NCAA Football Report (Rivalry Week)

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Rivalry games have been around every single sport whether it be professional football, hockey, baseball, or even amateur sports. They can be a result of a storied history between the two clubs like the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers rivalry in the NFL. They can come as a result of a recent playing history of very important games like the Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks in the NHL. They can also come as a result of two cities hate for each other like the New York and Boston rivalry that exists in every sport. Other rivalries come to fruition because of geographic connection like the Subway Series in the MLB, The Battle of the Bay in the NFL, or the Battle of Alberta in the NHL. No matter what way a rivalry starts they make the games even more important whether or not they mean anything for the season. One of the biggest rivalry leagues is NCAA Football as the entire league is built on the history of the proud programs in the schools. The rivalries in the NCAA are built off of some of the longest and storied histories in North American Sports. With so many rivalries then NCAA has a special type of connection to the fans as these games always provide a storyline to follow. The NCAA capitalizes on this connection one week every year as the last week in the NCAA season has become known as Rivalry Week. This last week in the season can mean a lot to some teams for more than just the fact that they could beat their bitter rivals. This year the rivalry week was back with every team taking on their rivals in the last games of the season. It all started with a thrilling game in the Lonestar Showdown, a rivalry in every sport between the Texas Longhorns and the Texas A&M Aggies. The Longhorns squeaked by with a 27-25 win helping them remain ranked for the season. The weekend continued with the Battle for the Golden Boot between the #1 LSU Tigers and #3 Arkansas Razorbacks in which LSU finished the regular season with a win and will focus on the SEC championship game next week. The traditions continued all weekend with The Iron Bowl, a 42-14 win by Alabama over Auburn, The Game, a 40-34 win by Michigan over Ohio State, The Civil War, a 49-21 Oregon win over Oregon State. These games, including many more, mean so much to these schools and to the NCAA in general but a problem is beginning to form. With the NCAA continuing to change certain teams are beginning to move away to different conferences the schedules will change drastically. This is true for the Lonestar Showdown and the Border War (Showdown). In the Lonestar Showdown the Texas Longhorns and Texas A&M Aggies was created in 2004 between the two schools but a change is coming as the Texas A&M Aggies have become tired of the Big 12 Conference being ruled by their rivals and will seek a new conference for the 2012 season. The Lonestar Showdown is a big rivalry but the official history is not that storied. This is not the Case for the Border War between the Missouri Tigers and the Kansas Jayhawks. This rivalry has been going since 1891 between the two state schools and is always the highlight of their season. This rivalry might be coming to an end next year as Missouri leaves the Big 12 for the SEC next year. As a result of this the Kansas vs. Missouri game will not be an automatically scheduled Conference game. Instead the game will need to be played on an open date and be organized by the two teams, which seems fine. The problem is that Missouri has left a scar on the Big 12 as they continue to struggle to find teams to fill out the conference with so many wanting to leave. As Missouri has reached out and claimed they wanted to continue the game the Kansas Jayhawks have said they do not want to because Missouri decided to leave the conference. It seems like this rivalry game may be on its way an out and mainly as a punishment for Missouri for leaving the conference. These rivalry games have a shot at coming back but with or without them teams will again circle their last week in 2012 as a Rivalry Week. Rivalries are always the best games you can find and with so many different schools and so many rivalries Rivalry Week will continue to grow and be one of the best weeks in the NCAA schedule. With the week done in 2011 it is not time to move on to the next big week as teams play in Championship Week before the announcement of the Bowl Games.

 

Heisman Watch:

1A. Trent Richardson, RB (Alabama)

So it has happened Andrew Luck has been unseated but not by much as Trent Richardson become 1A in my Heisman Watch. Richardson has come back from a middle season that saw him lose ground but came back to be a co-favorite. He did this with a career game in the Iron Bowl when he ran for 203 yards and no TDs but continued to carry his offence. With the game and a number of great performances lately Richardson has created one of the closest Heisman races in recent history. With Richardson coming on strong in the end he has made it hard for voters to decide who will win the Heisman. Richardson and the Tide will not play next week as they are not in the SEC championship game and will wait for a bowl game announcement and for the Heisman announcement.

Stats (12 games):

263 rsh

1,583 yds

6.0 avg

20 TD

 

1B. Andrew Luck, QB (Stanford)

Luck was finally taken out of the true top spot and has moved into what is essentially a tie for the Heisman race. Luck was the casualty of a career performance by Richardson but also has not been able to keep up his pace. There is no doubt that Luck will be the #1 pick in the draft and is the best player available in the draft. To win a Heisman the player needs to be the best player In the NCAA and not just put up good numbers but put up great numbers. This is where Luck is faltering as he has put up good numbers and continues to win but has not been able to put up spectacular numbers. This continued against Notre Dame as he threw for 233 yards, 4 TD, and 1 INT in his primetime game. He is now involved in the closest race in recent history that is almost impossible to predict and with a week off the voters will have more time to think about which of the top 2 deserve the Heisman.

