NCAA Football Report (Championship Week)

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The NCAA Season is all but officially over as the conference championships have finished and the rankings are set. With only the Army-Navy game left on the schedule teams begin to get ready for their bowl games as all bowls have now been determined. Like almost everything this season in the NCAA it was not easy to decide the final rankings and determine the BCS Bowl Games. The one constant in the rankings has been the LSU Tigers who are clearly the best team in the NCAA as the only undefeated team. They proved this once more this week as they won the all important South Eastern Conference Championship by blowing out Georgia 42-10. With the last five BCS Champions coming from the SEC LSU continued the trend as they guaranteed themselves a spot in the championship game. With LSU taking the top spot and guaranteeing themselves a seat at the table the debate began over who would get the second spot in the rankings. The two biggest competitors were the #2 Alabama Crimson Tide and the #3 Oklahoma State Cowboys. The Tide was ranked #2 going into the final week and would not play as they could not get past LSU for a berth into the SEC Championship Game. They were forced to stay idle and watch as LSU won the SEC championship in hopes that they would get a shot at the national championship. They had some extra motivation as they had already faced the LSU Tigers in a SEC game that was built as a de-facto National Championship game. LSU won the game and seemingly ended the hopes of Alabama to get into the National Championship Game. Alabama got some help from the BCS computer as they only fell one spot in the rankings and after some key losses they returned to the second spot. As the second ranked team the Tide needed to be knocked off of their spot in order to not get a rematch. Some history went against them though as the BCS rarely likes rematches for their Championship game which essentially meant that if the Oklahoma State Cowboys could impress enough they might be able to take the spot and prevent the rematch. The Cowboys were briefly ranked in the #2 spot until they lost their first game and they dropped to the #4 spot. After last week OSU moved up to the #3 spot and had a small chance of moving up again this week. While Alabama was forced to stay idle, OSU had one of the biggest games in their season as they took on their in-state rivals the Oklahoma Sooners. If OSU could beat Oklahoma they may be able to make a case for the #2 spot as they would only have one loss and would not be a rematch against LSU. The Cowboys took full advantage of their opportunity as they beat their rivals 44-10. The score that they beat them by gave a lot more hope to OSU as the strength of their win may have been enough to help them get past Alabama. They also had the advantage of not playing LSU yet this year which makes for a better game and a more interesting game. When the rankings were revealed this Sunday all of the potential changes did not happen. LSU, as many already knew, stayed at #1 as they took the first spot in the National Championship. The big debate was solved as Alabama remained in the #2 spot and Oklahoma State stayed in the #3 spot. This gave Alabama a chance at revenge for their earlier loss to LSU but this time for much more in the National Championship game. This pushed the OSU Cowboys to the Fiesta Bowl where they will face the Stanford Cardinal. With the NCAA season over the rankings are in and the bowls have been determined and teams will begin to prepare for their time in the light. Although the Bowls are always controversial they are still very entertaining and I for one am looking forward to the next two months of Bowl Season.

 

Heisman Watch:

1A. Trent Richardson, RB (Alabama)

With both Richardson and Luck idle this week the top two stay the same as Richardson and Luck are in the closest race in years. Richardson took over the somewhat favorite spot in his last game when he ran for a career high 203 yards against longtime rival Auburn. He will also get some bonus points for being the main cog in the Alabama offence that will play in the National Championship. Being a part of the #2 team in the Nation will definitely give him a boost but will it be enough to overcome the favorite from the start in Andrew Luck.

Stats (12 games):

263 rsh

1,583 yds

6.0 avg

20 TD

 

1B. Andrew Luck, QB (Stanford)

Luck missed out on an opportunity to take one more step towards a Heisman as he could not bring his Cardinal team to the Pac-12 championship. As a result of this he stayed idle and could not gain anything more on Trent Richardson in a very tight race. Luck came close last year as well finishing second to Cam Newton in the 2010 Heisman vote. The biggest question for Luck will be if he was spectacular enough to take home the Heisman or if he was just good enough to be the top pick in the NFL draft. Luck may lose out to Richardson in the vote but still has a good chance at taking home the Heisman this year. Either way Luck will be able to take consolation in the fact that he will be the top pick in the NFL draft this year with or without the Heisman.

Stats (12 games):

70.0% cmp

3,170 yds

35 TD

9 INT

167.5 rtg

 

3. Robert Griffin III, QB (Baylor)

Griffin has made a late run after gaining some notoriety early in the year but he might be just too late to make a serious race and knock out Luck or Richardson. He also got a boost from playing Texas this week when he led his team to a win. He passed for 320 yards and 2 TDs while also running for 2 TDs. Griffin has made a run at the Heisman and will get some consideration for the award but he may not get the nod. With Griffin faltering a little bit during the season he may not be considered a real threat to the constant performances of Luck and Richardson. Griffin will get some first place votes but winning will be a challenge.

