25 Things We Learned from Week 12 in College Football

Sean Frye@Sean_E_FryeFeatured ColumnistNovember 18, 2013

25 Things We Learned from Week 12 in College Football

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    Week 12 of the 2013 college football season was one of the wildest of the year. 

    With USC's upset over Stanford, Auburn's shocking win over Georgia along with plenty of thrilling finishes, the country learned this week that, if nothing else, anything is possible in college football. 

    With that, checkout the 25 things we learned from an exciting Week 12. 

Alabama Is Not Unbeatable

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    The top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide looked very vulnerable in their 20-7 win over the Mississippi State Bulldogs. 

    After leading just 10-0 at halftime, the Crimson Tide gave up a touchdown on a fumble recovery in the end zone, allowing the Bulldogs to cut the lead to three points. 

    Alabama also had four turnovers on the night, two fumbles and two AJ McCarron interceptions. 

    The Bulldogs don't have the firepower on offense to make the Tide pay for mistakes like four turnovers. But teams like Missouri or Auburn? Well I guess we'll see in a few weeks. 

Ohio State Needs to Finish off Games More Effectively

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    The Ohio State Buckeyes, riding the nation's longest winning streak, built up a 28-0 lead over lowly Illinois early and looked to be cruising to victory. 

    But au contraire. The Buckeyes let the Illini hang around and actually saw its lead cut to 14 points. 

    Ohio State ended up pulling away with two touchdown runs by Carlos Hyde in the fourth quarter and comfortably won the game 60-35. But if Ohio State moves on to the Big Ten title game, which they likely will, it'll be facing a much more talented team than Illinois. 

    And if Ohio State lets a team like Michigan State or even Minnesota hang around the way it let Illinois stay close, it could spell trouble for their BCS national championship dreams. 

Jordan Lynch Deserves an Invite to New York City

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    The Northern Illinois Huskies stayed undefeated and kept their BCS hopes alive with a huge 48-27 win over Ball State on Wednesday night. 

    Quarterback Jordan Lynch put the team on his back, racking up four total touchdowns and 468 total yards. Two of his touchdowns came in the fourth quarter to break open a 27-27 tie. 

    Lynch has been one of the best players in the country over the last two years, and he's stepped it up in 2013. He's fifth in the nation in total yards per game and has the Huskies undefeated at 10-0. 

    With his stellar play and clutch performances, the blue-collar quarterback from Chicago, who got overlooked by every BCS school, absolutely deserves to be one of the Heisman Trophy finalists in New York. 

Myles Jack Is the Real Deal

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    The UCLA Bruins have found one of the best weapons in linebacker-turned-running back Myles Jack.

    After rushing for 120 yards in his debut last week, Jack ran for four touchdowns in UCLA's win over the Washington Huskies on Friday. 

    Jack has been a breath of fresh air for the Bruins, who still control their own destiny in terms of reaching the Pac-12 title game. If Jack can continue to cause problems with his hard-nosed style, he could be the reason the Bruins play spoiler in the conference. 

Tajh Boyd Is the ACC's All-Time Passing Leader

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    The Clemson Tigers likely won't play in the ACC title game or for the BCS National Championship Game after losing to Florida State earlier this year. 

    But Tajh Boyd will still remember this season as the one where he became the ACC's best passer of all time. In Thursday's win over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, the Clemson star tossed four scores to overtake Philip Rivers as the conferences's career leader in touchdown passes. 

    Boyd is one of the best quarterbacks in the nation and will likely be a first-round NFL draft pick. He also has Clemson playing great ball down the stretch, and the Tigers will likely get an at-large berth into a BCS bowl. 

Ed Orgeron Is Now a Legit Candidate to Get USC Job

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    The USC Trojans are now 5-1 under interim head coach Ed Orgeron, and their surge was punctuated on Saturday with an upset over No. 4 Stanford. 

    Not only did the Trojans end the Cardinal's national title dreams but also proved that Orgeron deserves a chance at earning the full-time job at Southern Cal.

    USC has played with a renewed sense of confidence under its interim coach and is poised to make a late run at a high-profile bowl game. 

