College Football Recap: Week 13

The college football regular season is almost in the books. It’s been an unbelievable ride, but it’s not over yet. One team has made it clear that they will be in the National Championship — The Notre Dame Fighting Irish — but the other slot is still up for grabs with conference championship week just a week away.

Anyways, we’re getting ahead of ourselves — here’s what happened in Week 13:

Miami Bound

Notre Dame is irrelevant, right? Critics everywhere were saying that Notre Dame would win eight games this year at best  (including our dear Editor-In-Chief Matt Lombardi), and furthermore, that the academic restrictions and responsibilities that the school places on the players would make it impossible for the Irish to ever compete for a national championship in this day and age.

Well, those notions can be thrown out the window. Notre Dame is the first team ever to be ranked No. 1 in athlete graduation rate and No. 1 in football at the same time…and they are headed to Miami for their shot at a national title for the first time since 1988.

The Heisman Race

And then there were two. Sure, A.J. McCarron, Braxton Miller, and Kenjon Barner may get an invite to New York City, but those guys have less of a chance this year than Ron Paul. Voters are really down to two options: Manti Te’o of Notre Dame, or Johnny “Football” Manziel of Texas A&M.

Here’s the criteria for a Heisman winner:

Now let me be clear on several things:

The Heisman is NOT a career achievement award — I don’t think that Johnny Manziel should be punished for being a redshirt freshman. The Heisman is also NOT only an offensive award — Manti Te’o shouldn’t be punished for playing a position that doesn’t have as flashy of numbers. So both of those criterion can go by the wayside.

Photo by @theNDleprechaun via Twitter

Both Te’o and Manziel have had unbelievable seasons. For Te’o, he added another 100+ tackles to his monstrous career totals and posted a whopping SEVEN interceptions — the most for a linebacker in college football in more than a decade. Not to mention the tragedy he had to overcome while leading the No. 2 scoring defense in the country to a 12-0 undefeated season.

Manziel, on the other hand, just broke the SEC single-season yardage record (shattering former records by Heisman winner’s Tim Tebow and Cam Newton) as a redshirt freshman. He also led the Aggies to what may be the upset of the year as they knocked off defending-champion Alabama.

But to me, one thing in the Heisman definition stands out that would make me hand the award to Te’o: Integrity.

That’s not to say that Manziel isn’t a fantastic guy, but he did have an offseason arrest, and Manti Te’o is near-angelic. Te’o gets the nod.

3 Big Stats

Bittersweet in the Big Ten

What a year for the Ohio State Buckeyes. In some ways I feel bad for this team. And let me stress “THIS TEAM”. While there were a lot of shady things that went on in the Ohio State program under Jim Tressel, the current freshmen and sophomores had absolutely nothing to do with it. I 100% agree with punishing the school — fining them, vacating wins, and slashing scholarships is all completely acceptable — but a bowl ban on players that couldn’t be more innocent is hard for me to approve of. This team deserves a shot at the national championship.

They will never get that chance. However, Ohio State fans should be so proud of their team that will go down in history with an unblemished 12-0 record. I’m sure the guys in Columbus enjoyed sending Denard Robinson packing as the Buckeyes beat their arch-rival Michigan to end the season.

Much like Ohio State, Penn State had a very unique season. While the Nittany Lions have done their best to put the Jerry Sandusky scandal in the rear-view mirror, they will still be dealing with the football repercussions for a long time.

Penn State has known all year that it wasn’t going bowling. And it knew this year was going to be incredibly difficult after numerous players left the school to play for other programs.

But Bill O’Brien rallied his team together and posted one of the most impressive 8-win seasons in recent memory. He turned Matt McGloin into one of the better quarterbacks in the Big Ten, and he instilled a toughness in the team that led him to call his players “a bunch of ****ers“. This season was not easy on players, coaches, students, or fans, and everyone should respect what that team has done this season.

The Rest of College Football

The Alabama Crimson Tide are still planning on making a trip to Miami in January. They steamrolled Auburn to secure their spot in the SEC Title Game next weekend. Auburn is now the first SEC team ever to both win a title and finish last in the conference, And it did it in a three-year span.

Georgia also knows that it controls its own destiny to Miami. The Bulldogs took care of business against Georgia Tech and will face off against Nick Saban’s team in less than one week.

Ironically, Florida may have the best resume of any of the SEC teams, but due to the way the divisions are set up, they will not play in the SEC Title Game. Head Coach Will Muschamp is arguing that his team should play in the national championship, but his pleas will fall on deaf ears. However, the Gators did make a huge statement this week by beating bitter rival Florida State.

Everyone has forgotten about the Oregon Ducks, despite all of their hype just two weeks ago. The Ducks trashed the Oregon State Beavers, but won’t get to play in the PAC-12 Title Game.

Not very often in college football do you get to see two teams play each other twice in the same season, let alone in back-to-back weeks. But that will be the case for UCLA and Stanford, who will face off in the PAC-12 Title Game. Stanford cruised to an easy victory in round one. But will the second go the same way?

Florida wasn’t the only team that showed the SEC’s dominance over the ACC. The South Carolina Gamecocks won a battle over Clemson to give themselves another 10+ win season.

Oklahoma survived a shootout with intra-sate rival Oklahoma State. Boomer Sooner.

TCU capped off its inaugural season in the Big 12 with a victory over the Texas Longhorns. That rivalry will only continue to blossom.

Rex Burkhead returned for the Nebraska Cornhuskers and led them to victory over Iowa. The Cornhuskers will play against Wisconsin next week for the chance to go to the Rose Bowl.

I am going to intentionally ignore the BIG EAST because they will likely finish the regular season polls with zero teams ranked. But congratulations to UConn and Pittsburgh for pulling the upsets to make it happen.

Kent State handed Ohio its fourth loss and finished undefeated in MAC play. Will 11-1 lead them to a BCS bowl? (The answer is no.)

One more week is all we have until bowl season! How will everything shake out? Nobody knows, but here at CollegeSpun we’ll keep you updated on every development.


Read More At Bleacher Report

Former Managing Editor at College Spun. Notre Dame alumnus from Erie, PA. Diehard sports guy, obviously. Love 90's music, naps, and watching movies. I hate vegetables. Extremely sarcastic. Love reading comments on my pieces. Follow me on Twitter @TMoorehead627.