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Paying for a loss sure stings

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As Week 12 of the college football season approached, it was obvious that the slate was not one to write home about.

Of the teams in the top 10 of the College Football Playoff rankings, only two squared off against a top-25 team while many in the SEC took the week off.

Jase McClellan runs against Chattanooga

Alabama’s Jase McClellan carries the ball against Chattanooga during the first half at Bryant-Denny Stadium, November 18, 2023, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Brandon Sumrall/Getty Images)

Alabama faced Chattanooga, Ole Miss played UL Monroe, Mississippi State got Southern Miss, LSU played Georgia State and Texas A&M took on Abilene Christian in their first game since Jimbo Fisher was fired.

FROM OUTKICK: FLORIDA STATE MIGHT’VE LOST JORDAN TRAVIS, BUT SEMINOLES STILL HAVE LEGITIMATE SHOT AT WINNING CFP TITLE BEHIND TATE RODEMAKER

Despite a less-than-stellar schedule, the second-to-last week of the college football season still taught fans a thing or two as the final four-team CFP creeps ever closer.

Let’s take a look at what was learned in Week 12 of the college football season.

Football is a cruel game

There is nothing better than a football Saturday during the fall.

Waking up knowing there will be games to watch from noon well into the night is a heck of a feeling, especially as the leaves on the trees turn a beautiful shade of orange.

But with the joy of the games comes the ever-present danger that accompanies the sport.

Jordan Travis is taken off the field

Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis is carted off the field after an ankle injury during the game against North Alabama on Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium, November 18, 2023, in Tallahassee, Florida. (Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

On Saturday in Tallahassee, Florida, the danger and cruelty that comes with football was on full display as Florida State’s national championship hopes took a major hit.

Heisman-hopeful quarterback Jordan Travis was tackled at the end of a run late in the first quarter, with his foot bending in gruesome fashion.

Travis was taken off the field on a cart as the dream season for the Seminoles hit a snag.

On Monday, Travis announced that his college career was over as he encouraged his teammates to finish the job.

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“Being the quarterback here at Florida State University has been a dream come true,” Travis wrote in a social media post. “I am humbled, honored and forever grateful. The journey this team set out on is not over yet as all of our goals still lie just ahead.”

Jordan Travis kneels before a game

Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis is shown before the game against North Alabama on Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium, November 18, 2023, in Tallahassee, Florida. (Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

“I am excited to be by my brothers’ sides every day as we continue our attack. We’re all we got, we’re all we need. Job’s not finished.” 

The job is finished for Travis as the unfortunate side of football reared its ugly head.

Travis was a major cog in the resurrection of the Florida State program under head coach Mike Norvell. For the first time since 2014, Florida State will play in the ACC Championship Game, with a berth in the CFP at stake.

“Jordan will be talked about forever in this program,” Norvell said during his weekly news conference Monday, according to ESPN. “It’s not necessarily going to be just about his playing ability. It’s going to be about who he is.”

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“There’s an expectation and responsibility we have for him because he’s been such a huge part of this journey,” he continued. “We’ve got work to do. We got to put it in. Our guys came in with great purpose yesterday. I was pleased with the work that I saw. Guys know what needs to be done.”

While the Seminoles certainly have the talent to win the ACC and make the CFP, winning a national title without Travis seems far-fetched.

Football is a beautiful game, but it’s also brutally cruel.

Jeff Brohm was the man for the job in Louisville

The end of the 2022 college football season was a messy one for Louisville as head coach Scott Satterfield bolted for Cincinnati. 

The situation grew strange as Louisville and Cincinnati squared off at Boston’s Fenway Park in the Wasabi Fenway Bowl. While Satterfield chose to remain away from the game to avoid an awkward situation, the Cardinals still needed to replace their coach of three years.

Enter Jeff Brohm.

Jeff Brohm with The Schnellenberger Trophy

Louisville head coach Jeff Brohm receives the Schnellenberger Trophy after defeating Miami at Hard Rock Stadium, November 18, 2023, in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

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The former Louisville quarterback and hometown kid was hired away from Purdue after leading the Boilermakers to back-to-back bowl games in 2021 and 2022.

And what a first season it has been for Brohm and the Cardinals.

Louisville beat Miami on Saturday, earning the program’s first-ever spot in the ACC Championship Game. Entering the season, not one voter in the ACC preseason poll picked Louisville to finish atop the conference.

“Nobody expected us to be here,” Louisville cornerback Quincy Riley said.

Brohm’s squad has one final hurdle before taking on Florida State for the ACC title as the Cardinals welcome in-state rival Kentucky to Louisville in Week 13. 

Jeff Brohm gets a gatorade bath

Louisville head coach Jeff Brohm receives a Gatorade bath after defeating Miami at Hard Rock Stadium, November 18, 2023, in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

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“We had to explain to our team yesterday in a lot of different ways that it needs to be erased for a full week. The full focus needs to be on this game because, in my opinion, this is the most important game of the rest of the season,” Brohm said Monday, according to On3.

“We can talk about it all we want. This is the most important game. Our guys need to understand that preparing and trying to win this game needs to be the complete focus. If we want to make our fans happy, give them a good Thanksgiving, we need to go win that game.”

Auburn pays heavy price for loss

Quite a few teams in the SEC took a break from the rigors of conference play in Week 13.

And then there was Auburn.

The Tigers had New Mexico State on the schedule in Hugh Freeze’s first season on The Plains.

While the Aggies certainly have improved under head coach Jerry Kill, winning seven games last year, no one thought New Mexico State could go into Auburn and win.

NM State player after win

New Mexico State offensive lineman AJ Vaipulu celebrates after defeating Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium, November 18, 2023, in Auburn, Alabama. (Michael Chang/Getty Images)

The Aggies had lost their first 27 meetings against SEC teams and entered the game as 23.5-point underdogs.

AUBURN STUNNED BY NEW MEXICO STATE IN ONE OF THE LARGEST UPSETS THIS SEASON

New Mexico State left the state of Alabama as winners, beating Auburn by three touchdowns. The Aggies outgained Auburn, 414-213, and nearly doubled Auburn’s first downs, 23-12.

It was the ninth win of the season for New Mexico State, so the Aggies are no joke, but it was still a stunning loss for Freeze and the Tigers.

“You don’t get many opportunities like this,” Kill said. “We’re playing a Southeastern Conference football team, and we really dominated the football game most of the time.”

Hugh Freeze

Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze calls out to his players during the second half against New Mexico State at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 18, 2023, in Auburn, Alabama. (Michael Chang/Getty Images)

To add insult to injury, Auburn also paid New Mexico State $1.7 million for the meeting, a common occurrence between power-five and lower-level schools.

“How about that, $1.7 million and we won the game,” Kill said, smiling.

Watch out for those teams that appear to be a break in the schedule. They can end up costing you cash and quite a bit of ridicule.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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