Let’s recap Week 13, shall we?
Game of the week: No. 1 Notre Dame at USC
Final score: Irish 22, Trojans 13
Pregame rant: This is pretty simple. The Irish win, they’re playing for a national title.
Notre Dame hasn’t won it all since the 1988 season, but hasn’t really contended for one since 1989 when it lost to No. 1 Colorado in the 1990 Orange Bowl.
So for the Irish, this is a long time coming. For USC, this is a season it’d like to forget.
The Trojans have lost four games, their best player – quarterback Matt Barkley – is out with a shoulder injury and they’re coming off a 38-28 loss to in-town rival UCLA.
Beating the Irish would sure wipe the slate clean for USC.
Post-game commentary: It was fitting Notre Dame sealed a trip to the national title game by making two goal-line stands.
The first stand forced USC to kick a 21-yard field goal. The second one ended with a stop of the Trojans on 4th-and-goal at the 1.
Now the Irish are headed to South Beach.
They say defense wins championship. The Irish would love for that to hold up as they are second in the nation in scoring defense at 10.33 points allowed per game. Their potential opponent, Alabama, however, is first in that category at 9.25 points allowed per game.
Auburn at No. 2 Alabama
Final score: Tide 49, Tigers 0
Pregame rant: On paper, it’s a mismatch.
Alabama has better players, better coaches and the game is in Tuscaloosa.
Auburn is winless in the SEC, starts a true freshman at quarterback and has a coach on a seat hotter than the Human Torch’s toenails.
Then again, it’s the Iron Bowl.
So Auburn will give Alabama a game early, but it could easily get away from the Tigers by halftime. If that happens, it will get ugly in so many different ways.
Post-game commentary: It was a mismatch to the 10th power.
Alabama led 42-0 at halftime en route to assuring that Auburn finished 0-8 in SEC play.
The next day, Gene Chizik got fired.
Yep, it got ugly.
No. 20 Michigan at No. 4 Ohio State
Final score: Buckeyes 26, Wolverines 21
Pregame rant: Ohio State is ineligible to play in the Big Ten title game, but can sure make a claim to it by beating their rival.
Urban Meyer has quickly turned the Buckeyes around. Don’t even look like the same team that finished 6-7 last season. How ironic is it that Ohio State’s last loss was against Florida where Meyer won two national titles.
Michigan was considered a national title contender before losing to Alabama in the opener. The Wolverines enter Saturday’s game with this new offense that has Devin Gardner starting at quarterback and Denard Robinson doing just about everything expect throwing a pass due to a nerve injury he sustained at Nebraska.
If the Wolverines can get between 6 to 10 big plays out of this, they’ll pull off the upset. If Ohio State can contain this makeshift Michigan offense, it’s a wrap.
Post-game commentary: Michigan had four plays of 30 yards or more, two results in touchdowns, but turnovers cost the Wolverines.
Gardner lost two fumbles and was intercepted. Robinson coughed the ball up, too. The Wolverines had four turnovers in all and that was too much to overcome against the Buckeyes.
While the Buckeyes are ineligible for postseason play, they’ll head into the 2013 season with tremendous momentum and favorites to not only win the Big Ten, but to win it all.
Georgia Tech at No. 3 Georgia
Final score: Bulldogs 42, Yellow Jackets 10
Pregame rant: To ensure a spot in the BCS title game is on the line when they in the SEC title game, the Bulldogs have to put away Georgia Tech.
Now Georgia Tech has won four of its last five since losing three straight, but Georgia will play with the type of urgency necessary to put away a rival.
Post-game commentary: That was easy enough.
Georgia lead 42-3 heading into the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs could have started game planning for the SEC title game against Alabama by then.
On the flip side, Georgia Tech is 6-6 overall, yet will play in the ACC title game against Florida State.
Wish I was kidding about that, but it’s a joke a .500 team has a chance to play for a conference championship.
No. 21 Rutgers at Pittsburgh
Final score: Panthers 27, Scarlet Knights 6
Pregame rant: Pitt is heading to the ACC. Rutgers is bound for the Big Ten.
And this is a Big East game?
Post-game commentary: Trying to make sense of this.
Rutgers came into the game unbeaten in Big East play, but lost to a team that couldn’t even beat FCS school Youngstown State at home.
The Panthers still need a win to become bowl eligible. They play Saturday at South Florida. Not sure if this is a good or bad thing.
South Florida is 3-8 overall, 1-5 in the Big East, but Pitt is 1-4 on the road this season.
Virginia at Virginia Tech
Final score: Hokies 17, Cavaliers 14
Pregame rant: They say misery loves company.
If that’s true, Virginia would love to beat Virginia Tech and knock them out of bowl contention.
Then again, a 6-6 team shouldn’t even be allowed to play in a bowl game.
Post-game commentary: The best thing about Cody Journell’s game-winning field goal with no time left was it kept the game from going into overtime.
Couldn’t bare to watch the Hokies and Cavs play any longer.
Virginia Tech was 8-of-23 on third-down conversions, but Virginia had just seven first downs and averaged just 1.5 yards a rush.