NCAA Football Report (Week 12)

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With only a few weeks left in the season the fight for the National Championship and the BCS Bowls is heating up. As usual one loss in the next few weeks is sure to end any hopes of entering a BCS Bowl or the National Championship. There is a lot more to these games though as the bowls are not the only reward for continuing to win games. The BCS Rankings are a very important part to the season as they determine many of the bowl games that teams are involved in but they are not the only thing teams are fighting for. Many teams are continuing to fight for their chance to play an extra week of games during the championship week. The conferences in the NCAA are often overlooked for the bigger picture and the national rankings that determine bowls. Still the conferences are a very important part of the NCAA and for many teams they are the difference between making a big bowl and ending the season with nothing to show for their efforts. In particular there are 5 conferences that make up the most important races in the NCAA. The conference that more people follow than any other conference is the Southeastern Conference (SEC). It is considered the biggest and best conference in the NCAA and the race for the SEC championship is a race that has produced many of the recent National Champions. This year could be no different as the Alabama Crimson Tide sit atop the SEC West and look to be sure to win the division if they can get by Auburn in their final game. Meanwhile in the East the greatness of the SEC has been altered by cannibalism that has left Missouri sitting on top with a 9-1 record while only one other team has less than four losses making Missouri a potential opponent for the Tide in the SEC Championship game that could be the most important game in the BCS title race. The SEC is not the only tight and important race though as the ACC is coming down to a close race that has Florida State on the top of the Atlantic Standings with Clemson right behind them. The ACC championship game may not be as thrilling after the Duke Blue Devils have risen to the top of the Coastal division and could provide a surprise if they can stay atop the division while the Seminoles have to win the ACC title if they want to play in the National Championship. As the ACC and SEC championships may determine the National Championship another championship will keep a team in the running for the National Championship and a BCS Bowl. The Big 12 Conference does not have a championship game and so the top teams in the conference are in a sprint to the finish with the Baylor Bears and Oklahoma State Cowboys fighting to the end to stay in the top of the rankings with the champion likely playing in a major bowl. The remaining two conferences are two of the most important conference races in the NCAA as they determine the most prestigious bowl in the NCAA. The Big Ten conference and the Pac-12 conference are fighting for a berth in the Rose Bowl as the champion of both conferences will face off in one of the most important bowls of the year. For the Big Ten the fight is a close one as the Michigan State Spartans sit at the top of the Legends division while the undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes sit at the top of the Leaders division. The Buckeyes are looking for more than the Rose Bowl berth as they are hoping for a chance at the National Championship but to do that they will need to keep winning and winning the Big Ten championship game will be one of the most important wins for them. The Spartans are looking to spoil the party though as they hope to win the Leaders division and win the Big Ten championship. For their opponent the Pac-12 is putting together a fantastic race with the North Division coming down to the wire. It seemed to be Stanford’s division to lose but then they lost to USC giving Oregon a chance to make a run at the championship game. Arizona State seems to be the opponent for the Pac-12 Championship with the winner of the game going to the Rose Bowl and potentially more. The conference championships do not get a lot of focus throughout the season with the BCS Rankings creating the most buzz leaving the conference battles in the background. They are important though as these conference battles will go a long way in determining the final BCS Standings that are only few weeks away.

 

Heisman Watch:

1. Jameis Winston, QB (Florida State)
Another Freshman is leading the Heisman race this year in what is becoming a season that is very familiar. Last year freshman QB Johnny Manziel would stay in the background until the end of the season when he would spring to life and take over the race. This year it is Jameis Winston who is taking over the race although his strong performance in games is beginning to hurt him. Winston is not playing a long time in games as he puts his team up big early forcing him out of games early. Still he is putting on great performances time after time and if he can keep his team at #2 in the rankings his Heisman hopes could come true. He will look to continue that as the Seminoles take on Idaho next week in another game that could provide big scores and stats.
Stats (10 Games):
70.9% (58 rsh)
2,938 yds (145 rsh yds)
28 TD (3 rsh TD)
7 INT

2. Johnny Manziel, QB (Texas A&M)
Manziel would have the week off as the Aggies took a bye before one of their biggest games of the season. The Aggies will play the LSU Tigers in week 13 and their SEC hopes and Manziel’s Heisman hopes could rest on the game. Johnny Manziel is remaining in the hunt and although he cannot sem to take control of the top spot he is still a potential winner. If he can lead the Aggies past the Tigers he can solidify his spot among the top in the hunt. A loss could end any hopes of winning the Heisman again for Manziel. It all comes down to the next game for Manziel as it will make or break his Heisman candidacy.
Stats (10 Games):
73.0% (110 rsh)
3,313 yds (611 rsh yds)
31 TD (8 rsh TD)
11 INT

