10 thoughts from week 13 of the 2022 college football season


1. TCU punches his ticket: The result of the Big 12’s title game might not matter to TCU’s college football playoff hopes after a favorable results week to wrap up the regular season. The most important was the defeat of the state of Iowa in Fort Worth by the Horned Frogs. Losses from Ohio State, Clemson and LSU mean TCU could already be guaranteed a place in the Final Four. Georgia is in and so is Michigan. USC is also involved. But would a two-loss SEC team like Alabama or a one-loss Ohio State team that didn’t even win their division forego a one-loss TCU if the Horned Frogs narrowly lose to Kansas State? The good news for Sonny Dykes and company is that a win over the Wildcats nullifies the whole debate.

2. The recipe for success: Soccer doesn’t have to be rocket science, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Give your best players the ball in space and make them cook. Steve Sarkisian struggles with this concept at times, but not at crucial times against Baylor. Quinn Ewers committed an intentional floor penalty on Texas’ first offensive drive, resulting in a safety. His fumble in the fourth quarter was returned for a touchdown. If the Longhorns wanted to win and keep conference title hopes alive, it would be up to the backfield to do it. You have delivered.

Bijan Robinson averaged 6.2 yards per carry and notched two touchdowns while bringing his career rushing yards to fourth all-time in the Texas record books. Roshon Johnson added 77 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries. The Longhorns averaged six yards carry as a team when yards for sacks were adjusted. Ewers hurt the overall average by recording -48 yards on six carries – five of which were sacks and the other was a first-half touchdown run. Texas is at its best when it runs football. Ewer’s struggles forced Sark’s hands, but that was for the best.

3. Shaped not sharp: Baylor beats the Longhorns with more consistent play from his second quarterback. Blake Shapen completed 18 of 36 passes for 179 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. For comparison, Ewers had 194 yards on 16 attempts. Take a 47-yard touchdown bombshell from Jaylen Ellis in the first quarter and the Bears didn’t record a single catch over 20 yards in the game. Texas was focused on stopping the run and thought his secondary might tempt Shapen to make a few mistakes. An interception by Jaylan Ford — the top contender for Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year — essentially ended the game in the fourth quarter.

Baylor relied heavily on shapes. Dave Aranda named him a starter in the spring despite Gerry Bohanon’s return from 12 wins in 2021. Shapen just didn’t live up to those expectations. His arm talent is undisputed, but his fundamentals are crumbling and he sometimes makes bad decisions. He also misses too many easy shots. He needs to improve to keep his job ahead of newcomer Kyron Drones in the offseason.

4. A cleaning gain: The home win over LSU to cap off a bumpy 2022 season doesn’t answer the tough questions Jimbo Fisher faces in the offseason. He’s being pressured to hire an offensive coordinator with autonomy who can breathe some life into the Aggies offense. He’ll probably have to make an effort to keep some of his top recruits from entering the transfer portal. And he needs to add a few late wins down the recruitment path. But the pieces are there for a real run down the future when Fisher reassesses his pride and becomes CEO.

5. The hype is real: Joey McGuire arrived in Lubbock to much fanfare. The fanbase immediately believed in his cult of personality before he coached a single down as a college football head coach. Well, that confidence paid off with a 7-5 season that included home wins over Oklahoma and Texas Tech — the first time in school history that both were defeated at home in the same season. The Red Raiders finished the Big 12 game above .500 for the first time since 2009, the last of the Mike Leach era. All this with three different quarterbacks starting four games each. Texas Tech enters the bowl season with a guaranteed win record and plenty of momentum to finish the 2023 cycle with a borderline top-25 recruit class. And that is just the beginning.

6. Frank Harris is magical: What other explanation makes sense? The UTSA senior quarterback continues to dig the Roadrunners out of holes and win tight games. They didn’t lead UTEP to Jared Sackett’s game-winning field goal with four seconds remaining. The Miners took a 24-0 lead and it wasn’t certain Harris would make it through the entire game after being knocked out early through injury. He returned to lead another comeback win, completing 16 of his 22 passes for 382 yards and three touchdowns. UTSA is now 8-1 when the senior throws more than 300 yards in a game. Jeff Traylor is now 18-6 in single possession games. UTSA is 24-4 as of early 2021 with a 14-1 record in conference play.

7. Ragsdale Bears North Texas: The Mean Green were on high alert for most of their Week 13 matchup against Rice. A new hero emerged in the second half, however, as Ikaika Ragsdale scored twice on the stretch, including a game-winning six-yard reception from Austin Aune at 10:35 into the game. Ragsdale, a sophomore from Las Vegas, led the team with 122 rushing yards on 17 carries and five receptions for 59 yards.

8. Rice finds his future quarterback: AJ Padgett became the Owls’ 13th different starting quarterback in the Week 13 loss to North Texas — the highest in the FBS. Frisco Reedy’s true newcomer was the bright spot of the 21:17 loss. He completed 13 of 22 passes for 229 yards and a touchdown to an interception. He also rushed for 26 yards with 14 carries. Padgett looked like the kind of quarterback an offense should be built around when Mike Bloomgren and his staff get another year after a five-win season. UTEP’s loss to UTSA could mean Rice lands in a bowl game. Bloomgreen is up 16-38 in five seasons, but the Owls have improved on their overall wins in each of the last two seasons.

9. Writing on the wall in San Marcos: The home loss to Louisiana was likely the final act of Jake Spavital’s tenure as Texas State head coach. The Bobcats finished the season 4-8 despite fielding the best G5 defense in Texas. The former offensive coordinator just couldn’t find the quarterback play he needed to win consistently. That was demonstrated again in the Week 13 loss. It feels like, not if, the news is coming out of San Marcos that Spavital will not be retained for the 2023 season. Names to keep an eye on include Eric Morris, GJ Kinne and KC Keeler.

10. Rashee Rice is an All-American: The senior wide receiver became SMU’s record holder for most receiving yards in a season after a performance of 13 catches and 147 yards that included a touchdown in the 34-31 win over Memphis. SMU finishes the regular season 7-5 overall and 5-3 in AAC play under first-year head coach Rhett Lashlee. Rice has been the star all year round. He will receive All-Texas honors, All-AAC honors, and hopefully All-American honors for his efforts. SMU is tacit WRU at G5 level and Rice will be the next Mustang drafted into the NFL.

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