Stats (12 games):

70.0% cmp

3,170 yds

35 TD

9 INT

167.5 rtg

 

3. Robert Griffin III, QB (Baylor)

Robert Griffin has had a very interesting season being a favorite for the Heisman at the beginning of the year and then falling off. Now he is back in the conversation but it may be too late as it seems the Heisman has become a two-horse race. Griffin will still benefit in his NFL potential from finishing a possible third place in the race. His performance last week against Texas Tech is a big reason to why he has come into third as he rushed for 2 TDs and threw for another in only one half of play. Griffin may have been able to enter the conversation of the Heisman this week but he was taken out of the game after suffering a concussion in the first half. He may be too late to enter into a serious race for the Heisman but there is definitely a chance that he will get some first place votes but there is little chance that he will win it.

Stats (11 games):

72.6% cmp

3,678 yds

34 TD

5 INT

191.1 rtg

 

Notable Challengers:

4. Case Keenum, QB (Houston)

73.2% cmp

4,726 yds

43 TD

3 INT

187.3 rtg

 

5. Montee Ball, RB (Wisconsin)

248 rsh

1,622 yds

6.5 avg

29 TD

 

BCS Rankings:

1. LSU Tigers (1)

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (2)

3. Oklahoma State Cowboys (4)

4. Stanford Cardinal (6)

5. Virginia Tech Hokies (5)

6. Houston Cougars (8)

7. Boise State Broncos (7)

8. Arkansas Razorbacks (3)

9. Oregon Ducks (10)

10. Oklahoma Sooners (9)

11. Kansas State Wildcats (11)

12. South Carolina Gamecocks (12)

13. Michigan State Spartans (14)

14. Georgia Bulldogs (13)

15. Wisconsin Badgers (16)

16. Michigan Wolverines (15)

17. Baylor Bears (18)

18. TCU Horned Frogs (20)

19. Nebraska Cornhuskers (21)

20. Clemson Tigers (17)

21. Penn State Nittany Lions (19)

22. Texas Longhorns (25)

23. West Virginia Hokies (–)

24. Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (–)

25. Missouri Tigers (–)

 

Key Scores:

#25 Texas Longhorns 27 – 25 Texas A&M Aggies

– The Lonestar Showdown was a thriller as the Longhorns won the game by two points but the biggest story was that it might be the last game for this rivalry with A&M leaving the conference next year

 

#2 Alabama Crimson Tide 42 – 14 Auburn Tigers #24

– The Iron Bowl was not as good as last year with the #2 team in the nation proving they were playing at a different level with Trent Richardson running for over 200 yards in the last game of the season

 

#15 Michigan Wolverines 40 – 34 Ohio State Buckeyes

– The Game was an important one for Michigan who had not won in the last 4 years against the Buckeyes but they snapped the streak hoping for a BCS Bowl Berth this year

 

#10 Oregon Ducks 49 – 21 Oregon State Beavers

– The Civil War was not a close one as Oregon took control of the game as they looked to move into contention for a BCS Bowl

 

Championship Week:

 

Marathon MAC Football Championship Game:

Ohio Bobcats vs. Northern Illinois Huskies (December 2nd; 7:00 pm)

– NIU will look to lean on Chandler Harnish and take their 9-3 record to Detroit as they take on Ohio who won the East with an identical 9-3 record

 

Pac-12 Football Championship Game:

UCLA Golden Bears vs. #9 Oregon Ducks (December 2nd; 8:00 pm)

– The #9 Oregon Ducks will try to win another Pac-12 Championship for a berth in the Rose Bowl but in their way will be UCLA who is not ranked but can pose some issues

 

Conference USA Championship Game:

#24 Southern Mississippi Golden Hawks vs. #6 Houston Cougars (December 3rd; 12:00 pm)

– Houston will take their top ranked offence led by Case Keenum against the resilient Golden Eagles as the Cougars look to get a BCS Bowl Berth

 

SEC Championship Game:

#14 Georgia Bulldogs vs. #1 LSU Tigers (December 3rd; 4:00 pm)

– The premier Conference in the NCAA will see the #1 team in the Nation take on Georgia as they look to stay at the top spot and earn their shot at the National Championship Game

 

Dr. Pepper ACC Championship Game:

#5 Virginia Tech Hokies vs. #20 Clemson Tigers (December 3rd; 8:00 pm)

– Clemson has had a bad end to their season after getting to the #7 spot and falling while Virginia Tech has come on late as both teams face off for the ACC championship game that promises to be one of the better Championship Games this weekend

 

Big Ten Football Championship Game:

#15 Wisconsin Badgers vs. #13 Michigan State Spartans (December 3rd; 8:17 pm)

– The first ever Big Ten Championship Game will take place between two very good teams as the Badgers and Spartans will try to earn a berth into the Rose Bowl

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