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What We Learned in NCAA Football Week 12

Bye Bye to Tennessee’s Title Hopes

Michigan, TCU Barely Avoid Upset Bids

The biggest news in Week 12 came when South Carolina ended Tennessee’s national title hopes with an emphatic win while Michigan and Texas Christian barely avoided similar fates against talented, but unranked teams.

Tennessee, North Carolina, North Carolina State, UCF, Ole Miss and Oklahoma State all lost to unranked foes.

What We Learned in NCAA Football Week 12
Tom Pennington/Getty Images/AFP

It should make for an interesting set of College Football Rankings heading into the final week of the regular season for the majority of the major college football world.

Each of the top five ranked teams failed to cover against the college football betting lines.

When looking at the college football playoff odds, Georgia moved from -125 to -140 and Ohio State went from +225 to 250 in the odds to win the national championship. Michigan’s odds moved from +700 to +1100.

Let’s take a look at some of the biggest stories from last week’s college football action.

Let’s check the latest NCAAF picks, stats, injury reports and NCAAF predictions. We’ve plenty of NCAAF expert picks for you to consider.

Tennessee Gets Rattled

Tennessee’s chances of securing one of the four spots in the College Football Playoff field ended with a stunning turn of events in Columbia, South Carolina.

South Carolina quarterback Spencer Rattler threw for 438 yards and six touchdowns as the Gamecocks pulled away for a 63-38 win when listed by the college football odds as 22½-point underdogs.

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Rattler has been rather underwhelming since transferring in from Oklahoma but he outplayed Tennessee’s Heisman Trophy candidate Hendon Hooker.

Hooker passed for 247 yards and three scores before being injured in the fourth quarter. The bigger issue was a Tennessee defense that gave up 606 yards to a team that came into the game averaging 355 yards per game.

Big Ten Heavyweights Almost Knocked Out

Perhaps the Michigan and Ohio State teams were a little more focused on their Week 13 matchup than the teams they were facing in Week 12.

The Wolverines needed three fourth-quarter field goals from Jake Moody, including the game-winner from 35 yards out with nine seconds to play to escape with a 19-17 win over Illinois.

Star running backs Chase Brown of Illinois and Blake Corum of Michigan both went over 100 yards in a game featuring more field goals than touchdowns.

Ohio State scored 10 points in the final 42 seconds to pull away from Maryland for the 43-30 win.

Freshman running back Dallan Hayden ran for 146 yards and three touchdowns for Ohio State. Taulia Tagovailoa threw two touchdowns and ran for another for Maryland. His TD pass with 9:49 left pulled the Terrapins within three points.

Horned Frogs Do It Again

When Baylor scored on consecutive possessions, it appeared as if the clock was going to strike midnight on the remarkable undefeated run by Texas Christian.

However, Max Duggan had a pair of completions and a 12-yard run to set up a wild final scene. Players were running on and off the field before kicker Griffin Kell connected on a 40-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Horned Frogs to the 29-28 win over defending Big 12 champion Baylor.

TCU has trailed in the second half in five of its last seven games and won each time.

Duggan finished with 327 yards and a TD pass and led the Horned Frogs with 50 rushing yards and also had a scoring run.

Wild Finishes in the Pac-12

The two Pac-12 games featuring a showdown between ranked teams did not disappoint.

An interception by Korey Foreman wrapped up Southern California’s 48-45 win over UCLA while Oregon came up with two fourth-down stops and an interception on Utah’s final three drives to hold on for a 20-17 win.

Caleb Williams threw for 470 yards and two scores, Jordan Addison had 11 catches for 178 yards and Austin Jones ran for 120 yards in USC’s action-packed win that earned the Trojans a spot in the Pac-12 title game for the second time in the last three years.

Oregon can join the Trojans in the championship contest with a win over rival Oregon State in Week 13.

A hobbled Bo Nix threw for 287 yards and a touchdown while Bennett Williams came away with two of the Ducks’ three interceptions against the defending Pac-12 champions.

Washington, which crushed Colorado 54-7, and Utah are only a game behind Oregon in the Pac-12 standings.

With a win over Oregon, Washington can reach the Pac-12 championship game with a win over Washington State and Oregon loss to Oregon State.

