NCAA Football Report (Week 14)

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The NCAA always winds down with one of the most exciting weeks of the season simply known as Rivalry Week. This week of games is one of the most unpredictable and exciting weeks of the season and for many teams it is the last game of the year. The week features some of the oldest and most storied rivalries in football and with that history attached to the games there is a lot at stake for every team. These are the teams that are never walks in the park for every team as they are the teams that will put up a fight until the end. The best teams in the country cannot look past their rivalry week games as they are taking on the teams that will give them the biggest challenge every week. In 2013 rivalry week was one of the more intriguing weeks of the season thanks in large part to the fact that the season has been relatively surprise free. The top of the rankings has seen some change with teams like Stanford and Oregon moving out of contention but for the most part the BCS has remained the same with Alabama sitting at the top of the rankings for another year while Florida State remained among the top three until they took over the #2 spot after Oregon’s first loss of the season. With Ohio State slipping into the third place spot the top three of the BCS has remained the same for much of the season but if there was any week where that would change it would be this one as all three teams took on their biggest rivals. For the Ohio State Buckeyes their matchup would be against the Michigan Wolverines in “The Game.” The Buckeyes would prove that rivalry week is one of the most dangerous for any team at the top of the rankings as they would fight to the end against the Wolverines. In a high scoring affair the Wolverines would have the chance to win the game on a two-point conversion but they would miss the attempt and would lose the game giving Ohio State the win 43-41 and would keep them in the hunt. The Battle of the Sunshine state would be next when Florida State would easily solidify their spot among the top teams in the country. They would take on the Florida Gators and get the win 37-7 and take another big step towards the National Championship. Alabama looked like a sure bet to be the National Champions this year as they have stayed the #1 team for the entire season. Then the Iron Bowl came and everyone would see the rising Auburn Tigers as the biggest threat to unseat the champs. The Tigers had risen fast with their play and they were just hot enough heading into the biggest game of the season to see a lot of people believe that they could beat the Tide. They would do so in the most spectacular fashion during the rivalry week as they would take the Iron Bowl and turn the NCAA on its head. The Tigers would take the win from the top ranked Tide in a way that has never been seen before in the best moment of the week. With the teams tied at the end of the fourth quarter Alabama would line up to attempt a game winning field goal with a rookie kicker Adam Griffith, starting kicker Cade Foster has been benched after missing three field goals earlier in the game. The Tide was hoping to put the game away or at the very least go to overtime if they couldn’t make the kick. Griffith would not make the kick and would seemingly force overtime for the Iron Bowl. Then the Auburn Tigers would see Chris Davis catch the missed field goal in the endzone and begin the biggest play of the game. Davis would return the missed kick 100 yards for the winning TD. It was the most improbable finish to the biggest game of the weekend and was a finish that will be remembered in one of the oldest rivalries in the game. The kick return will forever be remembered as a season changing play that would put the Tigers into the SEC championship and knock the Tide out of the top spot in the rankings. Rivalry week would strike again and would change the face of the NCAA as the regular season is done and damage control will not be done in the championship week. The NCAA now moves on from the mess of rivalry week and will focus on the conference championships as the final proving ground before the Bowl season begins and the National Championship is decided by the rankings for the last time before the playoff.

 

Heisman Watch:

1. Jameis Winston, QB (Florida State)
In the aftermath of the rivalry week Jameis Winston would come out on top as he would lead his team to a big win against their biggest rival. Everyone expected the Seminoles to win this game but rivalry weeks are always unpredictable and with the confidence of a senior Winston would guide his team to a big win. Throwing for 327 yards and 3 TDs Winston would give the Seminoles a big lead and would never look back. With the win Winston will get one more shot to prove that he deserves the Heisman when he goes into the ACC Championship game. When Winston takes on Duke for the ACC title he will need to show how he can control a game and if he can the Heisman Trophy will be his.
Stats (12 Games):
68.8% (67 rsh)
3,490 yds (134 rsh yds)
35 TD (3 rsh TD)
8 INT

2. Jordan Lynch, QB (NIU)
Plenty of losses highlighted the rivalry week but for Jordan Lynch it was his chance to get some recognition. Big names like Tajh Boyd, Johnny Manziel, and AJ McCarron would all fall this week while Lynch would carry his team to another win. He would do so in a big way as he would dominate the Western Michigan Broncos on the ground. One of the most proficient runners from under centre Lynch would run all over the Broncos for an amazing performance. He would only throw for 39 yards and 1 TD but would add 321 rushing yards and three rushing TDs to the performance. With the other big names out of the way Lynch is now a major focus and will remain a major focus next week when he leads the Huskies to the MAC Championship against Bowling Green.
Stats (12 Games):
64.4% (248 rsh)
2,457 yds (1,755 rsh yds)
22 TD (20 rsh TD)
5 INT

