NCAA Football Report (Week 14)

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Week 14 in the NCAA is always a good one but it does not always have the drama that it would in 2012. The storylines were many in the final week where the championships would be determined. It is always a big week because it is the week where conference titles are determined and for many that is the biggest game they will play. The championship games for some teams are their biggest game as they will likely not make a BCS bowl and so the highlight of the year is to call themselves a conference champion. Every conference champion will likely get a spot in a Bowl Game somewhere but many bowls do not have the prestige that a conference can have. This year though the conference championships meant that much more as almost all had a BCS connection. Even the non-championship games this week had plenty to do with the BCS bowls and even the Heisman Trophy. It would be a week full of storylines that would change a lot in the NCAA or would keep everything the same. The biggest story was the SEC championship game that has recently become a default semi-finals for the National Championship. In 2011 it would pit the LSU Tigers against the Georgia Bulldogs with the Tigers coming out on top and going to the National Championship. This year the Georgia Bulldogs would face the Alabama Crimson Tide with the winner going to the National Championship against Notre Dame. It would be a fantastic game and Alabama would come out on top as they would solidify their #2 ranking and earn a chance to repeat as National Champions. Another big story would be the now usual look at the Rose Bowl as the Pac-12 and Big Ten conferences would determine their championships. Friday would see the first member of the Rose Bowl be determined in the Pac-12 Championship game as the UCLA Bruins and Stanford Cardinal would face off for the right to play on New Years Day. After a back and forth battle the Cardinal would repeat as Champions and move on to the Rose Bowl. In the Big Ten Championship two seemingly evenly matched teams in Wisconsin and Nebraska would face off in an utter blowout. The unranked Badgers would put everyone on notice as they put up 70 points against the Cornhuskers to earn their spot in the Rose Bowl for the second year in a row. As these championships all looked towards BCS games in the future the smaller conference championships would be looking for a chance at a top 15 ranking. The MAC Championship game between Northern Illinois and Kent State would be an extremely important game for both teams. It would mean the difference between a BCS Bowl with a top 15 ranking or a small bowl and possibly being unranked to end the season. Northern Illinois would come out on top as they would end up ranked #15 and move on to the Orange Bowl. Another bowl that would be determined in the last week would be the Fiesta Bowl as Big 12 Teams fought it out for a chance to go to a BCS bowl and win the Big 12 conference. After a few games in the game the Kansas State Wildcats would win their game and take the championship while also moving into the Fiesta Bowl. The week was not only about the bowl games though as one Big 12 game would mean the difference for one senior. The Kansas State-Texas game would see Colin Klein play in his last game before the Heisman voting. Klein had taken over the Heisman race earlier in the year but a string of bad games put him behind the freshman Johnny Manziel. With Manziel and Manti Te’o, the other major challenger, on the sidelines with their teams not playing Klein would have one last shot to impress the voters before Monday. Klein would do well in his last chance effort as he was responsible for 287 yards on offence along with 3 TDs. It was exactly what he needed to make the voters take notice before they vote. It will make the Heisman race that much closer as Klein and Manziel will go down to the wire while Manti Te’o could sneak in to the top spot as well. It was another wild year in the NCAA that finished with a wild week as bowl season is just around the corner and the season will get that much better as the bowls get underway in two weeks.


Heisman Watch:

1. Johnny Manziel, QB (Texas A&M)
Johnny Football was not in action this week as the Aggies could only sit and watch the SEC championship. The Freshman QB made his impression throughout the season though and quickly took the lead in the Heisman race. He has not looked back as his numbers are very impressive this year although there will be one big obstacle in his way. He is a freshman and a freshman has never won the Heisman Trophy meaning that many of the older voters may want to keep the tradition alive. If he does not get the votes it will likely be because of his inexperience which would be terrible for such a talented young player. Either way this ends Manziel has put the entire league on notice and will likely be a favorite to either repeat as a Heisman winner or win his first in 2013.
Stats (12 Games):
68.3% cmp (184 rsh)
3,419 yds (1,181 rsh yds)
24 TD (19 rsh TD)
155.6 rtg


