Rivalry Week is the best week. It’s the worst week. Not only are we treated to some of the most intriguing, exciting, and excruciatingly awesome college football games, we’re reminded that it’s the final week of the regular season at the same time.
In a somber reminder to enjoy and remember the moment while we have it, here’s the final regular season College Football Team of the Week.
Week 13 College Football Team of the Week | First Team
It’s important to note that the CFN Week 13 College Football Team of the Week awards players based on their impact in their respective games and is not necessarily based on total statistical output.
The strength of competition is accounted for, as is the situation — both time of the game and score. These individual awards are also solely based on a player’s ability on the field and does not look into any future beyond college football.
Quarterback: Noah Fifita, Arizona (30-41-527-5)
What an absolute throttling it was by the Arizona Wildcats. Behind Noah Fifita’s school record of 527 passing yards, Arizona successfully avenged the 2021 shellacking they received in the Territorial Cup.
Fifita cooked the Sun Devils’ defense with his rare blend of power and accuracy, timing and decision-making. He’s the real deal, and this performance puts him on the dark horse list for next year’s Heisman Trophy.
Running Back: Ollie Gordon II, Oklahoma State
Yet another dominant performance from one of the most dominant performers of the 2023 college season, Ollie Gordon II, single-handedly pushed Oklahoma State into the Big 12 Championship Game. With his five-touchdown performance, Gordon has now scored a whopping 20 touchdowns on the ground and deserves his praise as a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender.
Gordon has a great mix of attributes of an elite running back and has rushed for 1,580 yards on just 245 carries this year.
Running Back: Audric Estime, Notre Dame
Word to the wise: Never count out revenge as a factor for a dominant showing on the football field. Audric Estime was left off the Doak Walker Award finalists list and had something to say about that on Saturday.
Against Stanford, Estime took his frustrations out to the tune of 25 carries, 238 yards, and four touchdowns. He just couldn’t be stopped, averaging nearly 10 yards per carry in one of the more dominating performances of his career.
Wide Receiver: Rome Odunze, Washington
You better believe Rome Odunze’s showing through the air was good enough to get him here. But you also have to understand that his 21-yard carry on a fourth-down reverse cemented his status as the top wide receiver of Week 13.
With the Apple Cup on the line, Washington put the ball in the hands of Odunze, and they were rewarded with a speedy fast first-down conversion in the process. He also hauled in seven catches for 120 yards and two scores as he dominated all game long.
Wide Receiver: Tetairoa McMillan, Arizona
Receivers the size of Tetairoa McMillan shouldn’t be able to move the way McMillan does. He doesn’t just possess pure straight-line speed; rather, he’s as nimble as a smaller slot receiver, as shifty as a running back, and has the hands and breakaway speed of a pure No. 1 receiver.
McMillian put it all together against Arizona State to the tune of 211 receptions, 266 yards and a touchdown in a dominant performance. The 6’5″, 210-pound receiver is just one of a handful of mismatches on this Arizona team.
Wide Receiver: Malik Nabers, LSU
It took the LSU Tigers a bit to put away a pesky Texas A&M team, but you better believe it was Malik Nabers who had something to say about that. His ridiculous work on the boundary and in the end zone led way to one of the best touchdown catches we’ve seen this season.
Nabers brought down six receptions for 122 yards and two scores, and it was his highlight-reel, other-worldly catch-point prowess that pushed him above other similar performers.
Tight End: Tanner McLachlan, Arizona
Mismatches in the red zone are bound to happen when you’re 6’5″, 245 pounds, and possess the athleticism that Tanner McLachlan does. The big tight end skied for two receiving touchdowns and 60 yards against Arizona State, finding himself open not only in the red zone but all over the field all the same.
Flex: Abu Sama III, Iowa State
What an absolutely dominant showing it was from the Iowa State offense. In a few inches of snow, the Cyclones were undeterred and their fabulous freshman running back had the game of his life.
Abu Sama needed just 16 carries to go for 276 yards and three scores. He scored on carries of 60, 71, and 77 yards as the Iowa State offense didn’t play a single snap in the red zone and less than a handful in opponent’s territory. Sama and Iowa State dominated.
Tackle: Francis Mauigoa, Miami (FL)
Back on Friday night, the terrific true freshman for the Miami Hurricanes offensive line put on a show. Francis Mauigoa and the ‘Canes’ rushing attack took Boston College for a ride, and Mauigoa kept clean pocket after clean pocket in the passing game.
