A lack of upsets among the top teams becomes a top storyline this late in the year in college football, as it has a huge impact on the CFP race. That leads our recap of Week 12 of the 2023 season. However, a devastating injury and a high-profile head coach already on the hot seat also make headlines. Let’s dive in with what has happened.
1. What to do with FSU given Jordan Travis injury
In a heartbreaking moment, Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jordan Travis suffered a broken leg in a meaningless game against the North Alabama Lions, whom FSU beat 58-13. Now, what do you do with FSU? I say if they win out, they still have to go to the College Football Playoff since they’re undefeated. Body of work matters.
On top of that, I’m still inviting Travis to New York. Hendon Hooker should have been there last season, and Travis has had a Heisman caliber campaign to this point. His role in getting FSU to this point can’t be overlooked, especially since the Florida Gators and ACC title games should be minor formalities with him doing the bulk of the work until that point.
2. Washington proves itself; Oregon can assure Pac-12 in CFP
All signs point to a Pac-12 championship game rematch now. The Huskies held off the Oregon State Beavers 22-20 on the road, and there’s nothing to be ashamed about in a close win like that. Now they get a 5-6 Washington State Cougars team at home to close out the year, so they should finish the regular season undefeated.
Meanwhile, the Ducks dominated the Arizona State Sun Devils, and now they get Oregon State. However, they get that game at home. Assuming they hold on, they will face Washington in the Pac-12 title game while also assuring the first College Football Playoff appearance for the league since 2016. However, if they lose, they may not even play for the title.
3. Georgia establishes its dominance over college football
Nobody should question the “easy road” of the Bulldogs anymore. In three straight weeks, they secured top 25 victories, each more dominating than the last, beating the now 9-2 Missouri Tigers, 9-2 Ole Miss Rebels and 7-4 Tennessee Vols. Kirby Smart’s team may play down to opponents, but they turn it on every time it matters.
4. Texas a thorn in Alabama’s side for College Football Playoff
This may not matter with Georgia dominating, but the Crimson Tide look like the best team in college football. However, they can’t leapfrog the Longhorns for the CFP since UT beat them. Texas keeps holding on with one loss, beating the Iowa State Cyclones this weekend. What if they, Bama, FSU, Washington and Michigan or Ohio State all win out? Then the SEC misses out on the CFP.
5. Ohio State looks better than Michigan ahead of Big Game
All year, the Wolverines looked like the most dominant team in the nation. However, they and the Buckeyes looked oddly similar against the Penn State Nittany Lions, their one real threat, and Michigan has now struggled with the Maryland Terrapins. As a result, ahead of this matchup, Ryan Day’s team all of a sudden looks better. What do we make of that for a huge game in Ann Arbor without khaki pants?
6. Louisville won’t go away
You think Texas is annoying and not going away? What about the Louisville Cardinals? The ninth and final Power Five team with one or 0 losses held off the Miami Hurricanes and remains in the College Football Playoff race. If they beat the Kentucky Wildcats this weekend, they’ll play an FSU team without Travis for the ACC Championship. Could they win? That’ll really shake things up.
7. College Football Playoff chaos scenarios
Imagine if Oregon loses to Oregon State. Then either Oregon or the Arizona Wildcats will play for the Pac-12 title with two losses, and Washington could finish undefeated. What happens if Washington then loses that title game to a two-loss team? That would effectively eliminate the Pac-12 from title contention, wouldn’t it?
Well, more chaos is possible. What if Alabama loses to the Auburn Tigers and then beats Georgia in the SEC title? What if the Iowa Hawkeyes, who just clinched the Big Ten West, win the Big Ten championship game? Then there’s the issue of Michigan going undefeated amidst the sign-stealing scandal. Two weeks out, things look smooth, but nothing is a guarantee.
8. Lincoln Riley is officially on the hot seat
This just in, Lincoln Riley is not Josh Heupel west. Okay, so both have just seven wins, but the USC Trojans did it with a Heisman winner, and Heupel did it with a quarterback not fit for his system. He could also finish with eight wins. Riley is officially on the hot seat now, as his lack of interest in defense and physicality has proven to be devastating over time.