Note: CollegeFootballPoll.com's Dave Congrove is a member of the Maxwell Football Cub and a voter for the Maxwell and Bednarik Awards.
Top individual player performances last week include that of Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins, who was the offensive workhorse in the team's 28-7 win over Penn State. A few of the top games this week feature Ohio State at Michigan, Alabama at Auburn, Wisconsin at Minnesota and Oklahoma at Oklahoma State.
QB Jayden Daniels, Arizona State - Daniels isn't playing like a true freshman any longer. Oregon found the hard way, suffering its first loss since the opener. Daniels stood tall Saturday night facing a playoff contender and a secondary that leads the nation in interceptions. He delivered in key spots of the 31-28 shocker, turning just 22 completions into 408 yards and three touchdowns, capped by a gorgeous 81-yarder to WR Brandon Aiyuk.
RB J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State - Whatever running room that existed Saturday afternoon versus Penn State, Dobbins found it. And after squandering an early cushion Ohio State held on to defeat the Nittany Lions and win the Big Ten East. Dobbins, who averages around 20 carries a game, was the offensive workhorse with a season-high 36 touches for 157 yards and the game's first two touchdowns.
QB James Graham, Georgia Tech - It's taking time... and there's plenty of work left to be done for Geoff Collins and his staff. But the Yellow Jackets are making strides, as evidenced by Thursday's win over NC State. And they might have a quarterback to build around as well. Redshirt freshman James Graham showed off his versatility in the win, rushing for 112 yards, throwing for 129 more and accounting for all four of Tech's TDs.
QB Jarrett Guarantano, Tennessee - Given up for dead in early October, the Volunteers have engineered quite a turnaround for Jeremy Pruitt. And Guarantano has been a big part of the current 5-1 run to bowl-eligibility. The senior has provided a lift to the offense since recapturing his starting job. Saturday in Columbia, Guarantano dissected a very Mizzou pass defense for 415 yards and two TDs, producing three different 100-yard receivers.
RB Javian Hawkins, Louisville - During his time at Appalachian State, Scott Satterfield always had a talented feature back. He has one at Louisville, too, to build an offense around in the years ahead. The Cardinals obliterated Syracuse, 56-34, for their seventh win of the year behind six total touchdowns from QB Micale Cunningham and 233 yards rushing and a score on just 23 carries from Hawkins, a redshirt freshman from Florida.
QB Tanner Morgan, Minnesota - Morgan was in concussion protocol all week. The Golden Gophers were traveling to 2-8 Northwestern the week after suffering their first loss... and a week before this Saturday's key Big Ten West showdown with Wisconsin. Surely, this was a trap game, right? Nope. Minnesota locked down an improbable 10-win season, with Morgan throwing four TD passes in the 38-22 victory.
QB Shea Patterson, Michigan - The Wolverines have tallied at least 38 points in four straight games for the first time in the Jim Harbaugh era... and Patterson has been the point man of the timely explosion. Sandwiched between visits from Michigan State and Ohio State, Bloomington looked like a potential landmine for Michigan. Instead, it throttled Indiana, as Patterson threw for 366 yards and five TDs, three to WR Nico Collins.
QB Malcolm Perry, Navy - Perry is not very big, generously listed at 5-9. His impact, though? Enormous. In Saturday's key showdown with SMU, the Midshipmen rebounded from their loss to Notre Dame with a 35-28 win to remain in the AAC West Division hunt. Perry was the catalyst with 195 yards and two scores on the ground and 162 yards and another touchdown on 9-of-15 passing.
DE Boogie Basham, Wake Forest - Despite some late-season struggles, the Deacons are still 8-3 with a shot at a 10-win campaign. This past weekend against Duke, Wake Forest got major contributions from every unit - QB Jamie Newman on offense, PK Nick Sciba on special teams and Basham on D. The latter earned Pro Football Focus' sixth highest Week 13 grade among edge rushers for notching 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
S Talanoa Hufanga, USC - There's suddenly a lot of optimism around Troy, winners of three straight to close the regular season. True freshman QB Kedon Slovis is torching opposing defenses, while Hufanga is set to become the next in a long line of great Trojan safeties. In Saturday's rout of UCLA, the sophomore was everywhere and finished with a career-high 18 tackles, two stops for loss, one sack and one pass breakup.
