Texas v Iowa State
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The penultimate week of the college football regular season can tend to be underwhelming, but the 2023 iteration delivered with chaos and competitive games across the board. No. 1 Georgia and No. 5 Washington passed difficult road tests, while No. 3 Michigan and No. 4 Florida State ultimately pulled out of lookahead spots. 

Still, the top 10 remain untouched once again as only nine power conference teams remain with zero or one loss. Missouri needed some late heroics from quarterback Brady Cook to topple Florida, while Washington's Michael Penix Jr. made Heisman-like plays despite lacking numbers to keep the Huskies unbeaten. 

More importantly, conference championship game races are coming to an end. Alabama and Georgia have punched tickets in the SEC, while Louisville joins Florida State in the ACC title game. Iowa locked down the Big Ten West on Saturday and will meet the winner of next week's Ohio State-Michigan showdown for the Big Ten crown, while Washington reserved its spot in the Pac-12 title game with its win over Oregon State. 

As the season rapidly comes to its conclusion, let's have a look at the biggest winners and losers from the Week 12 action. 

Winner: Washington

Look, I get it, the Huskies have gone from video game numbers to just squeaking by in games. But at some point Washington's resume deserves more respect. UW went on the road and edged out No. 11 Oregon State 22-20 to move to 11-0. The win was the 18th straight for the Huskies, trailing only Georgia for the longest winning streak in the nation.  

Penix completed just half of his passes for 162 yards but threw for two scores and added another on the ground. The running game played well enough to win. The Huskies held Oregon State to 319 yards and turned DJ Uiagalelei over twice. It wasn't pretty, but it was a complete team performance. 

Resume alone without impressive results was enough to push Ohio State to No. 1 in the country. Despite impressive wins, Washington has been treated more like a one-loss team than an unbeaten squad. After going on the road and beating the No. 11 team in the country, show Washington some respect. The program has arguably the best resume in the nation. 

Loser: Auburn

It's almost impossible to contextualize New Mexico State's 31-10 win over Auburn. The Tigers had a streak of wins over non-power conference teams at Jordan-Hare Stadium dating back to 1991. New Mexico State was previously winless against Power Five opponents, going a cool 0-27 before the three-score win over the Tigers. 

New Mexico State put on a clinic on both sides of the ball, creating wide lanes for quarterback Diego Pavia and locking down any of Auburn's apparent advantages. The Tigers mustered just 213 yards of total offense, including 2.5 yards per carry. Auburn is still rebuilding its roster. Obviously, it's fair to point out that the Tigers are more talented than … New Mexico State, the No. 113th team in the 247 Team Talent Composite. 

Ironically, New Mexico State now has a winning streak over Auburn coach Hugh Freeze after the win. The Aggies smacked Freeze's Liberty squad 49-14 on his way out the door in 2022. Freeze will have to hope Mississippi State doesn't go sniffing around Jerry Kill in its next coaching search. 

Winner: Louisville coach Jeff Brohm

One year ago, Jeff Brohm led Purdue to its first conference title game in school history. After outlasting Miami in a 38-31 win, his Louisville team is also heading to its first-ever ACC Championship Game. The Cardinals needed some late fireworks in the form of a 58-yard touchdown pass from Jack Plummer to Kevin Coleman, but Louisville now has its first 10-win season since joining the ACC in 2014. Louisville has coveted Brohm, a former UL quarterback, for years as its next head coach. In one year, Brohm has already transformed the program. A favorable schedule helped make the path more manageable, but Louisville is now one win away from its first outright conference championship since 2006. 

Loser: Colorado

The Colorado experiment came to a brutal halt against Washington State as the Buffaloes lost 56-14. The loss eliminated the Buffaloes from bowl eligibility and laid bare the biggest questions facing the Deion Sanders era in Boulder, Colorado. 

