NCAA Football Report (Week 13)

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The NCAA season is all but over as many teams will not be playing another game while others will be moving to their championship games. The regular season is over and the dust is beginning to settle on the 2012 season. It was a classic season where little was predictable and the top spot seemed almost cursed. First it was Alabama who seemed unbeatable until Johnny Football came along and led the Texas A&M Aggies to a win over the Tide. Then it was a week of upsets when the new #1 Kansas State lost and the new #2 Oregon lost. That knocked out both of the top teams in the NCAA and opened the door for one of the most legendary teams in the NCAA. The new #1 team in the country would be the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in a season that they had not seen for over a decade of football. The Irish are one of the oldest teams in North America in any sport. Established in 1887 the Irish were one of the first football teams ever and one of the founding members of what is now known as the NCAA. As one of the oldest teams in North America the Irish have seen everything in college football from before the forward pass to the BCS era. Through it all they have remained a team grounded in their traditions including being one of the only Catholic Universities left. From the gold helmets to the no names on the backs of the jerseys and the “Play Like a Champion Today” sign that every player touches before leaving the locker room the Irish have some of the greatest and most well-known traditions in the NCAA. With 471 players drafted in the NFL and a total of 10 NFL Hall of Famers from the Irish they have also been one of the most successful programs in the NCAA. Lately though the Irish have not had a tremendous amount of success with the last of their 13 National Titles, second only to Alabama in the NCAA, coming in 1988. All of this was before the BCS became the system to determine a National Championship. The Irish are a member of the BCS despite not being associated with a conference and yet they have never been ranked #1 or played in a National Championship game. It has been a very long time since the Irish have been at the top of any national rankings and after multiple coaches and extreme impatience they were finally back at the top. With Brian Kelly in his third year as head coach of the team he had done something that few had done before him bringing his team from unranked to #1. As they took the #1 spot all was not finished though as the team had one more obstacle to overcome if they hoped to play in the National Championship Game. This obstacle is a long time rival of the Irish, one of many, in the USC Trojans as both teams battled for the Jewelled Shillelagh. If the Irish could win the game they would likely remain #1 and wait until January to play in the National Championship. If the Irish lost they would likely drop to #3 or lower and still play in a BCS bowl but not the National Championship. The Trojans were hoping that they could end their rivals run as they would have liked nothing more to beat their rivals. It was not to be though as the Irish would come out strong and prevent a comeback by the Trojans to win the game. Their reward was what they expected as they would end their season ranked #1 in the nation and would get their shot in the National Championship Game. The only thing they wouldn’t know is who they would be facing as all players and Irish fans will be watching one game next week. The SEC championship game will feature the #2 Alabama Crimson Tide and #3 Georgia Bulldogs. Whoever wins this game next week will face Notre Dame in the National Championship as it will be the premiere game of championship weekend. Either way that the game ends the fact remains that the Fighting Irish are back in the national spotlight after over a decade of mediocrity.

 

Heisman Watch:

1. Johnny Manziel, QB (Texas A&M)
Johnny Football did it again this week when he took on Missouri and once again led the Aggies to a big win. Manziel has been great all season but it wasn’t until his game against Alabama where he got national recognition. Now the freshman is on the cusp of becoming the only freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. Against Missouri Manziel was the key to the game as he threw for 372 yards and 3 TDs while also adding 67 rushing yards and 2 rushing TDs. It was a great performance and one that has finally put him above all challengers in the Heisman hunt. With the season over for Manziel he has done all he can do to win the Heisman as he can now only wait and see what other challengers do. The only thing that will hold Manziel back from the Heisman will be the fact that he is a freshman and if voters don’t like it he will not win and if they ignore it the trophy will likely be his.
Stats (13 Games):
68.3% cmp (184 rsh)
3,419 yds (1,181 rsh yds)
24 TD (19 rsh TD)
8 INT
155.9 rtg

 

2. Collin Klein, QB (Kansas State)
Collin Klein was off this week and that was not a good thing for the K-State QB who would be remembered for his last two performances. He has not been the usual Collin Klein as of late and has quickly fallen in the favour of the voters. With a week off he allowed Johnny Manziel to have a full week without any challenger to his Heisman hopes. After Manziel took full advantage of the situation Klein has dropped in the rankings. Now Klein will need to do a lot of work to get back to the top of the Heisman voting. He will have one shot to do it as he takes on Texas in the last game of the season. If he can pull out a great performance against Texas next week he may be able to sneak past the freshman. It will all come down to next week as Klein needs a big performance to win the Heisman and to help the Wildcats stay in the BCS.
Stats (11 Games):
66.7% cmp (171 rsh)
2,306 yds (787 rsh yds)
14 TD (20 rsh TD)
6 INT
155.0 rtg

