10 winners and losers from the Saturday that shook up college football
Week 11 brought us fantastic games, massive upsets and a handful of thrilling moments. It also brought us a huge mess in terms of the College Football Playoff. Luckily, we still have some time to sort through that. For now, here are 10 winners and losers from the weekend.
Winner: Arizona State
The No. 9 Sun Devils passed a major hurdle for their College Football Playoff hopes in beating No. 10 Notre Dame, 55-31, on Saturday. Taylor Kelly threw three TDs, the defense forced five turnovers and now ASU can return to focusing on reaching the Pac-12 title game. If it wins its remaining three games -- at Oregon State, vs. Washington State, at Arizona -- it will win the Pac-12 South outright.
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Loser: Irish's playoff hopes
So the ASU loss now officially eliminates Notre Dame from playoff contention, as the Irish have two losses and blew their last opportunity at a real "quality" win. They still have a road game at USC, which is always tough, but the Trojans aren't as good as the Devils this year. What hurts most is how the Irish lost to ASU, with five turnovers, including four picks from QB Everett Golson. Better luck next year, Irish.
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY SportsMatt Kartozian
Winner: J.T. Barrett, QB, Ohio State
No. 14 Ohio State had an incredible Saturday, going on the road to East Lansing and beating No. 8 Michigan State, 49-37. The star was the Buckeyes' QB, who went 16-of-26 for 300 yards and three TDs (zero INTs), while also rushing for 86 yards and two more TDs. The Buckeyes now control the Big Ten. They still might need help getting into the playoff, but this win at least begins the discussion.
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY SportsAndrew Weber
If No. 3 Auburn was going to suffer a second loss this season, most assumed it would be at Alabama to end the regular season or perhaps in the SEC title game. Nobody thought Texas A&M, which has been terrible at times this season, would visit Jordan-Hare in Week 11 and knock off the Tigers, 41-38. But that's what happened behind four TDs from freshman QB Kyle Allen, and now Auburn's playoff hopes are bleak at best.
The Crimson Tide needed all of the poise and experience they could muster to win at LSU on Saturday, with the Tigers taking a 13-10 lead with 50 seconds to play. But Bama tied the game on its final drive and won in overtime, and now the Tide are positioned to jump into the playoff committee's top four this week. With games at home against Mississippi State and Auburn left, the Tide control their own destiny.
The Horned Frogs had their last huge hurdle of the season in Kansas State, and they passed it easily, beating the Wildcats 41-20. QB Trevone Boykin had four total TDs, and RB Aaron Green added 171 yards and a TD. TCU plays at Texas on Thanksgiving, which isn't a safe trip to make, but it should handle the Horns and finish the regular season at 11-1, giving the playoff committee a strong body of work to consider.
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The Sooners began the season with so much promise -- and even ranked No. 1 in the country in some polls -- but all of that hope has come crashing down. They were blown out at home by Baylor, 48-14, which gives them their third conference loss and completely ends their shot of a league title. Bob Stoops has won a lot of games in Norman, but a restlessness resides around the program with the Sooners continuing to fall short of higher expectations.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY SportsKevin Jairaj
How about the Longhorns? It's been a rebuidling year in Austin for Charlie Strong, but Texas beat No. 23 West Virginia, 33-16, at home to move to 5-5 (4-3 Big 12) on the year. They have games at Oklahoma State and home against TCU remaining in the regular season, and they need to win one to become bowl eligible. That would be a success in Strong's first season and set the Horns up to improve even more in 2015.
Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY SportsBrendan Maloney
The Ducks are in strong position to earn a trip to the College Football Playoff, but they needed to escape a dangerous road trip to Salt Lake City first. No problem. No. 4 Oregon beat No. 17 Utah, 51-27, and now have a home game against Colorado and a road trip to Oregon State before the Pac-12 title game, where they'll likely face Arizona State. Win out, and the Ducks are in the national semifinals.
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Loser: The Big Ten
We don't want to take anything away from Ohio State's big day, but reality is the Big Ten would have been better off if Michigan State won. A one-loss Michigan State -- with that loss being at Oregon -- winning the Big Ten title probably would have been an easier sell to the playoff committee than Ohio State, which lost to Virginia Tech. Now the Big Ten might be on the outside of the playoff looking in. But if the Buckeyes continue to blow teams out the rest of the way -- including in the league title game -- perhaps the committee will see Urban Meyer's team different than the general public.