After a few slow college football slates, Week 13 delivered in a big way.
Here are five outcomes that could affect the College Football Playoff picture.
No. 10 Ohio State 62, No. 4 Michigan 39
The Wolverines just can’t figure out the Buckeyes. Ohio State came into this game struggling; Michigan was rolling. It didn’t matter. The Buckeyes dominated in every facet of the game, piling up 318 passing yards and 249 rushing yards. Michigan had the nation’s No. 1 pass defense coming in.
— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) November 24, 2018
So much for that, as Dwayne Haskins averaged 10.6 yards per attempt. Michigan is likely out of the CFP picture now, and while Ohio State probably won’t appear in the top four of next week’s rankings, its hopes are alive. The Buckeyes will take on Northwestern in the conference championship game. If Alabama beats Georgia and Oklahoma is upset in the Big 12 title game, Ohio State could be in.
What a difference a week makes. The Buckeyes barely inched by Maryland last Saturday. Now, they’ve banked a decisive win over their most bitter rival and could be one of the final four teams standing.
No. 6 Oklahoma 59, No. 13 West Virginia 56
This game delivered, and then some. Oklahoma did what it’s done several times this season: give up a bunch of points, but score even more. Kyler Murray is operating at the peak of his powers right now.
The Sooners did what they needed to do, and they finally got some help from Ohio State. Oklahoma will likely move up to No. 5 this week, but its College Football Playoff hopes are looking really solid since Georgia still has to play Alabama.
To be frank, Oklahoma doesn’t look like one of the best four teams in college football right now. Its defense just hasn’t performed. But its offense is absolutely playoff-caliber, and it would be fun to see Murray, Marquise Brown and the crew go up against a Nick Saban-coached defense.
No. 16 Washington 28, No. 8 Washington State 15
Washington State was always a long shot to make the Playoff, but its hopes are likely dashed now. The Huskies topped the Cougars in the Apple Cup in a game filled with snow and sloppiness.
It’s tough for Wazzu, too, because it was playing so well the past few weeks but hardly budged in the rankings due to the teams that were ahead of it. Michigan lost after this game took place, but the Wolverines’ setback was the first sliver of daylight for schools lingering on the outside in a while. Washington State wasn’t able to capitalize.
The Cougars’ loss is good news for Ohio State and UCF, though UCF isn’t doing much celebrating right now due to McKenzie Milton’s injury. The Buckeyes are the biggest beneficiary of this result, and the Pac-12 looks unlikely to send a team to the College Football Playoff for the second straight year.
No. 3 Notre Dame 24, USC 17
It looked like Notre Dame was in danger for a bit, as it trailed by a touchdown at the end of the first quarter. But the Fighting Irish prevailed, likely sealing a Playoff berth.
Michigan’s loss is significant for Notre Dame, too, because the Fighting Irish are more likely to secure the No. 3 seed and avoid Alabama in the semifinal game now. Notre Dame is incredibly well-rounded. Ian Book is solid, he has plenty of weapons to work with, and the defense is loaded with studs. The Irish may not have the star power that Clemson does, but that would be a heck of a 2-3 matchup.
No. 5 Georgia 45, Georgia Tech 21
Georgia figures to rise into the top four as a result of the weekend’s festivities and its own win over Georgia Tech. That said, its SEC Championship game against Alabama will still likely determine if it reaches the College Football Playoff for the second consecutive year.
The Bulldogs are rounding into form at the perfect time and certainly look the part. It’s hard to have a better day than Jake Fromm had against the Yellow Jackets. The sophomore went 13-for-16 for 175 yards and four touchdowns.
A whopping nine players carried the ball for Georgia on Saturday; that kind of versatility in the backfield makes the Bulldogs very hard to plan for. UGA isn’t as good on defense as it was last year, but it looks like one of the four-best teams in the country right now.