LSU Starts Strong and Holds on Tight to Top Texas 45-38
What started as a defensive struggle in the first half ended in an offensive onslaught in the second half as LSU built a 20-7 halftime lead then watched Texas fight back within two points before eventually falling to the spirited Tigers 45-38. It was a huge road win for LSU which has sputtered offensively for several years. Tiger QB Joe Burrow will certainly get Heisman Trophy consideration for his performance of 31 of 39 passing for 471 yards. Around the Nation Top teams kept pace with LSU as Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, and Oklahoma blew out lesser opposition. Only Michigan was tested Saturday as Army traveled to the Big House and scared the mighty Wolverines by taking Michigan into double overtime before losing 24-21. The game was very reminiscent of last years Oklahoma game where Army almost pulled an huge upset before falling to the Sooners in the Palace on the Prairie 28-21. Clemson handled Texas A&M 24-10. Mack Brown is 2-0 after another dramatic finish, this time North Carolina came from behind to defeat Miami (Fla.) 28-25. Maryland is raising eyebrows after the 2-0 Terps demolished favored Syracuse 63-20. Nebraska led old Big 8 rival Colorado 17-0 at the half and appeared to be rolling toward a great victory until the Buffaloes came to life in the second half, storming back to win in overtime 34-31. California stunned Washington in Seattle 20-19 in a game very few witnessed in the stands or on TV after a severe lightning storm delayed the game for over two hours. The conclusion finally came in dramatic fashion at 1:22 AM (PDT) 4:22 AM (EDT) by California kicking a 17 yard field goal with 8 seconds left on the clock. 18 year old reserve USC QB Kedon Slovis led the Trojans to a huge victory over Stanford 45-20. Tennessee appeared headed towards a much needed rebound win from last week's disaster until BYU snatched away a 29-26 win in overtime. The Vols are 0-2 for the first time since 1988.
Rocky Top Crumbles in Season Opener
The once proud Tennessee football program has hit a new low. In one of the most shocking season openers in college history, Georgia State, a heavy 25-30 point underdog, brought Neyland Stadium to it's knees Saturday, surprising the Volunteers 38-30. No time to rest. Brigham Young comes to Knoxville this week. Around the country, the Nation's Top Teams all rolled as expected. Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State and Georgia all prevailed over lesser competition. Oklahoma handled a slightly better team in Houston. LSU vaulted to the top of the Billingsley Report on the strength of beating the Sun Belt's top team in Georgia Southern. The Bayou Bengals travel to Austin, Texas Saturday in the Nation's premier college game to take on the Texas Longhorns. Boise State was impressive in a come from behind win over Florida State as was Auburn against Oregon. The SEC suffered a disappointing weekend with Missouri, South Carolina and Mississippi all falling in their opening games.
2019 Early Season Schedule Highlights
More often than not the greatest games during a season occur in October and November as conference races heat up and national implications rise to the surface, but in every year, there are early season games that shape the landscape of those later important games. Here is my list of games played in the first 4 weeks of the season that are must watch contests, listed in order of importance. ********** 10 Star Games: LSU @ Texas - September 7: A team is never REALLY back until they establish consistency in winning. Texas had an amazing season in 2018, beating hated rival Oklahoma in the regular season Red River Showdown, and surprising Georgia in the Sugar Bowl to finish 10-4 and #8 in the Final Billingsley Report. This game will go a long way to answer the question of whether the Longhorns can be CONSISTENT winners. LSU is expected to be a contender in the always tough SEC West race. It would be a huge feather in the cap of the Bayou Bengals to return home with a win under their belt in Austin. Texas 27 LSU 24 Notre Dame @ Georgia - September 21: This is a much anticipated return trip of the series which saw the Bulldogs travel to South Bend in 2017 and escape with a thrilling 20-19 win. Both of these teams have National Championship aspirations in 2019, and this game will determine which of these two teams will be propelled into the conversation really fast. As much as I like Notre Dame's chances for repeated success this year, the Bulldogs prevail Between the Hedges, Georgia 28 Notre Dame 24. Texas A&M @ Clemson - September 7: If anyone is going to disrupt Clemson's quest for an undefeated regular season, the Aggies are the team to do