National Semi-Finals Highlight Bowl Game Schedule
Army defeated Navy 14-13 to capture the Commander-in-Chief Trophy, closing out the college football regular season in dramatic fashion. It was the second victory in a row for the Black Knights of West Point. 39 Bowl Games begin to unfold beginning next Saturday, December 16. New Year's Day features playoff semi-finals in the Rose Bowl between Oklahoma and Georgia, and the Sugar Bowl between Alabama and Clemson. It will be the third consecutive meeting in the playoffs for the Tide and the Tigers while the Sooners and Bulldogs will be meeting for the very first time in football history. Amazing given the long storied history of both programs. A full set of projections for the Bowl Games will be posted Monday.
Buckeye Win Leaves Committee With Tough Decision
Alabama sat idle Saturday, hoping for upsets in Conference Championship games that would open the door for the Tide to sneak into the playoff. Unfortunately, the way things played out, the door is open but only by a tiny crack. If Auburn and Fresno State had won, the Tide's resume would have looked slightly better in the Committee's eyes. But Auburn fell to Georgia and Fresno State fell to Boise State. The Committee is now left weighing a one loss Alabama who did not even win their division, with a two loss Ohio State who won the Big 10, but suffered a stunning lopsided loss to Iowa in November. Billingsley's Reports are split. The Billingsley+ Report that uses margin of victory supports Ohio State at #4, the regular report, which was used by the BCS, has Alabama at #4. A strong case can be made for both teams. The College Football Playoff Rankings will be released in a matter of hours at 11AM CT. It's a no win situation for the CFP Committee which is bound to take a lot of heat for their decision with two fan bases and the entire college football nation split in their believe of who deserves the final slot in the playoff. Personally, I believe Alabama deserves the #4 ranking. The Crimson Tide went through the entire season undefeated until the last game and lost on the road to arch rival and highly ranked Auburn. The Buckeyes won a conference title, but two losses, and one of those a 55-24 loss to Iowa is just too much to overcome in my eyes. It will be interesting to see how the Committee handles this very tough decision.
Wild Scramble for Top 4. Playoff Participants Still Up For Grabs
Auburn's upset over previously undefeated Alabama, coupled with Pittsburgh's stunning win over Miami (Fla.), left the door wide open for a wild final weekend of College Football on Championship Saturday December 2. With all Power Five Championship Games now set, the big question remains.....which conference will be left out. The winner of the SEC, either Georgia or Auburn and the winner of the ACC, either Clemson or Miami (Fla.) are the only sure bets. If Oklahoma beats TCU, they are in, but if TCU wins the Horned Frogs could be edged out. If Wisconsin beats Ohio State, I believe the Badgers are in. If Ohio State wins, most likely the Buckeyes are in, but it's not a sure thing. It will be interesting to see where Alabama falls in this coming Tuesday's Rankings. The only hope the PAC 12 has is that Southern Cal beats Stanford, TCU beats Oklahoma, Ohio State beats Wisconsin.....and the Committee is left with giving the last two remaining seeds to a two loss conference champion from a choice of Southern Cal, TCU and Ohio State, and a one loss Alabama and Wisconsin who did not win their conference. If total chaos ensues and Central Florida beats a highly ranked Memphis to finish 12-0, I would not be shocked if the Golden Knights receive some consideration for the final spot. My personal prediction for the Final Playoff Rankings after Championship Saturday: #1 Clemson #2 Oklahoma #3 Georgia #4 Wisconsin
Nation Awaits Rivalry Weekend as Playoff Remains Up For Grabs
College Football's top teams rolled over lesser opponents Saturday with all eyes now looking forward to next week's rivalry games. The nation will be focused on the Iron Bowl where # 1 Alabama travels to the Plains to take on what many believe is the hottest team in the nation, the Auburn Tigers. The coveted Top Four places in College Football Playoff are still in doubt with Alabama, Georgia, Auburn, Miami (Fla.), Clemson, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Southern Cal, Washington State and Notre Dame still having a realistic chance. Should complete chaos ensue in the next two weeks it's even possible undefeated Central Florida could receive consideration. Billingsley Projections will be posted Monday.
Alabama Escapes, Georgia Falls To Auburn, Miami and Oklahoma Roll
The Crimson Tide barely escaped Starkville with a 31-24 win Saturday night as a well prepared Mississippi State gave Alabama a complete game from start to finish. Georgia was not so lucky. The Bulldogs ran into an Auburn machine that was clicking on all cylinders and Georgia lost their first game of the season to War Eagle by a whopping 40-17 score. Miami (Fla.) removed all doubt about their elite status as the Hurricane rocked visiting Notre Dame 41-8. The Oklahoma defense finally put together a note worthy performance and Baker Mayfield continued to impress Heisman voters as the Sooners topped TCU 38-20. In other action around the country, Central Florida remained unbeaten and the top ranked Group of Five team at 9-0 with a 49-24 win over Connecticut. Wisconsin moved to 10-0 for the first time in the long storied history of the Badger program with a solid 38-14 win over Iowa. Ohio State rebounded by thumping Michigan State 48-3. Stanford turned the Pac 12 North upside down with a 30-22 win over Washington and an average Missouri team destroyed hapless Tennessee 50-17. The Volunteer Nation is restless to say the least. The Billingsley Projections for Week #13 will be posted Monday. The Billingsley+ (MOV) projections have been tied for #1 in the nation for the last two weeks in a row.
