Championship Saturday delivered. There were several really good games and a few fantastic finishes. It snowed all day in Northern Virginia so the day set up perfectly for me and my 2 year old sidekick to hole up and watch games all day. Good stuff.
Oregon State 33 at Oregon 37- I took the Ducks in a slugfest in this one and that’s exactly how it played out. In the end Oregon just had a little too much offense and did a nice job of working the clock in the 4th quarter. This one was a great Thursday night contest that kept me up way too late. Oregon vs. Ohio State in the Rose Bowl will be very interesting. The Ohio State defense will need to get a little faster between now and then.
Central Michigan 20 vs. Ohio 10- Dan LeFevour set the NCAA record for total touchdowns in this relatively unexciting contest. LeFevour will make a curtain call in the GMAC bowl.
East Carolina 38 vs. Houston 32- I failed to mention this one in my weekly preview. My apologies to the handful of CUSA readers that swing through here from time to time it was completely inadvertent. That said Skip Holtz and the Pirates played a nice game against Kase Keenum and the Coogs to win the CUSA crown. This was a fun game to watch. It will also be interesting to see if Skip Holtz emerges as a viable candidate in the Notre Dame coaching search. At this point I wouldn’t rule it out.
Cincinnati 45 at Pittsburgh 44- Pitt had the Bearcats down 31-10 with 1:26 left in the first half then made the first of several critical mistakes in letting Cincinnati’s Mardy Gilyard return a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. That gave Cincy life and in the second half the Panthers had a multiple breakdowns in the secondary that allowed the Bearcats to finish closing the gap. After the game was tied at 38 Pitt scored the go ahead TD with 1:36 remaining but missed the PAT due to a botched hold. That would prove to be fatal. The Bearcats quickly drove the field again picking on the Pitt secondary and scored the tying TD with 0:33 on the clock. Cincy made the PAT and sealed Pitt’s fate. Overall it was a highly entertaining game to watch as there was plenty of the excitement and the snow flurries at Heinz Field added a pretty cool element to the whole thing. My biggest takeaway is that Cincy will likely get blasted in the BCS and I’m very skeptical about Brian Kelly should he get the ND job.
Florida 13 vs. Alabama 32- Nick Saban is worth every penny, car, blood diamond mine, or small country that Alabama gives him as compensation for coaching their football team. The Tide simply handled up on Florida Saturday afternoon completely dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. This was a huge loss for the Gators as they stand to lose several key players, to include Everybody’s All American Tim Tebow, to graduation and or the draft. A few takeaways from the game. Texas will have their hands full with the Tide in the BCS Championship Game. Florida has still never had an undefeated season. Nebraska’s 3 titles in 4 years will not be repeated this January. The loss crushed Tebow to the point that he walked off the field in tears but he was as classy as ever in his post game comments wishing the best for Bama. All the talking heads were yammering on last night about how Mark Ingram should win the Heisman for a big performance in a big game. The whole Heisman thing is a crock at this point. This should really be its own post but here is the short version. Yesterday Ndamukong Suh and C.J. Spiller both looked like better college football players than Ingram. What is this modern day BS where the Heisman is supposed to go to the "MVP of the best team." Hooey, all of it. That isn’t to take anything away from Mark Ingram, he’s a great back, but he’s a great back benefitting greatly from running behind perhaps the best offensive line in the country.
Nebraska 12 vs. Texas 13- Nebraska came as close as you can come to winning without winning this thriller. Texas kicked the winning field goal with 1 second that was put back on the clock after an official review. Wild game. Bo Pelini and his staff deserve a lot of credit for coming up with a solid game plan and executing it. Both defenses were awesome all night and Ndamukong Suh put on the best performance I have seen out of a college football player in a long time. He was unbelievable and singlehandedly disrupted the Texas offense all night. I think it is safe to say that the arrow is pointing up for Nebraska and I expect them to become a regular feature of the Big 12 title game under Pelini’s watch. Offensive Coordinator Shawn Watson probably won’t be there much longer and with a good hire there the Huskers could be a serious factor again very soon. As for Texas they have a great team and a great defense. It won’t get any easier against Alabama and they will have to come up with a viable way to run the football a little bit to trade punches with the Tide. They have a month to figure it out and I hope that they do.
Georgia Tech 39 at Clemson 34- C.J. Spiller was out of his mind in this game running for 233 yards and 4TDs but it wasn’t enough for his team to pull the upset. I thought Clemson could pull this one off if they could D up on the Jackets like they did in the 2nd half of their regular season meeting but they weren’t able to do it. This was another great game that was well worthy of my 2nd TV. I will be interested to see how GT fares against whoever they end up drawing in the BCS.
There is one game remaining in the regular season that being the Army Navy contest next Saturday in Philadelphia. Holding this one a week later than normal will add a little more of a bowl atmosphere to the classic contest. Outside of that the BCS games and the rest of the bowls will be announced tonight at 8:00pm EST. I will spend this week doing my homework for the bowl picks and reappear later in the week. In the mean time if Notre Dame gets around to hiring a coach I’ll definitely comment on that as well.