Three of the nation’s top four teams were upset last weekend, two in primetime. If Week 11 was the party, then Week 12 was the hangover. Here are the key takeaways from Week 12:
Oklahoma is surging
It’ll require a miracle for them to make the College Football Playoff, but the resurgent Sooners are one of college football’s most exciting teams. Their 56–28 demolition of West Virginia in snowy Morgantown was another standout performance for a team that was expected to contend for a playoff spot, but was virtually eliminated after two losses in its first three games. Despite some shaky defense, the Sooners forced two crucial turnovers inside the 5-yard line and allowed the offense to build a 34–0 first-half lead. Running backs Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine steamrolled a vaunted Mountaineer defense for 307 rushing yards and three TDs while quarterback Baker Mayfield needed only nine completions to log 169 yards and two touchdowns.
The sun is setting on Charlie Strong
Charlie Strong has taken some bad losses during his three seasons as the Texas head coach. Two to Cal, one to Iowa State last season, the Texas Bowl loss to Arkansas that Bret Bielema called “borderline erotic.” Those were all bad. None rank anywhere near the 24–21 loss to Kansas that the Longhorns suffered on Saturday afternoon. Though he’s only in his third year in charge of the program, Strong’s firing is all but inevitable now. All indications are that he will coach the regular season finale against TCU (Texas needs a win to become bowl eligible), but the administration is likely mapping out a list of candidates to replace him after the regular season concludes. It’s hard to envision anybody not named Tom Herman as the No. 1 candidate for the job.
The Pac-12 South is upside down
Few teams have suffered as badly as Oregon this season, but the Ducks mustered a standout defensive performance and an incredible game-winning touchdown catch to knock off No. 12 Utah. The loss now puts No. 10 Colorado in pole position to win the Pac-12 South, but the resurgent Buffs will need to knock off Utah in order to clinch the division. Hanging in the balance is USC, which throttled UCLA 36–14 at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night. Colorado knocked off No. 22 Washington State, 38–24, in a thrilling tilt in Boulder.