Big Shakeup In Big 10
One week after Ohio State re-established themselves as the top team in the Big 10 with a stunning comeback over Penn State, the Buckeyes were ambushed and completely dismantled in a 55-24 loss at Iowa. The Ohio State loss leaves the Big 10 East Division in control of Michigan State, for now. The Spartans surprised Penn State 27-24 Saturday in East Lansing. Wisconsin, the lone unbeaten team in the Big 10, is the only remaining candidate for the College Football Playoff and the Ohio State and Penn State losses severely hurt the Badgers potential future strength of schedule, a very string component in the eyes of the selection committee. Around the nation: Undefeated Miami (Fla.) made quite a statement with a big 28-10 win over Virginia Tech, ACC league leading Clemson survived a trip to North Carolina State 38-31, and Central Florida remained unbeaten with a hard fought 31-24 road win over a surprisingly improved SMU.The win solidifies the Golden Knights position, for the moment, as the Top Group of Five team. Oklahoma notched another win in the Bedlam Series behind a Heisman Trophy performance by Baker Mayfield. The Sooners prevailed in a 62-52 shootout win over Oklahoma State. TCU dominated Texas 24-7. The Sooners and the Horned Frogs meet this coming Saturday in Norman. Southern Cal and Washington both won and appear to be in control of their respective divisions, for the moment. The Trojans outscored Arizona in the Coliseum 49-35 and the Huskies blasted arch rival Oregon 38-3 in Seattle. Alabama and Georgia both won, and by the same score of 24-10. The Tide took care of LSU and the Dawgs handled South Carolina. Both SEC powerhouse teams must still beat a very dangerous Auburn team before they can set up what would be an SEC Championship Game of a potential #1 vs #2 . Georgia plays Auburn this coming Saturday.
Buckeye Comeback Stuns Nittany Lions
Penn State dominated Ohio State for 3 quarters Saturday until J. T. Barrett engineered a stunning 4th quarter comeback lifting the Buckeyes to a 39-38 win. The victory vaulted Ohio State to # 4 in the Billingsley Report behind two undefeated SEC teams, Alabama and Georgia, and surprising ACC front runner Miami (Fla.). Iowa State shocked the college football world for the second time this season, beating TCU 14-7 in front of a thrilled sold out home crowd in Ames, Iowa. The Cyclones now control their own destiny in the Big 12 race, win out and the Conference Championship belongs to Iowa State. Around the nation: Oklahoma and Oklahoma State both won setting up a Bedlam match between two Top 12 teams this coming Saturday in Stillwater. Notre Dame beat a good North Carolina State team 35-14 as the Irish continue their march up the rankings ladder. After being drubbed by Notre Dame last week, Southern Cal regrouped, went on the road and blasted Arizona State 48-17. Washington State was not so lucky on their trip to the desert. The Wildcats overwhelmed the Cougars 58-37 to give Arizona the lead in the PAC 12 South. Georgia demolished Florida 42-7 in Jacksonville. Mississippi State marched into Kyle Field and topped the Aggies 35-14 and Kentucky beat hapless Tennessee 29-26.
Nittany Lions Crush Wolverines 42-13
Penn State moved to 7-0 on the season, thrashing Michigan in Happy Valley Saturday night. It was sweet revenge for the Nittany Lions who suffered a lopsided loss to Michigan in the Big House last season. Around the nation, Notre Dame dismantled USC in South Bend 49-14, most likely ending any hopes the Trojans held for a playoff spot, Oklahoma State survived a tough road test in Austin, escaping with a 13-10 overtime win over Texas, and LSU recorded their 3rd consecutive big SEC win, this one over Ole Miss 40-24. In other notable news, South Florida and Central Florida, now both Top 25 teams, remained unbeaten and headed for a showdown at the end of the regular season with a potential New Year's Day Bowl invitation on the line.
Top Teams Tumble As Wild Weekend Concludes
Four heavily favored Top 25 teams, Clemson, Washington, Washington State and San Diego State all fell from the ranks of the undefeated over the weekend while SEC heavy weights Alabama and Georgia continued on in their quest for an unbeaten match in the conference championship game. Around the nation: Miami (Fla.) squeaked by Georgia Tech 25-24, Ohio State blasted Nebraska 56-14, Oklahoma outlasted Texas 29-24 in one of the most physical contests in Red River history, USC stopped Utah on a two point conversion try and prevailed 28-27, and LSU shocked the nation for the second weekend in a row by storming back to beat Auburn 27-23. LSU defeated Florida in the Swamp last week. Billingsley Projections for Week # 9 will post Monday.
