In what has been a wild and unpredictable year of college football, this year’s rivalry weekend held true to that as well. With playoff implications, flaring tempers, and fantastic games, it’s time to take a look at some of the best stories of the weekend.
In the biggest game for Floridians, this week Florida vs. Florida State was a sloppy and highly heated game. With five interceptions thrown combined by both teams including three by Florida’s Emory Jones, and a flurry of penalties due to the players getting into it. It was a game in which both teams could have played much better but Florida was able to hold FSU on defense enough and win 24-21. Houston destroyed Connecticut 45-17 and clinched their spot in the American Conference championship game. The night before that Cinderella story Cincinnati retained their undefeated record winning 35-13 and they’re facing off against Houston in the American Conference championship game. Georgia was able to shut out Georgia Tech 45-0 and also continue their perfect season that has seen almost no team pose a threat to them. Wake Forest had no problem with Boston College winning 41-10 giving them a chance to win the ACC championship next weekend. Pittsburgh and quarterback Kenny Pickett beat Syracuse 31-10 and face off against Wake Forest for the ACC title, with Pickett hoping to boost his draft stock for the NFL Draft coming up in April.
The Big 12 had an intense weekend themselves with Baylor just edging a win over Texas Tech 27-24 giving them their spot in the Big 12 championship game. But arguably the game of the day and maybe of the year Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State stole the show. The first half was electric with it being 24-24 at the half and both offenses were rolling, but Oklahoma right out the gate for the second half got a safety and a muffed punt for a touchdown putting them up by 9. But Oklahoma State’s defense stepped up allowing Oklahoma State to climb back and eventually grab the lead late in the game making it 37-33. Oklahoma had one more chance to score and even with quarterback Caleb Williams doing everything he could, the Oklahoma State defense made one last stop and won the Bedlam rivalry for the first time in seven years and are heading to their first Big 12 championship game. Notre Dame won a crucial game against Stanford 45-14 keeping their playoff hopes alive. Coach O’s last game for LSU was a success as LSU beat Texas A&M in an upset 27-24. In the Iron Bowl with Alabama and Auburn, it was all about defense until the final whistle blew. Auburn held the lead 10-0 coming in the fourth quarter giving Alabama’s quarterback Bryce Young no time to do anything. Bama was able to snag a field goal in the fourth making it 10-3, and on the final drive of regulation, Bryce Young dropped a beautiful ball to tie up the game. Going into Overtime Auburn and Alabama went back and forth until the fourth overtime in which Auburn was stopped and Alabama got the score they needed and avoided a massive upset.
In Big Ten play, things got very interesting as there were plenty of shocks and surprises over the course of the weekend. Wisconsin would take a crushing loss to Minnesota 23-13 effectively ending their bid for a Big Ten title. This left Iowa with an opportunity to capitalize on Wisconsin’s error, which they did, winning 28-21 over Nebraska and getting into the Big Ten championship game. Then in the rivalry matchup so big they just call it The Game, Michigan vs. Ohio State was one for the books. On what was a snowy day it was a close game through the first half with it being 14-13 when halftime hit. But Michigan’s run game led by Hassan Haskins and his five touchdowns allowed Michigan to pull away and Ohio State couldn’t keep up with a final score of 42-27. This marked Jim Harbaugh’s first win versus Ohio State in his sixth try with Michigan. It marks Michigan’s first win in the rivalry in ten years as well.
Weekends like this are what college football is all about, upsets, close games, passion, and championship implications. With it being crunch time in the season now too it’s almost sure to be a fantastic finish to what has been a spectacular season of college football thus far.