Notre Dame 22 USC 13
Have to hand it to Notre Dame, they know who they are. They run the ball well and play great defense. Theo Riddick ran for 146 yards and a touchdown to lead the Irish offense. The defense held USC to 280 yards of offense. With about five minutes left USC was down 22-13 and had five chances to score from inside the Notre Dame two yard line. The Irish defense held and as a result they will be playing in Miami for the national championship. Brian Kelly hopes to be the fifth Notre Dame Coach to win a national championship in his third year. The others who did it were: Lou Holtz, Dan Devine, Ara Parseghian and Frank Leahy. At the start of the season it was supposed to be Notre Dame as playing the role of spoiler. Not much has gone right for the men of Troy. This is the first time since 1984 that a team ranked number one in the pre-season rankings has lost five in a row. Lane Kiffin has been assured he will be back but his dad might have to go as defensive coordinator. Kiffin could be let go next year. Remember Al Davis’s press conference where he ripped Kiffin for being a "flat out liar". People thought Al had lost it. He was right after all.
Alabama 49 Auburn 0
Alabama beat Auburn by the same score they beat Western Carolina last week. In fact Western Carolina may have given them a tougher game. Auburn was held to seven first downs and 163 yards of offense. A total beat down. AJ McCarron passed for four touchdowns and Eddy Lacy ran two in. Alabama will next play Georgia in the SEC title game. The winner of that game will play Notre Dame for the national championship. Auburn Coach Gene Chizak has now hired student & private monitors to enforce seven-day-a-week curfew checks on his players. That ought to help. The writing is on the wall, only Captain Queeg, Mitt Romney, & Coach Chizak after engineering major disasters, would be self absorbed or delusional enough to be unable to sound out the pattern of consonants, vowels and words of the prophets confronting them on the brick edifice directly facing them.
Georgia 42 Georgia Tech 10
Mark Richt has many critics but one thing everyone can agree on that he does well is beat the Yellow Jackets. With the win Richt is now 11-1 against his in-state rival. This game was over early as Georgia jumped Georgia Tech early with two first quarter Todd Gurley touchdowns. Gurley ran 12 times for 97 yards and the two scores in the game. The Georgia defense kept the Yellow Jackets out of the end zone through the first three quarters and built a 42-3 lead after three. DT Jonathan Jenkins was a force in the middle and disrupted the Yellow Jackets option attack. Bacarri Rambo, who is one of the best safeties in this draft class, had an interception and two forced fumbles. Rambo is very good at stripping the ball. Georgia still has a chance to play for the national championship if they can upset Alabama in the SEC title game.
Oregon 48 Oregon State 24
Back in 1983 both of these teams were at the bottom of the conference and they battled to an embarrassing 0-0 tie. Times have changed. The Civil War is a marquee game on the schedule. It was an impressive win for Oregon as they bounce back after their first loss of the season. There certainly no hangover effect against a good Beavers team. Kenjon Barner hurt his ribs late in the first half but in spite of that he ran for 198 yards and two touchdowns. Oregon rolled up 430 yards on the ground against a usually strong Beavers run defense. The Beavers were done in by six turnovers. Oregon lost a chance to go to the Pac 12 title game after Stanford beat UCLA.
Florida 37 Florida State 26
Both teams had something to prove. Seminoles have not been loved by the computers since their loss at NC State. Gators want to prove they are worthy of discussion as a possible championship caliber team. Florida proved they are a much better team on this day. Florida State played an awful game. The Seminoles were dominated in the first half and lucky to be down only 13-3 at halftime. FSU then played a great third quarter and looked in control scoring 20 straight points to lead 20-13. Turning point in the game came with Florida down 20-16, EJ Manuel was crushed by LB Antonio Morrison and fumbled. One play later Mike Gillislee ran 37 yards for the go a head score and the Gators never trailed again. Florida held the ball for over 36 minutes. Florida State has to be kicking themselves for the five times they turned the ball over.