3. Bryce Petty, QB (Baylor)
The Baylor Bears are rising up the rankings quickly and Bryce Petty is beginning to become a serious Heisman contender. Petty would take over the week 12 game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders scoring 5 TDs and helping the Bears continue their run. With 335 yards through the air Petty was clearly the best player on the field and he looks to continue that trend throughout the rest of the season. If Petty can continue this pace for the rest of the season he may find himself moving up the race and getting serious consideration for the Heisman. Next week the Bears will take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys in an important conference game that will put Petty in the national spotlight to continue his candidacy.
Stats (9 Games):
65.2% (53 rsh)
2,992 yds (127 rsh yds)
24 TD (10 rsh TD)
1 INT

4. Marcus Mariota, QB (Oregon)
Stats (10 Games):
64.2% (66 rsh)
2,819 yds (477 rsh yds)
25 TD (9 rsh TD)
0 INT

5. Tajh Boyd, QB (Clemson)
Stats (10 Games):
66.7% (115 rsh)
2,960 yds (237 rsh yds)
24 TD (8 rsh TD)
7 INT

 

BCS Rankings:
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (1)
2. Florida State Seminoles (2)
3. Ohio State Buckeyes (3)
4. Baylor Bears (5)
5. Oregon Ducks (6)
6. Auburn Tigers (7)
7. Clemson Tigers (8)
8. Missouri Tigers (9)
9. Stanford Cardinal (4)
10. Oklahoma State Cowboys (12)
11. South Carolina Gamecocks (10)
12. Texas A&M Aggies (11)
13. Michigan State Spartans (16)
14. UCLA Bruins (13)
15. Fresno State Bulldogs (14)
16. NIU Huskies (15)
17. Arizona State Sun Devils (19)
18. UCF Knights (17)
19. Wisconsin Badgers (22)
20. Oklahoma Sooners (18)
21. Louisville Cardinals (20)
22. LSU Tigers (21)
23. USC Trojans (–)
24. Ole Miss Rebels (–)
25. Minnesota Golden Gophers (–)

 

Key Scores:
#6 Oregon Ducks 44 – 21 Utah Utes
– The Ducks needed to recover quickly after their first loss of the season and they would fall from 2nd to 6th and they would do just that as they would get by the Utah Utes and start their climb back up the rankings

Duke Blue Devils 48 – 30 Miami Hurricanes #23
– The Blue Devils are working their way to the top of the ACC Coastal division and continuing their march towards the ACC championship game as they would beat the Miami Hurricanes and solidify their spot in the conference

#5 Baylor Bears 63 – 34 Texas Tech Red Raiders
– The Bears were looking to try to continue their climb up the BCS rankings in the hopes that a National Championship is in the future or at least a BCS Bowl and they would do what they needed beating the offensive powerhouse Red Raiders

USC Trojans 20 – 17 Stanford Cardinal #4
– The Stanford Cardinal were coming off of their biggest win of the season after beating the Oregon Ducks but they would seem to think that it was all they needed as they would not be able to pull off another win against the Trojans

 

Next Week:
#12 Texas A&M Aggies vs. #22 LSU Tigers (Saturday November 23rd; 3:30 pm ET)
– The Aggies are back in action and are looking to move up the rankings into the top 10 while they take on their biggest test of the season in the LSU Tigers who will be looking to spoil Johnny Manziel’s Heisman candidacy

#17 Arizona State Sun Devils vs. #14 UCLA Bruins (Saturday November 23rd; 7:00 pm ET)
– The Sun Devils have quietly worked themselves into a position to play in the Pac-12 Championship but they will not be able to get their unless they can get by the Bruins who are sitting right behind them

#8 Missouri Tigers vs. #24 Ole Miss Rebels (Saturday November 23rd; 7:45 pm ET)
– The tigers are only two years into their time in the SEC and they are finding their legs as they look to remain at the top of the SEC East when they take on the Ole Miss Rebels who are hoping to remain in the top 25 of the season

#4 Baylor Bears vs. #10 Oklahoma State Cowboys (Saturday November 23rd; 8:00 pm ET)
– The Bears are on the edge of entering the championship conversation but they are in the midst of the BCS Bowl hunt and they will need to get by their toughest test of the season in the Cowboys who are trying to move their way back up the rankings

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