You’ve just got to love college football. Just when you think you know who is going to play for it all . . . TODAY HAPPENS. You have FSU fans looking for flights to Pasadena after they put Duke football in its place. Stanford did what they do best and ran all over Arizona State. Auburn and Missouri were scoring points like it was a basketball game. Then the grand daddy of them all . . . Michigan State ends Ohio State’s 24-game winning streak and books a trip to the Rose Bowl. What an exciting day of football unless you’re a Buckeye fan!
Let’s get into more news and thoughts from today’s games.
1. Auburn 59 Missouri 42. Auburn is a team of destiny. How can you argue that? You have the miracle win over Georgia on 4th down, the field goal returned 100 yards to win the Iron Bowl, and then you score almost 60 points on an “SEC” defense. There was so many back and forth plays, it makes it hard to just pick one that was the game changer. I think the best stat to show the power of Auburn’s run game today is that Auburn ran for 545 yards while Missouri was only allowing 119 yards a game all season. Once Auburn took care of business in Atlanta they turned their attention to the ACC and B1G title games.
2. FSU 45 Duke 7. It looked like we had a ball game when Duke held FSU scoreless in the 1st quarter for the first time all season. Of course, everyone knew that would not last. Jameis Winston was able to stay focused (despite everything that went on this past week). Jameis Winston set an FBS Freshmen Record for TD passes and yards in a season while playing Duke today. Despite the beatdown, this season Duke still has a lot to be proud of, but probably does not think so after losing by 38 points. FSU now turns their attention to the Auburn Tigers out in Pasadena.
3. UPSET SPECIAL – Michigan State 34 Ohio State 24. Out of all the teams Ohio State could face for the B1G title game, I am sure Sparty was not the one Urban Meyer wanted. Michigan State’s defense stood tall all year and made play after play to pull off the upset. Michigan State led 17-0 at one point thanks to their offense getting the job done and showing that their team is not all defense. With Michigan State leading 27-24 late in the game, Sparty defense stood strong and held Braxton Miller on 4th down. From there, Sparty scored to put the game out of reach. Thanks to the upset, Auburn is able to play for the national title and the rest of the country will have to tolerate “SEC, SEC, SEC” cheers for just a little while longer.
4. Stanford 38 Arizona State 14. Stanford did what it does best and ran all over Arizona State. It was 28-7 before Arizona State knew what hit ’em. The powerful running game that Stanford has can demoralize any defense they go up against. Heck, it was over when it was 2nd-and-17, and then Stanford breaks off a 70 yard touchdown to go up 7-0. Every time it looked like Arizona State was going to stop Stanford, Stanford would then break off a 30-yard run to keep the drive alive. It just demoralizes a defense when you cannot get a stop on 3rd down. Stanford’s run game vs. Michigan State’s defense is going to be a great battle out at the Rose Bowl.
5. Oklahoma 33 Oklahoma State 24. Bedlam occurred once again in this series. With Oklahoma State leading 24-20, Oklahoma put a drive together and scored on a fade pass in the end zone to go up 27-24 with less than 20 seconds to go. Oklahoma then put up a “nothing” touchdown as time expired thanks to an Oklahoma State fumble. This win for Oklahoma could put them in an At-Large BCS game while it sends their rivals packing. This win for the Sooners also made the BIG-12 title up for grabs when Texas faced Baylor today.
6. Baylor 30 Texas 10. Baylor heard the results of the Oklahoma State/Oklahoma game and knew the BIG-12 title was theirs for the taking. Baylor’s Bryce Petty and the offense started slow but did just enough to pull the win out and secure the BIG-12 title. It is Baylor’s first conference title since 1980, and they will play in their first BCS bowl game. Winning at Baylor seemed impossible when Art Briles showed up 6 years ago, but look at them now. Congrats to the Baylor Bears!
7. Bowling Green 47 Northern Illinois 27. Another upset in the making. Bowling Green came right out and smacked Heisman-hopeful Jordan Lynch and the Huskies right in the mouth and never looked back. The real “Heisman” candidate that night was Bowling Green’s quarterback Matt Jackson, who threw for almost 400 yards and 5 touchdowns. This ruined the BCS hopes of Northern Illinois and robbed the MAC conference of some big BCS cash. Good win for Bowling Green’s coach Dave Clawson. I expect him to be the next MAC coach to get the call up to the BIG LEAGUES.
8. A smaller story that I am sure you all saw clips of today. Rice 41 Marshall 24. Rice ended their 56-year conference title drought today with a win over Marshall in the C-USA championship game. Rice shot out to a 14-0 lead, and even led 21-3 before Marshall could really get anything going. If you can win at Rice, then you can win anywhere. Expect Rice coach, Dave Bailiff, to get a few looks from some bigger programs looking for a new coach.
BEST OF THE REST: Louisville won the Bucket of Nails over Cincinnati 31-24, in overtime. This win allowed UCF to win the American Conference BCS bid outright in the first year of the conference. UCF did not let this distract them and took care of SMU, 17-13. Look for UCF to enjoy this moment, until they find out they get a team such as Alabama in their BCS bowl game.
Great day of college football. College football fans are probably tired of the SEC, but thanks to Michigan State, they will have to hear those chants for another month or two. We also can all assume that Jameis Winston will win the Heisman, despite his character issues. It will be very interesting to see where teams get placed for their BCS bowl games after the upsets today. That, of course, is all the “on-field” news. What about all the new hires going on? USC picked their man Steve Sarkisian. Good move? Time will tell. This created a domino effect as Boise State’s Chris Peterson finally bolted Boise State for the opening at Washington. Who will be the next coach at Boise to continue their “dynasty” of underdogs? Now with the season over, we have bowl games, firing, and new hires to look forward to.
1. UCF not sure where to go
2. Chris Peterson makes a move
3. College football mailbag
4. Jimbo Fisher not going anywhere