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.
Boilermakers Blister Buckeyes 49-20
In one of the most surprising upsets of the 2018 season, Purdue upended undefeated Ohio State 49-20 in front of a jubilant home crowd Saturday night. The loss will certainly hamper the Buckeyes in their quest for a spot in the CFP. Ohio State is now one game behind arch rival Michigan in the Big 10 standings as the Wolverines scored a 21-7 win at Michigan State earlier in the day. It was a near flawless performance for Purdue who gained solid momentum right before the end of the first half by successfully converting on a fake field goal for a first down, setting up a touchdown to lead Ohio State 14-3 at the half. Purdue never looked back, going on to score 28 points in the 4th quarter to rout the Buckeyes in what certainly will become one of Purdue's greatest wins in the long storied history of this series. Around the Nation: Clemson silenced all speculation about who the best team is in the ACC by blasting previously undefeated North Carolina State 41-7. The AAC lost one of it's three undefeated teams as Cincinnati lost at Temple 24-17. Houston is quietly putting together a conference contending season as the Cougars traveled to Navy and won 49-36. Houston is now 6-1 on the season. Nebraska finally got their first win of the 2018 season as the Cornhuskers blasted Minnesota 53-28 in front of another sold out crowd in Lincoln. UAB took control of the Conference USA race by nipping North Texas 29-21. The 6-1 Blazers are having a great season only 2 years removed from having temporarily abandoning football. Hats off to the Birmingham community and the die hard fans for reviving the program. It was a tale of two halves in Wazzu where a hungry ESPN Game Day crowd watched the Cougars race to a 27-0 lead and then hang on for a 34-20 win over the high flying Oregon Ducks. Washington, who lost in overtime to Oregon last week, rebounded in a home win over Colorado, 27-13. Utah pushed itself into Pac 12 South contention with a big 41-28 win over the Trojans. LSU set up a the big game with Bama (coming up in two weeks), with a win over Mississippi State 19-3. The big unanswered question now is whether LSU's stout defense can slow down the unstoppable Tide offense. Let the games continue!
The Quack Attack is Back! Oregon Tops Washington 30-27 in OT Thriller
The Oregon Ducks outlasted Washington Saturday in front of a packed Autzen Stadium. The sold out crowd witnessed the second overtime game of the 2018 season, but this one had a dramatically different outcome than the disappointing loss to Stanford. After missing a 37 yard field goal on the last play of regulation that would have won the game for Washington, the game went into overtime 24-24. The Ducks held Washington to 3 points in their first drive in overtime. On Oregon's first overtime possession QB Justin Herbert guided the Ducks to a touchdown and a 30-27 win, avenging two straight losses to the hated rival Huskies. Oregon now holds the lead in the Pac 12 North Division headed into the heart of conference play. Around the nation: Virginia surprised Miami (Fla.) 16-13 turning the ACC Coastal Division race upside down. Central Florida and South Florida both posted 1 point wins to remain undefeated.The Golden Knights survived a trip to Memphis 31-30, and the Bulls traveled to Tulsa, dramatically coming from behind to nip the Golden Hurricane 25-24. Michigan blasted Wisconsin under the lights in the Big House 38-13, while Michigan State stunned Penn State in Happy Valley 21-17. Iowa State dominated previously unbeaten West Virginia 30-14 with an amazing defensive performance. Notre Dame came from behind to beat Pittsburgh 19-14 in South Bend.The win keeps Notre Dame on top of the Billingsley report. The Irish are undefeated having played the 6th most difficult schedule in the nation. Southern Cal spoiled Colorado's bid for an undefeated season, running over the Buffaloes in the Coliseum 31-20. And finally, LSU rebounded from the loss to Florida by dominating the Dawgs in Death Valley 36-16.