TCU 20 Texas 13
TCU was very motivated for this game. Since the Southwest Conference was dissolved, Texas only has played TCU once. Longhorns had nothing to gain and recruiting wise had only to lose. Since the TCU resurgence one example of that is freshman defensive end Devonte Fields. Fields was recruited by Texas and TCU and chose the Horned Frogs.
Fields had good pressure in the game and recorded a sack and several pressures. David Ash had a miserable night throwing two interceptions and losing a fumble. Ash was replaced twice in the game in the second and fourth quarter. Case McCoy came in to try to bring life to the Texas offense. McCoy did lead Texas to their only touchdown but he was picked off with under two minutes to play to seal the game for TCU. Matthew Tucker was the star offensively for TCU. Tucker scored two touchdowns as part of TCU’s 218 yards on the ground.
Nebraska 13 Iowa 7
Not to say this game was boring but it was like watching two football teams re-enacting the Battle of the Somme without bullets or bayonets it was trench war football. The weather was a factor with 20 mile an hour winds that made it impossible to throw into the wind. Star of the game fittingly was Nebraska DE Eric Martin who was in the Iowa backfield all day. Martin had a sack and two tackles for loss. Neither quarterback threw for over 100 yards. It was ugly. With the win Nebraska moves on to play in the Big 10 championship game against Wisconsin.
Syracuse 38 Temple 20
Syracuse finished up the season by winning five of their last six games. This game they focused on running the football and less on the passing of Ryan Nassib. Syracuse rushed the ball 49 times for 260 yards. Nassib only passed for 215 yards but he did throw a touchdown. What a difference a week makes for Montel Harris of Temple. Last week against Army he rushed for 351 yards and seven touchdowns and this week Syracuse limited him to 106 yards on the ground. Defensively the star for the Orange was CB Keon Lyn who had two interceptions, one of which he returned 31 yards for the games final score.
LSU 20 Arkansas 13
LSU is not playing their best football at the end of the year. Last week they barely beat a mediocre Ole Miss team and this week they snuck out of Fayetteville with a narrow victory. Jarvis Landry caught seven passes for 70 yards and made the catch of the year for a touchdown in the first half. Landry made a one-handed catch on a ball behind him to give LSU a 10-0 lead. Tyler Wilson has a little Ryan Fitzpatrick in him. He doesn’t have the greatest arm and he makes too many mistakes at times but he is a gamer. Wilson threw for 361 yards against a tough LSU defense. Arkansas should have won the game. Mistakes that plagued the team all year bit them again in this game. The Razorbacks fumbled in the red zone and missed two make able field goals. It was announced Saturday that John L. Smith won’t be back as Arkansas coach. No shock here.
Utah 42 Colorado 35
The only reason I’m doing a recap of this game was because of an article I saw this week about how some Utah fans are worried about recruiting against party school Colorado in the future since Colorado has legalized marijuana use. Tough to sell students outside the "Faith" of ancillary benefits to an athletic scholarship & education in a state where non-chaperoned dating, alcohol, caffeine, gambling, pre-marital sex, card games of any kind (Old Maid & Go Fish inclusive) and Fun in General are defined as blasphemous, illegal or severely frowned upon. Colorado had five turnovers in the game as they finish a horrible season at 1-11. Reggie Dunn returned a kick-off 100 yards for a touchdown with eight minutes left to give Utah the 42-35 lead.
Ohio State 26 Michigan 21
Growing up in the 70’s this game will always be about the classic struggle between Bo and Woody for me. Worth renting is the "Ten Year War" which recounts the Bo vs Woody years. Hayes classic line was in the ’68 contest when he went for two up 48-14. Asked why he went for two he said "because I couldn’t go for three." Schembechler came to Michigan the following year and the war was on. Ohio State finished the season 12-0 with a victory over their hated rival. Ohio State won this game with a great defensive effort in the second half. Michigan was shutout in the second half and could muster only 68 yards of offense. Drew Basil kicked four field goals on the day for OSU. Carlos Hyde was a tank running the ball 26 times for 146 yards. Ohio State still hopes they can win the AP national championship if Notre Dame and Alabama lose down the stretch. The Buckeyes season is over because of sanctions from the Jim Tressel era. Ironically Tressel was back on the field in the game as the 2002 championship team was honored. It was the sixth time in their history that Ohio State finished a season undefeated.