it. I'm tempted to pick an upset, but at home in Death Valley, it's hard not to go with the Tigers. Clemson 28 Texas A&M 27. Oregon vs Auburn - Arlington, Texas - August 31: The reputation of the entire Pac 12 Conference is on the shoulders of this game. No doubt there are other non-conference games that are important, USC hosting Fresno State and both USC and Washington travelling to BYU, but there is nothing greater to shout about than beating an SEC West stand out like Auburn. This is a very tough call because these are very evenly matched teams. The early Las Vegas Line has Auburn by 2 and I'm ever so slightly inclined to agree. Auburn 31 Oregon 30. ******* 7 Star Games Boise State vs Florida State - Jacksonville - August 31: A great opening weekend game which will tell right away if the Seminoles have turned a corner. The Broncos are a very well coached, talented team which has shown the consistency in the program that the above mentioned Texas team so desperately needs to show. The early Las Vegas Line has Florida State favored by 3, but I'm inclined to go with the Broncos here, very close. Boise State 31 Florida State 30. Florida vs Miami (Fla.) - Orlando - August 24: The opening game of the 2019 season. I can say the same thing about Miami as I did Florida State, how improved are the Canes? Florida is the frontrunner for the SEC East crown. A lot is expected of the Gators and these two teams, well, have a history to say the least and it ain't pretty. These teams have played 55 games with Miami holding a slight edge 29-26. They last met in 2013 and Miami squeaked out a 21-16 win. Florida has lost an unbelievable 7 of the last 8 games in this storied rivalry. The Gators are hungry and out to prove a point. Florida 35 Miami (Fla.) 17. ***** 5 Star Games Utah @ Brigham Young - August 31: The Holy War used to be an end of season ritual for the Nation to feast on, but Utah joining the Pac 12 changed all that (For the most part. They did play November 24 last year). Thankfully, the two teams made keeping this game on the schedule a priority. The reason I value this game so highly is because the Utes are considered to be the frontrunner for the Pac 12 crown, and folks, this is a tough opening game. If the Utes stumble here, they may win the conference crown, but making a run for the National Championship will be in doubt. The Cougars want this game BAD. They have lost 8 in a row in this series. Again, I'm tempted to pick an upset. BYU is very capable. But, I just can't do it. Utah 27 BYU 24. Stanford @ Central Florida - September 14: I must admit, I thought the 2017 undefeated season by UCF was a fluke. No way they could repeat. So, what did they do? Go undefeated in the regular season for the second year in a row. The schedule has always been questionable in strength, so what did the Golden Knights do? Invite Stanford for an early season showdown. I certainly admire them for upgrading the schedule. Question is, are they still good enough to back it up? I think so....barely. UCF 31 Stanford 24. Nebraska @ Colorado - September 7 : So much has been written about Scott Frost's return and the Cornhusker's late season surge last year. This game will tell us what we need to know about expectation levels for Nebraska. These two old Big 8 rivals will pull out all the plugs to win this game. Not a lot is expected of Colorado in 2019, but playing on the road early in the altitude of Boulder against a hated rival is a very tall order for the Huskers. Beware. A slip here and it could spoil a good season before Nebraska even gets started. Nebraska 35 Colorado 28.
Auburn Celebrates 35th Anniversary of 1983 Team
On Saturday June 1, players, members and staff of the Auburn Tigers will gather for the 35th reunion of the great 1983 War Eagle team that finished 11-1, won the SEC Championship, and the National Championship as awarded by the Billingsley Report. The Tiger's only loss was an early season 20-7 decision to national powerhouse Texas on September 7. Auburn then sailed through the #1 most difficult schedule of the 1983 season, capped by a 9-7 win over highly regarded #8 Michigan in the Sugar Bowl. Led by quarterback Randy Campbell and fueled by Bo Jackson, the 1983 Auburn team is ranked #4 on the list of All Time Tiger Teams which covers 126 years of Auburn football. 1983 is eclipsed only by the 1972 (10-1) "Punt Bama Punt" team, and the undefeated teams of 2004 (13-0), and 2010 (14-0). The 2010 team, Auburn's All Time Best, is ranked as the 9th greatest college football team in the entire 150 year history of the sport according to Billingsley's Encyclopedia. Richard Billingsley, and the Staff of The College Football Research Center Salute the 1983 National Champion Auburn Tigers!
