AP TOP 25 TAKEAWAYS: Ohio State Survives, Charlie Strong Might Not
No. 2 Ohio State took care of its business — barely — before Michigan week, and No. 21 Florida settled some SEC business in Death Valley.
Week 12 of the season set the stage for some high stakes games in Week 13 and very well might have ended any drama about what will happen next in Austin, Texas.
Thoughts, takedowns and takeaways from the rarest of Saturdays in college football: One that included a Kansas victory.
1. Weekly Charlie Strong job status update: Texas lost to Kansas, which had lost 19 straight Big 12 games. Nothing left to be said.
2. Why was going for 2 the right call for Michigan State as it tried to upset Ohio State on Saturday? Extending the game is not the way to go when you're the team with the talent disadvantage, as coach Mark Dantonio had to have realized. Get the 2. Make a stop. Win the game. Right call.
3. However, Michigan State should have given the ball to LJ Scott on that 2-point try.
4. Next week in Columbus, Ohio, don't expect much scoring between the Buckeyes and Wolverines.
5. Play of the day for Michigan in its win against Indiana: Receiver Jehu Chesson's open-field block that helped spring a long John O'Korn run to convert a third-and-long when the offense was struggling. The kind of play that will have coach Jim Harbaugh raving.
6. The turnaround job of the season is in Colorado and the 12th-ranked Buffaloes brought energy to Folsom Field that has been missing for decades by beating No. 20 Washington State. The Buffaloes are on the cusp of clinching the Pac-12 South with a victory against Utah next week. Colorado had won two Pac-12 games in the last three seasons.
7. Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre will likely have to clear off a shelf in his office for a few coach of the year trophies.
8. Still a lot on the line for Washington State. The Cougars host No. 6 Washington in an Apple Cup that will decide the Pac-12 North.
9. If Colorado stumbles against Utah, No. 15 USC goes to the Pac-12 title game. Not sure anybody wants a piece of the Trojans right now.
10. There was nothing more ridiculous than the outrage against Florida for postponing its game against LSU in October because of a threatening hurricane. LSU was mad. Tennessee was mad. It was not a good look for SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey.
11. On Saturday, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the Gators had every right to call out the complainers after they clinched a second straight SEC East title.And coach Jim McElwain did just that . Hard to believe but true statement: If Florida beats No. 17 Florida State next week and No. 1 Alabama in the Southeastern Conference championship game, the Gators would have a great case to make the playoff. Florida probably won't do that, but still.
12. Now about Tennessee. The SEC East could not have been set up better for the Volunteers and they blew it. It is now nine straight seasons without a conference title game appearance for the Vols. Tennessee could still backdoor into the Sugar Bowl as the SEC's representative if it takes care of Vanderbilt next week and Florida gets beat up by Alabama in Atlanta.
13. Whatever support there was for LSU to remove the interim tag from coach Ed Orgeron has to be waning. Does beating Texas A&M on Thanksgiving make Coach O the fallback candidate if the Tigers can't get their top target, i.e. Jimbo Fisher?
14. That Thanksgiving night game at College Station, Texas, might have some coaching intrigue on both sides. A loss to LSU would leave Kevin Sumlin's team with a four-game SEC losing streak and yet another second-half swoon to end a season. It'll cost Texas A&M $15 million — paid in full — to get rid of Sumlin, who is 41-19 but just 21-18 in five seasons with the Aggies.
15. When it comes to hot-seat coaches stay or go has a lot to do with pay or no?
16. Oregon's last-second victory at No. 11 Utah gave a boost to coach Mark Helfrich. Also, it would cost the Ducks $11 million to fire him. Interesting times in Eugene, heading toward the Civil War against Oregon State.
17. Texas Tech and Kliff Kingsbury hit rock bottom of his four-year tenure at his alma mater against Iowa State. A buyout of $9 million means Kingsbury is probably safe, but the numbers are getting really ugly. Since winning his first seven games with Texas Tech, Kingsbury is 16-26 overall and 8-23 in the Big 12.
18. No. 5 Clemson wrapped up the ACC Atlantic Division and a spot in the re-located Atlantic Coast Conference title game in Orlando, Florida. The Tigers will face either Virginia Tech or North Carolina.
19. Where would No. 13 Oklahoma State be in the College Football Playoff rankings if not for a blown call against Central Michigan? Then again, where would Oklahoma State be if it could have stopped a Hail Mary? Or not gotten into a nip-and-tuck game with a middle-of-the-pack MAC team?
20. Bedlam in two weeks will decide the Big 12 title after No. 8 Oklahoma crushed No. 10 West Virginia, but forget about the College Football Playoff. Barring some really wacky results in other conferences, no chance for either the Sooners or Cowboys. Enjoy the Sugar Bowl.
21. This Notre Dame season summed up in a tweet: "Amazing thing for ND is they led or tied in the fourth quarter in 6 of 7 losses. Who does that reflect on? Coaches or players?" — @PaulMyerberg of USA Today.
22. Bad call to go for 2: No. 24 San Diego State after it got a replay review overturn to score a potential game-tying, last-play touchdown at Wyoming. Instead of kicking to tie and going to overtime, the Aztecs went for 2 and lost. Why, coach Rocky Long? Michigan State had nothing to lose and was the inferior team against Ohio State. San Diego State had already locked up a spot in the Mountain West championship game and still had a chance for a New Year's Six bowl bid if it won the conference.
23. That Wyoming win was big news for No. 14 Western Michigan. The Broncos are still unbeaten , but they are behind Boise State in the playoff rankings. Unless Wyoming loses to New Mexico next week Boise State can't win its conference — which means Western Michigan is positioned for that New Year's Six bid that goes to the best Group of Five league champ.
24. The best Group of Five conference, though, is the American Athletic Conference. Navy clinched the West on Saturday and Temple needs one more victory to lock up the East, with USF still in the running. And a healthy and focused Houston might be better than all of them.
25. Houston coach Tom Herman was once a graduate assistant at Texas.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP
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