Defense Roars for Nittany Lions

Penn State’s defense found the end zone more frequently than the Rutgers offense in a resounding 55-10 win.

Kobe King and Ji’Ayir Brown both returned fumbles for touchdowns and the Nittany Lions also got a 100-yard kickoff return from Nicholas Singleton.

Penn State finished with 15 tackles for loss as Penn State topped Rutgers for the 16th time in a row.

Wildcats Take Care of Business

West Virginia already owned home wins against Baylor and Oklahoma and the Mountaineers were looking to pull off more Morgantown magic.

However, Will Howard passed for two scores and ran for another in Kansas State’s 48-31 victory that moved the Wildcats a step closer to their first trip to the Big 12 title game since 2003.

Brendan Mott had three sacks and Cincere Mason returned an interception for a score as Kansas State has to beat Kansas or have Texas lose to Baylor to earn a spot in the conference title game.

Texas kept its title hopes alive with an emphatic 55-14 win over Kansas thanks to 427 rushing yards.

Bijan Robinson tore through the Kansas defense for 243 rushing yards and four touchdowns while Jonathon Brooks added 108 yards and two more scores.

Defending Champions Get It Done

While top-ranked and defending champion Georgia was held out of the end zone in the first 2½ quarters and unranked Kentucky, the defense made sure that wasn’t a problem.

Kenny McIntosh had a TD run with 6:22 left in the third quarter  and Kentucky didn’t score until less than 10 minutes remained.

With the 16-6 victory, Georgia only needs to beat a 5-6 Georgia Tech team to finish the regular season undefeated.

First-Place Showdown Set

When the American Athletic Conference schedule came out, it was expected that Cincinnati would be in first place in the conference standings heading into the Week 13 showdown against Tulane. The fact that the Green Wave are also tied for the conference lead is one of the biggest surprises in college football.

Tulane won two games a season ago, one against FBS competition. Now Tulane has a chance to play for the regular-season conference title and spot in the AAC title game.

The Green Wave is better known for its defense that is tied for the conference lead with 18 takeaways. However, the offense had its most points in a conference game since a 2017 game against Tulsa.

Shae Wyatt touchdown catches of 26 and 48 yards while Tyjae Spears scored three times in the 59-24 win over Southern Methodist.

Cincinnati limited Temple to 202 yards in the 23-3 win.

The biggest surprise of the week came when Navy stunned UCF 17-14.

Navy, listed by the college football odds as a 15½-point underdog, allowed a powerful UCF offense to get into the end zone just once.

With wins over the two teams ahead of them in the standings, UCF can still clinch a berth in the AAC championship game with a win at South Florida on Saturday.

Tigers Still Have a Shot

It seems unlikely, but there is still a slight chance that Clemson could move into the top four slots in the College Football Playoffs.

The loser of the game between No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan figures to remain ahead of the Tigers. However, No. 5 Tennessee lost, No. 6 LSU still has to face Georgia in the SEC title game, No. 7 USC faces a red-hot Notre Dame team and No. 8 Alabama won’t get much of a push even with a win over a 5-6 Auburn team on Saturday.

D.J. Uiagalelei threw for two touchdowns and ran for another in a 40-10 win over Miami.

It was Clemson’s 40th victory in a row at home as Miami finished with 98 yards.

Jeremiah Trotter led the defense with nine tackles.

Clemson has a tough test on Saturday as the Tigers head to face a South Carolina team that just dominated Tennessee before meeting North Carolina in the ACC championship game.

Hitting the Ground Running

In this era of high-octane pass-first offenses, the Ole Miss-Arkansas game felt like it should have been played in a different era.

Three players ran for more than 200 yards in Arkansas’ 42-27 win.

Raheim Sanders had 232 yards and three scores for the victorious Razorbacks while the Ole Miss tandem of Quinshon Judkins and Zach Evans ran for 214 and 207 yards as the teams combined for 798 rushing yards.

It is interesting that four of the eight players to rush for more than 200 yards were on the losing side with Minnesota’s Mohamed Ibrahim rushing 39 times for 263 yards in a loss to Iowa and Wyoming’s Titus Swen having 212 yards in a 20-17 loss to Boise State.

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