College Football Winners and Losers, Rivalry Week

The "Big Game" had plenty of electricity, carrying heavy playoff implications. Here's who's getting candy in their stockings and who's getting coal.

  • Biggest Winner: Michigan Wolverines: Jim Harbaugh hadn't beaten Ohio State in his tenure as a Michigan head coach before today's game. He hasn't had much luck against his rivals, to begin with. The Michigan-Ohio State is the most storied rivalry in college football, which puts Harbaugh on the hot seat. That's especially true with the Maize and Blue beating the Scarlet and Gray once in the last 16 matchups. There were doubts whether Harbaugh could pull it off when it mattered most. Well, Harbaugh's Wolverines put those doubts to rest on Saturday, rocking #2 Ohio State by a score of 42-27. Hassan Haskins had a mammoth game, running the ball 28 times for 169 yards and five touchdowns. Overall, the running game for the Maize and Blue was unstoppable, with the team carrying the ball for 297 yards. The Buckeyes had no answer for Haskins and had nothing to generate a ground game of their own. Ohio State ran the ball for just 64 yards. It's the first-ever win vs a CFP Top-10 opponent (0-8 entering the game) and is the first win over the Buckeyes in 3,653 days (a decade). When Harbaugh's team lost to the Michigan State Spartans a few weeks back, many people thought that this was the same ol' Jim Harbaugh and the same ol' Wolverines. A lack of game control and costly penalties did the Wolverines in, hurting their playoff chances then. However, Michigan had great energy out of the gate today, throwing the Buckeyes off their game. Starting with the front four led by Aidan Hutchinson's three sacks (13 sacks this season, most in Michigan history) and ending with a resilient attitude and a vibrant crowd, the Wolverines never gave up. It looks like Michigan is back, and it's a major win for college football fans everywhere.

  • Winner: MAC West: How's this for amazing? Every MAC West team is bowl eligible, making this the first time since the SEC West did this in 2015 (excluding 2020). This happened with a Ball State win over Buffalo, 20-3.

  • Winner: Luke Fickell Doing Pull-Ups: At least Ohio isn't getting shut out of the playoff picture... for now. Look at the Bearcats' head coach showing off his strength. The man's got it.

  • Biggest Loser: North Carolina: I would've put Auburn in this category. However, they were undermanned for the Iron Bowl and kept up with Alabama throughout the entire game. The Tigers put up one hell of a fight against Nick Saban and his crew. Instead, the biggest loser is North Carolina, which allowed two late touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The Wolfpack recovered an onside kick against the Tar Heels, storming down the field 26 seconds later. Emeka Emezie was untouchable late, scoring both NC State touchdowns. Game control was definitely a problem for the Tar Heels, who flubbed a chance to win the minute the Wolf Pack recovered that onside kick. It's been a disappointing year overall for the ACC. However, that definitely rings true for North Carolina, who had expectations to be a dark horse in the conference. Having terrible losses to Georgia Tech and Florida State didn't make matters better for North Carolina. Sam Howell underperforming this season and a subpar defense ruined the possibility of the Heels making noise this season.

Other Winners: Cincinnati, Washington State, Georgia

Other Losers: Wisconsin, Oklahoma, UTSA


College Football Playoff Four

  1. Georgia

  2. Michigan

  3. Alabama

  4. Cincinnati