Rivalry weeks are like "Fast and Furious" movies. There's a lot of animosity among the stars. The plots don't make sense. There are varying amounts of bloodshed and fireworks.
The 2020 iteration was essentially the "Tokyo Drift" of rivalry weeks, but it was different in 2021. It was a roller coaster of emotions. It was heroic. It was the person who had been the lowest achieving. The villain was coming back from the dead. It was an Oscar bait. It had everything.
The twists and turns of this one were completely unexpected.
Jim Harbaugh finally got his monkey off his back in The Game, as Michigan's defense held Ohio State to a season low in points and yardage, and the ground game ran for miles.
In the Iron Bowl, auburn nearly pulled off the impossible, only to see a young man claw his way down the field for a game-tying touchdown, then win in overtime
At Bedlam, it was chaos from the start, from special teams disasters to two late stands by the Oklahoma State defense, which delivered the final stake through the heart of an Oklahoma team that had miraculously survived one nail-biter after another this season.
The Camp David accords of 1978 allowed us to throw the records out the window, but this still felt like fiction.
The Georgia defense has been the only certainty this season. The Georgia Tech game was a foregone conclusion, and the team finished the regular season with just eight offensive touchdown. In a single game, the FBS has allowed that many in 30 times. Georgia's Death Star had a ray of hope. The Ohio State offense was led by C.J. Stroud and a trio of ridiculously talented receivers. The narrative was set a week ago when the Ohio State embarrassed Michigan State. Harbaugh didn't read that narrative. He only listens to books on tape.
A year ago, Michigan fans were ready to run Harbaugh out of town, a big-name coach who couldn't win a big game. The Michigan football team has halted an eight-game losing streak to a team in the south, but they are still a single win away from a spot in the College Football Playoff. They did it with an old-fashioned ground-and-pound attack that racked up 297 yards and six touchdown on the ground against an overwhelmed Ohio State defense. They did it on the strength of the pass rushing tandem of David Ojabo and Aidan Hutchinson, who harassed the other team throughout the game, and racked up four sacks between them. They did it with a coach who thought chickens were nervous and sunglasses and khakis were a fashion statement. Harbaugh said this week that he and the Michigan were going to beat Ohio State or die trying. In an era of stylized excitement, Michigan is a nostalgic throwback.
After beating Ohio State, singing Mr. Brightside from the Michigan Stadium field.
Alejandro Ziga is on November 27, 2021.
The Tide's head coach made his own headlines this week, calling out his fans for dismissing so many close wins as something beneath the Tide's expected brilliance. No Alabama fans will be complaining after Young drove the Tide 97 yards on 12 plays and threw a touchdown pass to Ja'Corey. It was amazing. There is room for criticism on The Plains, but what's true is that Young's place in Iron Bowl is not in question. For one brilliant Saturday afternoon, it didn't matter whether the latest close win was fodder for critics or actual ammunition for the committee.
What do you think about Bedlam? Oklahoma State scored on a 100 yard kick return, gave up a safety, allowed a scoop and score, missed a field goal, and scored after Oklahoma fumbled a punt. It's rare that Mike Gundy can wear a turtleneck under a sweater, and that's not even close to the ugliest part of an Oklahoma State game. It all worked. The Sooners had beaten the Pokes 16 times in the past 18 years, but this year things were different. The Oklahoma State defense has been a revelation all season, and despite being left for dead a half-dozen times this season, Oklahoma State has a real shot at the playoffs. Another domino fell when Collin Oliver grabbed the ankles of Caleb Williams and ended the Sooners' final comeback attempt.
The College Football Playoff was defined by four teams. Alabama is hanging on by the skin of its teeth because at least three of them won't be in the playoffs. Who would have guessed that?
It's fitting that this ridiculous season began with a game that didn't have an offensive touchdown. This season will be different, not defined by elite QBs or offensive fireworks or the same blue bloods who've owned the sport for the past decade. It's been a year for the old-school, for punishing ground games and strong defenses. It's been ugly at times, but perhaps, as a mid-2000s alt-rock band once sang, that's just been the price we pay when destiny is calling, and when we open our eyes, we'll see a whole new college football world awaits.
