NCAA Football Report (Week 14)

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It was Championship Week in the NCAA and this year it meant a lot more than just taking a conference title home.

With the exception of Oklahoma, who play in the Big 12 without a title game, the top four had one week to prove that they belonged in the top four.

All of the games were much more than just a power team against the best of the worst in the conference.

There were plenty of potential pitfalls for the top four in championship week and one game that essentially began the playoff early.

Watching closely was the Ohio State Buckeyes who had not made the Big Ten championship but had a chance to get into the top four again if some underdogs won.

Stanford was also watching closely while preparing for their own championship as they had to face a renewed USC Trojans team to win the Pac-12.

If they could they would do what they needed to in order to get back into the playoffs but still needed to wait for the results.

The Cardinal took care of their end USC easily 41-22 as they sat and waited for the rest of the teams.

Oklahoma could only sit and watch as the Big 12 still lacks a title game as their fate was going to be sealed based on the results of the day.

Shades of 2014 began to creep into the minds of many as the #3 team in the nation knew that Baylor was kicked out of the top four during championship week when they had no control over what happened.

Meanwhile the #1 team from the start of the CFP, Clemson, was set to take on the North Carolina Tarheels.

North Carolina tried to prove that their undefeated record was legitimate and if they could do that the best team in the country was likely going to fall out of the top four.

It was far tougher than most imagined as North Carolina was able to stick around but the Tigers came out on top.

The Crimson Tide also had an interesting challenge taking on the Florida Gators in a game of two of the nation’s best defences.football-sidebar

The Tide had already lost this year so a loss was sure to see them move out of the playoff and provide a spot for one of the teams watching.

The Tide and Gators struggled in a defensive battle but Alabama began pulling away and eventually took the win for another SEC championship.

The biggest game of the weekend though was the Big Ten Championship game where the #4 and #5 teams faced off for the conference title in what was essentially a play-in game.

The CFP had set up a one game winner takes all matchup as the winner between the Iowa Hawkeyes and Michigan State Spartans would take the last spot in the playoff and the loser would be outside looking in.

It was a defensive battle between the two teams who only managed 18 total points after three quarters.

The Hawkeyes went ahead on a massive pass in the fourth quarter, the first touchdown of the game, and then began shutting down the Spartans for the rest of the game.

That was until the final drive when the Spartans drove down the field and ran the ball into the end zone inside a minute left to hand Iowa their first loss of the season and take the Big Ten championship.

The potential for chaos was huge and many wanted to see it if only to see what the committee was going to do.

After all of the potential though not much happened as the Clemson Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide remained at the top of the rankings.

There was a bit of a change as the Spartans’ big win moved them to the #3 spot in the rankings and the lack of the Big 12 title hurt them but not as much as last year.

The Sooners dropped to #4 where they will now take on the Clemson Tigers in the Orange Bowl while a defensive showdown between Michigan State and Alabama will be featured in the Cotton Bowl.

The second year in the playoff and there is not a lot to complain about, not that it will stop anyone.

Four of the Power Five conferences are represented with the one of the only undefeated teams in the NCAA sitting on top and the SEC monster sitting in second place.

The Big Ten was rewarded for a very strong season with a strong #3 bid and the Big 12 is in with Oklahoma getting a spot despite a weak beginning to the season.

The Pac-12 are the ones left out but no team was impressive enough to earn a spot even the Stanford Cardinal.

The playoff succeeded in what they were attempting to accomplish as championship weekend meant a lot more than usual and more teams than ever were watching to see if they had a chance.

Now it is on to Army-Navy before bowl season where team look to finish off their year with a big win while everyone waits for New Year’s Eve and the semi-finals.

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