College Football Winners and Losers of November

Sean Frye@Sean_E_FryeFeatured ColumnistDecember 2, 2013

College Football Winners and Losers of November

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    RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

    November couldn't have ended any better if you're a college football fan. With one of the greatest Iron Bowls in history capping off a wild rivalry weekend, the BCS picture got a whole lot clearer this month. 

    Oklahoma State and Northern Illinois also had great Novembers. 

    Checkout the winners and losers from probably the wildest month of college football we've seen in recent memory. 

Winner: Auburn and Missouri

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    Auburn and Missouri won just two combined games in the SEC last year. 

    Now both teams are headed to Atlanta to battle for the 2013 conference title. Missouri beat Texas A&M to lock up its spot, while Auburn shockingly knocked off Alabama in the Iron Bowl to earn its bid. 

    Both schools went undefeated in November to finish off their miraculous turnarounds. 

    Just one year ago, these two teams were among the worst in the conference. Auburn fired Gene Chizik after a winless SEC season, while Gary Pinkel was on his last rope following a lackluster debut year in the SEC. 

    What a difference a year makes, though, as now a berth in the BCS National Championship isn't out of reach for Auburn or Missouri. 

Loser: Alabama's Chances at a Three-Peat

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    No matter what's to blame for Alabama's loss in the Iron Bowl, the fact of the matter is that it's now really unlikely that the Crimson Tide will three-peat. 

    Alabama had looked shaky throughout the month, struggling to pull away in matchups against LSU and Mississippi State. Their struggles caught up to them against Auburn, and now the Crimson Tide are out of legitimate contention for a trip to Pasadena. 

    However, it's still very likely that Alabama will steal an at-large bid to a BCS bowl game, so the Tide still have plenty to play for in 2013. 

Winner: Northern Illinois' Chances at Heading Back to the BCS

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    Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

    With Fresno State's loss to San Jose State, the Northern Illinois Huskies pretty much control their own destiny to an automatic berth in a BCS bowl game. 

    In order for the Huskies to earn an automatic berth, they must finish in the Top 16 of the BCS rankings and finish ahead of an automatic-qualifying team. 

    As of now, NIU is ranked No. 14 in the BCS and is ahead of No. 16 UCF from the American Athletic Conference. 

    The Huskies stayed undefeated in November, rattling off four wins in the month behind the play of Heisman Trophy candidate Jordan Lynch. 

    In four games in November, Lynch racked up 1,470 total yards, 16 total touchdowns and zero interceptions. 

Loser: Baylor's National Title Dreams

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    On Nov. 23, the Baylor Bears watched their national title hopes melt away in Stillwater, Okla. with a 49-17 loss to the Oklahoma State Cowboys. 

    That night is still the only game all year in which the Bears were held under 40 points and the only time Baylor has taken a loss. 

    But that one loss eliminated the Bears from contention for a BCS National Championship berth. 

    Still, the Bears are in the hunt for an automatic berth into the Fiesta Bowl should they win the Big 12. For that to happen, Baylor needs to beat Texas and Oklahoma State needs to lose its Bedlam matchup against Oklahoma this weekend. 

Winner: Ed Orgeron

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    Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

    Ed Orgeron went 4-1 in November as the USC Trojans' interim head coach, including a huge upset win over the Stanford Cardinal that sent USC fans rushing onto the field. 

    With USC's 6-2 overall record since Orgeron took over, Pat Hayden and Co. have to be thinking of Orgeron as a serious candidate for the full-time head coaching job. 

    Other candidates for the job include Jack Del Rio and Steve Sarkisian. But Orgeron probably has the most momentum of any candidate. 

Loser: Will Muschamp

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    Florida finished its season just 4-8 and won't go bowling. 

    But November was particularly tough on head coach Will Muschamp and the Gators. 

    The Gators went 0-5 in November, capping off a seven-game losing streak to end the season. The toughest loss came against Georgia Southern, an FCS opponent that didn't have a single passing yard in its 26-20 win over Florida. 

    The team's offensive struggles have now cost offensive coordinator Brent Pease and offensive line coach Tim Davis their jobs, per ESPN

    This season is the first losing one since 1979 for the Gators. So it's hard to believe that Muschamp is not on the hot seat as well. 

Winner: Oklahoma State

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    Don't look now, but the Oklahoma State Cowboys are one of the nation's hottest teams and are on the fringes of the national title conversation. 

    The Cowboys are 10-1 overall, riding a seven-game win streak, and they went 4-0 in November. The team's punctuating win in the month came against Baylor on Nov. 23, a 49-17 blowout. 

    Now Oklahoma State is ranked sixth in the BCS rankings. And while it's unlikely, should Florida State and Ohio State both lose their conference championship games, it's possible that the Cowboys could get into the national title. 

Winner: Duke

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    The Duke Blue Devils are the ACC Coastal Division champions and have a date with the Florida State Seminoles in the ACC title game thanks to a 4-0 November, including a win over then-No. 23 Miami. 

    Behind head coach David Cutcliffe, the Blue Devils have had one of the best turnarounds in recent memory and now have a chance at shaking up the entire college football landscape. 

    Duke's storybook season was capped off with a must-win game over archrival North Carolina last weekend, a slim 27-25 win that went down to the wire. But that's what sent the Blue Devils to the title game. 

Loser: The Pac-12

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    The Pac-12 won't send either Stanford or Oregon to the BCS National Championship, as both teams had rocky Novembers. 

    Oregon dropped two games, one to Stanford and one to Arizona. On the flipside, Stanford suffered its second loss of the year at the hands of the USC Trojans. 

    The Ducks at least were able to finish their season on a strong note with a 36-35 Civil War win over Oregon State. The Cardinal also beat rival Notre Dame to end their regular season. But their season is still going, as Stanford has a date with Arizona State for the Pac-12 championship. 

    What's crazy is that just one month ago, both Oregon and Stanford were in the national title hunt. But now the Pac-12 may only send its conference champion to a BCS bowl. 

Winner: Ohio State

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    There is no doubt nowOhio State can take its nation-best winning streak to the BCS National Championship should the Buckeyes beat Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game. 

    Ohio State has long been on the outside looking in at a berth in the BCS title game. But Auburn's win over Alabama leaves just Ohio State and Florida State as the only undefeated BCS conference teams left in the country. 

    The Buckeyes finished their regular season with a thrilling 42-41 win over archrival Michigan in a game in which they stopped a last-minute two-point conversion to salvage their season. 

    Now all that stands between Ohio State and a berth in the BCS National Championship is a win over the Spartans.