USA TODAY Sports' Alonzo Adams.
The house guests were bad.
It's been a crazy year for fans storming the field, from Kansas fans partying after narrowly escaping an opponent in Week 1 to UMass fans rushing onto the field after a win.
Washington State and Virginia Tech fans took Rivalry Week to a whole new level.
The fans came onto the field after the win over Washington in the Apple Cup. It was Washington's field. The visitor field-storming immediately joined the pantheon of great moments of celebrating behind enemy lines, right up there with Baker Mayfield planting the flag at the Horseshoe or that time the kids at Valley kidnapped Screech before the big cheerleading competition at Bayside on "Saved by the Bell."
Washington State rushed Washington's field.
November 27, 2021.
The fans of Virginia Tech ran on the field at Scott Stadium after they defeated Virginia for the 17th time in 18 years despite the firing of their coach. Hokies fans trashed Virginia's living room and raided the fridge. Don't wake them up too early. It was a long night.
Rivalry Week rundown.
Not every Rivalry Week game has playoff implications. Some of the biggest games that didn't upend the committee's rankings were checked out.
The trophy is the Land Grant.
Despite his hefty new contract, Mel Tucker couldn't afford a nice hat to keep warm during the game, Kenneth Walker III ran for 138 yards and a touchdown, Drew Beesley harassed Sean Clifford, and despite his hefty new contract, Kenneth Walker III ran for a touchdown. Either way, Michigan State won the title of the best team in their division, even though they lost to Penn State.
The battle for Bunyan's Axe.
The most played rivalry in college football is the one between Wisconsin and Minnesota, and several of the fans who watched for the 2021 edition were still awake when the game ended with a 23-13 win for the Gophers. The loss cost the Badgers a chance to play in the Big Ten title game. He's designing a new logo using comic sans and he's going to be his year.
Hate is clean and old-fashioned.
Georgia won this one easily. The good news for Georgia Tech is that no one was so demoralized that they gave up on their football dreams and became an English major. The Yellow Jackets finished the season with three wins, but lost two in a row.
The game is called the Palmetto Bowl.
Imagine a team that gave UGA its toughest test of the year, won five straight to end the season, and had one of the most dominant defenses in the country. I think the team is pretty good. Nah. Huge disappointment. That's the year 2021.
The Territorial Cup is a trophy.
Arizona State won this year's award for the most meh team in the country despite throwing for 86 yards in a 38-15 win over Arizona. Was Arizona State good? It's a bit Meh. Were they bad? It's a bit Meh. Should he be fired? It's a bit Meh. There is absolutely nothing about this team that makes a strong opinion.
The hot chicken trophy.
We don't know what the Tennessee-Vanderbilt rivalry is called, but everything is good with a little hot sauce on it. The Volunteers were a 20-point favorite in the first half and led 24-0, but the Commodores scored a 56-yard touchdown on the final play of the half. Getting demoralized by Vandy is a bad beat.
The Lincoln trophy is in the Land of Lincoln.
Illinois beat Northwestern 47-14. The first season for the Illini was a good one, as they finished with a respectable 5-7 record. After winning the Big Ten championship game in 2020, Northwestern followed it up with a dismal 3-9 campaign that included seven losses by 14 or more. Lincoln was born in Kentucky.
The Governor's Cup is a trophy.
In Kentucky, there are only four sports achievements that matter: The Derby, the Final Four, the Governor's Cup and, of course, seeing how much they can sell a bottle of Blanton's on eBay for to a sucker in New York. Mark Stoops has owned at least one of those, and he has won the Governor's Cup for the third year in a row.
The trophy is named after a person.
The door seems to be open for the Irish to make the playoffs with Ohio State's loss and Alabama's shaky performance. No one in Silicon Valley is expected to have a stable track record of success, so it's not a big deal that the Cardinal finish 3-9 after Saturday's loss to the Irish. It's about collecting data.
The Cup is seven overtimes.