Defensive Woes Doom Sooner's Season
We should have seen it coming, this shocking Sooner loss, but we were all blinded by the spectacular defensive performance over Ohio State earlier in the season. Barely escaping a loss to Baylor two weeks ago showed the chink in the Sooner's Armour and Iowa State took notice. The Cyclones exploited a very weak Oklahoma defense to upend the Sooners 38-31 in Norman. Oklahoma was not looking ahead to Texas.....they played well enough on offense to win the game, but a very porous Sooner defense could not stop an Iowa State offense that was clicking on all cylinders. The Cyclone defensive secondary played a tremendous game. Baker Mayfield had all day to throw the ball, but he just could not find open receivers. The game is being hailed as the greatest win in Iowa State football history.....congrats to the Cyclones and head coach Matt Campbell, it's been a longtime coming. Around the Nation, Miami (Fla.) topped Florida State 24-20 in Tallahassee, Michigan State surprised Michigan 14-10 in the Big House, TCU took control of the Big 12 by surviving West Virginia 31-24 in Fort Worth, Texas topped Kansas State 40-24 in the Longhorn's second double overtime thriller on the season, and Washington State continued to look like the cream of the Pac 12 by traveling to Oregon and handling the Ducks 33-10. Billingsley Projections for Week # 8 will be posted Monday.
Georgia Demolishes Tennessee 41-0
All of a sudden Georgia is looking like more than just the SEC East Division front runner. It appears the Dawgs have their sites set on a National Championship after rolling into Rocky Top and humiliating the Volunteers 41-0. It was the worst home loss for Tennessee since October 21, 1905 when Vanderbilt whipped the Vols 45-0. In other SEC action, Sun Belt favorite Troy stunned LSU in Death Valley 24-21, and Auburn, whose only loss on the season came to #1 Clemson, blasted Mississippi State 49-10. In other games around the nation, Clemson continues to look unstoppable after beating Virginia Tech 31-17, and Miami (Fla.) remained unbeaten after handling Duke 31-6. Oklahoma State outlasted Texas Tech 41-34 in Lubbock, and Washington State surprised the Trojans 30-27. In Group of Five action, Central Florida posted a huge win over Memphis, beating the Tigers 40-13. UCF and South Florida are both in contention for the automatic New Year's Day Bowl Slot along with the Mountain West's San Diego State who remained unbeaten with a 34-28 won over Northern Illinois.
Baylor puts a Scare into Sooners In 49-41 Waco Shootout
We have heard the expression millions of times....."on any given day", and the Baylor Bears almost proved it to be true Saturday night in Waco as heavily favored Oklahoma barely escaped a huge upset loss. Oklahoma's defense, that two short weeks ago stifled Ohio State, struggled to stop Baylor on third downs all night long. Only a Baylor fumble with less than a minute to go, with Baylor driving for a potential tying score, saved the Sooners. Near upsets must have been in the air Saturday as Michigan struggled with Purdue, South Carolina escaped Louisiana Tech, and Tennessee barely edged Massachusetts. But Penn State, TCU, Georgia and Washington came up with big wins over stiff competition to solidify their Top Ten rankings and give serious rise to conversation of National Title discussion. Weekly Projections for Week 6 will be posted Tuesday.
Trojans outlast Longhorns in 27-24 Overtime Thriller
Texas had a chance to win it all in regulation, but heroics from a freshman kicker saved the day for USC, not once, but twice. Trailing 17-14 with time expiring, walk on kicker Chase McGrath kicked a field goal to tie the game 17-17 and force overtime. But he wasn't done. In the second overtime McGrath kicked a game winning 43 yard field goal to lift the Trojans to a 27-24 win. Obviously this is not the same Texas team that lost to Maryland on their home field two short weeks ago. The win saves an opportunity for USC to continue on in their quest for a National Title. Even in a loss, the Longhorns serve notice to the Big 12 that Texas is not a team to overlook. Around the nation, Clemson looked sharp and took a huge leap in the rankings to #1 by going on the road and slamming Louisville 47-21. Northern Illinois shocked Nebraska in Lincoln 21-17, an overwhelming Vanderbilt defense shutdown Kansas State 14-7, San Diego State established themselves as the Group of Five team to beat with a 20-17 win over Stanford, Memphis is not far behind after a thrilling 48-45 upset win over UCLA, Mississippi State absolutely demolished LSU 37-7, and Kentucky went on the road and surprised South Carolina 23-13. Stayed tuned for this weeks projections later in the week.
Oklahoma Dominance of Ohio State Propels Sooners to # 1
A near flawless Baker Mayfield led Oklahoma to a stunning 31-16 upset of Ohio State Saturday night in Columbus. It was a magical night for the Sooners offensively and defensively, as Oklahoma dominated both sides on the line of scrimmage against the previously # 2 ranked Buckeyes. The win on the road, coupled with a #7 strength of schedule on the young season jumped the Sooners all the way to the top spot in the Billingsley Report. Around the nation, Clemson topped Auburn 14-6, TCU surprised Arkansas 28-7, Georgia squeaked by Notre Dame 20-19, Washington State outlasted Boise State 47-44 in a 3OT thriller, USC pounded Stanford 42-24, and Utah won the Holy War 19-13 over BYU.