B/R's College Football Weekly Awards: Week 10
If you love March Madness, you're in luck! November Nonsense is sweeping the college football nation.
Headlined by a pair of SEC games, Week 10 provided a string of wacky, dramatic and important results as conference races heat up—and of course, the College Football Playoff looms.
Georgia dethroned top-ranked Tennessee with a convincing effort, and LSU launched Alabama from its pedestal in the nightcap. Those two results, along with Notre Dame's upset win over Clemson, threw a few compelling twists into the story of the 2022 season.
We'll cover the impact of all three contests and plenty more in the latest edition of B/R's Weekly Awards.
Team of the Week: Georgia Bulldogs
The new kid on the block had a perfect opportunity to become the leader of the neighborhood. But the wise, old mentor wouldn't pass the torch so willingly.
Tennessee arrived in Athens as the newly crowned No. 1 team in the nation, carrying an 8-0 record into a showdown with Georgia. Visions of an SEC title and a trip to the College Football Playoff have been surrounding the UT program for weeks.
However, the reigning champions backed up their billing and put a major dent in Tennessee's dreams.
Georgia surrendered an early field goal but rattled off the next 21 points to take control of the SEC clash. Perhaps most impressively, the Dawgs put together nearly a nine-minute drive in the third quarter to waste a sizable chunk of the clock and prevent a second-half comeback.
Although the Vols clawed within 14 points in the fourth quarter, a turnover on downs sealed their fate. The high-powered UT offense mustered just 289 yards in the 27-13 loss to UGA.
Georgia will very likely replace Tennessee at No. 1 when the CFP rankings are unveiled Tuesday.
Upset of the Week: Notre Dame Smacks Clemson
Clemson hasn't been the dominant force expected in 2022, but the Tigers still held an 8-0 record entering Week 10. Even while not overwhelming, they looked like a CFP contender.
That perception took a massive hit at Notre Dame.
The once-disappointing Fighting Irish pulled off a 35-14 win behind two non-offensive scores. An early blocked punt for a touchdown sparked ND, and Benjamin Morrison's late pick-six iced the victory.
As a result, the Irish—who began the season with two losses—improved to a respectable 6-3 with a marquee upset. Marcus Freeman's debut year doesn't look so bad now.
Clemson isn't officially eliminated in the CFP race, especially if TCU loses and the Pac-12 race becomes messy. But there is suddenly a high chance that Clemson misses the CFP for the second straight season.
Basketball Score of the Week: SMU Outlasts Houston
The last time the programs met, Houston built an early lead en route to a 75-61 victory. Fabian White Jr. paced the Cougs with 21 points, nine rebounds and...
Wait, wrong sport.
If you like defense, avert your eyes. SMU and Houston combined for 140 points in SMU's 77-63 win. The high-scoring affair set a record for most points in a regulation game during the AP poll era, which began in 1936.
SMU quarterback Tanner Mordecai totaled 10 touchdowns—nine passing, one rushing—and propelled the Mustangs to 642 yards. They found the end zone on nine consecutive drives to begin the game.
Clayton Tune-led Houston countered with 710 yards, which included a trio of 100-yard receiving efforts. Two first-half interceptions doomed the Cougars, though.
You think the men's basketball teams will eclipse the 140-point mark in their Jan. 5 meeting?
Game of the Week: LSU Edges Alabama
As the clock passed the midpoint of the fourth quarter, Alabama held a slim 15-14 advantage on LSU.
And then, I'm pretty sure we forgot how to breathe.
LSU inched ahead on a 32-yard field goal. Alabama responded with a six-play touchdown drive to move ahead 21-17. LSU marched back down the field on seven plays, taking a 24-21 lead on Mason Taylor's touchdown grab. Alabama evened the score on Will Reichard's 46-yard field goal and forced overtime in Death Valley.
Alabama slowly worked toward the end zone, and Roydell Williams scored a short touchdown run. LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels provided an immediate answer before first-year coach Brian Kelly went for the win.