3. Ka’Deem Carey, RB (Arizona)
It has been a rare sight to see a running back among the top of the Heisman hopefuls but there are a few that are making their mark. Carey would be one of them who made a big impact this week while taking advantage of some of the issues that other tip players would see. Carey would see a big workload this week against Arizona State but would not be enough to get the win. Still with 157 yards on the ground and a TD Carey would do everything he could to try to give the Wildcats the win. Unfortunately for Carey it would be the last chance to show the nation what he could do and he will now be at the mercy of the championship teams. Carey will not have another game this season and will likely not get the Heisman but the Junior established himself as an early player to watch for the 2014 Heisman race.
Stats (12 Games):
322 rsh
1,716 yds
5.3 avg
17 TD

4. Johnny Manziel, QB (Texas A&M)
Stats (12 Games):
69.1% (133 rsh)
3,732 yds (686 rsh yds)
33 TD (8 rsh TD)
13 INT

5. Derek Carr, QB (Fresno State)
Stats (12 Games):
70.3% (37 rsh)
4,462 yds (137 rsh yds)
45 TD (2 rsh TD)
5 INT

 

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

 

Key Scores:
#13 Oregon Ducks 36 – 35 Oregon State Beavers
– The Ducks have not had the best end of the season as they seemed to be sure to go to the National Championship but would lose too many games to get there although a win against the Beavers has put them among the top ten and looking at a good bowl

#2 Florida State Seminoles 37 – 7 Florida Gators
– Jameis Winston would continue his roll at the end of the season and would ensure a spot in the ACC championship and possibly the National Championship when he led the Seminoles past their longtime in-state rivals the Florida Gators

#4 Auburn Tigers 34 – 28 Alabama Crimson Tide #1
– It was a thriller and will be a game remembered for centuries as a last second missed field goal return for a TD would change everything in the NCAA and give the Tigers a shot at the SEC Championship while knocking off the Tide

#3 Ohio State Buckeyes 42 – 41 Michigan Wolverines
– Simply known as “The Game” the Buckeyes and Wolverines rivalry is one of the classics and this game will go down as its own classic with the Wolverines missing out on a chance to extend the game by going for the two-point conversion and missing it giving the Buckeyes the win

 

Championship Week

MAC Championship:
Bowling Green Falcons vs. #14 NIU Huskies (Friday December 6th; 8:00 pm ET)
– It may not be the championship that everyone is watching but the Huskies are a team that is looking to be a BCS buster this year and with Jordan Lynch under centre there is plenty to watch for as the Huskies go for another championship and another big Bowl

SEC Championship:
#5 Missouri Tigers vs. #3 Auburn Tigers (Saturday December 7th; 4:00 pm ET)
– The SEC Championship has determined the last 7 BCS National Champions and the Tigers are hoping they can be #8 as if they win they may just give themselves a chance at playing while the newest member of the SEC is looking to prove they belong in their second year in the conference

Pac-12 Championship:
#7 Stanford Cardinal vs. #11 Arizona State Sun Devils (Saturday December 7th; 7:45 pm ET)
– Out of all of the championship games there are two that remain the most important and one of them is the Pac-12 where Stanford and Arizona State both look to take the title and earn a spot in the Rose Bowl

ACC Championship:
#20 Duke Blue Devils vs. #1 Florida State Seminoles (Saturday December 7th; 8:00 pm ET)
– The Florida State Seminoles are now the top team in the nation and will have one game to make that spot official for the season but they will have to avoid a surprise from the rising Blue Devils if they hope to get a spot in the National Championship

Big Ten Championship:
#2 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. #10 Michigan State Spartans (Saturday December 7th; 8:17 pm ET)
– It is the other important championship for more than the conference as the Big Ten champion will earn a spot in the Rose Bowl although this year the Buckeyes are playing for a lot more as a win will put them in the National Championship and could leave the Rose Bowl with an at-large team

Mountain West Championship:
Utah State Aggies vs. #23 Fresno State Bulldogs (Saturday December 7th; 10:00 pm ET)
– The Mountain West is another championship that is not the most exciting but the Fresno State Bulldogs are hoping to keep their top 25 ranking heading into bowl season as they hope to earn a spot in a bigger bowl this year

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