Alabama Continues Dominant Pace in All Time Top Programs
All files have been updated in The Billingsley Encyclopedia, and results reveal that Clemson may have won the battle for the 2018 National Championship, but Alabama is winning the war. The Crimson Tide has continued to pull away from #2 Notre Dame as the Nations All Time Top College Football Program. Clemson jumped California and North Carolina to move up to #32 on the Top 106 list.
Clemson Defense Dominates Alabama 44-16 in Championship Game
The Clemson defense did what few thought anyone could....shut down one of Alabama's most prolific offenses in Tide history. The Tigers matched Alabama score for score in the first quarter, pulled ahead in the second quarter, and shut out the Tide in the second half to complete a shocking 44-16 rout of Alabama for the 2018 College Football National Championship. Where will this amazing 15-0 2018 Clemson team fall in the Historical Rankings of the Billingsley Encyclopedia? Stay tuned as the archives are updated through February 2019.
It's Alabama and Clemson.....Again!
The college football fan base may be sick of these two teams, but if they are looking for a true national championship between the best two teams, it's the right match, hands down, no questions asked. Both the Crimson Tide and the Tigers blew away their competition in semi-final matches at the Orange and Cotton Bowls on Saturday. Clemson rolled over Notre Dame 30-3 and Alabama jumped out to a 28-0 lead and then held on for a 45-34 win over Oklahoma. This will be the third time in four years that Alabama and Clemson have met in the National Championship Game with each team winning one contest apiece. The game is set for Monday January 7th in Santa Clara, California. December 31 and January 1 Bowl Games are still to be played. The next Billingsley Reports will be released Wednesday after the completion of all bowl games.
Army Beats Navy 17-10 for 3rd Straight Win over Midshipmen
The 2018 Black Knights of the Hudson are in pretty good company.....historically speaking. Army beat Navy for the 3rd consecutive time Saturday for the first time since winning 5 straight from 1992-1996. In 2016 Army snapped a 14 game losing streak to Navy and hasn't looked back since. Army dominated the game for 3 quarters as Navy struggled to get a running game untracked, but the Midshipmen offense came to life in the 4th quarter, and coupled with a stifling defense, had an opportunity to pull even. But turnovers doomed the vaunted comeback and Army survived a very hard fought game. In other news over the weekend, Kyler Murray of Oklahoma won the Heisman Trophy. Billingsley's Bowl Game Predictions will be posted Monday, December 10. Bowl Games begin Saturday December 15.
