There was not much in the way of marquee matchups this week (but we’ll see a #2 vs. #3 next Saturday) and in many cases it was a time for Power-5 schools paying lesser schools to come into town for a rollover beatdown. FSU hosted North Alabama but the blowout was costly, as star QB Jordan Travis went down with a severe leg injury. In Auburn they cut a check to New Mexico State, but after shelling out $1.85 million, they were shelled by the Aggies, 31-10.
One of the main stories of the week had been undefeated James Madison University being denied a chance for post-season bowl eligibility due to NCAA rules limiting schools from bowl games for two years after shifting to the FBS. There was talk of changing the rules and lawsuits to force the issue, but the Dukes got the governing body off the hook, as they lost to Appalachian State in overtime.
Speaking of rollovers and Aggies, there was a great moment in College Station. Late in their victory over Abilene Christian, Texas A&M had a kickoff where they fielded an entire team of walk-on players for Senior Day. The result was glorious.
Texas A&M sent out a kickoff team full of walk-on’s
the script had an unbelievable moment in store for these legends
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) November 18, 2023
(4) Washington 22 – (15) Oregon State 20
One of the highlight games coming into the weekend was as close as expected. The upset-savvy Beavers had ideas and came close. OSU managed to shut down Heisman candidate Michael Pennix in the second half and they came within two points with ten minutes remaining, but that effort stalled out and the Huskies hung on to retain their postseason position.
(6) Oregon 49 – Arizona State 13
Another Heiman candidate, Bo Nix, had a stunning performance. He tossed for half a dozen touchdowns and 400 yards. Now grasp that he did this after two quarters. Even after downshifting in the second half and later sitting Nix, the Ducks still compiled over 600 yards of offense.
(1) Georgia 38 – (25) Tennessee 10
Some wondered if the road game could be a test for the Bulldogs, but if so they clearly passed. Carson Beck had a strong game, throwing for just under 300 yards and three touchdown strikes, and the Dogs’ defense did its usual thing and shut down the Volunteers, holding them scoreless in the second half.
(10) Missouri 33 – Florida 31
The Tigers are looking for a way to creep into the playoff picture, and this thriller will keep them in the top 10 for now. Both teams amassed 500 yards of offense, and the Gators were in upset mode as it took the lead with 1:36 to play. But Missouri managed to put together a 12-play drive in that limited time, including converting a 4th-and-17, leading to the winning field goal with five seconds remaining.
(7) Texas 26 – Iowa State 16
The Longhorns are on the outside looking in for the postseason and will need help – as well as an unblemished finish. Some looked at this as a potential upset, but Texas used a strong 117-yard running game from C.J. Baxter, and Quinn Ewers had a solid performance with 281 yards in the air and a pair of touchdowns.
(2) Michigan 31 – Maryland 24
The Wolverines figured out how to manage a semi-balanced offense this week, and a decent start to the game allowed the defense to hold on for the win. Terrapins quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa tried to throw them back into contention, but the running game was completely shut down as a team, picking up only 59 yards and gaining only 15 yards net. Michigan meets Ohio State next week.
(9) Louisville 38 – Miami 31
In a gunfight in Florida, both teams threw for over 300 yards and ran for 160, but the Cardinals managed a pair of 4th quarter touchdowns to lock down the road win. This should see Louisville go to the ACC final against FSU, and in a dream scenario, an upset there could conceivably see them creep into the post-season tournament.
Here is this week’s new AP poll, which will feed into the playoff rankings released on Tuesday night. The standings are not expected to shift then, as the entire top 10 came away with solid wins.
2. Ohio State
5. Florida State
11. Penn State
12. Ole Miss
15. Oregon State
17. Notre Dame
19. Kansas State
21. Oklahoma State
24. James Madison