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College Football Rivalry Week Review: An Iron Bowl for the Ages, Michigan Wins Again, Washington and Florida State Remain Perfect

Jalen Milroe - College Football Rankings, NCAA CFB DFS Lineup Picks

There is nothing like Rivalry Week in college football, and this one did not disappoint.

We had a game-winning touchdown on fourth-and-31, a second field goal to win as a 16.5-point favorite, and a comeback from 12 down to keep playoff hopes alive. It was a remarkable Saturday, and now is the time to look at the results.

Will this be the end of Ryan Day at Ohio State? No. Unless he wants it to be. But with Texas A&M now out of the market, who could afford him? The pressure will be ramped up to immense proportions in 2024. But it will be pressure he will manage as Jim Harbaugh will likely not be with Michigan as he looks for another NFL job. Oh, the storylines we can have moving forward. And it all starts with another Rivalry Week of important results.

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No. 2 Michigan Wolverines: 30, N0. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes: 24

In a game that could be the final meeting between the two coaches, or at least the two coaches who were supposed to be there, Michigan pulled out another thrilling win at the Big House.

Despite being outgained by Ohio State 378 to 338, Michigan avoided turnovers while intercepting Kyle McCord two times. Although the second of these interceptions came at the end of the game while looking to get the winning touchdown, the first was extremely detrimental as it gave Michigan the ball deep inside Ohio State territory -- a turnover that allowed the Wolverines to get their first touchdown of the game on a Blake Corum run. His Michigan record 21st rushing touchdown of the season.

Despite Marvin Harrison finishing with 118 yards and one touchdown, this was not enough as Michigan used the unknown Colston Loveland who finished with 88 yards on five receptions -- all of which went for either a first down or a touchdown. With this loss, Ohio State will need a lot of help to make the playoffs. They will get some help as No. 3 Washington and No. 5 Oregon take on each other in the Pac-12 title game on Friday.

The loser is likely to fall below Ohio State in the rankings, while the other will be all but assured a berth. If Louisville, who suffered a bad loss to Kentucky on Saturday, can regroup and defeat Florida State, it will be up to the committee to balance the season of Ohio State against the season of Texas. Alabama could join the mix if the Tide can win against a Georgia squad that has entered Death Star mode.

Michigan will play Iowa as a 22.5-point favorite in the Big Ten title game. A win there and it will clinch a No. 2 seed and perhaps a No. 1 seed, depending on the result of the SEC title game.

 

No. 8 Alabama Crimson Tide: 27, Auburn Tigers: 24

Remember when the Eagles converted the fourth and 26 against the Buccaneers to go to the Super Bowl? Alabama said hold my beer. Well, it is Alabama, so maybe hold my moonshine.

With less than one minute left in the game, Jalen Milroe fell on a bad snap on third down to set up a fourth and goal from the 31-yard line. This was no problem against an Auburn team that could not get out of its own way all season. This continued that trend on this play as the Tigers covered the inside routes of the Crimson Tide while leaving the outside receiver Isaiah Bond wide open in the corner of the end zone. This is all Milroe needed, and he was able to find Bond and put Alabama ahead for good.

This was a harder-than-expected game for Alabama -- a game that is not going to help its playoff chances in the eyes of the committee who is going to be comparing them to Texas. Texas beat Alabama by ten points in Tuscaloosa and took care of business 57-7 against Texas Tech in its regular season finale.

If Alabama can beat Georgia in Atlanta on Saturday, it will secure the best win of any team this season. But starting behind Texas in the rankings, it still may not be able to jump the Longhorns. Although, knowing the bias for the SEC, I think they would jump them. Georgia might stay above Texas as well.

 

N0. 3 Washington Huskies: 24, Washington State Cougars: 21

After coming into the game as 16.5-point favorites over the outmatched Cougars, Washington needed a last-second 42-yard field goal to beat its Apple Cup rivals.

Washington State put up a major fight -- one that almost saw the Huskies lose their playoff chances before making it to the Pac-12 title game, a rematch against Oregon in which the Ducks entered as 8-5-point early week favorites. This is not the same Ducks team that lost to Washington by three in Seattle. While the Huskies have struggled since then, Oregon has dismantled all teams in their path.

Michael Penix Jr. finished with just 204 passing yards against the Cougars with only two passing touchdowns. In the run game, Dillon Johnson, who has been playing well in recent games, managed only 82 yards for Washington.

Washington’s offense, once ranked No. 1 in the nation at over 540 yards/game, has slipped in recent games. It now ranks No. 12 at 468.1 yards, while Oregon ranks No. 2 at 541.2 yards.

This will be another great game between two future Big Ten members. After more than 100 years in the league, let’s hope they send the Pac-12 out in memorable fashion.

 

No. 4 Florida State: 24, Florida Gators: 15

If Jordan Travis were playing in this game, it would be a whole different story. It still might be a Florida State win. But after going down 12-0 to Florida before coming back to win, the Seminoles look vulnerable for the first time in 2023.

Tate Rodemaker finished just 12 for 25 for 134 yards against Florida. With no touchdowns and no interceptions, Rodemaker kept his team in the game with no turnovers. But his inability to find Johnny Wilson and Keon Coleman was a major concern. Something which must be fixed before Saturday. Lucky for the Seminoles, Trey Benson came to play and finished with 95 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries.

Jared Verse and the Florida State defense were able to limit Florida to 86 passing yards and got Max Brown for six sacks in the game.

Looking ahead for FSU, Louisville Jack Plummer has improved over the course of the season -- as has the Cardinals' offensive line. It will be imperative for Louisville to keep Plummer upright against the pass rush of the Seminoles. If they can, they can knock Florida State out of the ranks of the unbeaten and any chance at a playoff berth. If not, Florida State will make it a difficult decision for the committee on whether to reward the Seminoles for their season or to punish them for losing their QB to injury.

 

No. 5 Oregon Ducks: 31, No. 21 Oregon State Beavers: 7

This game was not close from the start.

After a physical game against Washington the previous week, Oregon State and Washington both came out flat. Unfortunately for Oregon State, it was playing a better team and Oregon was able to take advantage of the Beavers' flat nature.

Bo Nix continued his Heisman Trophy campaign with 367 yards and two touchdowns on 33 of 40 passing against the Beavers. Bucky Irving, one of the best RBs in the nation, had a quiet day rushing for just 41 yards on 14 carries as the Ducks relied more on their backups to get some experience. This could prove helpful if the Ducks end up in the college football playoffs.

Washington and Oregon are both extremely good teams. But they have been seemingly heading in different directions late in the season. While Oregon has been amassing comfortable wins, Washington has been playing a brand of ball that has been anything but relaxing for the Huskies.

The winner of the rematch between Oregon and Washington will most likely find itself playing in the playoffs. The loser will find itself disappointed but still in a New Year's Six game -- likely the Fiesta Bowl against a team like Missouri or Alabama.

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