Many a good team has traveled to the Arizona desert and left the desolate environment with a shocking loss. Perhaps, none so more than Oregon, as late Saturday night the Arizona State defense held the Ducks in check for 3 quarters, enough to build a 24-7 lead, then hold off a furious Oregon rally to capture a 31-28 Sun Devil victory. Winning out for Oregon would highly likely have given the Ducks the coveted 4th spot in the College Football Playoff, but those dreams dissipated like a mist in the dry Arizona desert.
Around the Nation: Idle Clemson watched as their two other major competitors took the field. Ohio State gained ground with an impressive 28-17 win over Penn State and LSU ran over the Razorbacks 56-20. Oklahoma’s hopes for entry into the playoff brightened somewhat with Oregon’s loss, but the Sooners have other issues to attend to…..like putting up more impressive wins for the committee to evaluate. Oklahoma survived TCU 28-24 with a highly questionable first down spot with just over a minute to play. The Sooners have in state rival Oklahoma State coming up in Stillwater Saturday plus a rematch with Baylor in the Big 12 Championship game. Winning is a must, but a couple of impressive performances wouldn’t hurt their resume either. Georgia solidified their position as a national title contender with a big win over Texas A&M 19-13. The Bulldogs can punch their ticket with wins over Georgia Tech and LSU. Earlier this season I blasted Tennessee as having reached a low point in their program history, now I’m having to eat my words as the Volunteers have turned their season around after big wins over Kentucky and Missouri to move into bowl eligibility with a 6-5 record. The Volunteers face rival Vanderbilt Saturday with a 7 win season looking very possible. Who would have thunk it after that embarrassing loss to Georgia State early in the season.
Rivalry Weekend is upon us. I have always said it is the greatest event in the entire sports world. We will be treated to some real doozies including Virginia Tech at Virginia, Indiana at Purdue, Iowa at Nebraska, Wisconsin at Minnesota, Arizona at Arizona State, Oregon State at Oregon, Washington State at Washington, Kentucky at Louisville, Ole Miss at Mississippi State, Clemson at South Carolina and Vanderbilt at Tennessee. Plus, the entire nation will be watching as Alabama travels to Auburn for the Iron Bowl and Ohio State travels to the Big House to face Michigan. Happy Thanksgiving to all my devoted followers.