The final week of the regular season for almost everyone ends without too many surprises, as Clemson beat South Carolina, Alabama beat Auburn to win the SEC West, Oklahoma crush Oklahoma State to win the Big 12 outright, USC might win the Pac-12 thanks to their win over UCLA and Michigan State leave Ohio State (despite their win against Michigan) with nothing thanks to beating Penn State to move on to the Big Ten championship game, facing Iowa.
#1 Clemson (12-0) 37 South Carolina (3-9) 32: It was more difficult than expected to hold off the Gamecocks, but Clemson got the job done and finish the regular season undefeated as they head into the ACC championship game, led by Deshaun Watson with a touchdown pass and three tuns for TDs.
#2 Alabama (11-1) 29 Auburn (6-6) 13: Alabama and Auburn kept trading field goals in the first half, before the Derrick Henry show made it easier for the Crimson Tide to finish off their game with an Iron Bowl win, claiming the SEC West and going to the conference championship game. Henry ran for 271 yards and a touchdown.
#3 Oklahoma (11-1) 58 #11 Oklahoma State (10-2) 23: The Sooners win the Big 12 title for the first time since 2012, crushing their rivals in Bedlam with 344 rushing yards, and more importantly possibly cementing their place among the top 4 and clinching a spot in the playoffs, although we’ll know more after the conference championship games.
#4 Iowa (12-0) 28 Nebraska (5-7) 20: The Hawkeyes finish the regular season with a 12-0 record. They were already going to the Big Ten Championship Game, but after winning in Lincoln, they’re going to that game knowing that winning it isn’t just going to be their first Big Ten championship since 2004, but clinching their ride into the College Football Playoff. It’s also their first undefeated record in conference play since the 2002 season, which ended with a loss in the Orange Bowl. In the game itself it was Jordan Canzeri who stood out, rushing for 140 yards and two touchdowns. His second touchdown with 6:43 to go in the third quarter put it a bit out of reach for the Cornhuskers, unable to come back from 11 points down, finishing Mike Riley’s season at a disappointing 5-7, with all but one of those losses by a single possession.
Penn State (7-5) 16 #5 Michigan State (11-1) 55: The Spartans don’t let the pressure get to them and finish the job with a great day from Connor Cook (three touchdown passes) and the defense doing the rest of the work, intercepting Christian Hackenberg twice, sending them to the Big Ten championship game against Iowa.
#6 Notre Dame (10-2) 36 #9 Stanford (10-2) 38: The Cardinal keep their playoff hopes alive by not stumbling against Notre Dame, who are now out of the running, waiting for the Bowl Game they’ll get into. Kevin Hogan was almost perfect with four touchdown passes, but the wild finish was all about Conrad Ukropina hitting a field goal as time expired to win the game, countering DeShone Kizer running for a touchdown with 30 seconds in the game that almost gave the Irish the win, and maybe a playoff spot.
#7 Baylor (9-2) 21 #19 TCU (10-2) 28: A great game in the pouring Texas rain ended as Trevone Boykin threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to KaVontae Turpin in the second overtime of the game between these two fierce rivals, which are at the forefront of the Big 12 these days. The importance for TCU, out of the playoff race and the running for the Big 12 title, was screwing Baylor, making sure the Bears can’t win the conference, and won’t be playing in the playoffs as well, this time without the ability to whine about it.
#8 Ohio State (11-1) 42 #10 Michigan (9-3) 13: Ohio State did their job by winning their rivalry game against the Wolverines in one-sided fashion, with J.T. Barrett throwing a touchdown pass and running for three more, helped by Ezekiel Elliott with 214 yards and two touchdown passes. But they lost to the wrong team in the wrong week, leaving them out of the playoff discussion, despite an excellent season.
#13 Florida State (10-2) 27 #12 Florida (10-2) 2: A loss that’s very alarming to the Gators, ending their playoff hopes (probably), failing to score on a single offensive play at home against the Seminoles, who might have missed out on their early season goals, but did quite well considering who left them after last season.
#14 North Carolina (11-1) 45 North Carolina State (7-5) 34: The Tar Heels were going to the ACC championship game anyway, but now they have some little hope in their hearts they can make the playoffs under a very specific set of circumstances. North Carolina ran for 374 yards and blew the game open with a 35-7 first quarter, leaving little doubt about what happens next.