    Whether Pat Hayden will allow Orgeron to keep the job remains to be seen. But the Trojans' sudden turnaround can't be ignored any longer. 

Charlie Weis Is Injecting Hope into the Fanbase in Lawrence

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    The Kansas Jayhawks won't go to a bowl in 2013. Basketball still reigns as king in Lawrence, Kansas, and that will likely never change. 

    But on Saturday, a 27-game streak of futility came to an end as the Jayhawks beat a Big 12 opponent for the first time in nearly three years with a 31-19 win over the West Virginia Mountaineers. 

    After the win, the players doused Charlie Weis with a Gatorade bath, and the fans in Lawrence tore down the goal posts. 

    The win, while meaningless to the Big 12 race, could be the spark that Weis is looking for to move the program forward. 

Duke Is Having the Best Season in Program History

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    The Duke Blue Devils control their own destiny to the ACC title game after their upset win over the Miami Hurricanes on Saturday. They're 8-2, and after delivering Miami its third consecutive loss, Duke is proving to the nation that it isn't just a basketball school anymore. 

    The superstar in Duke's upset win was quarterback Brandon Connette, who rushed for four scores and threw for one as well. 

    The road to the ACC Coastal Division title runs through Duke, as it holds a one-game lead over Georgia Tech, which just lost to Clemson. Duke hits the road for its final two games against Wake Forest and North Carolina.

    Should they win those two, the Blue Devils will likely have a chance at spoiling Florida State's BCS hopes and could earn a berth of their own. 

South Carolina Will Continue to Win, Even If It's Not Pretty

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    South Carolina didn't look like one of the SEC's best teams in its 19-14 win over the Florida Gators. But the fact of the matter is that, should Missouri drop one of its last two games, the Gamecocks will head to Atlanta for the conference-title game. 

    After trailing 14-6 at halftime, a Bruce Ellington touchdown catch and two Elliott Fry field goals gave South Carolina a much-needed win over the struggling Gators. 

    The Gamecocks last two games are against Coastal Carolina and Clemson. But neither of those games will impact the SEC race. 

    Missouri faces Ole Miss and Texas A&M to finish the season. Should the Tigers drop one of those games, South Carolina will have a shot at an automatic BCS berth. 

Division III Running Backs Can Really Rack Up the Yardage

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    Cartel Brooks of Division III Heidelberg set an NCAA record on Saturday with 465 rushing yards in a single game. 

    Brook is the second Div. III star to break that record this season, as Octavias McKoy of Western Connecticut set the record with 455 yards just three weeks ago. 

    The record-setting performances are surely bringing some attention to the Div. III ranks, which largely go unnoticed for the majority of the college football season. 

    LaDainian Tomlinson holds the FBS record for rushing yards in a game with 406. 

Florida State Could Be Getting Complacent with Huge Victories

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    Florida State continued its dominance on Saturday with a 59-3 throttling of the Syracuse Orange. Jameis Winston had two touchdown passes and 277 passing yards, and the Seminole offense faced just four third downs. 

    But the Seminoles may be getting a little too complacent with consistently dominating teams on the scoreboard. 

    Per Syracuse.com, two defensive backs from Florida State were playing hangman during the game. 

    If true, that kind of in-game attitude could come back to bite the Seminoles should they get in a close matchup in the ACC or BCS championship games. 

Baylor Has No Problem Simply Outscoring Opponents

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    The Baylor Bears are still undefeated following their 63-35 win over the Texas Tech Red Raiders. 

    The Red Raiders seemed to be hanging with the Bears for a while as both spread offenses went toe-to-toe. But Baylor proved on Saturday that if a game is going to develop into a straight shootout, they have no problem winning those type of games. 

    Baylor racked up 675 yards of total offense, including 335 yards passing from quarterback Bryce Petty. 

    The Bears didn't pull away until the third quarter, but this offense is one of the best ever in college football and can certainly make up for a poor effort by Baylor's defense.

Teddy Bridgewater Isn't the Only Offensive Star at Louisville

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    The Louisville Cardinals are trying to keep their slim BCS hopes alive, and they did so with a 20-13 win over the Houston Cougars on Saturday. 

