Welcome to Week 13 Midweek Musings, aka the Rivalry Week edition!
I’m still baffled by what happened here. Obviously, this was not the smothering Michigan defense we’ve seen for the last several weeks. Running back Karan Higdon was held under 100 yards for just the third time this season (one of them being the 42-7 win against Rutgers, in which I assume he was pulled early). In fact, Michigan didn’t have a 100-yard rusher or receiver in this game.
Credit the Buckeyes for having the perfect game plan to stop what was becoming a juggernaut. I don’t think anyone saw this coming.
If you made it through this whole game, congratulations. I hope you were warmer and drier for overtime than Coach Orgeron was after the premature Gatorade bath.
Year one under Jimbo Fisher has gone very well for the Aggies. They finished with an 8-4 record, good for third in the SEC West. Kellen Mond has established himself as a bona fide starting quarterback. They have plenty to be pleased about, including this win, in College Station.
I don’t know what to think about LSU. They had moments this year when they looked like a really good team, notably the win over Georgia. They also had periods of looking very average (and I’m not counting the Alabama game; if the Tide only makes you look average, you’re lucky).
The Irish survived a scare as USC jumped out to a 10-0 lead at the Coliseum. It was the first time all season Notre Dame trailed by double digits. California native Ian Book threw for 352 yards, two scores, and a rare interception for the Irish in what was a pass-heavy game. USC racked up 349 yards through the air, and neither team had a 100-yard rusher.
Notre Dame has clearly played their way into the Playoff; the only question now is one of seeding. For the Trojans, the future is less clear. While head coach Clay Helton has won a Pac-12 title and a Rose Bowl in his short tenure, this 5-7 season has been a huge disappointment and there are fans calling for him to be fired. However, Helton signed a contract extension through 2023 last winter, so most in the know think his firing is unlikely.
For the first time in ten years, this game was a close one going into the fourth quarter. But in a snow globe scene, the Huskies downed the Cougars to take their sixth straight Apple Cup. The weather was not conducive to the passing game, to put it mildly, and Washington’s run game was the difference. Myles Gaskin ran for 170 yards and three touchdowns, while the Cougars’ entire team managed just 85 yards on the ground.
Washington will face Utah for the Pac-12 title next week. Make a note that the game is on Friday.
Best of the Rest of Rivalry Week
This was a LONG time coming for Gopher fans, who saw their team take Paul Bunyan’s Axe for the first time since 2003. Shameless plug- you can read my full article about the game here.
The Sooners outlasted the Mountaineers in a typical, high-scoring Big 12 affair. They’ll face Texas, who handed them their lone defeat this season, in the conference championship on Saturday.
If you had told me two years ago, or maybe even last year, that Kentucky would stomp Louisville 56-10, I would have laughed. I know it’s hard to replace a player like Lamar Jackson, but the Cardinals have won TWO games this year, and those were against Indiana State and Western Kentucky. I did not see this big of a drop-off coming, nor did I see Kentucky ascending this way.
Did you know that Tulane and the Naval Academy play for something called the Trident Trophy? Getty didn’t have a photo of it, but someone posted one on Twitter, and it looks like something Aquaman would carry. Or maybe the Little Mermaid’s father. I will say that it’s very pretty and shiny.
Those are my Week 13 Midweek Musings! Enjoy championship weekend, everybody.