Oklahoma survived a dramatic fourth-quarter at West Virginia to stay alive in the College Football Playoff chase. Washington State, however, wasn't so fortunate.
Friday's slate featured a couple of captivating prime-time games and sent Week 13 into Saturday with two important storylines.
That wasn't all the action from Black Friday. Although UCF remained undefeated, the Knights won on the scoreboard yet suffered a major loss. Texas sealed its place in the Big 12 Championship Game, too.
Saturday's action includes a few rivalries, highlighted by "The Game" between Michigan and Ohio State and the Iron Bowl pitting Alabama against Auburn. We're already guaranteed to see movement in the Top 10 of next week's College Football Playoff poll, and Saturday might bring a few more surprises.
College Football Playoff Week 13 Standings
1. Alabama (11-0)
2. Clemson (11-0)
3. Notre Dame (11-0)
4. Michigan (10-1)
5. Georgia (10-1)
6. Oklahoma (11-1); W 59-56 at West Virginia
7. LSU (9-2)
8. Washington State (10-2); L 28-15 vs. Washington
9. UCF (11-0); W 38-10 at South Florida
10. Ohio State (10-1)
11. Florida (8-3)
12. Penn State (8-3)
13. West Virginia (9-2); L 59-56 vs. Oklahoma
14. Texas (9-3); W 24-17 at Kansas
15. Kentucky (8-3)
16. Washington (9-3); W 28-15 at Washington State
17. Utah (8-3)
18. Mississippi State (8-4); W 35-3 at Ole Miss
19. Northwestern (7-4)
20. Syracuse (8-3)
21. Utah State (10-1)
22. Texas A&M (7-4)
23. Boise State (9-2)
24. Pitt (7-4)
25. Iowa State (6-4)
Note: Week 13 results in bold.
UCF Wins, but Loses
On the bright side, the Knights finished the regular season undefeated. They assembled a stellar all-around day in a 38-10 triumph over USF, again proving to the College Football Playoff committee that a criticism of their defense was misguided.
But something went horribly wrong.
Early in the second quarter, junior quarterback McKenzie Milton left the field on a cart with his right leg immobilized. To put it simply, the injury is not for the fainthearted.
There's no way Milton returns to the football field this season. We can only hope it wasn't a career-ending injury.
Somehow, someway, the Knights must continue on. They'll enter the American Athletic Conference Championship Game at 11-0 with (extremely) slim CFP hopes—but as the favorite to represent the Group of Five in a New Year's Six bowl.
Milton's replacement is Darriel Mack Jr., who started one game earlier this season and will lead UCF against Memphis.
Oklahoma Skates Past West Virginia
Just as everyone expected, a defensive play shaped the matchup between the nation's No. 1 and No. 9 scoring offenses.
West Virginia opened the fourth quarter with a 49-45 advantage, but Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray hit Grant Calcaterra for the go-ahead touchdown. On the first play of the ensuing drive, WVU's Kennedy McKoy scampered 73 yards.
However, a suspect penalty negated the run.
Only a few snaps later, Will Grier made a crushing mistake. He evaded the first defender and frantically tried to throw the ball, but a hit from behind popped the ball loose. OU's Curtis Bolton picked it up and dashed to the end zone.
Later, thanks to a gutsy fourth-down conversion, the Sooners salted away the clock and advanced to the Big 12 title against Texas.
Yes, revenge is at stake for OU, which fell to the Longhorns 44-41 in October. But a victory would position Lincoln Riley's club to sneak into the CFP if any Top Four team drops out, too.
Wazzu's CFP Dreams End in Snowy Pullman
The breakout team of 2018, Washington State had an opportunity to solidify itself as a College Football Playoff threat. Unlikely though a CFP berth was, a victory in the Apple Cup would've kept the Cougs as a Top Eight team entering Championship Week.
"Would've" being the operative word.
Instead, a tremendous defensive effort from rival Washington silenced Wazzu in front of a stunned home crowd. The Cougs lost 28-15 and mustered only 237 yards of total offense—a dramatic drop from the previous season-low output of 394 yards.
Not only did WSU's playoff dreams disappear, Washington earned its sixth straight victory in the Apple Cup. The Dawgs stole the North Division crown and will challenge Utah for the Pac-12 title.
Mike Leach, Gardner Minshew and the rest of the Cougs deserve praise for a remarkable 10-win campaign, but the final chapter of this season won't be as thrilling as they hoped.
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