Oklahoma and Ohio State Await Their Fate From CFP Committee
It's all over but the waiting. Reports state the College Football Playoff Committee met until 1:30 AM CST Sunday morning and will resume deliberations around 9AM CST to finalize the Top 4 teams selected for the playoff games. Oklahoma and Ohio State certainly did their jobs to qualify Saturday as the Sooners avenged their only loss of the season winning a hard fought game over arch rival Texas 37-29. Ohio State held ground by beating Northwestern 45-24. The Billingsley Report has Oklahoma #4 and Ohio State #5 by a fraction of a point by virtue of a slightly stronger overall strength of schedule. The benefit of the Sooners having the opportunity to play a higher ranked opponent made the difference. Oklahoma played # 15 Texas in the Big 12 Championship, Ohio State played # 29 Northwestern in the Big 10 Championship. The Billingsley+ Report, which factors in margin of victory, shows a different result. Georgia, by virtue of a narrow loss to #1 Alabama finishes #3 and Ohio State edged out Oklahoma for the #4 slot. Oklahoma comes in at #5 and undefeated Notre Dame at #6. The CFP Committee will release their findings at 11AM CST on ESPN. Around the Nation: UAB, only 4 years removed from abandoning their football program for two years, completed an amazing 10-3 season to win the Conference USA Championship. Only last week the Blazers were dominated by Middle Tennessee 27-3, but UAB went right back to Murfreesboro and surprised the Blue Raiders 27-25. Fresno State nipped Boise State 19-16 in a snow storm to win the Mountain West Championship. It was the first victory in history for the Bulldogs on the Boise Blue Turf. Central Florida mounted a huge second half comeback win over Memphis 56-41 to win the American Athletic Championship. This in spite of having lost their star QB McKenzie Milton the previous week. The Golden Knights finished the season 12-0 and now have a 25 game winning streak. Virginia Tech blasted Marshall 41-20 to become bowl eligible. North Carolina State overwhelmed East Carolina 58-3. Northern Illinois sneaked by Buffalo 30-29 to win the MAC. Washington held off Utah 10-3 in a defensive struggle to win the PAC 12. Stanford traveled to Berkley and beat the Bears 23-13 in a game previously postponed by the California wildfires. And finally, Alabama, down at one point 28-14, roared back to beat Georgia 35-28 in the SEC Championship game, fueled by an inexplicable decision by Georgia Coach Kirby Smart to try a fake punt on 4th and 11 around midfield. The try failed, Alabama went on to score and took the lead. Ultimately it was enough to win the game. Flags flew at half mast across the country as the Nation mourns the death of George H. W. Bush, one of America's greatest Presidents.
Ohio State Makes Case for CFP as Buckeyes Demolish Michigan 62-39
The game was everything it was billed to be, and then some, as the Big Ten's # 1 offense prevailed over the Big Ten's #1 defense in spectacular fashion. Ohio State controlled the game from the onset, although Michigan positioned themselves within striking distance again and again until the 4th quarter. The College Football Playoff Committee now has a major decision to make as the Buckeye's 62-39 domination of the Wolverines was so impressive it overshadows the ugly loss at Purdue in mid-season. On the other side of the coin Oklahoma out dueled West Virginia in Morgantown 59-56. Will the Committee forgive the Sooners defensive woes and focus on the fact Oklahoma lost by 3 points on the last play of the game to their greatest rival (Texas 48-45)? We will find out Tuesday night at 6PM CT on ESPN. Keep in mind these will NOT be the final rankings. There are important games left to play. Ohio State faces a solid Northwestern team and Oklahoma has a chance for revenge against Texas in the Red River Part Two game. Both the Buckeyes and the Sooners could easily stumble. Alabama will face Georgia in the SEC Championship. Should the Tide lose, it matters not what the Sooners and Buckeyes do......Alabama will remain in the Top 4 and knock out both Oklahoma and Ohio State. Around the Nation: Central Florida completed an 11-0 regular season with a resounding 38-10 whipping of South Florida, but lost their star QB in the process. The Golden Knights now face surging Memphis in the American Conference Championship Game Saturday. Iowa State rolled up 21 4th quarter points to complete a 42-38 comeback win over Kansas State. It snapped a 10 game losing streak to the Wildcats. The Cyclones Matt Campbell will be a hot commodity for coaching vacancies just like last season and Iowa State will be lucky if they can hang on to the young dynamic coach. He has completely reversed the losing culture at Iowa State and in time, could lead the Cyclones to a Big 12 Championship and National prominence. Notre Dame came alive in the second half and survived a serious upset bid at the Coliseum, eventually outlasting USC 24-17. Boise State downed high flying Utah State 33-24, snapping the Aggies 10 game winning streak. The Broncos will now face Fresno State for the Mountain West Crown. Washington surprised Washington State 28-15 in an Apple Cup blizzard Friday night. Arizona State shocked hosting Arizona by scoring 20 points in the 4th quarter for an unbelievable 41-40 comeback win. Utah survived an upset at the hands of Brigham Young in the Holy War. BYU jumped out to a 20-0 halftime lead only to watch it slip away as Utah scored 35 points in the second half, prevailing 35-27. Vanderbilt made modern program history as the Commodores beat Tennessee 38-13. It was the 3rd straight win for Vanderbilt over their hated rival Volunteers, something Vandy has not done since winning 6 in a row from 1920-1926 when the Commodores were a nationally prominent program. Vanderbilt has now won 5 of the last 7 in this series. Shocking. And finally......take a deep breath, Texas A&M outlasted LSU, literally, 74-72 in 7 overtimes. The game ended 31-31 in regulation after a stunning reversal of fortune for the Aggies by 1 second being added back to the play clock, allowing A&M to score the tying touchdown. The players were so exhausted they were practically dragging themselves off the field. I hate overtime. There is nothing wrong with two teams being declared equal, and if there were ever two equal teams, Texas A&M and LSU were on this night.