 

3. Manti Te’o, LB (Notre Dame)
Te’o is the best player on the best team in the nation as he has been a major part of the resurgence of the Notre Dame program. The Irish had a big game this past week and yet again the defence played a massive role. As the leader of the defence Te’o will always take the blame and the glory and in this game he deserved it. With 8 tackles and 1 interception Te’o was once again a key piece to the defensive game. The game was a big one for the whole team and also for Te’o who needed something to keep his Heisman hopes alive. As a defensive player he will find it hard to get a lot of votes but he is the best hope for a defensive Heisman winner. With no games left he will wait and see what the rest of the challengers can do but he will likely be one of the highest ranked defensive Heisman hopefuls since Charles Woodson won the award.
Stats (12 Games):
98 tkl
5.5 tfl
1.5 sck
6 INT
2 Frcv

 

4. Kenjon Barner, RB (Oregon)
Stats (12 Games):
248 rsh
1,624 yds
6.5 avg
21 TD

 

5. Braxton Miller, QB (Ohio State)
Stats (12 Games):
58.3% cmp (227 rsh)
2,039 yds (1,271 rsh yds)
15 TD 13 rsh TD)
6 INT
140.5 rtg

 

BCS Rankings:
1. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1)
2. Alabama Crimson Tide (2)
3. Georgia Bulldogs (3)
4. Florida Gators (4)
5. Oregon Ducks (5)
6. Kansas State Wildcats (6)
7. LSU Tigers (7)
8. Stanford Cardinal (8)
9. Texas A&M Aggies (9)
10. South Carolina Gamecocks (12)
11. Oklahoma Sooners (13)
12. Nebraska Cornhuskers (14)
13. Florida State Seminoles (10)
14. Clemson Tigers (11)
15. Oregon State Beavers (15)
16. UCLA Bruins (17)
17. Kent State Golden Flashes (23)
18. Texas Longhorns (16)
19. Michigan Wolverines (19)
20. Boise State Broncos (22)
21. Northern Illinois Huskies (–)
22. Northwestern Wildcats (–)
23. Oklahoma State Cowboys (21)
24. Utah State Aggies (–)
25. San Jose State Aztecs (–)

 

Key Scores:
#2 Alabama Crimson Tide 49 – 0 Auburn Tigers
– It may not have been a great game or a classic Iron Bowl but it was a game that Alabama showed what they are made of and guaranteed themselves a spot in the SEC Championship Game which they will need to win to remain in the National Championship

 

#3 Georgia Bulldogs 42 – 10 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
– The Bulldogs have crept up silently in the BCS rankings and with this win in the game known as “Clean Old Fashioned Hate” they have put themselves one win away from a National Championship as they will make an appearance in the SEC Championship

 

#1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 22 – 13 USC Trojans
– It may not have been the cleanest win of the season as the Irish’s offence struggled to put up points but it was a win nonetheless and it came at the most important time as the Irish will sit back and await their opponents in the National Championship

 

#9 Texas A&M Aggies 59 – 29 Missouri Tigers
– The Aggies were not in any major trouble all game and were likely to win even before the game started but the main focus of this game was the QB as Johnny Football had one last shot to impress the Heisman voters and he did just that

 

Next Week:
#16 UCLA Bruins vs. #8 Stanford Cardinal (November 30th; 8:00 pm EST)
– The Bruins and Cardinal faced off in the last week of the regular season with the Cardinal coming out on top and now both teams meet again for the POac-12 Championship as the Bruins look for revenge

 

#2 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. #3 Georgia Bulldogs (December 1st; 4:00 pm EST)
– It is the game of the week as this game will not only determine the nest winner of the most powerful conference in the NCAA, the SEC, but will also likely end up being a game for a spot in the National Championship Game against Notre Dame

 

#13 Florida State Seminoles vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (December 1st; 8:00 pm EST)
– The ACC Championship game is not a massive matchup that will be an instant classic but it is very important for the Noles who look win the championship and climb up the BCS Rankings for a chance at a BCS Bowl

 

#12 Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Wisconsin Badgers (December 1st; 8:17 pm EST)
– The Big Ten is a conference that is coming back to life and a matchup of the Cornhuskers and Badgers will determine the next champion for a conference that is on the cusp of a comeback into relevance in the NCAA

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