Conference Championship Week did not disappoint. The games were exciting and the committee announced the final rankings yesterday, so we have all of the bowl games set now too. Before we dive into the rankings and bowl games, let’s take a look back at the top games of the weekend.
(#10) USC 31 – (#12) Stanford 28
USC won the PAC-12 Championship Game Friday night by hanging 501 total yards on that vaunted Stanford defense. Sam Darnold threw for 325 yards and 2 touchdowns while RB Ronald Jones II rushed for 140 yards and 2 scores himself. Stanford’s stars played well too, QB K.J. Costello threw for 192 yards and 2 scores. Heisman finalist RB Bryce Love had 125 yards and 1 touchdown on a bad ankle sprain.
(#3) Oklahoma 41 – (#11) TCU 17
After trailing 17-0 after the first quarter, TCU fought back and made it 17-14, before going into halftime trailing 24-17. The problem was, they didn’t score again after half time. Oklahoma’s high powered offense was too much to handle. QB Baker Mayfield threw for 243 yards and 4 touchdowns while also rushing for 65 yards on his way to all but locking up the Heisman Trophy. Oklahoma’s balanced offense was the key factor in this game, passing for 243 yards and rushing for 218 yards. Oklahoma also forced 2 TCU turnovers, and they are headed to the College Football Playoff.
(#6) Georgia 28 – (#2) Auburn 7
The underdog Georgia Bulldogs won the SEC Championship for the first time since 2005 on Saturday. They did it behind their incredible defense, Auburn scored a touchdown on the opening possession of the game and were stifled from there on out. The Bulldogs held the Tigers to just 259 total yards while forcing 2 turnovers. All three of Georgia’s tailbacks had at least 83 total yards rushing and receiving. Georgia controlled the ball all game, converted on their opportunities and are headed for the Playoff.
(#1) Clemson 38 – (#7) Miami 3
I think we all were expecting Clemson to win this game, but this margin of victory surprised me. Clemson scored the first 38 points of this game, on their way to the #1 seed in the College Football Playoff. Miami had just 214 total yards of offense and turned the ball over 3 times. They didn’t even get on the board until kicking a field goal with 3:30 left in the ball game to avoid a shutout. Clemson will return to the Playoff for the third straight season.
(#8) Ohio State 27 – (#4) Wisconsin 21
In the most pivotal of games this weekend, the Buckeyes took down the previously undefeated Badgers behind tailback J.K. Dobbins. Dobbins rushed for 174 yards on just 17 carries, and even got some love from LeBron James on social media, listen to him in the background in this video.
When you're trying to do a postgame interview but LeBron is watching the Buckeyes 😂 pic.twitter.com/bDGGY9ppnk
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 3, 2017
Ohio State had 449 yards of offense, and 3 turnovers that kept Wisconsin in the game. J.T. Barrett threw a pick six that tied the game at 7-7, and Mike Weber fumbled on his own 10 yard line leading to 3 points for the Badgers.
In the end, the Buckeyes forced Wisconsin QB Alex Hornibrook to lead his team down the field with his arm for the win, but they couldn’t get it done. The Buckeyes’ pass rushers were too much and Ohio State won the Big Ten Championship for just the second time in Urban Meyer’s six seasons as head coach.
Final Playoff Rankings
So let’s quickly recap the last three weeks. Alabama played Mercer, got dominated by Auburn (who got dominated by Georgia), and sat on their couch during Conference Championship weekend. Ohio State defeated Illinois (at least a conference opponent), Michigan, and an unbeaten Wisconsin team in the same time span. That wasn’t enough for the committee though, even with the better strength of schedule and three top 15 wins to Bama’s zero, the 31 point loss in Iowa City was too much for the Buckeyes to overcome.
Bowl Game Schedule
The bowl games that are listed below are of course not the only bowl games being played. For the full list of bowl games go to the NCAA’s full bowl game schedule.
- Rose Bowl (CFP Semifinals), (#2) Oklahoma vs (#3) Georgia, January 1st, 5:00pm
- Sugar Bowl (CFP Semifinals), (#1) Clemson vs (#4) Alabama, January 1st, 8:45pm
- Peach Bowl, (#7) Auburn vs (#12) UCF, January 1st, 12:30pm
- Orange Bowl, (#6) Wisconsin vs (#10) Miami, December 30th, 8:00pm
- Fiesta Bowl, (#9) Penn State vs (#11) Washington, December 30th, 4:00pm
- Cotton Bowl, (#5) Ohio State vs (#8) USC, December 29th, 8:30pm
Those are your New Years Six bowl games. Other than the semifinals I think the Ohio State – USC match-up will be the most intriguing game to watch, I’m also curious to see how 12-0 UCF does against the big boys, in this case the Auburn Tigers. Until the bowl games get started in a couple weeks, enjoy the Army-Navy game and the Heisman Trophy Presentation. We’ll be back in a couple weeks with more College Football Recaps.