The future is bright for Mauigoa. He’s flashed elite game-changing ability at tackle for Miami, and he’s only getting better.
Guard: Jonah Gambill, Memphis
Jonah Gambill and the Memphis Tigers offense put forth a clinic against Temple in Week 13. Gambill and the rushing attack reached 195 yards and two scores, imposing their will whenever they so pleased against the Owls.
Behind Gambill, Seth Henigan was sacked only once against the exotic and underrated defensive front of Temple. Memphis’ entire line blocked well but Gambill stole the show.
Center: Jackson Powers-Johnson, Oregon
The Oregon Ducks are one of the hottest teams in the country and their offensive line is playing nearly perfect football. Finding himself in the limelight because of his elite play, Week 13 was no different for Jackson Powers-Johnson.
The big man on the interior for the Ducks powered his way to the second level on the ground. Powers-Johnson was also impressive in pas protection. It was yet another dominant showing from one of the game’s top interior offensive linemen.
Guard: Cam’Ron Johnson, Missouri
Cam’Ron Johnson blocked hard and mean against Missouri’s rival Arkansas. Sure, his blocking even set off a fight, but that was bound to happen with how dominant Johnson was all game long against the Razorbacks.
Johnson paved the way to a dominant win for the Tigers and cleared some massive lanes in the ground game just as quickly as he kept clean pockets in the passing game.
Tackle: Caedan Wallace, Penn State
The Penn State Nittany Lions improved to 10-2 thanks to a dominant offensive showing aginst Michigan State. Caedan Wallace was all over the place for the Nittany Lions, moving incredibly well with the flow of the offense.
Wallace was impressive in pass protection, but had a day on the ground. Leading to two 100-yard rushers, it was often Wallace was the reason why neither Penn State running back felt like they were touched until well past the line of scrimmage.
EDGE: Jared Verse, Florida State
Great players take over when their teams need them and that’s exactly what Jared Verse did on Saturday night against Florida. The potential All-American finished with 2.5 sacks, picking and choosing his shots with ease and disrupting all of the Gators’ game plans down the stretch.
Verse ripped through tackle after tackle, guard after guard; no matter where they lined up him, Florida couldn’t stop him,
Defensive Line: Judge Culpepper, Toledo
If you don’t know the name Judge Culpepper by now, that means you’re not reading our College Football Team of the Week. Culpepper is a regular fixture here and it’s because of his truly game-wrecking ability.
Against Central Michigan, Culpepper ripped through for 2.5 sacks and a handful more pressures as he couldn’t be stopped. He made his presence felt in the ground game and did a great job of keeping the speedy and dynamic Jase Bauer in the pocket all game long.
Defensive Line: Keith Cooper Jr., Tulane
The Tulane Green Wave defensive front put on a clinic against UTSA. In the essential play-in AAC Championship eliminator, Keith Cooper Jr. and the defensive line from Tulane were the biggest differentiators.
Cooper recorded two sacks and a handful more pressures. He made six total tackles and multiple highlight-reel plays by getting his hands either in on run stuffs or to affect the passing lanes all the same.
EDGE: Jordan Porter, Bowling Green
It was back on Tuesday night that Jordan Porter made life completely miserable for the Western Michigan offensive line. In fact, Porter made life miserable for the entire team at WMU, as the Broncos’ defense had to see the field repeatedly after Porter ended drives left and right.
When all was said and done, Porter recorded just two sacks but it felt like he was in the backfield on every pass-rushing snap.
Linebacker: Payton Wilson, NC State
Payton Wilson likely sent himself out with a bang on Saturday night. The longtime linebacker of the NC State Wolfpack recorded a whopping 15 total tackles as he flew around the field like a heat-seeking missile against UNC.
He torched blockers in front of him in each facet, recording two tackles for loss and a sack. It was a vintage Wilson performance and a fitting send off for one of the great ACC linebackers of all time.
Linebacker: Beau Freyler, Iowa State
Racking up the tackles in the snow, Beau Freyler flew around the field on Saturday night. Farmageddon went the way of the Cyclones as Freyler was a huge aspect to their limiting Kansas State when necessary.
Freyler brought down a whopping 13 solo tackles and was integral in keeping the Kansas State rushing attack in check at the second level. It wasn’t easy, and it surely was a tough outing for both defenses, but Freyler flashed brilliance.
Linebacker: Trevor Williams, Sam Houston
The Sam Houston Bearkats are heading into the offseason with some serious momentum. Winners of three of their last four to close out the season, Sam Houston finished with a 3-9 record, but it could have gone the other way on multiple occasions.