The last two minutes of LSU's game against Texas were a fitting send-off for coach Ed Orgeron, who will return as the chair of the department of crawfish studies. It's not close to the best version of the game because it didn't go seven overtimes.
The Big Ten's Mistake Bowl.
The big East Coast markets don't really matter as much as the Maryland game showed.
This is a preview of Championship Week.
The regular season is over. Conference title games are next. Who wins? We have your early predictions.
Georgia and Alabama will play in the SEC.
In the Iron Bowl, Alabama's offensive line allowed seven sacks and 11 tackles for loss, and the team has been shaky all season. If Alabama's line looks shaky against Georgia, it's entirely possible Jordan Davis will just inhale a chili dog.
The names of our financial advisor, general contractor and life insurance salesman aren't the only ones associated with the game of football, but they are also the offensive keys to a big Georgia win.
The Iowa Hawkeyes will play the Michigan Wolverines.
The key to the game is that Michigan will need a better performance from McNamara than he did against Ohio State, as Iowa's stout defense focuses on shutting down the run. It would be huge for Iowa to know that it's possible to move the ball on the field.
It's going to be a tight, low- scoring affair that will be decided in Michigan's favor when, in lieu of normal overtime rules, Jim Harbaugh beats Kirk Ferentz in a milk-chugging contest.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys are in the Big 12.
The Bears were without starting quarterback Bohanon for the game against Texas A&M, but they were still able to win 27-24. It will be difficult to run on Oklahoma State's defense because of the strength of the ground game.
The winner will be Oklahoma State, but the Cowboys will open next season ranked lower than Texas.
Wake Forest is playing Pittsburgh.
Kenny Pickett derives his strength from his hair, which is gorgeous and flowing. This is followed by the man who has won three of the last four conference titles. Wake has had a great season, getting to 10 wins for just the second time in program history, but the conference requires great teams with great hair and, honestly, Sam Hartman's look needs some work.
See you in Charlotte.
Wake Forest Football is out on November 27.
Who will win: Notre Dame?
The Oregon and Utah teams are in the Pac-12.
Utah can claim to be among the hottest teams in the country after beating Colorado 28-13 on Friday. It's too late to make the College Football Playoff, but a trip to the Rose Bowl would be a nice consolation prize. Oregon escaped Oregon State 38-29 Saturday and is looking at Pasadena as well. This one is likely to come down to who is hired away by a team that isn't in the conference.
There is a price to be paid for playing in the Pac-12 with an Atlantic Coast Conference transfer at quarterback for the Oregon team in the 2021 season. That's too bad. Utah won this. After scoring on a pick-six, Lloyd hits up the Bellagio to celebrate, and puts his NIL money on double zero at the roulette wheel. He's very good.
Western Kentucky will play UTSA in Conference USA.
Bailey Zappe threw for 328 yards and four touchdown as the Western Kentucky took down Marshall to get to the Conference USA title game. UTSA lost in a big way to North Texas. In their first meeting of the season, Zappe had Zappe has a plan to stop the Roadrunners: Paint a tunnel on the side of a mountain and watch them plow into it. It's hilarious.
WKU has won seven straight, scored 42 or more in six of those games, and would love to join the MAC. Don't make the WHCA sit at the same lunch table as other schools.
The Utah State Aggies will play the San Diego State Aztecs.
Utah State has enjoyed one of the country's biggest changes this season under first-year coach, Blake Anderson. San Diego State has not scored an offensive touchdown this season. We haven't checked that stat, but it feels right. First team to win 20 games.
The football gods don't allow Michigan and Brady Hoke to have the same success at the same time. It would be weird if they showed up to the same awards dinner with the same uniform and pretended they were both happy. How's your mom? Seeing anyone? No? Oh. That's interesting. At 3 a.m., Michigan texts Hoke with a "you up?" and Hoke asks if Michigan just wants to hang out and go over some plays for old time's sake. Utah State won.
The Cincinnati Bearcats are playing the Houston Astros.
The Cincinnati defense's biggest test thus far has been Houston's passing attack, which is led by Clayton Tune.
