CFB Insider

Rivalry Week Recap Sets Stage for Selection Sunday

There was, of course, another exciting weekend for fans. 

Several surprises occurred during Week 13, along with elaborate celebrations, emotional goodbyes, and a shift in the Heisman Trophy favorites. Thanksgiving Day, the last weekend of the regular season, began with a Mississippi State's victory over Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl. 

In return, the current College Football Playoff rankings altered again due to the losses of four top-10 teams (No. 2 Ohio State, No. 5 LSU, No. 8 Clemson, and No. 9 Oregon).

Despite his 349 passing yards, quarterback C.J. Stroud could not lead Ohio State to victory. As a result, Stroud departs Ohio State with a bittersweet legacy after the Buckeyes' 45–23 loss to archrival Michigan cost them the Big Ten championship. 

Although, despite the remarkable numbers he produced during his two years as Ohio State's starting quarterback - 7,775 passing yards and 81 touchdowns – many sports pundits believe the two defeats will define his reputation with the Buckeyes. 

While the defeat to Michigan dashed his Heisman Trophy prospects, the Ohio State quarterback is projected to be a top-five pick in the 2023 NFL draft.

While the oddsmakers favored Clemson to win their rivalry against South Carolina, QB Spencer Rattler and the Gamecocks had other plans. South Carolina followed up last week's 63-38 crushing defeat of No. 5 Tennessee by defeating No. 8 Clemson, 31-30, and ruining the ACC's playoff aspirations.

The game ultimately came down to the quarterbacks. 

Clemson's DJ Uiagaleli struggled significantly during the game, completing only 8 of 29 passes for one touchdown and 99 passing yards. Meanwhile, Rattler was again spectacular, completing 25 of 39 throws for 360 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for a third. 

In the end, the QB outplayed the Tigers and led South Carolina to a 31-30 victory. ESPN Stats & Information reports that amid the lousy performance, the Gamecocks blitzed on 19 of 30 dropbacks, their highest blitz rate in a game since 2015.

As expected, the shocking win by Texas A&M against then-No. 5 LSU dropped the Tigers in the college football playoff rankings. After a 38–23 defeat at Kyle Field, LSU fell to No. 14 in the CFP rankings on Tuesday. The Tigers are scheduled to take on No. 1 Georgia in Saturday’s SEC Championship Game at Mercedez-Benz Stadium on CBS at 3 p.m.

Fans have entered championship week. 

Two of the four teams contending for a berth in the College Football Playoff already have a solid case regardless of the result of their championship games, thus the picture will finally take form as teams attempt to hoist their respective conference trophies after the weekend.

Here's a look at the AP's Week 13 top 25 rankings:

  1. Georgia 
  2. Michigan 
  3. TCU
  4. Southern California
  5. Ohio State
  6. Alabama
  7. Tennessee
  8. Penn State
  9. Washington
  10. Clemson
  11. LSU
  12. Utah
  13. Kansas State
  14. Florida State
  15. Oregon
  16. Oregon State
  17. UCLA
  18. Tulane
  19. Notre Dame
  20. South Carolina
  21. Texas
  22. UCF
  23. UTSA
  24. North Carolina
  25. Mississippi State