College Football 2016 Regular Season: IN MEMORIAM
- My apologies for those of y'all who get off on my take on the trials and tribulations of NCAA football. I DID miss the last regular season week and the championship games recap. This little thing called life and the holiday season has gotten in the way. What can I say? Thanksgiving and the holiday shopping season don't leave a lot of time for writing, especially when it's the busiest time of the year for your job, too. My bad, y'all.
It did turn out to be one hell of a crazy finish to the season. The B1G Championship Game was a damn tight affair that didn't involve a team named Ohio State or Michigan. Penn State (easily the feel-good story of the season) rallied from 28-7 down to upend Wisconsin by a final of 38-31 for their first B1G championship of the post-JoePa/Sandusky scandal era. Penn State has got some damn heart, and Wisconsin is still a very physical team. Neither one will be an easy out in the bowl season.
My beloved Tigers finished the regular season by smoking the South Carolina Shamecocks like a bomber joint, 56-7 in THE REAL DEATH VALLEY. They followed that up with a nail-biter of a win over Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game, 42-35. The Tigers were twice up by 14, only to see the Hokies come roaring back. They closed the 3rd quarter up by 21 only to see the Hokies cut THAT lead back to a single TD. And yet.....every time Deshaun Watson, Wayne Gallman, Mike Williams and company had an answer every time and the D came up big on the interception by Cordrea Tankersley to end the Hokie threat. The Tigers are back-to-back ACC Champions for the first time since their 3-peat in 1986, '87, & '88.
The Washington Huskies proved that they are the cream of the crop in the PAC-12 by thoroughly dismantling another feel-good story in the Colorado Buffaloes, 41-10. This one was never even close. You could easily see that the Huskies want badly to be in the playoffs and had something to prove. Mission accomplished. They held serve exactly as expected.
The top dogs of college football (aka The Empire, aka Bama) just straight kicked the shit out of an injury riddled Florida Gators team, 54-16, in the SEC Championship Game. I don't think anyone expected anything else. When you haven't had a TD scored on you in 5 games and your opponent is offensively challenged it's pretty much a lock. Sorry, Florida.....congratulations on the SEC East Title. Alabama goes #1 from coast to coast!! No easy feat.
In a league without conferences and a true "title game", the Big-12 managed to come up with a de facto Championship game at Bedlam. Oklahoma vs Oklahoma State was, for me, a very intriguing matchup, especially with that big chip the Cowboys had on their shoulder. In the end, though, OU was just too damn good in this one. They have a pair of Heisman finalists in Baker Mayfield and Dede Westbrook playing pitch and catch. The Sooners ultimately put their in-state rivals down, 38-20, en route to their 45th conference title.
Outside of the Power 5 Conferences there were still some strong finishes and great games. Undefeated Western Michigan took the MAC Conference title over Ohio, 29-23 and earned themselves a New Year's Six Bowl game. Temple pulled the upset on Navy in a blowout, 34-10, to take the AAC Title. Western Kentucky won a barn-burner over LA Tech, 58-44, to take the Conference USA Title. San Diego State downed Wyoming, 27-24, to win the "new" Mountain West Title.
After all of the dust had settled, the final CFP rankings hit on Sunday afternoon and they look like this:
- #1 Alabama 13-0 (SEC Champs)
- #2 Clemson 12-1 (ACC Champs)
- #3 Ohio State 11-1
- #4 Washington 12-1 (PAC-12 Champs)
- #5 Penn State (B1G Champs)
- #6 Michigan 10-2
- #7 Oklahoma 10-2 (Big-12 Champs)
- #8 Wisconsin 10-3 (B1G runner-up)
- #9 USC 9-3
- #10 Colorado 10-3 (PAC-12 runner-up)
- #11 Florida State 9-3
- #12 Oklahoma State 9-3
- #13 Louisville 9-3
- #14 Auburn 8-4
- #15 Western Michigan 13-0 (MAC Champs)
- #16 West Virginia 10-2
- #17 Florida 8-4 (SEC Runner-up)
- #18 Stanford 9-3
- #19 Utah 8-4
- #20 LSU 7-4
- #21 Tennessee 8-4
- #22 Virginia Tech 9-4 (ACC Runner-up)
- #23 Pitt 8-4
- #24 Temple 10-3 (AAC Champs)
- #25 Navy 9-3 (AAC runner-up)
Doesn't look much like the Top 25 from the beginning of the year, does it? OU, FSU, & LSU were Top 5 teams!!. Notre Dame was in the Top 10!! Ole Miss, TCU, UCLA, Iowa, & Georgia were Top 20 teams!! UNC, Baylor, & Oregon were Top 25!! Those are some pretty glaring differences, wouldn't you say? Oregon went 4-8 and fired Mark Helfrich. Baylor was picked to win the Big-12 and ended up going 6-6. The Fighting Irish finished 4-8.
You just never know what the ass-backwards, goofier than a pet coon world of college football will bring you. That's exactly why I prefer it to the NFL (although I do love my Redskins)- it's batshit crazy and entirely unpredictable. The pageantry and the passion are so much better at the college level. Plus, I love trying to pick the stars of tomorrow. It's altogether too much, as they said in "Airplane!".
Thanks for keeping up with my amateur (but full of heart) little college blog. I'll hit y'all up with a complete bowl preview in the next day or two. A man has to sleep sometime......I've got shit to do tomorrow.