Random thoughts following a static Week 12 when the top 15 in the Power Rankings all won.
- The SEC and ACC title games are shaping up to be de facto College Football Playoff quarterfinals. The four teams involved -- Alabama/Auburn, Georgia, Miami and Clemson -- will all be playing for a playoff spot.
- In the case of Miami and Alabama, they might get one win or lose on Dec. 2.
- That should take nothing away from what should be an epic Iron Bowl and a significant challenge this week for Clemson at South Carolina.
- San Diego State's Rashaad Penny deserves to be in New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony. In a game that ended at 2:18 am ET, Penny accounted for 429 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns in a win over Nevada. Coming into the game, he had 544 career touches. In his first career punt return, Penny went 70 yards for score. He added a 100-yard kickoff return breaking Marshall Faulk's school all-purpose record set 26 years ago. He was named CBS Sports College Football Player of the Week.
- Just out of the top 25 this week: South Carolina, North Texas. Will Muschamp has won the second-most games in his career (8-3) heading into Clemson. The Mean Green have gone from 5-8 to 8-3 and a spot in the Conference USA title game.
- Colorado State (7-5) and USC (10-2) became the first teams to complete their 12-game regular-season schedules.
Happy Thanksgiving. Read 'em and weep, Power Rankings for Week 12.
|After Mercer, Tide face a wild-card play-in (Iron Bowl) to the SEC title game, which is a de facto CFP quarterfinal. How many of those injured linebackers will be healthy? None? Some?||--||4-0|
|Tigers everywhere should be nervous. South Carolina isn't going down easy. Will Muschamp has the team and momentum to pull off the biggest win of his career this week.||--||5-0|
|Forget the Turnover Chain, there was turnover pain on both sides against Virginia. Something tells me a noon game the day after Thanksgiving at Pittsburgh is going to be an issue, too.||--||4-1|
|Kansas started it. Baker Mayfield raised it to another level. Can we just play some football? Sooners finish the regular season against West Virginia without Will Grier (broken finger).||--||1-2|
|The SEC's best team (at the moment) tuned up for the Iron Bowl with an easy win over Louisiana-Monroe. Just think how intimidating Tigers would be with Kamryn Pettway.||--||2-2|
|For a while Michigan had it right: Make Alex Hornibrook beat it. And then Hornibrook did. On to Minnesota.||--||0-0|
|Now that's more like it against Kentucky. Sony Michel and Nick Chubb ran wild (238 combined yards). The utterly challenging Georgia Tech options awaits before the SEC title game.||--||3-1|
|In challenging conditions, the Irish got quite a challenge from Navy. A New Year's Six bowl may be on the line for both teams this week against Stanford.||--||4-0|
|Bye. I can't imagine what Mike Leach did on a Saturday off, but I'd love to know.||--||0-0|
|In the last days of Scott Frost at UCF, McKenzie Milton threw for 208 yards and four scores against Temple. Frost tried to throw us off the scent by asserting he is not close to taking the Nebraska job. Define "close."||--||2-2|
|This is the Penn State we know and love: Saquon Barkley and Trace McSorley accounted for 519 of the Nits' 605 yards in a shootout win over Nebraska.||--||0-0|
|With Kenny Hill out, freshman Shawn Robinson stepped up to help beat Texas Tech. The Frogs can clinch a spot against Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game by beating Baylor on Friday.||--||1-1|
|UCLA's Josh Rosen was the star (421 yards passing), but USC won the Battle For L.A. A meeting with an undetermined Pac-12 North opponent awaits in Santa Clara.||--||0-0|
|Tristian Vizcaino kicked the game-winning field goal at the gun against Utah. Apple Cup next.||--||0-0|
|Every fan who stayed through miserable conditions at The Shoe deserves a helmet sticker. So does J.T. Barrett, who became the first Big Ten quarterback to throw for 100 career touchdowns.||--||0-0|
|Thirty-five years after "The Play," no trombonists were injured in Stanford's three-point win over Cal in the "The Big Game."||6||0-0|
|In the highest scoring game in school history, the Tigers scored 66, won by three touchdowns and advanced to the American champ game. Memphis will be watching UCF-USF to see who hosts.||--||2-1|
|Oh, Bret, what were you thinking? The Bulldogs drove for the winning touchdown after Bret Bielema elected to go for it on his own 44 with three minutes left. The Hogs didn't make it. Bielema might not make it to the end of the season.||--||1-3|
|In an otherwise blah win over Tennessee, there is this from LSU center Will Clapp: "I want you to write this to mess with my dad (former team captain Tommy). 'Start 33 games and we'll talk about who's better.' That was my 34th. I'm going to go bust his balls real quick."||--||1-1|
San Diego State
|No school has ever had different back-to-back 2,000-yard rushers. SDSU is 176 Perry rushing yards away from backing up Donnell Pumphrey's 2,133 in 2016.||NR||0-0|
|Charlie Strong has South Florida positioned for a division title. But is Charlie Strong trying to position himself for the title of Florida head coach?||--||1-4|
|The Wildcats forced five Minnesota turnovers, Northwestern won its eighth game, and Pat Fitzgerald was loving the North Shore weather: "We knew today would be a tough-guy day, a Chicago blue-collar day."||NR||0-0|
|The Broncos won their seventh straight game clinching a spot against Fresno in the Mountain West title game. A two-game series against Fresno begins this week.||NR||0-0|
|One of more dramatic turnarounds this season. In Jeff Tedford's first year, the Bulldogs have gone from 1-11 to 8-3. Fresno plays at Boise in what amounts to an exhibition game before playing it again on Dec. 2 in the Mountain West champ game.||NR||0-0|
|From 3-9 to 8-3. From irrelevancy on the Gold Coast to Lane Kiffin in the house. From Alabama Twitter troll to FAU Twitter troll. The Owls are playing for their first conference championship.||NR||1-0|
Dropped out: Oklahoma State, Michigan, Arizona, NC State, Ohio