It was quite a week, with a national signing day wedged in the middle of a hearty playoff debate. But now it's all focused back on the field.
First, the Friday night Pac-12 championship delivered on the hype as Oregon outlasted No. 13 USC 31-24 in Los Angeles. The Ducks' win likely knocks the Pac-12 out of playoff contention.
Sadly, we won't get to see Coastal Carolina and Louisiana cap off what has been a phenomenal Sun Belt season after the title game was canceled and they were declared co-champions.
Let's make the most of it here with all the best moments and highlights.
Top 25 games
If Florida wanted to pull off the upset and make a last-ditch bid for the College Football Playoff, it probably should have informed its defense, which didn't bother to show up in the SEC championship game. Whether it was taking advantage of poorly timed penalties or mental lapses, Alabama had its way with Florida and further made its case for the No. 1 seed in the playoff. DeVonta Smith, who might be the best player in college football, was left wide open. And Najee Harris? Well, he did whatever he wanted, rushing or receiving, and set an SEC championship game record with five touchdowns. One thing to keep an eye on in the coming days and weeks is the health of standout Bama center Landon Dickerson, who left late in the game with an apparent knee injury and has been the heart and soul of the line. -- Alex Scarborough
The Pac-12's short strange trip ended with a conference champion (Oregon), two division champions (USC and Washington), a team whose chances at winning the North was hurt by a false positive test of its starting quarterback (Stanford) and another that might end up the highest-ranked of them all at the end of the year (Colorado). The Conference of Champions, indeed. The 2020 college football season is but a shadow of its usual self across the county, but in the Pac-12, the general bizarreness was even more extreme. If Oregon, Colorado and USC all turn in poor showings in their bowl games -- assuming they play in bowl games -- it's still possible the Pac-12, a Power 5 conference, finishes without a single team in the final AP Top 25. -- Kyle Bonagura
The Aggies did what they had to do. They beat Tennessee and did so in convincing fashion. It may have not been the prettiest, but Jimbo Fisher's style of ball rarely is. After the Vols popped the Aggies with a game-opening touchdown drive, the Aggies dominated the rest of the way. Kellen Mond was efficient and effective, making only one big mistake, and the defense was stellar, particularly in the run game. They more than tripled Tennessee in time of possession and more than doubled the Vols in offensive plays. Texas A&M, at 8-1, finishes with a solid case for the top four. -- Sam Khan Jr.
Ohio State likely sealed a College Football Playoff berth with a 22-10 win over Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship. Northwestern gave the Buckeyes a good scare, especially in the first half when they led 10-6 by slowing down drives and forcing Ohio State into field goals. But Ohio State went to the run game in the second half, forced some turnovers of their own and were able to put away the Wildcats. They were led by Trey Sermon's 331 rushing yards, which were a career high and a Big Ten Championship game record, and snapped Eddie George's school record for yards in a game. The Buckeyes are a perfect 6-0 going into bowl season, but will likely need a more complete game in the CFP if they hope to advance. -- Harry Lyles Jr.
The Big 12 had little shot at a playoff berth with a pair of two-loss teams, but Iowa State being sixth gave the Cyclones at least an outside chance had there been some chaos. No matter; Oklahoma showed it rules the Big 12 again. The Sooners controlled the first half and led by 17 before the Cyclones began chipping away. But Tre Brown made some huge plays for the Sooners, the last of which was an interception of Brock Purdy, to seal Oklahoma's sixth consecutive Big 12 crown. -- Sam Khan Jr.
