Here are the people most impacted by Saturday’s shakedown:
1. Mark Ingram. The Alabama running back rushed for 144 yards in 22 carries, likely earning him a place among the Heisman finalists as Alabama clinched a spot in the SEC championship game.
“We can’t look to the Florida game,” he said. “(If) you don’t stay focused every week, you lose.”
2. Rich Rodriguez and Charlie Weis. Rodriguez’s Michigan Wolverines, which haven’t beaten a I-A team since Sept. 26, need to beat Wisconsin or Ohio State to be bowl eligible. Meanwhile, Saturday’s loss to Navy means bye-bye BCS for Notre Dame. Could it mean the same for Weis at Notre Dame?
3. Brian Kelly. In a rare Saturday night network TV appearance, Kelly’s Cincinnati Bearcats wowed voters with 711 yards total offense versus Connecticut. A shame they cancelled it all out by allowing 45 points in a two-point win.
4. Terrelle Pryor. The star quarterback from western Pennsylvania put Ohio State in line for a Rose Bowl berth with a 24-7 victory over Penn State and should get a reprieve from his many critics.
“It was big to just come home and see the crowd,” he said after the win.
5. James Vandenberg. The kid who played Mox in Varsity Blues? Not so much. After Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi’s injury, the redshirt freshman went 9-for-27 in his team’s first loss. He’ll make his first collegiate start Saturday … at Ohio State.
6. Toby Gerhart. Don’t count the Stanford running back out of the Heisman race or the Cardinal out of the Rose Bowl. Gerhart had 223 rushing yards and three touchdowns, as Stanford knocked off last week’s hot story, No. 7 Oregon, 51-42.
7. Paul Johnson. Georgia Tech’s coach showed championship courage with a fourth-down call in OT to set up the winning touchdown.