College Football Wrap-Up – Week 15
When it mattered, there was no mystery at the end of season play in major college football’s 15th week: Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and Ohio State got it done, and will play for the national championship. It was that simple.
For Baylor, TCU, Mississippi State and Michigan State, it wasn’t complicated: They should have known better.
Welcome to the facts of life.
#1 Alabama (12-1) scored three touchdowns in the 4th quarter to crush #16 Missouri (10-3) and win the SEC championship, 42-13.
#2 Oregon’s (12-1) early season loss to Arizona (10-3) by a touchdown was avenged by whipping the #7 Wildcats, 51-13, for the Pac-12 championship.
#4 Florida State (12-0) came from behind to nip #11 Georgia Tech (10-3) and claim the ACC championship, 37-35. The Seminoles ended the year as the FBS’s only unbeaten team, but hardly looked dominating, coming from behind more times this season than a delinquent taxpayer trying to catch up. That said, they had enough money in the bank in wins to make the NCAA’s first 4-team playoff.
#5 Ohio State (12-1) came from behind all season, finally crushing #13 Wisconsin (10-3) to win the Big Ten championship, 59-0, literally impressing the 13-member Selection Committee by pushing Baylor and TCU out of the picture.
#6 Baylor (11-1) got by #9 Kansas State (9-3), 38-27, and #3 TCU (11-1) absolutely crushed a lousy 2-10 Iowa State team, 55-3, and few on the national scene even noticed or cared. The Big 12 is so out of it without a conference playoff system and lousy competition that it would have taken an act of the football gods to include them as anything more than an afterthought.
After all, major college football owes its existence in proportion to the amount of money it generates, and they can’t find enough market and fans to follow Baylor or TCU anywhere. Nobody is following a third-rate rock band anywhere. Pride will kill that dog (the Big 12 Conference) in the street.
#4 Mississippi State (10-2) won its first 9 games before losing to Alabama and Ole Miss. Oops! That’s what real competition will do to you, ace you out in a hurry.
#10 Michigan State (10-2) had a shot at a national title this year, but lost early in the year at Oregon and then at home could not beat Ohio State, losing 49-37, because the Buckeyes had a far better quarterback than the Spartans could possibly field when it mattered.
So now 2nd seed Oregon will face 3rd seed Florida State, and 1st seed Alabama faces 4th seed Ohio State in the National Semifinals on New Year’s Day (Thursday), and the winners will settle the matter 11 days later on Jan. 12 (Monday).
In other championship games, Northern Illinois (11-2) beat Bowling Green (7-6) for the Mid-American title, 51-17; Marshall (12-1) nipped Louisiana Tech (8-5) for the Conference USA title, 26-23; and #22 Boise State (11-2) downed Fresno State (6-7) for the Mountain West title, 28-14. So much for the minor leagues.
This year’s first ever 4-team playoff format has produced the most excitement ever in college football. Fans were left hanging until the last day to learn which teams would make basketball’s equivalent of the Final Four. And now the suspense begins again and will only end on January 12 in Arlington, Texas.