    But it wasn't quarterback Teddy Bridgewater who was the biggest star for the Cardinals. 

    Running back Dominique Brown racked up 137 yards and scored two second half touchdowns to bury the Cougars and give Louisville its third straight win. 

    Brown is starting to become the feature back in Louisville, as Saturday was his second time hitting the century mark in the last three games. 

    If Louisville wants to keep their hopes at an American Athletic Conference title alive, they'll need to lean more and more on Brown. 

Michigan State Capitalizes on Its Opportunities

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    The Michigan State Spartans had to go into a shootout with the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday but still walked away with a 41-28 win, which nearly guarantees them a spot in the Big Ten title game. 

    The Spartans didn't get a good showing from its defense as the Cornhuskers racked up 392 yards of total offense. But Nebraska did have five turnovers to Spartans' zero, allowing Michigan State to capture the momentum in the game. 

    Running back Jeremy Langford also had a terrific afternoon with 174 total yards and three touchdowns. 

    Michigan State is now Ohio State's biggest threat. And with the Spartans constantly playing opportunistic football, the Buckeyes could be in for their toughest test in nearly two years. 

Oklahoma State Is One of the Most Underrated Teams in the Nation

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    At 9-1, the Oklahoma State Cowboys are one bad night against WVU removed from the national title conversation. 

    On Saturday, the Cowboys routed the Texas 38-13, delivering the Longhorns their first Big 12 loss and setting the stage for Oklahoma State's huge matchup with Baylor this week. 

    Cowboy quarterback Clint Chelf also took a huge step forward on Saturday, completing 16 of 22 passes for 197 yards and four total touchdowns. 

    As ESPN's College GameDay heads to Stillwater, the Cowboys control their own destiny to the Big 12 title. And, at No. 10 in the latest BCS rankings, the Cowboys could be poised to make a late run. 

It's a Magical Season for Auburn

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    After allowing 21 unanswered points to the Georgia Bulldogs, it seemed like Auburn was going to let its SEC title hopes slip away. 

    But a desperation heave from Nick Marshall that Ricardo Louis caught off the deflection gave Auburn a 43-38 comeback win and kept the Tigers in control of their SEC fate. 

    The Tigers now get a week off before playing in the Iron Bowl against Alabama, which will determine who heads to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game. 

    Auburn is 10-1 this season and in the midst of a revival year after firing Gene Chizik. It's been a great year for the Tigers, and they're one huge upset away from shaking up the entire college football landscape. 

UCF Is Pretty Magical Too

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    Ricardo Louis of Auburn wasn't the only guy to save his team with a magical catch on Saturday.

    J.J. Worton of University of Central Florida helped rescue the Knights with a one-handed circus catch in the end zone that tied the game against Temple with just over a minute left. UCF would get a last-second field goal to beat the Owls, 39-36.

    Temple was surprisingly difficult to deal with for UCF, the team that upset Louisville earlier this season. But Worton's acrobatic reception helped keep the Knights undefeated in American Athletic Conference play and kept their BCS hopes alive and well. 

    The Knights still have three games left on their slate. Wins in two of them will lockup the conference title and an automatic BCS berth. 

Wisconsin Is Playing Its Best Football Right Now

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    With the Badgers' 51-3 thrashing of Indiana (including 554 team rushing yards), Wisconsin is riding a five-game winning streak and is looking like one of the best teams in the Big Ten.

    The Badgers fell to Ohio State early in the year, so it's unlikely they will play for a conference championship. Nevertheless, everything is coming together for Wisconsin, and it'll likely play in a high-profile bowl should it win its last two games. 

    Also, all of the wins in the Badgers' five-game tear have been by double-digit margins. 

    Wisconsin finishes off the year with dates against Minnesota and Penn State. 

Arizona State Stil Controls Its Own Pac-12 Destiny

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    The Arizona State Sun Devils have now won five straight games after their 30-17 win over Oregon State on Saturday. They're 6-1 in Pac-12 play and are in first place in the Pac-12 South. 

