Winners & Losers From College Football’s Week 12
Another step closer to the College Football Playoff and two more teams fall from the ranks of the unbeaten. In the de facto Big 12 championship picture, Oklahoma moved a step closer to a conference title and a possible CFP berth with a win over a TCU team that played without two of its stars. Oklahoma State took a step backward losing its first game of the season at home to Baylor. In the American Athletic Conference, Houston dropped a 20-17 decision to 5-6 UConn. The loss ruined a perfect season for the Cougars. Here’s a look at the winners and losers from Week 12 of the college football season.
North Carolina versus Virginia Tech was the last hurrah for one of college football’s greats – Frank Beamer. The Hokies head coach took the field in Blacksburg for the final time. The only problem for Beamer was that his Hokies had to face a 9-1 North Carolina team that had yet to lose in ACC play. Virginia Tech battled, scoring twice in the game’s final three minutes to tie the game at 24-24. In the end, the Tar Heels would move to 10-1 and clinch the ACC Coastal Division for the first time in school history. Head coach Larry Fedora’s team will meet Clemson in the conference championship on Dec. 5.
The UConn defense held a potent Houston offense to just 318 total yards and 17 points in a 20-17 win over the Cougars that makes the Huskies bowl eligible. Houston falls to 10-1 and now must beat Navy (9-1) to win the American Athletic Association West Division. UConn will finish the season against 9-2 Temple in a game that could impact who wins the AAC East.
A week ago, Temple was outplayed in a 44-23 loss to South Florida, a game that could cost the Owls the AAC East title. Head coach Matt Rhule and company rebounded though for an easy 31-12 win over 21st-ranked Memphis, which dropped its third straight game. Temple will take on UConn next week, and a win gives them a berth in the conference championship game.
There is no other offense in the country right now that is hotter than Oregon. The Ducks rolled up 578 total yards as they dismantled USC, 48-28. Quarterback Vernon Adams completed 20-of-25 passes for 407 yards and six touchdowns, the most ever in a single game against the Trojans. The win moves Oregon to 8-3 as they head into the Civil War, the annual rivalry game with Oregon State. The Ducks will play at home and can finish the season with six straight wins and improve their bowl status.
The Big 12 watched two battles – TCU-Oklahoma and Baylor-Oklahoma State – last night that may result in the league getting shut out of the upcoming College Football Playoff. Oklahoma State lost at home to Baylor, 45-35, to drop to 10-1 overall. Even with a win over Oklahoma, a 30-29 winner over TCU, the Cowboys are unlikely to be a CFP selection. Speaking of the CFP and the Sooners, Oklahoma moved to 10-1 when TCU’s two-point conversion late in the fourth quarter failed. The Horned Frogs played admirably without QB Trevone Boykin or WR Josh Doctson. The winner of next weekend’s Bedlam Rivalry – Oklahoma versus Oklahoma State – could win the Big 12 conference. A one-loss Oklahoma might have a shot as would a one-loss Baylor. Other than that, the conference could get shut out as it did a year ago.
What has happened to LSU and Memphis? Both teams lost their third straight games of the season after starting unbeaten. In fact, Memphis had won 15 games in a row dating back to last season before its loss to Navy three weeks ago. LSU was 7-0 before a 30-16 loss to then No. 4 Alabama. Head coach Les Miles squad hasn’t scored more than 17 points in a game since and Heisman Trophy candidate RB Leonard Fournette has averaged just 77 yards per game in the three losses. The Memphis offense, which was averaging nearly 43 points per game, has averaged just 22 the past three weeks. Memphis can finish the regular season with nine wins for the second straight year if it can beat SMU in its season finale. LSU takes on a very good Texas A&M (8-3) team in its finale.
Just a few weeks ago, Utah was being mentioned as a possible College Football Playoff contender. That dream ended with the Utes loss to USC in Week 7. Now, the Pac-12 title is another goal gone by. Minus leading rusher Devontae Booker, who is done for the season including a bowl game should Utah be invited, the Utes were lackluster in a 17-9 loss to UCLA. After consecutive losses, Utah still has a shot at a nine-win season with a win over Colorado next week.
In his 10 previous seasons, South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier had never had a losing season with the Gamecocks. That is, until this year. The losing season was wrapped up a few weeks ago, but the program may have reached a new all-time low with its 23-22 loss to FCS opponent The Citadel on Saturday. Tyler Renew ran for 174 yards and scored the winning touchdown on a 56-yard run with just over six minutes remaining for the winners. Cam Jackson also ran for over 100 yards as The Citadel’s option offense cranked out 350 yards rushing. The Gamecocks can make up for the most of the disastrous season and send the Ole Ball Coach out with a bang with a win over in-state rival and top-ranked Clemson next weekend.