College football has 12 weeks in the books, but there is still a long way to go. Each week more is learned about each team, even though not everything can be known. Putting the pieces together on college football each season is part of why fans love it. With that being said, here is College Football: 5 things learned from week 12.
1. Alabama isn’t unbeatable
Alabama won their game this week against The Citadel, but it didn’t come without a little bit of excitement. The game was tied at 10 heading into the half before Alabama blew them out in the second half. The Crimson Tide showed few weaknesses in the weeks leading up to this game, but seeing as a 4-5 team from the FCS played them close for a half, other teams in the FBS shouldn’t feel that it is impossible to beat Alabama.
The Citadel ran the triple option offense and controlled the clock for the first half of the game. Alabama made good halftime adjustments to be able to win the game and returned to their dominant form. They will likely be more focused in weeks to come and won’t have to deal with an offense that takes extreme discipline to stop.
It is still going to be an absolute struggle to beat Alabama, but can anyone take anything from what the Citadel did and implement a game plan that could beat the Crimson Tide?
2. Make Ohio State cover the whole field
Ohio State was on the brink of being upset, before winning by one in overtime. After scoring in the first half of overtime, Maryland responded with a score and decided to go for the win on a two-point play. Maryland quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome missed his target and the Buckeyes were able to return to Ohio with their 10th win of the season.
Maryland had an excellent offensive gameplan that ESPN analyst Greg McElroy compared to Purdue’s gameplan against Ohio State. The Terrapins attacked Ohio State all over the field, using the entire length and width of the field to exploit the defense’s deficiencies. Running back Anthony McFarland had runs inside and outside and broke loose often. Pigrome didn’t throw a lot, but took plenty of shots downfield and it worked.
Ultimately, early red zone offensive struggles and bad second-half defense cost Maryland the game, but their offensive game plan was just short of perfect.
3. Notre Dame may not be as far behind Clemson as originally thought
Although they are undefeated, Notre Dame has been seen on a tier below Alabama and Clemson when talking about College Football Playoff contenders. There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical about the Fighting Irish, including their close calls with Pitt and Ball State, but they have kept winning games. This week they played a team that Clemson had also played and looked much better than the Tigers.
Earlier this season Clemson beat Syracuse 27-23, in a game that could have very easily gone the other way if one or two plays had changed. Clemson played Syracuse at home, Notre Dame took on the Orange in Yankee Stadium. The Fighting Irish had control the entire time, winning 36-2. The other two common opponents between Clemson and Notre Dame were Wake Forest and Florida State. While Clemson probably played better against those two teams, Notre Dame still blew those teams out.
While they may not be as good as Alabama or Clemson, the gap that separates those teams might not be too large.
4. UCF can beat a solid team
UCF had their biggest game of the season so far, having no problems with Cincinnati. The Knights beat the 9-1 Bearcats for the best win of their year. This won’t get them into the College Football Playoff, but if they do keep winning they should make into their second straight New Year’s Six Bowl Game.
A lot has been made about UCF winning 22 (now 23) games in a row, but the simple fact is that they were unproven, as they hadn’t played any good teams this season. UCF did beat Auburn last season in the Peach Bowl, but this is a completely different year that should be judged on its own. Their strength of schedule was weak before this game, but did get better after playing Cincinnati While some will say no teams will schedule UCF, which hurts their chances of a good strength of schedule, credit still can’t be given for wanting to play the best teams in the country.
Those cheering on UCF will point to this game as their best win when the season is over. That will not be good enough (no matter the rationale), to get them in the College Football Playoff, but they did at least prove they can beat a solid team handily.
5. Gardner Minshew needs to be invited to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony
Yes, Tua Tagovailoa will win the Heisman and there is not much anyone can say that could even dispute that. Even with Tagovailoa likely winning the Heisman Trophy, at least two other candidates are invited to attend the Heisman Trophy ceremony in New York City. This seasons Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew needs to be invited to partake.
Minshew has led Washington State to a 10-1 record. This weekend, they beat Arizona 69-28 with Minshew throwing for 473 yards and seven touchdowns. He is the nation’s leading passer and is on a team that is trying to keep its College Football Playoff hopes alive, which is more than enough to be invited to the Heisman Trophy ceremony. On top of that, he is one of the biggest characters in the game, sporting an iconic mustache and dancing on the sidelines when his team is winning big.
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