Melvin Gordon, Alabama and 10 winners and losers from Week 12
Week 12 of the college football season has come and gone. Who starred and who didn't have the best week? From Melvin Gordon's insane day to Alabama's big win, here are 10 winners and losers from the week.
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Winner: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
What's left to say about Gordon? Every week he seems to do something incredible, but Week 12 was something else. Gordon set a new single-game FBS rushing record with 408 yards against Nebraska, to go along with four TDs, as Wisconsin won 59-24. The previous record was 406 by TCU's LaDanian Tomlinson. Gordon has essentialy locked up a trip to New York as a Heisman finalist, and with another couple big weeks, he could win the trophy.
Loser: Notre Dame
The Irish were on the fringe of the playoff discussion two weeks ago at No. 10, but then they lost to Arizona State. Now this week, No. 18 Notre Dame lost at home in overtime to Northwestern, and the Irish will fall out of the top 25 and be totally forgotten about on the national scene. Could any team go from playoff contender to unranked any faster?
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The No. 5 Crimson Tide knocked off No. 1 Mississippi State, 25-20, in Tuscaloosa with a dominating performance by their defense. They forced Miss. State QB Dak Prescott into three interceptions and held the Bulldogs to 3.5 yards per rush. Alabama will probably become the No. 1 team in the nation now, and the Iron Bowl and SEC title game are the only things that stand between the Tide and a playoff berth (no offense, Western Carolina).
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The No. 4 Horned Frogs beat Kansas, but they're a "loser" here because it wasn't impressive at all. They struggled to a 34-30 victory against a team that's now 1-6 in the Big 12 (3-7 overall). TCU's performance leaves the committee in a tough spot -- should it drop the Frogs out of the current playoff field in favor for another team, or does it honor the victory and chalk it up to a lackluster day? At the end of the year, a win is a win, but from week to week, "quality" matters.
Winner: Ohio State
Coming off beating Michigan State, the No. 8 Buckeyes faced a tough road test at No. 25 Minnesota. In snowy conditions, the Buckeyes won, 31-24, to improve to 9-1 (6-0 Big Ten) and keep their playoff hopes alive. QB J.T. Barrett was sensational again, going 15-of-25 for 300 yards and three TDs (one pick), while adding 189 yards and a TD rushing, as well.
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The No. 9 Tigers got crushed at No. 15 Georgia, 34-7, which marks their third loss on the season and will officially knock them out of the playoff race. At two losses it would have been a long shot to get into the playoff but still possible if the Tigers beat Alabama on the road to go along with wins over LSU, Kansas State and Ole Miss. But that dream is over, and while we'll still enjoy the Tigers in the Iron Bowl and whatever postseason destination they head to, there won't be another run to the national title game.
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Winner: Florida State
The No. 3 Seminoles keep testing fate by falling behind and relying on their ability to come back, but they keep reeling off wins. The streak is now at 26 after beating Miami, 30-26, on Saturday behind two TDs from running back Dalvin Cook and three forced turnovers by the defense. The only thing standing between the Seminoles and a playoff berth are games against Boston College, Florida and the winner of the Coastal division in the ACC championship.
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No, celebrating any bowl game isn't the way things are usually done at Texas, but this year is an exception. The Longhorns beat Oklahoma State on the road, 28-7, to improve to 6-5 and thus become bowl eligible in Charlie Strong's first season in Austin. Strong has spent the season kicking players off the team who didn't want to be part of the culture he's trying to establish at Texas, and those at the top of the athletic department had conceded this is a rebuilding year for the Horns. They have a chance to really close with a bang when they host No. 4 TCU on Thanksgiving night.
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Loser: Will Muschamp
It's not fun continuing to put Florida's coach on the hot seat, but it's just the reality in Gainesville. Florida lost at home in overtime to South Carolina, 23-20, and Muschamp probably couldn't afford that to keep his job past this season. The Gators play hard and he's done an admirable job continuing to plunge forward and try to make it work amid all of the job chatter, but short of beating Florida State at the end of the year and then winning the bowl game, it's tough to see Florida without a new head coach next fall.
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The Hogs are on the board! Arkansas beat No. 17 LSU, 17-0, to snap its 17-game losing streak in the SEC and give Bret Bielema his first league win as the Hogs' head coach. Arkansas is 5-5 with games against Ole Miss and at Missouri left on its regular-season schedule. The guess here is they win one of those to become bowl eligible.