Week 14 winners and losers: Give Mariota the Heisman now
Rivalry Week brought a number of great performances as well as a few blunders. Who made noise in Week 14? Here are nine winners and losers from the last full week of the college football season.
Getty ImagesSteve Dykes
Winner: Florida State
Was FSU's win over Florida pretty? Of course not. But the No. 3 Seminoles still found a way to beat the Gators, 24-19, despite four interceptions from Jameis Winston. The win stretches FSU's streak to 28, as it completes its second straight undefeated regular season and prepares for an ACC title game matchup against Georgia Tech. With other top-10 teams losing in rivalry games on Saturday, all FSU needed to do was win and advance.
Getty ImagesMike Ehrmann
Loser: Mississippi State
No. 4 Miss. State was going to be a topic of debate even if it had beaten Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl. The Bulldogs would have been 11-1 but likely left out of the SEC title game, and thus would have had to rely on their body of work standing taller than others'. Well, we can forget that debate now. MSU lost to No. 19 Ole Miss in Ocford, 31-17, and Miss. State's playoff dreams are now done.
After trailing at halftime, No. 1 Alabama overwhelmed No. 15 Auburn in the second half of the Iron Bowl to win, 55-44. Amari Cooper had another huge day with 13 catches for 224 yards and three TDs, while RB T.J. Yeldon chipped in 127 yards and two TDs on 19 carries. It wasn't Bama's best performance, which is scary to think. The Tide should roll over Missouri next week in the SEC title game and will enter the College Football Playoff as the top seed.
John David Mercer-USA TODAY SporJohn David Mercer
Loser: Ohio State
Saturday was a day of mixed emotions for the Buckeyes. On one hand, it was a great day, as they beat rival Michigan, 42-28, and got one step closer to a potential playoff berth. But it was a terrible day, too, given that quarterback J.T. Barrett broke his ankle and will miss the rest of the season. Barrett has been a star this season, and it's difficult to see Ohio State getting the benefit of the doubt from the committee without him. To get a playoff nod, Cardale Jones will need to play a stellar game against Wisconsin next week in the Big Ten title game and prove Ohio State is relatively the same team.
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY SportsGreg Bartram
The Badgers not only won Paul Bunyan's Axe by beating Minnesota, 34-24, but they also won themselves a trip to the Big Ten title game to face Ohio State. RB Melvin Gordon rushed for 151 yards and a TD in the way -- so, in other words, it was just another day for him.
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY SportsJeff Hanisch
Loser: Notre Dame
Woof. The Irish got clobbered at rival USC on Saturday, 49-14, to fall to 7-5 on the season. ND has completely come undone, losing four straight and five of its final six to end the regular season. This is a team that would have beat Florida State on the road if it weren't for a controversial penalty. Now? The Irish will head to a mediocre bowl and enter another offseason wondering whether they can sustain an elite level of success under Brian Kelly.
Getty ImagesHarry How
Winner: Georgia Tech
How about the Yellow Jackets? GT went into Athens and beat No. 9 Georgia, 30-24, in overtime. Zach Laskey ran for 140 yards and three TDs on 26 carries for GT as they forced three turnovers and held the ball for 13 more minutes than UGA. The Jackets, 10-2, now head to Charlotte as a confident team that is certainly capable of knocking off the Seminoles and winning a conference crown.
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY SportsDale Zanine
The five-year drought is over. Clemson finally beat South Carolina, 35-17, as the No. 21 Tigers improved to 9-3 while the Gamecocks dropped to 6-6. QB Deshaun Watson had a stellar game -- going 14-of-19 for 269 yards and two TDs (zero picks) while also adding two rushing TDs. Watson also reportedly played this game with a torn ACL. That might be the toughest performance of the year.
Getty ImagesTyler Smith
Winner: Marcus Mariota
Oregon played Oregon State at the same time as the Iron Bowl, so not many people actually saw Marcus Mariota's brilliance live. Here's how it reads: 19-of-25, 367 yards, four TDs (zero picks), 39 rushing yards, two rushing TDs. Just give the guy the Heisman Trophy now and save everyone the travel to New York City.