Turns out, missing Trevor Lawrence is a big deal. The quarterback missed Clemson's Nov. 7 loss at Notre Dame after a positive coronavirus test. In Saturday night's ACC championship game, he threw for 322 yards, ran for 90 and accounted for three touchdowns in a revenge beatdown that felt much worse than the score. Clemson running back Travis Etienne, held to 28 yards in November, ran for 124, including a backbreaking 44-yard TD dash at the end of the first half. The Tigers' defense held the Irish to only three points for most of the contest. So, if you were wondering when the orange bulldozer we were promised in the preseason would finally get cranked up, that time is now. Just in time for the College Football Playoff. -- Ryan McGee
The Bearcats finished the season undefeated at 9-0 with a nail-biting win against Tulsa after Cole Smith kicked a 34-yard field goal to seal it. Any argument they might have had to be a dark-horse pick for a College Football Playoff spot probably evaporated since the game went down to the wire, but the effort was there. Cincinnati was sloppy at times after not playing since Nov. 21 because of coronavirus issues and had a hard time getting into any rhythm. But the Bearcats found a way to make the plays to win in the end and are all but assured the Group of 5 New Year's Six game. The comeback kids from Tulsa (6-2), meanwhile, made a game of it. Zach Smith threw a 13-yard pass to JuanCarlos Santana to tie the score with 3:41 remaining, but the Golden Hurricane made a costly mistake on defense on what ended up being Cincinnati's game-winning drive. Jaxon Player, who had an absolutely stellar performance, was called offside on fourth-and-2, allowing Cincinnati to extend the drive and make the game-winning kick. -- Andrea Adelson
Prior to Saturday night's win against Boise State to claim the Mountain West title, San Jose State had never beaten the Broncos -- it was 0-13 all time. Not only did SJSU win, it did so convincingly while playing in its first-ever conference title game. The Spartans, who have finished only one season in program history ranked in the final AP poll (No. 21 in 2012), have positioned themselves for their best-ever finish. In his fourth year leading the program, coach Brent Brennan has engineered one of the most impressive turnarounds college football has seen in recent memory. -- Kyle Bonagura
They said it
San Jose State had a little bit of fun with Boise State and its fans following a win in the Mountain West title game. The Spartans added a little '90s flair to really rub it in.
Lawrence makes a move for six
Perhaps more impressive than Trevor Lawrence's 67-yard touchdown pass to Amari Rodgers or his 33-yard score to E.J. Williams was this 34-yard touchdown run in the third quarter against Notre Dame in the ACC championship game.
Pick of the year?
Go off(side), Coach
Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy used a hard count to try to draw Oklahoma offside on fourth-and-2. It appeared to work, but referees did not call for the penalty. Iowa State coach Matt Campbell was forced to call a timeout, and he let the officials know his feelings.
This good doggo rates Trevor Lawrence's performance against Notre Dame in the ACC title game: 15/10.
A shot at greatness
Oklahoma State has made a compelling argument for the "emotionally mature" Jake McClure for Mortell Holder of the Year.
It's 2020: Be prepared
Colorado took precautions to be ready in case USC had COVID-19 testing problems and would have to bow out of the Pac-12 title game.
Colorado sent its equipment truck to the halfway point between Boulder and Los Angeles so that it's ready to either finish the drive (if needed) or come back. We're told the truck is somewhere around St. George, Utah. #cubuffs— Brian Howell (@BrianHowell33) December 16, 2020
Best of early signing day
Florida State announced its players with a throwback to Backyard Football, the classic video game.
(Check out our roundup of the best social media in school announcements here.)
Wildcat for life
Kansas State coach Chris Klieman announced a special signing on Wednesday with the addition of Gunar Reed. Reed, a recent high school graduate and K-State fan, has had 36 surgeries, including three open-heart surgeries.
"G-Man is our hero," Klieman said. "As tough as this has been for us as a season, as tough as this has been for these players, nobody is as tough as Gunar. Any bit of joy we can provide for him, we're going to do that."
The edits just keep coming for Texas A&M. What will the Aggies do for bowl season?
Maybe the sickest edits are the friends we made along the way.
How do you like them doughnuts?
NC State coach Dave Doeren had a little surprise gift for some analysts who predicted a rough season for the Wolfpack, who instead went 8-3.