Daniels and Taylor sent the crowd into pandemonium.
The pair connected on a two-point conversion that handed LSU a 32-31 triumph over its rival and likely eliminated Nick Saban and Alabama from the CFP race.
Feat of the Week: Bo Nix, Oregon
The Bo Nix Redemption Story is rolling along.
For the third straight week and fifth time in 2022, the Oregon quarterback totaled at least five touchdowns. Saturday, though, Nix reached a handful of scores in a more adventurous way.
While completing 20 of 24 passes for 274 yards and two touchdowns, he scampered to paydirt twice. Nix also caught an 18-yard score, becoming the first player with two passing, two rushing and one receiving touchdown in a game since Bowling Green's Josh Harris in 2001.
Sure, it was against a bad Colorado defense. But he further bolstered a budding case for the Heisman Trophy.
Next up for Nix and Oregon is a clash with 7-2 Washington, which entered the AP poll at No. 24 this weekend.
Buzzkill of the Week: Michigan State Spartans
You had a good run, Illinois.
Unfortunately for the Big Ten's breakout team, the afternoon clash with Michigan State ended in defeat. Illinois, a 15.5-point favorite, struck first but ceded the next 23 points in a loss to the visiting Spartans.
Illinois entered the contest with a 7-1 record and an undeniable—even if unlikely—path to a Big Ten title and trip to the College Football Playoff. Armed with an elite defense, you could forgive the Illini for dreaming.
But the Spartans, imperfect as they were, shattered those hopes because of timely defense. They forced four turnovers on downs and held off Illinois' last-minute drive to win 23-15.
Although the Illini remain in a fine spot to make the Big Ten Championship Game, the best-case scenario is no longer quite as glamorous.
Best of the Rest: Week 10
Job Interview of the Week: Hugh Freeze in Liberty's Win
Considering how Hugh Freeze's tenure ended at Ole Miss, you might hesitate to believe he merits a second chance in the SEC. But thanks to a 21-19 victory at Arkansas, he's now 34-12 with Liberty—which is 8-1 and has a legitimate shot at making a New Year's Six bowl. That sound you hear might just be Auburn deciding if Freeze will replace Bryan Harsin.
Underrated Win of the Week: NC State Clips Wake Forest
About a month ago, North Carolina State lost quarterback Devin Leary for the season. However, the Wolfpack have withstood the absence of their star QB reasonably well. As slight underdogs, they topped 21st-ranked Wake Forest 30-21 and improved to 7-2.
Golf Clap of the Week: Ohio Moves Toward MAC Title Game
The return of midweek #MACtion also brought a critical tilt between Buffalo and Ohio. Buffalo hadn't lost a conference game, while Ohio entered with a 3-1 league record. Kurtis Rourke fueled the 45-24 triumph for Ohio, which created a three-way tie in the MAC East along with Bowling Green. Ohio and BGSU are slated to play in the regular-season finale, so the division may be decided on the last day.
Top Games in Week 11
No. 10 Alabama at No. 11 Ole Miss (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)
The interesting twist in the SEC West is Ole Miss, despite being the last one-loss team, isn't the front-runner. That title instead belongs to LSU, which has head-to-head victories over both Alabama and Ole Miss. But if the Rebels win at home, they'll earn Lane Kiffin a valuable victory over his former boss and keep major pressure on LSU.
No. 22 UCF at No. 16 Tulane (3:30 p.m. ET)
Tulane's year-end gauntlet begins with a contest against UCF, which is also battling Cincinnati for a spot in the AAC Championship Game. This matchup has huge implications in an entertaining race to decide the conference.
No. 4 TCU at No. 18 Texas (7:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
In the evening, TCU can formally seal its place in the Big 12 Championship Game. However, the Horned Frogs will need to survive a trip to Texas, which picked up a vital win on the road at Kansas State in Week 10 to remain in the Big 12 hunt.