B/R's College Football Weekly Awards: Week 13

David KenyonFeatured Columnist IVNovember 28, 2022

B/R's College Football Weekly Awards: Week 13

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    Conner Weigman
    Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

    The final week of mass chaos in college football is a bittersweet moment. But it never fails to deliver.

    Not only are programs chasing bowl eligibility, but the last weekend of November is also loaded with rivalries. Spots in conference championships are at stake. In select parts around the country, College Football Playoff dreams, too.

    Week 13 put a spotlight on all of that madness.

    Our responsibility—nay, our privilege—at B/R's Weekly Awards is to summarize the glorious weekend, the busiest one in this outrageous sport until September 2023.

Team of the Week: Michigan Wolverines

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    Donovan Edwards
    AP Photo/Jay LaPrete

    The stakes were immense. No. 2 vs. No. 3. Winner goes to the Big Ten Championship Game—and likely the College Football Playoff. Oh, and bragging rights in this historic rivalry for the next 12 months.

    Michigan entered as the underdog, but the Wolverines left Columbus with a second straight win over Ohio State.

    And they assembled the 45-23 victory in remarkable fashion.

    Star running back Blake Corum barely played, yet Michigan shredded a highly ranked OSU defense anyway. J.J. McCarthy tossed three touchdowns of 45-plus yards, and Donovan Edwards ripped off a pair of 75-yard scores in the fourth quarter to seal the emphatic result.

    For the first time since 1999-2000, Michigan has notched consecutive wins against Ohio State. And now, the Wolverines are heavily favored to beat Purdue to secure a back-to-back Big Ten crown.

    In just two seasons' time, Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines have risen from an afterthought to the Big Ten's power.

Player of the Week: Ben Finley, NC State

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    Ben Finley
    David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Last month, Ben Finley was running North Carolina State's scout team as the fourth-string quarterback.

    Today, he's a program legend.

    Finley made his first career start in a showdown with North Carolina, a strong favorite in the rivalry clash. Holding a 9-2 record, the Tar Heels had already clinched a spot in the ACC Championship Game with breakout quarterback Drake Maye leading an explosive offense.

    Despite all of those factors in UNC's favor, Finley hit 27 of his 40 attempts for 271 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions. NC State won 30-27 in double overtime.

    The younger brother of former NC State starter Ryan Finley, Ben improved the family's record to 4-0 in the rivalry.

Coach of the Week: Joey McGuire, Texas Tech

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    Joey McGuire
    AP Photo/Justin Rex

    You know what's better than beating Oklahoma and Texas as a first-year head coach? Becoming the first coach in program history to ever accomplish that in a a single season.

    Joey McGuire should have no shortage of support at Texas Tech in 2023 thanks to that pair of wins.

    Sure, it's a down season for Oklahoma and another disappointing year at Texas, but the Red Raiders don't have a long history of beating any version of the blue-blood programs. Yet they upset Texas earlier this season and snapped a 10-game losing streak to OU on Saturday.

    Texas Tech recovered from an 18-point deficit and ultimately outlasted the Sooners 51-48 in overtime. Oklahoma missed a field goal before TTU's Trey Wolff buried a 35-yarder to win.

    Texas Tech has much to improve as a program, but McGuire and the Red Raiders have the start of an appealing recruiting pitch.

Archaic Rule of the Week: FBS Transition

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    Todd Centeio
    Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    It's a good time for asterisks, folks.

    James Madison is the deserving East Division champion in the Sun Belt. Led by quarterback Todd Centeio, the Dukes thrashed Coastal Carolina—which is without star Grayson McCall (foot)—in a 47-7 blowout win that should be sending JMU to the conference title game.

    However, that's not happening because of an old, silly NCAA rule. Programs transitioning from the FCS to FBS aren't allowed to win a conference title or play in a bowl during this initial FBS season.

    Look, the Dukes understood the situation. They accepted the rules that accompany joining the FBS, and the guidelines only apply to the occasionally new FBS program.

    But that doesn't mean the rule is sensible. Hopefully, the NCAA revokes this goofy stipulation—and it wouldn't hurt the Sun Belt to throw an asterisk on Coastal Carolina's division crown.

Controversy of the Week: UCF's Catch

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    Friday afternoon, Tulane beat Cincinnati in a critical game. The winner secured the right to host the AAC Championship Game.

