Playoff And Conference Update: Last Chance to Impress the Committee

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For the first time in a couple weeks there will most likely be a new team in the fourth spot of the College Playoffs. It’s likely the top three spots will remain the same, but thanks to a Mississippi State loss, the fourth spot is open to one of the remaining contenders.

CFP Remaining Contenders - One more spot open after Bulldogs drop the “Egg” Bowl 

Alabama – The Crimson Tide’s traditionally tough defense may not have shown up for the Iron Bowl, but it wound up not spoiling its season this year. Luckily for Alabama, Amari Cooper had the game of his career and Auburn’s defense played bad enough to get its defensive coordinator fired the following day. Alabama still has an SEC Championship meeting with Missouri, but if the Crimson Tide survive that game then it will most likely be the top seed in the College Playoffs.

Byron Marshall led all players with six catches for 131 yards and one touchdown in Oregon's 47-19 win over Oregon State

Kevin Cline

Byron Marshall led all players with six catches for 131 yards and also tallied a touchdown in Oregon’s 47-19 win over Oregon State.

Oregon – In the 118th Civil War meeting there were a few things that stood out. Oregon’s dominating performances on both sides of the ball, Oregon State’s lack of a passing attack, and Marcus Mariota’s unintentional Heisman pose. Besides Mariota, both Byron Marshall and Royce Freeman had great offensive performances and the defense got to work early forcing two failed fourth down conversions. Up next: The Ducks get a chance to avenge their only loss this season when they play Arizona in the Pac 12 Championship this Friday, and if they win then the Ducks will be headed to the Playoffs.

Florida State – The Florida Gators were the latest test for the Seminoles, and Jameis Winston’s three first-quarter interceptions played a huge part to the Seminoles’ sluggish start. However, like the Seminoles always do against mediocre competition, they found a way to win. This time it was with their defense and the legs of Dalvin Cook. Georgia Tech will be Florida State’s final test in the ACC Championship and if the Seminoles survive that game, then they’ll be headed to the College Playoffs. But if their 28-game win streak does come to an end, their post season hopes will be in the hands of the Playoff committee.

Mississippi State – If there was any doubt that the Bulldogs would make it into the final four of the College Playoffs, it was certainly answered with their loss to in-state rival Ole Miss. After starting the season 10-0 and holding the nation’s top rank, the Bulldogs have now lost two in a row and will no longer be in consideration for the College Playoffs. The Bulldogs still have high hopes for a spot in the Orange Bowl, but they’ll have to wait and see where they land during the Bowl selection show later this month.

TCU – Two weeks after being booted out of the top four, TCU was in need of a statement win to help improve its résumé for the College Football Playoff committee. With the help of a Mississippi State loss and its own 48-10 stomping of Texas on the road, TCU has emerged once again into the Playoff discussion. The Horned Frogs are still sitting behind Baylor in second place in the Big 12, so they will need a little help to win the conference, but the Horned Frogs might find themselves in the final four this week. Up next: TCU will host Iowa State for its season finale on Saturday.

Ohio State – It wasn’t pretty in the first half, but the Buckeyes picked it up in the second half while scoring 21 unanswered points to take a 42-21 lead. Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, they lost their Heisman candidate J.T. Barrett after he fractured his ankle and was carted off the field. Up next: Ohio State will face a hot Wisconsin team and Melvin Gordon in the Big 10 championship game. With Mississippi State’s loss, the Buckeyes can possibly still make it to the College Playoffs, if they get past Wisconsin.

Baylor – The Baylor Bears also saw their quarterback get injured when Bryce Petty suffered a mild concussion midway through the third quarter. Petty was forced to watch from the sidelines for the rest of the game while Texas Tech almost came back after being down by 25 points. With a two-point conversion away from tying the game, Texas Tech failed to convert and wound up losing in a 48-46 shootout. In addition to Petty’s injury, Baylor’s defense continues to give up big numbers, which can potentially hold them back from reaching the College Playoffs.

Pac 12 Update – Bruins give Oregon a much anticipated second chance against Arizona

Brett Hundley and the UCLA offense were shut down against Stanford to end their Pac 12 Championship hopes.

From Google

Brett Hundley and the UCLA offense were shut down against Stanford to end their Pac 12 Championship hopes.

UCLA vs. Stanford – A win for the Bruins would have secured their spot in the Pac 12 Championship. It would have also helped their hopes to sneak into the College Football Playoffs. However, Stanford ruined the Bruins’ season once again with a 31-10 upset win. Up next: Although both teams are bowl eligible, they will spend next weekend watching the Pac-12 Championship at home.

Arizona vs. Arizona State – Hoping for an upset in Pasadena, the prayers of both Arizona teams were answered when Stanford upset UCLA to open the door for the Pac-12 South title. Heading into the fourth quarter, Arizona held a two-touchdown lead. Then with close to a minute left, the Wildcats forced an Arizona State turnover on downs to secure their win and a trip to Santa Clara. Up next: Arizona will face Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship, and if the Wildcats upset the Ducks again,  they could be considered for the College Playoffs. Arizona State will wait to find out what matchup it will get this bowl season.

More Pac-12 Notes – The Pac-12 only has eight teams eligible to represent the conference this bowl season. With Oregon State’s loss to Oregon and Cal losing to BYU, both teams finished with 5-7 records and aren’t bowl eligible. The teams that are bowl eligible include: Oregon, Arizona, UCLA, Arizona State, USC, Stanford, Utah, and Washington.

Other Fall Sports News 

University of Oregon athlete, Edward Cheserek, was named the NCAA Cross Country Athlete of the year last Tuesday.

From Google.

University of Oregon athlete, Edward Cheserek, was named the NCAA Cross Country Athlete of the year last Tuesday.

Cross Country – Sophomore Edward Cheserek was awarded the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association’s Athlete of the Year on Tuesday after winning the NCAA Cross Country Championship.

Volleyball – After sweeping UCLA and USC in the final two home matches, the Ducks were not nearly as successful in their trips to Utah and Oregon State. The Ducks lost both matches 1-to-3 sets. Up next for the volleyball team is the NCAA Tournament. The Ducks were selected 10th overall which means they’ll host a four team pod at Matthew Knight Arena. Their first round game is against Santa Clara (22-9) and if they win that round they will play the winner of LSU vs. Oklahoma in the second round.

Top Photo by Kevin Cline

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Evan Gilges

Evan Gilges

Evan Gilges is a senior at the University of Oregon, majoring in journalism and minoring in business. While growing up in the northwest, he grew a love for sports and the outdoors. Throughout high school he developed a passion for writing, photography, and editing. Someday he hopes to work for a magazine as a writer or photographer, and then later on he would like to teach journalism in high school and write children's novels.