Trevor Williams made sure their final game of the season didn’t break the other way with a pick-six off Middle Tennessee QB Nicholas Vattiato. Williams also recorded 12 total tackles and a half of a sack in a truly dominant outing.
Cornerback: Terrion Arnold, Alabama
It was an absolute classic Iron Bowl yet again and Terrion Arnold left his stamp on the action. While the offense takes the headlines for the finish, the Alabama defense did their part in the end to put their offense in a position to win the game.
Arnold ripped off multiple interceptions off Payton Thorne, including the game-sealing pick on the game’s last play. He locked down in coverage all game long and continued his tear up NFL Draft boards in the process.
Cornerback: Eddie Heckard, BYU
Well, it didn’t break their way in the end, but it certainly wasn’t Eddie Heckard’s fault for BYU’s inability to stop Oklahoma State’s rushing attack. In fact, the game could’ve likely been out of hand had it not been for Heckard’s first-half performance.
Jumping a route with brilliance and speed, Heckard recorded an impressive pick-six early in the game to vault the Cougars out to a big lead. Heckard then grabbed another impressive interception and it looked like BYU could run away with their bowl-clinching victory. Though not meant to be, the Oklahoma State offense avoided Heckard at all costs down the stretch.
Cornerback: Tyreik Funderburk, App State
Tyreik Funderburk and the Appalachian State Mountaineers did their part to close out the regular season the right way. Against the high-octane Georgia Southern offense, Funderburk came away with two interceptions, locking down in coverage on the outside.
The defensive front got a lot of pressure on QB Davis Brin, and Funderburk and Co. did the rest in the secondary. It was a strong showing that also included a TFL in run defense and three solo tackles.
Safety: Billy Bowman Jr., Oklahoma
Sure, the Oklahoma defense allowed 45 points to the TCU Horned Frogs. But Billy Bowman Jr. was all but avoided after his highlight-reel play was rewarded when TCU did throw his way.
Bowman nabbed an interception, sprinted to the end zone, kept his balance, and scored yet another pick-six for the Sooners’ defense. He did this all while leading the team in total tackles and playing centerfield like the seasoned veteran he is.
Safety: Dillon Thieneman, Purdue
While his fellow safety is a seasoned veteran, Purdue safety Dillon Thieneman is on his way to becoming one. The freshman safety had perhaps his finest game yet in the battle for the Old Oaken Bucket, and that’s saying something.
It took some saving grace from their offense, but Thieneman is due his praise for his two interceptions against Indiana. Thieneman is a dominant coverage defense and downhill run-stopper all the same. A three-down safety who can do everything at elite levels, Thieneman is a name to watch next fall and beyond.
Flex: Chuck Hicks, Missouri
Flying around all over the field, Chuck Hicks had himself a day against Arkansas. The Missouri linebacker recorded a sack, 3.5 tackles for loss, and made multiple plays against the run.
His all-around ability stamped Hicks’ play to keep backup QB Jacolby Criswell in check all game long, as the dynamic dual-threat had shown previously (at UNC) that he could beat defenses with his legs.
Kicker: Bert Auburn, Texas
Setting the new Texas single-season record for field goals and consecutive field goals, Bert Auburn was the most dominant kicker in Week 13. Auburn finished the night with a whopping 21 points, tripling the output of Texas Tech in the process.
Auburn was perfect on the evening, drilling all 11 of his kicks. He made field goals of 26, 34, 37, 44, and 54. Auburn added six extra points and he now has made 103 extra points without a single miss in his career.
Punter: Aidan Swanson, Clemson
When you win such an ugly game like Clemson did against South Carolina, it’s not going to surprise anyone who watched that the best offensive player came by way of Aidan Swanson, the punter. Swanson was integral in Clemson’s success against the Gamecocks, pinning back an inept offense more often than not.
Swanson booted it six times for 247 yards, averaging 41.2 yards per punt. However, it was his five punts downed inside the South Carolina 20-yard line that were the difference.
Kick Returner: Richard Reese, Baylor
Nearly equaling his offense with two scores, Richard Reese had the most dynamic return man performance of the season in Week 13. Reese used his certified blazing speed and vision to clear way toward the end zone on two separate kick returns, scoring twice for Baylor.
He had back-to-back kick return touchdowns in the second quarter, going for 96 yards on one and 93 yards on the other. In total, Reese recorded 247 kick return yards on five return attempts.
Punt Returner: Xavier Worthy, Texas
There weren’t a ton of great performances on punt returns in Week 13, and we feel like Xavier Worthy needs praise for his efforts as a return man.