#15 Navy (9-2) 31 Houston (11-1) 52: Turns out running the ball can’t get you to the championship game, so Navy turned to the air, but couldn’t keep up with Greg Ward (throwing three touchdown passes) who also ran for 83 yards and a touchdown. The meaning is simple: Houston go to the American Conference Championship game bouncing back from their first loss of the season to Connecticut, while Navy finish the regular season with a pass to their best bowl game in years (although their ranking will take a hit), but stumbled at the finish line, falling behind too much from the middle of the second quarter.
#16 Northwestern (10-2) 24 Illinois (5-7) 14: What a season for the Wildcats, one of the greatest in school history, as another impressive running display by Justin Jackson (172 yards, one touchdown) ends with a comfortable win in Soldier Field, which sadly was half empty for the occasion.
Oregon State (2-10) 42 #17 Oregon (9-3) 52: Oregon State put up more of a fight than they usually do in recent Civil War games, but dropped their sixth straight to the Ducks, finishing the season without a single Pac-12 win. Vernon Adams threw three touchdown passes while Royce Freeman ran for 167 yards and a couple of touchdowns, as Oregon can feel quite good about themselves despite not going as far as last year, winning their last six games, including against ranked Stanford and USC, making sure they’re not forgotten when it comes to the better bowl game invites.
#18 Ole Miss (9-3) 38 #21 Mississippi State (8-4) 27: Winning the Egg Bowl will leave the Rebels wondering once again about what could have been in a weird season for them, which overall was mostly positives, but leaves a sense of underachievement for a second straight year, mostly showing how the expectations have changed at Oxford in the last three years.
#20 Washington State (8-4) 10 Washington (6-6) 45: The Cougars turned the ball over 7 times, with three of them returned for touchdowns. Myles Gaskin added to the hurting by running for two touchdowns and 138 yards. Mike Leach had his best season in Pullman, having WSU ranked for a short while, but the loss in the Apple Cup leaves a bitter taste at the end of this season, suggesting it’s a long road for Washington State before they’re taken seriously as contenders in the Pac-12 North. Washington? They’re just happy to become bowl eligible.
#22 UCLA (8-4) 21 USC (8-4) 40: Out of nowhere the Trojans, despite firing a head coach midway through the season, are going to the Pac-12 championship game, with a solid game from Cody Kessler and 235 yards on the ground from the running crew. This doesn’t put USC in the playoff hunt (not even ranked), but their fans can talk about being “back” for about a week, before they face Stanford.
Colorado (4-9) 14 #23 Utah (9-3) 20: Utah had little problem beating the Buffaloes in a win that gives them the best overall record in the division, but in the head-to-head calculations are left behind USC in another almost season for them, showing they’ve grown accustomed to the Pac-12 by now, but still can’t put together a team good enough to stand out, although injuries were crucial in this year’s faltering at the end.
Western Michigan (7-5) 35 #24 Toledo (9-2) 30: Western Michigan opened up a lead Toledo couldn’t catch up with in the third quarter with two touchdown passes from Zach Terrell. While they finish the season on a positive note and above .500, they mostly screw Toledo out of the division title, which means Norther Illinois, the other team to beat Toledo this season, goes on to play for the MAC championship game.
Connecticut (6-6) 3 #25 Temple (10-2) 27: A very nice finish for the Owls who are now going to the conference championship game against Houston, holding Uconn to just 138 yards of offense.
|#10 Florida x||7||–||1||10||–||2|
|#2 Alabama x||7||–||1||11||–||1|
|#19 Ole Miss||6||–||2||9||–||3|
|#23 Mississippi State||4||–||4||8||–||4|
|#6 Michigan State xy||7||–||1||11||–||1|
|#8 Ohio State x||7||–||1||11||–||1|
|#3 Iowa x||8||–||0||12||–||0|
|#9 Stanford x||8||–||1||10||–||2|
|#20 Washington State||6||–||3||8||–||4|
|#9 Oklahoma State||7||–||2||10||–||2|
|#1 Clemson x||8||–||0||12||–||0|
|#14 Florida State||6||–||2||10||–||2|
|#11 North Carolina x||8||–||0||11||–||1|