A "Big" 12 school fell on the road and a "Big" 10 team saved their season with a much-needed win. Overall, it was a week where there were "Big" losers everywhere and one "Big" winner. Here's who got a huge haul and who walked away with nothing.
Big Winner: Michigan: The Maize and Blue haven't had much luck in big games this season. In fact, they come up short in big-time games during the Jim Harbaugh era. That was evident a couple of weeks ago against Michigan State, where they were handed their first loss of the season. Just when matters were looking ugly for Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines in Happy Valley, his squad managed to pull off an impressive 21-17 victory over the Nittany Lions. Hassan Haskins had a huge game, carrying the ball 31 times for 156 yards. Cade McNamara hit Erick All for a go-ahead 47-yard touchdown pass to seal the deal. The Nittany Lions might be on a down season in 2021, with a lackluster offense and unfortunate injuries. But it still stands big for Michigan, where Harbaugh-led teams have wilted under immense pressure. Will it be enough to take down their hated rival, the Ohio State Buckeyes, though?
Winner: Ohio State: Michigan's rival, the Buckeyes needed an impactful win on Saturday and got one. They wrecked the #19 Purdue Boilermakers, 59-31, leaving little doubt from the get-go. Jaxon Smith-Njigba had a big game, catching nine passes for 139 yards and a touchdown. Of course, C.J. Stroud made a statement as well, completing 31 of 38 passes for 361 yards and five touchdowns. The next stop will be a big game against the Michigan State Spartans, where the loser will be eliminated from the playoff race. They'll need this win to stay ahead in the Big 10 East race, too.
Winner: Thrilling Finishes: I know, the Dakotas don't get much love at all, let alone football. But you have to love a Hail Mary when it happens. That wasn't the only epic ending, though. Check out this amazing fourth quarter between Florida State and Miami. You gotta love it when a game comes down to the wire.
Big Loser: Oklahoma: There were many warning signs that Oklahoma wasn't in a good playoff position. With close come-from-behind wins that were unimpressive, the Sooners didn't get a good ranking because of this. Granted, Oklahoma's athletic program has seen a renaissance of success (rumor has it that the Oklahoma softball team is still taking curtain calls mid-game). However, Gerry Bohanon and #8 Baylor put an end to the Boomer Sooner curtain calls, pouncing on #13 Oklahoma for a 27-14 victory. The Sooners had no answer for Abram Smith, who had 148 rushing yards on 20 carries. Not only that, but freshman quarterback Caleb Williams went 10-for-19, throwing for 146 yards with two picks. The loss guarantees Oklahoma is out of the playoff picture, especially with games against Iowa State and Oklahoma State coming up.
Big Loser: Texas: Realistically, it was a terrible week for the Big 12. Aside from Oklahoma being upset, the Longhorns were also upset at home by... the Kansas Jayhawks. Normally, this wouldn't be an upset in men's college basketball. However, Jayhawk football is notoriously terrible. That's why the 57-56 overtime loss stings for Texas. Devin Neal had a mammoth day for the Jayhawks, running the ball 24 times for 143 yards and three touchdowns. As for Texas, their offense turned the ball over four times while their defense allowed a game-winning two-point conversion from Jelon Daniels to Jared Casey. On top of that, they committed ten penalties for 94 yards, hurting them in the long run. All this talk about the Sooners and Longhorns moving to the SEC has been a big distraction not just for the schools, but for the Big 12 itself. As a result, their playoff hopes hinge on Oklahoma State winning the conference, which will be a tall order considering Lincoln Riley's squad's potential to face the Cowboys twice.
Big Loser: Auburn: Speaking of the SEC, what happened to the Tigers? At one point, Auburn was up 28-3, against Mississippi State. Then, they got outscored in Atlanta Falcons fashion, losing the game to the Bulldogs, 43-34. Will Rogers went off on the Tigers, throwing for 415 yards and six touchdowns. Auburn also had nine penalties for 86 yards, proving to be fatal in their collapsed lead. The cherry on top was an inactive defensive line that only mustered two sacks the entire game. In a loaded SEC West division, you can't commit such errors, especially against a team like Mississippi State. What would happen if Auburn faced off against their hated rival, Alabama? The Tigers have always had the talent to win the SEC. However, they haven't been able to execute at a high level, causing major concern among the fanbase.
Other Winners: Cincinnati, Lew Nichols III, Alabama
Other Losers: Penn State, Florida's defense against Samford, UMass
College Football Playoff Four: