Week 12 Tallies
Clarity towards the top, despair towards the bottom...
It was a week of big wins and losses at the top of the sport and some dramatic losses for some of the most disappointing teams this year, followed by a firing that was unthinkable six weeks ago. Here’s our Week 12 Tallies:
Best Game of the Week:
Alabama 42 – Arkansas 35: Alabama clinches the SEC West and is one win away from a possible #1vs#2 showdown with Georgia but had to hold on repeatedly as the Hogs kept rallying. The Tide would go up 14 or even 17 and Arkansas kept fighting back. Alabama’s defense seemed to regress in this game pretty badly BUT Bryce Young may have put himself in the driver’s seat for the Heisman Trophy (along with Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud) as he threw for over 500 yards and made play after play to secure the win. It came down to an onside kick with a minute to go. Arkansas’ future is very bright as well.
New contenders emerging as others exit - and PAC 12 OUT of Playoff hunt…Ohio State has now blown out quality opponents in two straight games (this time thumping #7 Michigan State) and is a win over Michigan away from winning the Big 10 East and likely stamping ticket to the College Football Playoff. Cincinnati picked a great week to have a dominating performance over a good SMU team while Alabama struggled. Meanwhile Oklahoma State is looking like they might actually be the better team in the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State Bedlam game next week and a win there could put them on cusp of playoff. Notre Dame has now re-emerged, with just one loss, as a possible (though not likely) playoff contender as well as Michigan continuing to win while Oregon (also in blowout fashion), Wake Forest and the afore-mentioned Michigan State officially bit the dust.
At the “bottom” we have teams finishing disappointing seasons and/or firing their coaches…Florida has lost an unthinkable five straight SEC games, is now 5-6 and officially has fired Dan Mullen as their head coach, something I would never have predicted even four weeks ago. A host of issues seemed to cascade down on him in addition to the losing but it’s still a stunner. The Gators play Florida State next week and the winner goes bowling…two programs going in opposite directions right now. Virginia Tech made the move to fire their coach last week and lost again…to Miami…who’s coach is fighting for his job, and we’ll see. Texas, much like Florida but with a first-year coach, lost AGAIN and is now 4-7, six straight losses. They went from being up 21 on Oklahoma in the Red River Shootout to losing that one and five more. The coaching carousel is absolutely wild now with LSU, USC, Florida, Washington, Virginia Tech, Washington State, TCU and a number of G5 schools all open. That doesn’t even mention Miami or Arizona State who also seem likely.
Top 3 Coaching Performances of Week 12:
Ryan Day – Ohio State: You can say what you want about having more talent than the teams they play but Ryan Day and the Buckeyes put on a clinic exploiting the weakness of a strong Michigan State team – pass defense – again and again in the second straight rout of a top 20 team in as many weeks. The Bucks look like the #2 team in the country and are a threat to at least make a game with Georgia in the playoff look interesting. They face a tough test with Michigan next week and then probably Wisconsin but they are firing on all cylinders and Day deserves credit for switching defensive play callers and continuing to fire away on offense.
Shane Beamer – South Carolina: This is the second time in three weeks I’ve had Beamer on this list. The Gamecocks came from 14 down in the first half to beat an Auburn team that – while struggling – is more talented than SC by far. The Gamecocks are going bowling – and that’s not a sentence I thought I’d write. I would even bet they’ll give Clemson a game next week.
Kyle Whittingham – Utah: Left for dead earlier this year, the Utes have won four straight and absolutely dominated #3 Oregon 38-7. So many great coaching points in this – one in particular stood out to me – taking timeouts to give his elite punt returner a chance before half and it paid off with a TD runback to end any hope really of an Oregon comeback down 28-0.
Honorable Mention: Paul Chryst, Wisconsin, Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State, Craig Bohl, Wyoming
Worst 3 Coaching Performances of Week 12:
Geoff Collins – Georgia Tech: This has been building all year but Collins has exhausted all goodwill here at the end of year 3 in Atlanta. People all expected the first couple of years switching from the triple option to be tough but the Tech defense has just been awful for three straight years and the team plays poor situational football. Losing at Notre Dame is not embarrassing but 55-0 absolutely is. Collins *probably* will be retained but he’s going to need a major staff shakeup and absolutely has to win 6-7 games next year or he’s gone.
Dan Mullen - Florida: He’s now fired so I don’t want to pile on but another listless offensive performance coupled with a strange insistence on NOT playing Anthony Richardson at QB because of “injury” which was not reported all week. The Gators lost to a Missouri team they beat by three scores last season and just looked terrible.
Bryan Harsin - Auburn: From looking dangerous at 6-2 to dropping three straight, the bloom is off the rose a bit for Harsin (although a win or really close game against Alabama could turn that some). With star RB Tank Bigsby really cooking, Auburn went away from him in second half and allowed a team playing a walk-on DIII QB to beat them, including a special teams blunder (though questionable call on a punt touching a Tiger player) to end the game. Truth be told – a lot of us expected a stepback year on the Plains…and it has proven to be the case. The Iron Bowl next week looms however.
Dishonorable Mention: Mike Locksley, Maryland, David Shaw, Stanford, Mario Cristobal, Oregon
I’m going to be posting my Top 10 Most Meaningful Matchups of Week 13 hopefully by Wednesday in advance of the Thanksgiving long weekend – tons of great rivalry games are on the schedule. As always, if you’re interested in my views on college football throughout the weekend, follow me on Twitter @ReadyCFB.