Oh what a rivalry weekend in CFB this past Saturday (and Friday)! What can you say, it is always so special! First, I must say How about those Jackets!! As a lifetime GT fan, I have known much more of the “agony of defeat” as opposed to the “thrill of victory”. This Saturday, I enjoyed the thrill of victory as GT beat UGA in Athens, 30-24 in OT (a classic) and won their first game in this rivalry in six years. It was BEAUTIFUL!! There were fumbles, two by the Dawgs at the one yard line, two by GT (one at the goal line and was it a fumble?, why did the whistle not blow, and UGA returned it for a TD). There were blocked field goals and missed PATS but when all was said and done, GT WON!! Harrison Butker kicked a career long 53 yard FG with 4 seconds left in regulation for the Jackets to send the game to OT. GT scored and then, missed the PAT. (are u kidding I thought!) UGA took their turn and was driving only to have D J White, (NFL bound for sure) intercept a pass by UGA QB H. Mason and that was the ball game! Oh, again, what a beautiful game it was! I like those “high noon” kickoffs in Athens. The last time GT defeated UGA was in Athens in 2008, a “high noon” kickoff (GT Coach Paul Johnson’s words). After the game CPJ told the interviewer he was 2-2 in Athens and he was so proud of his resilient team. Next up, FSU in the ACC Championship game (psst..CPJ also mentioned he is 2-1 against the Noles!)
Speaking of FSU, the Noles again held on in a close one to defeat Florida, 24-19 inspite of QB Jameis Winston throwing four interceptions. (Hey, I hope he throws a few of those in the game next weekend in Charlotte!) Clemson defeated South Carolina (a definite down year for the Gamecocks and the ole ball coach), 35-17 and Louisville survived against Kentucky, 44-40. That means the ACC went 4-0 against the SEC this rivalry weekend. Very nice turn around from last year and the most significant of those wins, the one in Athens, GT over UGA..GT was #16, UGA #9 (previous rankings).
Then there was the Egg Bowl…a bit of a surprise as Ole Miss raised up after some very big disappointments this year to take care of then #4 Miss State, 31-17. Not even close! The Iron Bowl..the big one..Auburn vs. Alabama. This one turned out to be the highest scoring Iron Bowl in history as Bama ran away from the Tigers in the second half, winning 55-44.
The team I am pulling for to win the National Championship, Oregon won in Corvallis defeating the Rich Rod coached Oregon State team in the Civil War, 47-19. Heisman frontrunner, QB M. Mariota of Oregon accounted for six TDs. Baylor found themselves in a dogfight with Texas Tech, finally prevailing 48-46. Ohio State defeated Michigan 42-28 but this win came at a huge price for the Buckeyes as starting QB J T Barrett suffered a broken ankle in the fourth quarter. Wisconsin prevailed over Minnesota, 34-24 and Utah held off Colorado, 38-34.
In a game that no longer figured into the National Playoff picture, USC routed Notre Dame, 49-14. It was so pretty in LA however, it was worth watching just to enjoy and wish you were there!
On Friday, TCU pounded Texas 48-10 and Stanford came to beautiful LA and ran all over UCLA, 31-10. Hard to imagine that outcome as UCLA lost the opportunity to play in the Pac 12 title game against Oregon. Meanwhile, Arizona will play Oregon (again, as that is the one blemish on Oregon’s 2014 resume) due to a 42-35 win over Arizona State. So, can Oregon get it done in Santa Clara against Arizona next weekend. I think (and hope) they can!
Next weekend we look forward to the Conference Championship games. Once they are completed, the selection committee will make their final rankings and select the “final four” for this year’s inaugural College Football playoff. Many are already wanting an eight team playoff (gee, how long did that take?) For now, we will have a final four.
For our viewing pleasure next Saturday, ACC title game, GT (Coastal Div. champs) vs. FSU (Atlantic Div. champs), now a bit more intriguing than many would have thought earlier and I am predicting a GT win! SEC title game from Atlanta, Missouri (by defeating Arkansas on Friday, 21-14) will get a return trip to the ATL and face Alabama! (This is the second consecutive year Missouri has made it to the SEC title game after joining the SEC, well done Mizz!) Pac 12 title game will feature a rematch (as mentioned earlier), Oregon vs. Arizona. I think the Ducks will get it done this time and avenge their lone loss. Also, Kansas State will face Baylor and Ohio State vs. Wisconsin.
Latest AP and USA Coaches Polls are out!
AP Poll: 1 Alabama (25), 2 FSU (29), 3 Oregon (5), 4 TCU, 5 Baylor, 6 Ohio State, 7 Michigan State, 8 Arizona, 9 Kansas State, 10 Miss State (from #4), 11 Wisconsin, 12 GEORGIA TECH!!, 13 Ole Miss, 14 Missouri and 15 UGA.
Coaches Poll: 1 Alabama, 2 FSU, 3 Oregon, 4 TCU, 5 Baylor, 6 Ohio State, 7 Michigan State, 8 Arizona, 9 Kansas State, 10 Miss State, 11 Wisconsin, 12 GEORGIA TECH, 13 Missouri, 14 Ole Miss, 15 UGA.
Both polls, almost identical and I usually only list the top ten but I had to go to fifteen so I could showcase GT at #12 in both polls!! The poll that really matters, the College Football Playoff rankings will come out on Tuesday night at 7:00 pm EST on ESPN. Then, next Sunday the selection committee will issue their final rankings for the playoffs!!
A whole lot of emotion is involved in rivalry weekend in CFB…and much to be thankful for after celebrating Thanksgiving! So, hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and if your team won, congrats, if not, there is ALWAYS next year!