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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Week 12 NCAA football takeaways

Kyle Robertson
Ohio State tight end Marcus Baugh (85) leaps over Maryland Terrapins back JC Jackson (7) after making a catch during the first half at Maryland Stadium in College Park, Md., on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016. (Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch/TNS)

Who will join Alabama in this year’s College Football Playoff? Will the Ohio State vs. Michigan game live up to the hype? These questions will be answered in what looks to be a thrilling next two weeks of college football. For now, here are the takeaways from Week 12’s action.

Cardinals crumble

It’s been a bad week for Louisville football. First, the team was left out of the top four in Tuesday’s playoff rankings despite Michigan and Clemson losing the week before. Then, on Thursday night, a motivated Houston team beat Louisville to a pulp, 36-10.

Considering the team was shocked at being left out of Tuesday’s rankings, the Cardinals didn’t seem to take the field with much determination in proving they belonged in the top four.

In a blowout of epic proportions, Louisville looked nothing like a playoff-worthy team. Flagged for a season high 15 times and shutout for the entire first half, the No. 5 team in the country just didn’t show up on Thursday night.

Houston shutdown Heisman hopeful Lamar Jackson in both passing and running the ball for the first time this season. Houston’s defense refused to let Jackson get anything going in the run game, the sophomore quarterback had 25 carries for only 33 yards. Jackson was limited in the passing game too, finishing with barley 200 passing yards and a completion percentage less than 50 percent.

Despite the un-Heisman like effort from the Florida native, Jackson should without question remain the favorite for the prestigious college football award. If any player can be unaffected by his team losing, its Lamar Jackson. His numbers speak for themselves and all season long, it was Jackson, not his teammates that propelled Louisville to that No.5 ranking.

Thursday night’s loss should now permanently put Louisville on the outside looking in for the rest of the season when it comes to a playoff spot. Though the season will come to a disappointing end, the Cardinals had their moments this year. At the start of the season, no one would have thought Louisville would have been in the position they were in.

Booming Sooners

The month of September was particularly cruel for the Oklahoma Sooners. Losses to Houston and Ohio State in the first month of the season all but washed away the reigning Big 12 Conference champs’ hopes for a second straight appearance in the College Football Playoff. It’s fair to say that many believed the Big 12 powerhouse was in for a down year.

Though only a fool would doubt a Bob Stoops coached team. Since that horrible opening month of the 2016 season, Oklahoma has won eight games in a row in Big 12 play. Stoops is now sitting one win away from what would be his 10th Big 12 title since he took over the program in 1999.

The Sooners have played with a chip on their shoulder since those two early September losses. Oklahoma has scored nearly 400 points and is averaging 49 points per game during the current win streak. After starting 0-2 against ranked teams, Stoops and company improved to 9-2 after a blowout win over West Virginia, 56-28, on Saturday.

Quarterback Baker Mayfield has caught fire as of late, with many thinking the junior from Texas has earned himself a trip to the Big Apple for the Heisman ceremony. Mayfield has eclipsed 300 or more passing yards five times, as he has made the Sooners’ offense the elite threat we thought it would be this year.

This marvelous turnaround occurring yet again in Norman, Oklahoma almost mirrors what the Sooners accomplished last year after losing to rival Texas. After a loss in last year’ Red River Rivalry, Oklahoma won out and found itself in the Orange bowl, as it clinched the No. 4 spot in last year’s playoff.

While it still remains unlikely that the Sooners will sneak into the playoff this season, Stoops and the entire Oklahoma team should be given credit for their outstanding play form October on. A well deserved New Year’s Six bowl awaits the Big 12 school, which hopes to build on its impressive performances as of late.

The Game

It’s finally here, the game every college football and sports fan has circled on their calendars since the last encounter between Michigan and Ohio State.

Saturday’s game will be an epic meeting of two of college football’s most storied and successful programs, each featuring head coaches with resumes and personalities that speak for themselves.

Not since 2006—when both Ohio State and Michigan were ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the country, respectively—has this meeting of college football’s giants carried Big Ten Conference and national championship implications. Simply put: Survive, win and advance is the motto for both teams from now until kickoff.

For the Buckeyes and head coach Urban Meyer, it’s yet another chance to rub salt in the wounds of their bitter rivals. Meyer has yet to lose to Michigan since taking over the reigns at Ohio State in 2012 and looks to keep that trend going.

Knowing that his team has a slim chance of making the the Big Ten title game, Meyer would love nothing more than to derail Michigan the opportunity of playing in a conference championship. A win Saturday would be more than enough to prove to the committee that Ohio State are a playoff worthy side.

On the other side of the field, Michigan will enter this rivalry game needing a win to secure its place in the playoff. Only a win can help the Wolverines’ hopes of entering this year’s playoff and any result beside that will cast a dark cloud over head coach Jim Harbaugh and his team for the entire offseason.

The only thing left to do is enjoy a matchup of two of the best teams in college football this season. As these powerhouses clash in a win-or-go-home game, you can bet that sports fans everywhere will be glued to their TVs. In a game that has more storylines then some teams have had all season, “The Game” should be one of the most entertaining sporting events of 2016.

Follow Noah Sonnet on Twitter.

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