Pitt 27 Rutgers 6
Rutgers and Maryland are now going to the Big 10. Nothing says Big 10 football like that big Rutgers-Maryland game. It’s a shame that rivalries don’t mean anything anymore in sports. Rutgers was dominated in this game by a 5-6 Pitt team. Rutgers struggles on offense and again did so in this game. Rutgers only gained 207 yards and 13 first downs. In his final home game Pitt QB Tino Sunseri passed for 227 yards and two touchdowns. Rutgers will still play Louisville on Thursday with a BCS bowl berth on the line. Which begs the question again this year: why does the Big East get a BCS automatic bid? It seems every year they don’t have a team that deserves a bid.
Oklahoma 51 Oklahoma State 48 OT
The bedlam game was bedlam. Oklahoma never led in the game until they won it in overtime. Oklahoma State jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter with two Joseph Randle touchdown runs. Oklahoma State ran the ball well all day rushing for five touchdowns on the ground. Oklahoma has had trouble in the red zone all year. The Sooners did gain 618 yards of offense but were slowed by some red zone problems again in this game. Landry Jones helped his stock in the NFL draft with 500 yards through the air and three touchdown passes. In OT, Oklahoma State had to settle for a field goal. Brennan Clay then sealed the victory by running over two Cowboy defenders in scrambling 18 yards for the winning score. Pressure on OSU Head Coach Mike "I'm not an adolescent!" Gundy now dreads that phone call summoning him to the Cowboy Sugar Daddy's palatial headquarters to explain to mega ego Super Alum "T. Boone Pickens" how to spend over 150 million dollars in Athletic Department.
South Carolina 27 Clemson 17
This was a classic battle of the great offense against the great defense. The real story would come down to how the Gamecocks offense would do against a poor Tigers defense. The edge in both cases went to South Carolina. After giving up 14 points to Tajh Boyd and company in the first quarter the Gamecocks defense shut them down cold the rest of the way. Gamecocks QB Dylan Thompson managed the game beautifully. Thompson threw for 310 yards and three scores. South Carolina held the ball for two seconds shy of 40 minutes.
Stanford 35 UCLA 17
Strange game for the Bruins -- if they won, they got to play Oregon in the title game. If they lost they got to play Stanford again. Since they lost the same two teams will play again for the Pac 12 title. It was an impressive year for David Shaw and Stanford. Without Andrew Luck, Shaw leads the Cardinal to a 10-2 regular season record. Shaw should get some look for NFL teams looking for a coach. Stepfan Taylor led the Cardinal attack rushing for 142 yards and two touchdowns. If UCLA can’t run then Brett Hundley can’t win a game with his arm. Stanford can stop the run as you saw last week against Oregon. Bruins RB Johnathan Franklin only had 65 yards in the game. This is a tough match-up for UCLA. Interesting to see what adjustments they make for the title game.
Texas A&M 59 Missouri 29
Tigers defense was shredded for over 500 yards two weeks in a row and now Johnny Manziel and his Heisman hopes walk through the door. Not a good sign. Let’s make that three weeks in a row that Missouri has given up over 500 yards. Johnny Manziel alone gained 439 yards and combined for five touchdowns. Needless to say the performance only enhanced his Heisman resume. Manziel broke Cam Newton’s SEC record for most combined yards rushing and passing.
Mississippi 41 Mississippi State 24
Hugh Freeze has done a great job as first year coach of Ole Miss. With this win the team is bowl eligible with a 6-6 record. Ole Miss has close loses to LSU, Vanderbilt and Texas A&M as well. The Rebels blew open a close game with 24 straight points in the third quarter and early in the fourth. Dan Mullen was 3-0 in the "Egg Bowls" before this loss. Rebels QB Bo Wallace threw for 294 yards and five touchdowns. Donte Moncrief set a school record with 173 receiving yards and three touchdowns.