Stats (11 games):

72.4% cmp

3,998 yds

36 TD

6 INT

192.3 rtg

 

Notable Challengers:

4. Montee Ball, RB (Wisconsin)

275 rsh

1,759 yds

6.4 avg

32 TD

 

5. Matt Barkley, QB (USC)

69.1% cmp

3,528 yds

39 TD

7 INT

161.2 rtg

 

BCS Rankings:

1. LSU Tigers (1)

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (2)

3. Oklahoma State Cowboys (3)

4. Stanford Cardinal (4)

5. Oregon Ducks (9)

6. Arkansas Razorbacks (8)

7. Boise State Broncos (7)

8. Kansas State Wildcats (11)

9. South Carolina Gamecocks (12)

10. Wisconsin Badgers (15)

11. Virginia Tech Hokies (5)

12. Baylor Bears (17)

13. Michigan Wolverines (16)

14. Oklahoma Sooners (10)

15. Clemson Tigers (20)

16. Georgia Bulldogs (14)

17. Michigan State Spartans (13)

18. TCU Horned Frogs (18)

19. Houston Cougars (6)

20. Nebraska Cornhuskers (19)

21. Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (24)

22. Penn State Nittany Lions (21)

23. West Virginia Mountaineers (23)

24. Texas Longhorns (22)

25. Auburn Tigers (–)

 

BCS Bowls

Rose Bowl:

#5 Oregon Ducks vs. #10 Wisconsin Badgers (January 2nd; 5:00 pm)

– The Oregon Ducks will go to yet another major bowl and will go to their second Rose Bowl in three years and Wisconsin will go back for the second year in a row as they try to get revenge and win it this year

 

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl:

#3 Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. #4 Stanford Cardinal (January 2nd; 8:30 pm)

– The Cowboys were hoping to play in the National Championship game this year but they fell just short and will take on potential Heisman winner Andrew Luck and the Stanford Cardinal in the Fiesta Bowl

 

Allstate Sugar Bowl:

#11 Virginia Tech Hokies vs. #13 Michigan Wolverines (January 3rd; 8:30 pm)

– Virginia Tech did not finish their season the way they wanted to but will enter a BCS Bowl against Denard Robinson and the Wolverines

 

Discover Orange Bowl:

#15 Clemson Tigers vs. #23 West Virginia Mountaineers (January 4th; 8:30 pm)

– Clemson had a great start to the season as they were marching towards the National Championship but a late let down has put them into the Orange Bowl against the Mountaineers

 

BCS National Championship:

#1 LSU Tigers vs. #2 Alabama Crimson Tide (January 9th; 8:30 pm)

– The rematch is on as many hope the defensive battle from November will not continue and Alabama will look to get revenge against the Tigers

 

Championship Scores

MAC Championship Game:

Northern Illinois Huskies 23 – 20 Ohio Bobcats

– NIU captured the MAC Championship after going down 20-0 in the first half as they shutout the Ohio offence in the second half and scoring 23 unanswered points

 

Pac-12 Championship Game:

#9 Oregon Ducks 49 – 31 UCLA Bruins

– The Oregon Ducks earned their second spot in the Rose Bowl in three years by winning the inaugural Pac-12 Championship Game against a resilient UCLA Bruins Team

 

SEC Championship Game:

#1 LSU Tigers 42 – 10 Georgia Bulldogs #14

– LSU continued their strong season and remained undefeated earning their spot in the National Championship with a win over the Georgia Bulldogs

 

ACC Championship Game:

#20 Clemson Tigers 38 – 10 Virginia Tech Hokies #5

– Clemson made sure that their mid-season struggles did not stop them as they won the ACC championship against a very tough Virginia Tech team

 

Conference USA Championship Game:

#24 Southern Miss. Golden Eagles 49 – 28 Houston Cougars #6

– Southern Miss. Surprised everyone limited the most powerful offence in the NCAA Division-I FBS to 28 points and winning the Conference USA Championship

 

Big Ten Championship Game:

#15 Wisconsin Badgers 42 – 39 Michigan State Spartans #13

– In  thrilling game the Badgers earned a spot in their second Rose Bowl in as many years beating the Spartans thanks to the four TD performance of Montee Ball

 

Next Week:

Army Black Knights vs. Navy Midshipmen (December 10th; 2:30 pm)

– The official end of the NCAA regular season will feature the traditional Army-Navy game as the only game in the NCAA and a long standing tradition

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