    Now the Sun Devils are poised for a huge matchup with UCLA, which is in second place in the South. The winner of that game will likely face Oregon or Stanford in the Pac-12 title game. 

    The Sun Devils are putting up over 42 points per game, which ranks 10th in the nation per ESPN. Arizona State's explosive offense is what's driving the team's success this year. 

    With two games left, ASU is in the home stretch of what could be one of the program's best seasons ever. 

Georgia Is a Victim of Its Schedule

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    Georgia is just 6-4 overall this year and many are saying that the Bulldogs are one of college football's biggest disappointments. 

    While it's a shame that the Bulldogs haven't had the season they'd hoped for, it's not exactly all their fault. 

    Georgia's schedule has included six games against teams ranked in the Top 15 at some point during the season, including three games against teams currently ranked in the Top 10. 

    Georgia finishes off the year with Kentucky and Georgia Tech. Should they win those two games, the Bulldogs could finish the year ranked and should go to a decent bowl game. 

Paul Rhoads Should Be on the Hot Seat at Iowa State

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    Paul Rhoads has never won more than three Big 12 games at Iowa State. But with marquee wins such as a 2011 victory over then-No. 2 Oklahoma State, it seemed like there was a bright future ahead for the Cyclones. 

    Instead, 2013 has been a disaster. The Cyclones fell to 1-9 on Saturday with a 48-10 drubbing at the hands of a reeling Oklahoma squad. They also fell to 0-7 in conference play with just two games left. 

    That means Iowa State will not make a bowl game and could go winless in the Big 12. Their last two games, though, are against WVU and Kansas, both manageable opponents. 

    Iowa State is clearly regressing under Rhoads. Despite the love affair that fans in Ames have with their head coach, it could be time for the Cyclones to start reconsidering who's running the show. 

Oregon Is Back in the Pac-12 Title Hunt

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    The Oregon Ducks are back in control of their Pac-12 destiny after their 44-21 win over Utah plus Stanford's loss to USC. 

    Now the Ducks, with games against Arizona and Oregon State, should be able to coast into the Pac-12 title game. 

    It's unfortunate that the team's loss to Stanford dashed their national title hopes. But a trip to the Rose Bowl could heal plenty of wounds in Eugene. 

Bullying Could a Problem at the CFB Level

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    According to a report by ESPN, Rutgers CB Jevon Tyree quit the team this year because of bullying he suffered at the hands of defensive coordinator Dave Cohen. 

    Here's what the ESPN report said about the incident: 

    Former Rutgers cornerback Jevon Tyree is asking the school to discipline defensive coordinator Dave Cohen after "an outright bullying episode" led him to quit the team earlier this month, the Tyree family told NJ.com.

    Tyree, 19, told the website that Cohen called him emasculating names and threatened to head-butt him during a study hall session.

    The details surrounding the incident which led Tyree to quit are unclear. But if the bullying problem in college football rivals that of the NFL, it could spell trouble. 

USC Fans Need to Be More Careful Next Time They Rush the Field

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    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    After seeing their team beat its first ranked opponent in 2011 and having suffered through the tenure and firing of Lane Kiffin, fans of the USC Trojans rightfully stormed the field in celebration after upending Stanford on Saturday. 

    The only problem was that, according to reports, a few fans had to be hospitalized after sustaining injuries during the rush. 

    Nobody was in serious condition, so that's definitely a plus. 

    Next time, though, fans at the Los Angeles Coliseum should be a tad more careful when they celebrate a huge win. 

The BCS National Championship Is Now a 4-Team Race

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    With Stanford's loss to USC, the race to the national title is now between four undefeated teams: Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State and Baylor. 

    All four teams will likely face at least one if not two ranked opponents before the bowl season. So there's plenty of football left to be played. 

    Alabama has Auburn and an SEC title game should they beat the Tigers. Florida State has the ACC title game. Ohio State has the Big Ten title game, and Baylor has Oklahoma State this week. 

    Again, there's plenty of season left to be played, and losses suffered by any of these teams could settle all the debates. But if four BCS conference teams finish undefeated, it's going to be hard to tell two of them that they can't play for a national title. 

    The playoff system, which goes in next season, can't come fast enough.