Longhorns Survive Wild 48-45 Shootout In Red River Game
Texas built a 21 point lead over Oklahoma going into the 4th quarter but almost let the game slip away as the Sooners stormed back to tie the game at 45-45. The Oklahoma defense, true to it's much maligned nature, could not stop Texas on the Longhorns final drive. The Texas offensive line was the difference in the game. They dominated the line of scrimmage, opening huge holes for the running game and giving ample time for Texas QB Sam Ehlinger to pick apart the Oklahoma secondary. Texas kicked a 40 yard field goal with 9 seconds left on the clock to win in regulation 48-45. Around the nation: After trailing the Seminoles for most of three quarters, Miami scored 21 points in the second half to survive Florida State's upset bid 28-27. The American conference race is shaping up to be quite a contest as three teams, Central Florida, South Florida, and Cincinnati all remain unbeaten after 7 weeks of play. Iowa State blew into Stillwater and surprised Oklahoma State 48-42. The pesky 2-3 Cyclones certainly appear to be in position to influence the Big 12 race. Notre Dame, sporting a 6-0 record remained on top in the Billingsley Report after a dominating win on the road over another Top 25 team. The Irish beat Virginia Tech 45-23. San Diego State took a huge leap forward in the race for the MWC championship by surprising Boise State 19-13 on the Broncos home field..... But don't overlook Hawaii, the Warriors are 3-0 in conference play. Colorado is quietly putting together a great season. The Buffaloes are 5-0 after handling Arizona State 28-21. In the SEC Alabama and Georgia continued to roll while LSU and Kentucky suffered their first loss of the season, both playing on the road. The Tigers lost 27-19 at Florida, and the Wildcats lost at Texas A&M in overtime 20-14. Billingsley's Week 7 Ranking reports are now online, and week 8 projections will be posted Monday, October 8th.
Buckeyes Come From Behind 27-26 Win Stuns Nittany Lions
In the biggest game of the 2018 season so far, Ohio State survived the "White Out in Happy Valley", scoring 13 points in the final 9 minutes to defeat Penn State 27-26. The Nittany Lions were on their way to hard earned win in a classic defensive struggle until the Ohio State offense caught fire. The record crowd of 110, 889 were left stunned and breathless as they watched the Buckeyes move up and down the field, seemingly at will after Penn State had controlled most of the game. Around the nation: Syracuse had Clemson on the ropes but the Tigers squeaked out a 27-23 win. Virginia Tech rebounded from the embarrassing loss to Old Dominion last week with a big 31-14 win at Duke. Michigan scored 20 unanswered points to beat Northwestern 20-17. Scott Frost is discovering there is a lot of work to be done in reviving the Cornhusker program as Nebraska fell at home to Purdue 42-28 and is now 0-4 on the season. Oklahoma out dueled Baylor 66-33 and Texas held off Kansas State 19-14, both in preparation for the Red River Rivalry game this coming Saturday. Notre Dame pulled away from Stanford, capturing a 38-17 win and Kentucky continues it's meteoric rise as the Wildcats improved to 5-0 after beating South Carolina 24-10.
Sooners Squeak by Army in Overtime 28-21
The last time Oklahoma hosted Army, Dwight D. Eisenhower was President and the "Palace on the Prairie" was fifty plus years away from being a reality. The year was 1959 and Army was still considered a power in College Football. The game was a tossup and Oklahoma won 28-20. Fast forward to 2018 and the result was almost identical. Oklahoma scored a 28-21 win. But the entire scenario was far from the same. The Sooner fans were being nostalgic on a cool September night and welcomed the Black Knights with open arms as 30 point favorites. But Army came to play football, and the Sooner defense could not stop Army's triple option all night long. Oklahoma's vaunted prolific offense sat on the sidelines most of the game as Army completely dominated time of possession 44:41 to 15:59. Oklahoma ran 40 plays the entire game and only an interception in overtime saved the Sooners from what would have been one of the most shocking upsets in Oklahoma football history. Around the nation: Other heavily favored Top Teams did not fair so well. Old Dominion shocked Virginia Tech 49-35 and Texas Tech rode into Stillwater and ambushed Oklahoma State 41-17. Texas surprised TCU 31-16. Are the Longhorns for real? We will know in a couple of weeks when The Red River Rivalry resumes at the Texas State fair. Staying in the Big 12, West Virginia looks unstoppable and may be the best team in the conference. The Mountaineers blasted Kansas State 35-6. Ohio State and Penn State rolled and remain unbeaten as they await their showdown this coming Saturday in Happy Valley. Oregon seemingly had their game in hand until a fumble late in the game ignited the Stanford offense and the Cardinal flew on to a dramatic 38-31 overtime win over the dumbfounded Ducks. Can anyone stem the Crimson Tide? Certainly not the Aggies. Alabama crushed Texas A&M 45-23. And how about those Wildcats! Kentucky dominated the favored Bulldogs and moved to 4-0 on the young season. Could we be witness to something special unfolding in Lexington? One game at a time Kentucky....one game at a time.