    The loser, though, still had a chance. Cincinnati needed help, but the Bearcats would get an immediate rematch with Tulane if South Florida could topple Central Florida on Saturday night.

    And it nearly happened.

    UCF sprinted out to a 28-0 lead, but USF quickly closed the gap. Midway through the fourth quarter, Byrum Brown's 42-yard touchdown run even pushed USF in front 39-38. It wasn't until Alec Holler snatched a ridiculous one-handed score in the last minute that UCF regained the lead.

    Did he tap a foot in-bounds prior to his knee hitting the ground? Did the ball shift when Holler's arm hit the ground? After a review, officials determined the play would stand.

    Sure, UCF might've hit a reasonably short field goal on the next snap anyway. Freshman kicker Colton Boomer is perfect inside of 50 yards, so it's fair to suggest he would've made a 31-yarder on fourth down. Likely, however, is not certain.

    One review confirmed UCF's shot at a conference title and squashed Cincinnati's hopes of a third straight AAC championship.

Upset of the Week: Texas A&M Shocks LSU

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    Devon Achane
    Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    This has been a horrid year for Texas A&M.

    After the excitement and buzz of a record recruiting class and top-10 preseason ranking, the Aggies collapsed. They lost to Appalachian State in September and later dropped six consecutive SEC games, including to an Auburn program that fired its coach this season.

    In a result best summarized as "because of course," Texas A&M upset fifth-ranked SEC West champion LSU. And, really, it was a decisive win for Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies.

    Demani Richardson's scoop-and-score handed A&M a seven-point lead in the third quarter, and two touchdowns in the closing frame vaulted the Aggies to a commanding 21-point edge. They allowed a quick score but comfortably held LSU's next possession to ice the 38-24 victory.

    So, maybe a little less horrid!

    The greatest impact, though, is A&M likely eliminated LSU's chances of rising into the College Football Playoff even if they secure a victory over top-ranked Georgia in the SEC title game.

Best of the Rest: Week 13

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    Marcellas Dial
    Eakin Howard/Getty Images

    Champs of the Week: So, So Many!

    Little time for an introduction here. Michigan and Purdue settled the Big Ten matchup. Kansas State and Utah locked up spots in the Big 12 and Pac-12 titles, respectively. Tulane and UCF secured bids to the AAC title, while North Texas earned a rematch with UTSA in Conference USA. Ohio clinched the MAC East, and Troy cruised to a ninth straight win to celebrate a Sun Belt West title.

    Comeback of the Week: Oregon State Beavers

    Between the stakes and rapid nature of the comeback, the Beavers earn the nod. Oregon State trailed 34-17 early in the fourth quarter but scored 21 straight points to upend No. 9 Oregon and prevent the in-state rivals from making the Pac-12 Championship Game. Oregon State has a chance for its first 10-win record since 2006 in bowl season.

    Golf Clap of the Week: South Carolina Gamecocks

    Any of Texas A&M, Oregon State and South Carolina could've been an "Upset of the Week" choice, but LSU's proximity to the CFP boosted A&M's appeal. South Carolina, though, halted Clemson's small-yet-real dreams of championship-week chaos propelling the program into the CFP. South Carolina ended a seven-game skid to Clemson with the 31-30 win.

Top Games in Week 14

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    Caleb Williams
    Chris Gardner/ Getty Images

    No. 12 Utah vs. No. 4 USC (Friday, 8 p.m. ET)

    In all likelihood, USC has a win-and-in scenario to make the College Football Playoff. However, the Trojans first need to exact revenge on Utah during the Pac-12 title game. Utah won a 43-42 thriller in mid-October.

    No. 13 Kansas State vs. No. 3 TCU (Saturday, Noon ET)

    TCU certainly has that win-and-in outlook as an undefeated, power-conference. But the Horned Frogs must navigate a pesky Kansas State squad that jumped out to a 28-10 lead in the October meeting. Although TCU recovered to win that night, K-State showed its danger.

    No. 22 UCF at No. 18 Tulane (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET)

    On the second Saturday of November, UCF traveled to Tulane and clipped the hosts 38-31. The rematch is once again in New Orleans, and the winner will undoubtedly represent the Group of Five in the Cotton Bowl.