2. Colin Klein, QB (Kansas State)
Klein was on a downward slope leading into his last game of the season as he continued to fall in the Heisman rankings. He had one more game to impress though as he would take on the Texas Longhorns for a chance at the Big 12 Championship. It would be the only game that any of the top three Heisman candidates would be involved in for the week. Passing for 184 yards and a TD while also rushing for 103 yards and 2 TD Klein was the reason that K-State won the game and will be on their way to a BCS Bowl. The performance brought him back into the major conversation as he will be the main challenger to Johnny Manziel. If the voters do not want a freshman as the Heisman winner than Colin Klein will end his college career as the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner as he has a very good shot at winning the award.
Stats (12 Games):
66.2% cmp (194 rsh)
2,490 yds (890 rsh yds)
15 TD (22 rsh TD)
156.1 rtg


3. Manti Te’o, LB (Notre Dame)
Te’o and the Irish were not playing this week as they watched the SEC Championship to see who they would face in the National Championship. That doesn’t mean that Te’o was completely off though as he would receive the APA Sportsmanship Award in the first of what he hopes is many awards this year. No pure defensive player has won the Heisman, Charles Woodson won as a returner/cornerback not just a cornerback, and that will hurt Te’o. Defensive stats are not considered official and so it is hard to judge based on stats alone like many of the other candidates. What Te’o does have though is an amazing story of perseverance and a personality that cannot be hated making him a very public figure. He will be up against it in the voting but if a defensive player can win the Heisman it would be Te’o.
Stats (12 Games):
103 tkl
1.5 sck
11 Pdef
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)
140.5 rtg


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


Key Scores:
#8 Stanford Cardinal 27 – 24 UCLA Bruins #16
– The Pac-12 Championship was missing a familiarity with Oregon not making the finals but that didn’t stop the Bruins and Cardinal from putting on a great game that saw the Cardinal win their second straight Pac-12 title and a spot in the Rose Bowl


#21 Northern Illinois Huskies 44 – 37 Kent State Golden Flashes #17 (OT)
– The MAC Championship does not usually provide much in the way of storylines but this year was different as both teams were looking for a top 20 ranking and a shot at a big bowl and it was the Huskies who would come out on top in overtime for the MAC championship


#2 Alabama Crimson Tide 32 – 28 Georgia Bulldogs #3
– The Tide were supposed to be the team that nobody could beat but a loss to Texas A&M stopped this notion and the Bulldogs were looking to be their second loss but it wasn’t to be as the Tide took home the SEC Championship and a spot in the National Championship


Wisconsin Badgers 70 – 31 Nebraska Cornhuskers #12
– The Big Ten Championship was supposed to be between two very evenly matched teams but that was the exact opposite of the game as Montee Ball and the Badgers easily handled the Cornhuskers for a Big Ten Championship and a spot in the Rose Bowl


Next Week:
Army Black Knights vs. Navy Midshipmen (December 8th; 3:00 pm EST)
– The tradition continues as Army and Navy face off for the 113th time in the most important game for both teams as both programs look to this game as their championship every year as the Army-Navy game closes out the NCAA season


BCS Bowls

Rose Bowl:
#6 Stanford Cardinal vs. Wisconsin Badgers (January 1st; 5:00 pm EST)
– The Cardinal do not have Andrew Luck anymore but that didn’t stop them from a Pac-12 championship as they will take on the Wisconsin Badgers who although unranked look very strong in the Big Ten Championship for their shot at the Rose Bowl


Orange Bowl:
#15 Northern Illinois Huskies vs. #12 Florida State Seminoles (January 1st; 8:30 pm EST)
– The Huskies barely got in with a MAC Championship win but they are hoping that they can continue the hot streak against a very good Florida State team fresh off of the ACC Championship Game


Sugar Bowl:
#3 Florida Gators vs. #21 Louisville Cardinals (January 2nd; 8:30 pm EST)
– The Gators were looking like they would be on their way to the National Championship but they will have to settle for the Sugar Bowl where they take on a big underdog in the Cardinals who are looking for the upset


Fiesta Bowl:
#5 Kansas State Wildcats vs. #4 Oregon Ducks (January 3rd; 8:30 pm EST)
– Colin Klein will be on full display as he will need to keep up with the speed and explosiveness of the Ducks offence led by De’Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner in what looks to be a great offensive battle


National Championship:
#2 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. #1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (January 7th; 8:30 pm EST)
– It is an old-fashioned football game between two of the oldest and most successful programs in the NCAA face off in a game that will feature the two best defences in the league along with some interesting QBs that could make for some great offensive plays

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