Sadly, the college football season is almost over. Week 12 is usually light on drama, as it’s more of a table setter for the best week of the year: rivalry week. However, this year there was plenty of drama to be found, including one team blowing their shot at a national championship. So, without further ado, let’s dive in.
Game of the Week: The game that was the most fun to watch that week. Importance could be a factor, but it isn’t necessary to qualify.
Most Important Game of the Week: The game that had the biggest impact on the playoff race or the college football landscape as a whole.
Drunkest Game of the Week: The game that scrambled your brain just watching. A drunk game is full of chaos, but not the good kind. As the name implies, it’s a game where it wouldn’t be a shock to find out everyone involved chugged a fifth of Admiral Nelson’s beforehand.
Head-Scratcher of the Week: The result that makes less and less sense the more you look at it. This is a celebration of the random, outlier games that we look back on later in the year in awe.
Sickos Game of the Week: The game that you enjoy for all of the wrong reasons. The train wreck that you can’t look away from. This is the game that makes you shake your head and say “Only in college football.”
Hype Killer of the Week: The game where one bandwagon comes to a screeching halt. The game where a team that looked like a future college football darling crashed back down to Earth.
Seat-Warmer of the Week: The game that pushed a coach’s job security into the danger zone because coach search season never ends. It’s usually about the coach of the losing team, but that’s not always the case.
Seat-Cooler of the Week: The opposite of the seat-warmer, this is the game that will let the winning coach sleep a little more soundly at night. At least for now.
Your Future Coach: A new category where I look at a game involving an up-and-coming G5 coach that probably won’t be sticking around very long. If your team is ever in the Seat Warmer section, this one is for you.
Dealer’s Choice of the Week: The game that I just feel like talking about. It could be because it was especially fun, or stupid, or just because I want to make fun of a team I don’t like. It’s more of a catch-all category than anything.
All caught up? Good, let’s go.
Game of the Week: Bowling Green vs. Toledo
MACtion is finally here. Week 12 started off with a bang, with Bowling Green and Toledo providing the best game on Tuesday night. It was everything you want from one of these midweek matchups. No defense was played, the two teams combined to score 36 points in the fourth quarter alone, and Bowling Green won on a play that had some of the worst tackling you will ever see.
Long live MACtion.
Most Important Game of the Week: USC vs. UCLA
The Pac-12 survives for another week. This game lived up to all of our expectations, staying close until the very end. Regardless of the result, it was awesome to see a sold-out primetime matchup on the west coast with championship implications. College football is a regional sport, but it shouldn’t be. Last week, we got to see how beautiful the sport can be all across the nation. USC’s win is also huge for the Pac-12. If they win their next two games, they’re almost guaranteed to make the playoff for the first time in the storied program’s history.
Drunkest Game of the Week: Iowa vs. Minnesota
Iowa should not have won this game. The Hawkeyes scored on their first two drives of the game, and then did nothing for the next 43 minutes. Minnesota was driving late in the fourth quarter with a chance to win the game, and that’s when the chaos hit. Iowa forced a ridiculous tip-drill interception that they returned for a touchdown. Sadly, the referees said he stepped out of bounds, even though he clearly didn’t, and forced Iowa to actually score on offense to win. The Hawkeyes drove down to the Minnesota three yard line, where they decided to kick a field goal to take the lead. Despite Kirk Ferentz’s effort to ice his own kicker, Drew Stevens made the chip shot, giving Iowa control of the division and a spot in the conference championship game.
Head-Scratcher of the Week: Georgia Tech vs. North Carolina
North Carolina is not an elite team and was destined to lose. However, they weren’t supposed to lose like this. The Tar Heels were supposed to lose a shootout to a good team, not whatever this was. If I told you beforehand that UNC would be shut out in the second half, you’d probably assume it was in the ACC championship game against Clemson, not Georgia Tech led by an interim coach. UNC probably wasn’t going to make the playoff (unlike another team that we’ll get to in a second), but this is a brutal loss that will confound everyone when we look back on the season.
