NCAA Football Report (Week 13)

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It’s that time of year again as the best games in the NCAA took place on rivalry week with plenty of storylines heading into the game

Rivalry week is one of the greatest times of the year for NCAA fans because it is the time that fans get to see their biggest rival.

It creates the best games every year and inevitably there is one game that ends up shaping the national championship picture.

Although most of the favourites won this year there was a game that was set to shape the playoff.

That was “The Game” as Michigan and Ohio State once again played a big game against each other.

It has been a theme of the two Big Ten teams as both count among the top programs in the country and they often meet with something on the line.

In the last few years, the Wolverines didn’t have much to offer against the Buckeyes as they were simply not the program that they once were.

Since the arrival of Jim Harbaugh though, the program has made a return to the national conversation.

It is only his second year as a head coach and in his second year, he had the Wolverines well within striking distance of the playoff.

Heading into this week they were ranked third overall with the Buckeyes only one spot ahead at #2 in the country.

This game was always one that each team had circled on the calendar but now it was looking like the game was going to be a playoff game before the playoffs began.

The winner was likely staying where they were and heading into the Bowl season with a spot in the playoff.

The loser was probably out of the top four and would miss the playoffs despite the great season they had put together.

For both teams, it was a must-win and there was no question that they needed to step up in the biggest game of their year.

The game was a tight one as both teams went back and forth with double overtime needed to finally solve the deadlock.

When it was all over the Buckeyes had taken the win and will likely stay at #2 in the playoff rankings.

That is even more important when you realise that it was the last game of the season for both Michigan and Ohio State.

Neither were able to find their way to the Big Ten championship game this year and so rivalry week was their last chance.

There is no other time and if the Wolverines do drop out of the playoff they will need a lot of help to find their way back.

What might be more concerning though is that neither will win their own conference yet they are the two highest ranked teams in their conference.

The Big Ten championship will come when Wisconsin and Penn State face off next week.

Since the establishment of the College Football Playoff, it has almost been an unwritten rule that teams need to win their own conference in order to earn a top spot in the rankings.football-sidebar

In the two years of the CFP, every participant has been a conference champion with many of the conference championships making the difference in the final vote.

This year could change that though as both teams that will be playing for the Big Ten championship are not very likely to find their way to the playoff.

Instead, two teams that were not going to play for the Big Ten championship were the only teams with a chance.

The Buckeyes are the only team left and they don’t even get to try to win the conference championship.

It is beginning to show the difficulties of the new system as the first two years it was hard to argue that the four teams that made it didn’t deserve it.

They had all won their conferences and despite some debates, it was clear that they belonged there as champions.

This year that might not happen as the Big Ten champion may not actually make the playoff this year and instead, a team that never played in the championship will see the playoff.

It is a strange situation as the Buckeyes are the only one-loss team in the conference but their one loss came against the Nittany Lions which helped Penn State to the top of their division.

Wisconsin also lost two but both losses came against Ohio State and Michigan making it hard to say that they are the better team.

Then again is the committee willing to set a precedence that the bigger name school and the more popular pick in Ohio State deserves to make it despite the fact that they will not have a championship to their name this year.

That is the debate that the committee will need to way and the way it has been going this year it seems like that is exactly what they will do.

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Key Scores:
#5 Washington Huskies 45-17 Washington State Cougars
– The Huskies knew that this game was much more than just a rivalry game as they were sitting just outside the playoff with two playoff teams facing off later and they easily took care of business and might find themselves in the playoff thanks to that performance

#1 Alabama Crimson Tide 30-12 Auburn Tigers #13
– It has become one of the biggest games of the season throughout the entire country as Auburn always gives the Tide their toughest test and they did again until the Tide took over in the second half and got the win to remain #1

#2 Ohio State Buckeyes 30-27 Michigan Wolverines #3 (2OT)
– It was the biggest game of the weekend as the losing team was likely out of the playoff and both teams knew it as they fought until the end going to double overtime just to get a winner with the Buckeyes coming out on top in the end

#7 Penn State Nittany Lions 45-12 Michigan State Spartans
– For Penn State, this was the game of the week as they needed a win if they wanted to move into the Big Ten Championship game and they got it as they extended their season for another week giving them at least another shot at the playoff

Next Week:
Colorado Buffaloes vs. Washington Huskies (Friday, December 2nd; 9:00 pm ET)
– The Pac-12 championship is not used to seeing these two teams fight for the championship but here they are and for the Huskies, this is their last chance t prove that they truly belong in the playoff as the Pac-12 champions

Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Oklahoma Sooners (Saturday, December 3rd; 12:30 pm ET)
– The Big 12 may not have a championship game but Bedlam will act as that game for now as the winner of this classic rivalry will take home the Big 12 title in a game that has had its share of interesting finishes

Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Florida Gators (Saturday, December 3rd; 4:00 pm ET)
– It has been a perfect season so far for the Tide and they simply need one more win to guarantee their spot in the playoff as the top team as they look to take out Florida for the SEC Championship and a chance at the national championship

Wisconsin Badgers vs. Penn State Nittany Lions (Saturday, December 3rd; 8:00 pm ET)
– It is a strange thing this year as the Big Ten Champion may not make the playoff although the Badgers and the Nittany Lions will look to prove they belong as they hope to impress and take home a title before bowl season begins

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