The committee just called the officiating crew from a burner phone it bought at a nearby bar and provided the location of a cache of bearer bonds that could be theirs if a few calls go the right way.
The Kent State Golden Flashes will play the Northern Illinois Huskies.
Kent State's ground game is exceptional, and the quarterback is a veteran. After a 0-6 campaign in 2020, NIU has enjoyed a fantastic turn around. The first game was a five-way shootout.
The NIU quarterback looks like a superhero. The theme song is great. NIU wins. We haven't watched a lot of football. Sorry.
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns will play the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Louisiana beat ULM on Saturday 21-16. App State defeated Georgia Southern. The teams had already qualified for the Sun Belt championship game. The past two times Louisiana and App State have met, the difference is that Billy Napier appears poised for a bigger job.
If the Gators name their next coach, their boosters can wager a lot of money on App State here, and use the winnings to pay for their next coach's buyout after they get angry about losses to Georgia and Missouri.
The winner of the Heisman was five.
If it were up to us, we would choose the most entertaining player in the Nissan Heisman House ads. Jordan Davis is the answer. The comedy options here are almost endless. Most voters go by things like touchdown and wins. We live in a world that has very problematic priorities.
1. Alabama quarterback Bryce Young.
There's a chance that Young doesn't win the Heisman if things go poorly next week against Georgia, but it's clearly a possibility at this point. Young saved his team again, even with far more pedestrian numbers, after he salvaged a win against Arkansas with five touchdown throws. The auburn pass rush was brutalized by the Bama quarterback, but he never panicked. He put the ball in the hands of the remaining players even though he was without his best receiver for most of the game. Young battled despite the fact that his running game was virtually no help. Young's season might be the most impressive at Alabama because his supporting cast is the least impressive.
2. Georgia's Jordan Davis.
There isn't a statistical case for Davis. He's the best player on the best team. If you insist on putting Nakobe Dean on your ballot, that's also an acceptable answer. Go with it. All of the above.
3. Alabama LB Will Anderson.
The defensive player has the numbers to back up his case. Anderson was outstanding against theAuburn. He had six solo tackles, three for a loss, and a sack. Anderson has 29.5 tackles for loss this season. Since 2012 there has been no player from the FBS who has had 30.
4. Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett.
Saturday was probably the worst game of the season for Pickett, and he still threw for four touchdown in the win over Syracuse. There's one serious case to be made for Pickett, that he's not had a bad game. He's thrown multiple touchdown passes in every game this season, and he's finished with at least three. He's had at least 200 yards passing in every game, 300 eight times and 400 yards of total offense five times. He's never had a game with less than 22 completions or less than 50% of his throws. He has been consistent and great. Pitt has a chance to win its first conference title.
5. C.J. Stroud is the quarterback for Ohio State.
He was not terrible Saturday. The quarterback had . The way David Ojabo and Aidan Hutchinson harassed Stroud in the pocket will be remembered. His numbers are close to those of any recent Ohio State quarterback, but his team fell short against two of the best teams in the country. It's part of the Heisman resume these days.
The game of the week is under the radar.
On Saturday, Kent State and Miami gave us some great leftovers, with a spot in the conference championship game on the line. The RedHawks jumped out to a 16-7 lead, but Kent State roared back behind the running ofXavier Williams, who finished with 168 yards on the ground and two scores. The two teams traded scores, with Miami marching 80 yards on 17 plays and kicking a game-tying field goal with 4 seconds to play. In overtime, Kent State scored on a 1-yard run by Crum, and Miami decided to go for two. Montre Miller swatted away a throw by Gabbert and the Golden Flashes won.
Miami's 2-point conversion fell short as Kent State won the MAC East.
The play of the week was under the radar.
The most painful touchdown drive in college football history was engineered by Florida State late in the fourth quarter of its game against Florida, and it had a chance to win the game if it could properly execute. He did his impression of me playing tee ball as a kid.
The ball falls over after Florida State kicker Grothaus whiffs on his onside kick attempt.
The play is funny on its own, but there's no joke that can't be funnier on social media.
At the Giff.
The person is Thomas from Lutz.