Minshew leads Washington State to 69-28 Rout of Arizona
There is power in the 'stache. Gardner Minshew threw a Washington State record 7 touchdowns Saturday night as the Cougars demolished Arizona 69-28, moving to 10-1 on the 2018 season. The Heisman Trophy candidate completed 43 passes in 55 attempts for 473 yards in one of the nations best performances of the weekend. Speaking after the game head coach Mike Leach stated " we are not that good and they are not that bad", but from this writers view point.....the Cougars may very well be that good. Washington State now prepares to host arch rival, nationally ranked Washington in the Apple Cup, with the winner capturing the Pac 12 North Title. Around the Nation: Central Florida silenced a multitude of skeptics Saturday night by rolling over a very good Cincinnati team 38-13. The Golden Knights have now won 23 straight. Ohio State survived a roaring upset bid at the hands of Maryland. The Terps missed a game winning two point conversion try in overtime, falling 52-51. Nebraska played their most inspired football of the season, beating a good Michigan State team 9-6 in front of a delighted home crowd in Lincoln. The Cornhuskers have now won 4 of their last 5 games after a rough 0-6 start. Oklahoma State shocked West Virginia 45-41 with a late touchdown. The Cowboy win opens the door for a potential bid for Texas in the Big 12 Title game after a 24-10 Longhorn win over Iowa State. All appeared lost for Utah State as the scoreboard flashed a losing score at the hands of Colorado State on the last play of the game.....but wait.... A penalty for illegal touching took the touchdown off the board and the Aggies survived to create a division showdown next week with Boise State. What a game! The UCLA offense came to life in the latter half of the 4th quarter and the Bruins outlasted cross town rival USC 34-27, and finally, Vanderbilt moved one step closer to bowl eligibility with a controversial 36-29 home win over Ole Miss. The Rebels scored an apparent touchdown to win the game only to see the score reversed by instant reply. The Commodores can become bowl eligible with a win over arch rival Tennessee next week.
Tennessee Shocks Kentucky 24-7
Kentucky is in the midst of one of the most impressive seasons since the Wildcats finished 9-3 in 1984, but they ran into an inspired Volunteer team in Neyland Stadium and fell 24-7. Tennessee dominated the game from the start, taking a 10-0 lead into halftime. The Volunteers have won 17 straight home games against Kentucky, dating back to that 1984 season. It was a huge win for Tennessee, placing the Volunteers into a position to become bowl eligible with games remaining against Missouri and Vanderbilt. Around the nation: Syracuse blasted Louisville 54-23. The Orangemen can now turn their full attention to next week's showdown in the Bronx with Notre Dame. Louisville can turn their full attention to hiring a new coach. Breaking news just reported by multiple sources say Bobby Petrino has been fired. Michigan and Ohio State stayed the course for their collision with the Wolverines demolishing Rutgers 42-7 and the Buckeyes downing Michigan State 26-6. Northwestern clinched their first ever Big Ten West Title with a huge 14-10 win over the Hawkeyes in Iowa City. Consider Oklahoma the luckiest FBS team of the week. The Sooners were saved from defeat by a missed extra point and later a missed two point conversion try as Oklahoma State fell in the final seconds of the Bedlam game 48-47. Texas was pretty lucky too.....the Longhorns survived a 4th quarter meltdown in Lubbock where the Red Raiders scored 17 points in the last 5 minutes only to see Texas drive the length of the field for the winning touchdown with less than a minute to go. Utah State continued their meteoric rise with a 62-24 win over San Jose State. The 9-1 Aggies rolled to their 9th consecutive win after a narrow opening season loss at Michigan State. San Diego State got caught looking ahead to a showdown with Fresno State next week as the visiting UNLV Rebels shocked the Aztecs 27-24. Washington State is looking more and more like a playoff contender as the Cougars went on the road and dominated Colorado 31-7. Injury riddled Utah somehow managed to hold Oregon at bay and stay in the race for the Pac 12 South as the Utes beat the Ducks 32-25. California broke a 14 game losing streak to USC with a defensive 15-14 win over the Trojans in the Coliseum and Florida came from behind to defeat South Carolina 35-31. The Gators are positioning themselves well for a New Years Day bowl after a mid-season slide in back to back losses to Georgia and Missouri. Florida has Idaho and Florida State to go creating a potential to finish 9-3.