He hit the fastest speed we’ve seen in all of college football a week ago on a punt return (even if the result was negated), and he flashed against Texas Tech as well. You don’t want to punt it to this guy.
Week 13 College Football Team of the Week | Second Team
- QB: Jayden Daniels, LSU
- RB: Jacory Croskey-Merritt, New Mexico
- RB: Trey Benson, Florida State
- WR: Troy Franklin, Oregon
- WR: Jaylin Noel, Iowa State
- WR: Elijah Sarratt, JMU
- TE: Boden Green, Rice
- FLEX: Levi Williams, Utah State
- OT: Walter Rouse, Oklahoma
- G: Olaivavega Ioane, Penn State
- C: Parker Titsworth, Ohio
- G: Wendell Moe, Arizona
- OT: Christian Jones, Texas
- EDGE: Sebastian Harsh, Wyoming
- DL: Kevon Darton, Syracuse
- DL: Patrick Jenkins, Tulane
- EDGE: Javontae Jean-Baptiste, Notre Dame
- LB: Jason Johnson, UCF
- LB: Xander Mueller, Northwestern
- LB: Dallas Gant, Toledo
- DB: Wyatt Ekeler, Wyoming
- DB: Miles Scott, Illinois
- DB: Caleb Downs, Alabama
- DB: Rod Moore, Michigan
- DB: Mumu Bin-Wahad, UConn
- FLEX: Jordan Oladokun, Bowling Green
- K: Brayden Narveson, NC State
- P: Ryan Rehkow, BYU
- KR: Barion Brown, Kentucky
- PR: Keon Coleman, Florida State
Week 13 College Football Team of the Week | Third Team
- QB: Jordan McCloud, James Madison
- RB: Cody Schrader, Missouri
- RB: Gavin Sawchuk, Oklahoma
- WR: Kevin Concepcion, NC State
- WR: Chris Brazzell II, Tulane
- WR: Tez Johnson, Oregon
- TE: Harold Fannin Jr., Bowling Green
- FLEX: Ray Davis, Kentucky
- OT: Jordan Morgan, Arizona
- G: Davion Carter, Memphis
- C: Sincere Haynesworth, Tulane
- G: Ben Dooley, Boise State
- OT: Marques Cox, Kentucky
- EDGE: Abdul Carter, Penn State
- DL: Cole Nelson, Virginia Tech
- DL: Pheldarius Payne, Virginia Tech
- EDGE: Darius Hodges, Tulane
- LB: Daniel Bolden, Toledo
- LB: Tyler Grubbs, Tulane
- LB: Chandler Martin, Memphis
- DB: Kendarian Ray, Tulsa
- DB: Raion Strader, Miami (OH)
- DB: Cobee Bryant, Kansas
- DB: Jalen Clark, Louisiana
- DB: Dontae Manning, Oregon
- FLEX: Peyton Bowen, Oklahoma
- K: Harrison Mevis, Missouri
- P: Fraser Masin, Ole Miss
- KR: Jaylin Lucas, Indiana
- PR: Melquan Stovall, Arizona State
Week 13 College Football Team of the Week | Honorable Mention
- QB: Joey Aguilar, Appalachian State
- RB: Kairee Robinson, San Jose State
- RB: Peny Boone, Toledo
- WR: Damien Alford, Syracuse
- WR: Ramel Keyton, Tennessee
- WR: Jacob Cowing, Arizona
- TE: Brett Norfleet, Missouri
- FLEX: Hudson Card, Purdue
- OT: Dominick Puni, Kansas
- G: Bucky Williams, Appalachian State
- C: Jacob Likes, Memphis
- G: Preston Wilson, Oklahoma State
- OT: Nathan Thomas, Louisiana
- EDGE: Jordan Burch, Oregon
- DL: Jay Hardy, Liberty
- DL: Robi Stuart, Central Michigan
- EDGE: Joe Evans, Iowa
- LB: Bryce Houston, Ohio
- LB: Jaylan Ford, Texas
- LB: Darren Anders, Bowling Green
- DB: Terrance Brooks, Texas
- DB: DeAgo Brumfeld, Memphis
- DB: Tommi Hill, Nebraska
- DB: Jabbar Muhammad, Washington
- DB: Malik Muhammad, Texas
- FLEX: Darius Lorfils, Bowling Green
- K: Zach Schmit, Oklahoma
- P: Mitchell Tomasek, Eastern Michigan
- KR: Keilan Robinson, Texas