CB Jordan Moore, Houston - The Cougars will not be bowling next month, but that hasn't stopped the kids from playing hard for Dana Holgorsen. Houston travelled to Tulsa Saturday and pulled a mild upset over the Golden Hurricane, largely behind the play of an inspired D. Moore, Pro Football Focus' sixth highest rated corner for Week 13, had five tackles, a half-sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup.
LB Ivan Pace Jr., Miami (OH) - The RedHawks will be taking a head of steam into next week's MAC Championship Game in Detroit. The East Division champ used a record-setting defensive effort to hold off upset-minded Akron last Wednesday evening and finish undefeated at home. Pace, a rookie out of Cincinnati, set a single-game Miami record with six of his team's dozen sacks for minus-45 yards.
NT E.J. Scott, Appalachian State - Scott was hoping to make some memories on Senior Day in Boone, N.C. Mission accomplished. The veteran interior lineman was a force for the ranked Mountaineers, making three stops, collecting the first two sacks of his career and batting a ball that led to an interception. So dominant was Scott at the point of attack, he was the third highest graded defensive player of Week 13, according to Pro Football Focus.
S JaCoby Stevens, LSU - What does a defensive coordinator, like Dave Aranda, do when the front seven isn't generating enough heat? Turns loose an athletic and instinctive DB. Stevens, for example. One of the lesser heralded defensive backs in Baton Rouge, Stevens repeatedly impacted the Arkansas backfield Saturday evening with eight stops, four tackles for loss and three sacks of KJ Jefferson.
LB Evan Weaver, Cal - For the first time in a decade, Cal is bringing The Axe back to Berkeley. The Bears upset rival Stanford to not only reach bowl-eligibility, but also knock the Cardinal out of the postseason for the first time since 2008. As he's done all season, Weaver headlined the stingy Cal D with a game-high 13 tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage.
DE Chase Young, Ohio State - Welcome back, No. 2. Young did not skip a beat after missing the past two games, wrecking the Penn State offensive line in Saturday's 28-17 victory. The Lions managed just 227 yards and 15 first downs, with their 17 points largely the result of turnovers. Young led the charge up front with nine tackles, four stops for loss, three sacks and a couple of forced fumbles.
Ohio State (11-0) at Michigan (9-2) - Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET (FOX) - Is this the year Michigan snaps its seven-game losing streak to Ohio State? Jim Harbaugh, for one, sure needs a breakthrough moment versus the rival Buckeyes. After a rocky stretch, the coach has his Wolverines clicking - on both sides of the ball. But the undefeated Buckeyes present a unique challenge, from the backfield duo of QB Justin Fields and RB JK Dobbins to the incessant pressure QB Shea Patterson is going to feel from Bednarik Award finalist Chase Young.
Alabama (10-1) at Auburn (8-3) - Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (CBS) - Alabama is still in the playoff race, even more so after Oregon fell in Tempe over the weekend. But the team must first defeat Auburn-at Jordan-Hare-in the always-riveting Iron Bowl. Which quarterback will make the necessary plays Saturday afternoon. Will it be Tiger true freshman Bo Nix, playing in this legendary rivalry for the first time? Or will it be untested Crimson Tide sophomore Mac Jones, who took over after Tua Tagovailoa was lost for the year to injury?
Wisconsin (9-2) at Minnesota (10-1) - Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC) - It's been a memorable season for the Golden Gophers. Now they have a chance to finish the job by winning the division and earning the right to face Ohio State in Indianapolis for the Big Ten championship. Minnesota and Wisconsin play each November for Paul Bunyan's Axe. This year, the West Division crown will also be hanging in the balance, as the Gophers look to defeat the Badgers in back-to-back years for the first time since 1993-94.
Oklahoma (10-1) at Oklahoma State (8-3) - Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ET (FOX) - It's the 114th edition of Bedlam, as Oklahoma travels to Stillwater looking for its fifth consecutive win in the series. The Sooners have already secured a spot in the Dec. 7 Big 12 Championship Game, where Baylor will be looking for revenge. But OU, if it can win the next two games, is also looking to make a case for one of the four playoff berths. Oklahoma State, which has overcome key offensive injuries to win four straight this month, would love nothing more than to crush the Sooners' CFP dreams.