Against an inconsistent Wazzu defense, Colorado's line play fell apart. The Buffaloes allowed five sacks and five additional credited quarterback hurries as quarterback Shedeur Sanders was knocked out of the game. The Buffaloes mustered just 2.2 yards per carry with nine punts. 

The Buffaloes underwent one of the most unique roster flips in college football history after Sanders brought in more than 70 new scholarship players. However, there's no game plan for trying to build quality line play out of scraps. Getting from one to four wins in Sanders' first season was impressive, but the next step is much more difficult. 

Winner: Texas

In nine seasons as a head coach, Texas coach Steve Sarkisian failed to ever win 10 games. His 2014 USC squad won nine, but it took a victory in the Holiday Bowl just to reach the mark. Finally, after 12 losses in two seasons at Texas, Sarkisian and the Longhorns crossed the threshold. Texas pulled away from Iowa State 26-16 in a physical game to get one step closer to clinching a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game. Running back CJ Baxter stepped in for injured star Jonathon Brooks and posted a 100-yard performance, and the defense clamped Iowa State in critical spots. 

Loser: Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy started the year on a torrid pace, inserting himself into the Heisman Trophy conversation. Over the last two games, McCarthy has taken himself out of the Michigan offense. In last week's win over Penn State, Michigan took the ball out of McCarthy's hands and called 34 consecutive runs. In a key second half against Maryland, McCarthy completed just 5 of 10 passes with five punts in six drives. 

In two games since offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore took over as head coach, McCarthy's production has fallen off a cliff. In those matchups, McCarthy has just 201 total passing yards with zero touchdowns and an interception in the end zone. Against Maryland, he completed just 52% of his passes after coming in completing more than 76%. 

Granted, the Maryland game was a classic trap spot one week before Ohio State. Unquestionably, the Wolverines kept things simple in anticipation for The Game. Regardless, McCarthy has not played like the kind of quarterback that can take Michigan to new heights in 2023 over the past two weeks. 

Loser: James Madison

The Dukes made a great deal of noise, were prominently featured on national television and then failed to come through in a 26-23 loss against Appalachian State. James Madison went down 17-5 in the fourth quarter and needed a miraculous 2-point conversion with 57 seconds left just to force overtime, but Joey Aguilar threw an 8-yard pass to Kaedin Robinson for a game-winning touchdown for App State. JMU is still in the midst of a legendary transition season, but falling out of the New Year's Six caliber of performance does cut some of the bite out of JMU's message to America. Still, a road game against Coastal Carolina next week is a great opportunity to end the season strong. 

Winner: Arizona

The Wildcats are playing incomprehensibly good football. Arizona has now won five straight games after demolishing No. 22 Utah 42-18. UA went up 28-0 early in the second quarter and was able to coast to victory. Quarterback Noah Fifita threw two touchdown passes, while wide receiver Tetairoa McMillan had yet another 100-yard game in his sensational career. 

Suddenly, Arizona looks like one of the scariest teams in college football. The Wildcats only have losses to Washington and USC in conference play by a combined nine points. A triple-overtime road loss against Mississippi State feels like a fever dream. If that game was replayed today, Arizona would be heavily favored. In fact, UA is still alive for a Pac-12 title game berth. 

Washington and Oregon are still the class of the Pac-12. However, Arizona is far closer to the top than anyone is ready to acknowledge. 

Loser: USC

Until this year, Lincoln Riley had never had a bad year as a college football coach. He was a ridiculous 55-10 with four straight conference titles at Oklahoma, and then went 11-3 with a Cotton Bowl appearance in his first year at USC. But after losing 38-20 to rival UCLA in what could be Caleb Williams' final college football game, Riley is staring down the barrel of 7-5 and an infamous campaign in his lofty career. 

Now, Riley has to start looking towards next season and the Trojans' debut in the Big Ten. They open the year against LSU. The first Big Ten game is against Michigan. USC looks like a program flailing. Riley has his work cut out trying to bring it back, or USC could sincerely fail to reach a bowl game in 2024.