Alabama Shuts out LSU 29-0 in Baton Rouge
If there were any doubts whatsoever as to the Nations best team, the Crimson Tide put all of the questions to rest Saturday night as Alabama steamrolled the Tigers 29-0 in front of a raucous Death Valley crowd and a national television audience. The LSU offense never got untracked as the Crimson Tide defense was stifling, completely dominating the line of scrimmage. The SEC championship game is now set between Alabama and Georgia as the Bulldogs sewed up the East Division with a 34-17 win in Lexington over Kentucky. Around the Nation: Clemson demolished Louisville 77-16 keeping pace with the Tide as one of the nation's elite teams. Michigan blasted a very good Penn State team 42-7. The Wolverines continue to improve each week as the season unfolds, with a big game against Ohio State looming in the regular season finale. Notre Dame remains unbeaten as the Irish outlasted stubborn Northwestern 31-21. Oklahoma survived a West Texas upset bid at the hands of Texas Tech as the Sooners escaped Lubbock with a 51-46 win. West Virginia scored a two point conversion as time expired to down Texas in Austin 42-41. Washington State remained in the hunt for a National Championship with a hard fought 19-13 home victory over California and Arizona State turned the Pac 12 South Division race upside down with a stunning 38-20 win over favored Utah.
Oklahoma State Turns Big 12 Upside Down with 38-35 Win Over Texas
Just when it seemed like Texas had turned a corner in their program with a 6-1 record and Top Ten National Ranking, (which included a major win over their arch rival Sooners), Oklahoma State ambushed the Longhorns 38-35 Saturday night, throwing the Big 12 Conference race up for grabs. Oklahoma, West Virginia and Texas, all sport 4-1 conference records and the Mountaineers have yet to play the Sooners and Longhorns. Iowa State and Texas Tech are not far behind with 3-2 conference records. The Cyclones scored a big win Saturday, outlasting the Red Raiders 40-31 in Ames. Texas outscored Oklahoma State 21-7 in the second half, but the 31-14 halftime deficit was just too much to overcome as the Longhorn defense simply could not stop Cowboy QB Taylor Cornelius on the lone second half touchdown drive for Oklahoma State. Around the Nation: Clemson blasted Florida State in Tallahassee 59-10, dealing the Seminoles their worst defeat since a 1973 loss at Florida, also by 49 points. Houston ended South Florida's hope for an undefeated season as the Cougars outscored the Bulls 57-36. Northwestern seized control of the Big Ten West Division race with a huge 31-17 win over Wisconsin. Colorado had a second half meltdown against the visiting Beavers. The Buffaloes led 31-3 at the half but Oregon State stormed back in the second half to tie the score 34-34 and went on to win in overtime 41-34. Georgia pulled away in the second half to fry the Gators 36-17 in Jacksonville and finally, Kentucky scored a touchdown on an untimed down, the last play of the game to top Missouri 15-14. The surprising Wildcats host Georgia next week in what may determine the SEC East Division title. The Nation now awaits the game of the season ( so far ) as Alabama travels to Baton Rouge to tangle with the Tigers of LSU.