Sickos Game of the Week: Wisconsin vs. Nebraska
A very stoppable force met an incredibly movable object in this game. The first half was a riveting 7-0 game, before Wisconsin really turned on the jets at the end to score twelve straight points and pick up a huge 15-14 win over Nebraska. This was Big 10 West football at its finest.
Hype Killer of the Week: South Carolina vs. Tennessee
For those of you who don’t know, I’m a South Carolina grad. I usually try and avoid talking about the Gamecocks because things usually don’t go well and I don’t want to relive those games. However, there is no way I could leave this game out of the recap. It was by far one of the most surprising results of the entire season. I’ll admit, I was waiting for SC to fall behind so that I could switch to a better game, but they just never did. South Carolina beat the ever-loving crap out of Tennessee. Spencer Rattler had the best game of his career, finally showcasing every ounce of his limitless potential. The Gamecock secondary played as well as they possibly could, and even dropped the best quote of the day after the game.
Tennessee had a legitimate playoff shot entering the weekend but let it slip through their hands, giving rival coach Shane Beamer a signature, program altering win in the process.
Seat-Warmer of the Week: MTSU vs. FAU
Willie Taggart’s career path is bizarre. He started out as a head coach with his alma mater Western Kentucky, before taking a logical step to South Florida. He was okay his first few seasons at USF, until the Bulls exploded in 2016, going 11-2 with one of the most electrifying offenses in the country. Unsurprisingly, Oregon decided Taggart was the man to bring them back to glory. He got off to a solid start, put together a great coaching staff, and then left. After a single season, Taggart bolted to go back home to Florida, taking over Florida State. As some of your probably know, things didn’t exactly go well, and Taggart was fired after coaching just 21 games. That’s how he ended up at FAU, where he has once again been disappointing. He’s now 15-17 in his three seasons in Boca Raton. It’s not a terrible record, but it’s not a great way to follow his predecessor (Lane Kiffin), who won two conference championships in his three years. Taggart now finds himself in a position very similar to Seth Littrell last year, needing to finish the year with massive upset in order to reach bowl eligibility. Just like Littrell, picking up that sixth win would likely save Taggart’s job for now, before he entered next year on the hot seat having to do it all over again.
Seat-Cooler of the Week: Louisville vs. NC State
Once you decide that you want to fire a coach, fire him immediately. If you don’t, he just might go on a run that makes things complicated. Just ask Auburn and LSU. You can add Louisville to that list. Let’s go back to Week 5. Louisville just lost to Boston College, one of the worst teams in the conference, and was sitting at 2-3. The writing was on the wall for Scott Satterfield. Jump back to today, where the Cardinals are 7-4, have upset two ranked teams, and have a very good chance to pick up an eighth regular season win for the first time in five years. If you’re Louisville, can you really fire a guy who did that, just beat your instate rival, and is putting together the best recruiting class in school history by far? Don’t be surprised if Satterfield enters 2024 on Clay Helton watch and gets canned before October.
Your Future Coach: James Madison vs. Georgia State
James Madison has had an incredible first year in FBS. The Dukes are 7-3 and, if it weren’t for a dumb NCAA rule, would be playing this week for a spot in the Sun Belt championship game this weekend. It took Curt Cignetti a grand total of seven weeks to take JMU into the top 25. He’s proven that good coaches win, no matter where they are.
Dealer’s Choice: TCU vs. Baylor
Apparently they can keep getting away with it. TCU did it again. They fell behind early and staged a crazy comeback late to stay undefeated. This comeback was a little more impressive since they were missing a few of their best players on offense, but the ending was one of the most absurd things I’ve ever seen.
You don’t do that. No coach in their right mind chooses to run a fire drill field goal. That’s something you only do if things have gone wrong and it’s your only chance. The crazy SOB Sonny Dykes intentionally made things as difficult as possible, but the Frogs delivered, picking up a massive win in the Revivalry. All glory to the Hypnotoad.
(Header courtesy of Gamecock Football)