-on-one in the open field. The win clinched the AAC East title for the Knights and they will play Memphis in the AAC Championship for the Group of Five spot in a New Year’s Six Bowl.
Upset Win of Week 13 – Pittsburgh 24, Miami 14
Miami crushed Virginia Tech and Notre Dame at home in back-to-back weeks, but it has struggled on the road all year so perhaps we should have seen this coming. The Hurricanes looked dead without the energy that came with playing in front of big crowds at Hard Rock Stadium, managing just 232 yards of offense against a defense that has been roasted in recent weeks.
Pittsburgh didn’t do anything too special on offense. The Panthers averaged just 3.4 yards per carry and freshman quarterback Kenny Pickett was decent enough in the win, but the real story was Miami’s listlessness on offense. Malik Rosier missed a lot of open throws and the ground game failed to deliver, averaging under two yards per carry. As bad as losing to a 5-7 team looks, though, it doesn’t change the equation for the Hurricanes. If they beat Clemson in the ACC Championship, they are in. Lose and they are out.
Biggest Blowout of Week 13 – Penn State 66, Maryland 3
There was never a doubt in this one. Penn State dominated from start to finish in every phase of the game. Trace McSorley led the offense to touchdowns on four of its first five drives, and Saquon Barkley had a decent enough day on the ground. Backup quarterback Tommy Stevens got the chance to shine as well with four total touchdowns in this game.
It was a great way to end the season for the Nittany Lions, who avoided a letdown after losses in consecutive weeks took them out of the national title picture. This team should be ranked in the Top 10 in the final CFP rankings and has a great chance to get to a New Year’s Six bowl.