Another amazing season of college football has neared its end.
The regular season is in the books and the bowl matchups are set.
Here’s a look at some of the winners and losers of the week.
Only two seasons after finishing winless, UCF pulled off a miraculous turnaround and notched a 12-0 record. They capped off the amazing season with a thrilling 62-55 double-overtime victory over Memphis in the AAC Championship game. The Knights clinched a coveted berth in the Peach Bowl against Auburn. The win was bittersweet for UCF because head coach Scott Frost announced that he was leaving to be the head coach at his alma mater Nebraska. However, Frost will stick around to coach UCF in the Peach Bowl in hopes of putting a bow on an already historic season.
The Bulldogs avenged their only loss by defeating Auburn 28-7 in the SEC Championship game and clinched the #3 seed in the College Football Playoffs. In only his second season, head coach Kirby Smart has Georgia two games away from their first national title since the early 1980s. Although Georgia has a freshman quarterback in Jake Fromm, the Bulldogs boast one of the most experienced teams in the country (31 seniors), so they’ll tough out in the playoffs.
Despite a lackluster schedule and a second-place finish in the SEC West, the Crimson Tide are back in the playoffs; in the brief four-year history of the playoffs, Alabama has never been left out. The selection committee chose to overlook the warts on Alabama’s résumé and slot them at #4 based on their overall strength as a team. Alabama’s precarious position pushed Nick Saban out of his comfort zone and forced him to campaign for his team in the media. The coach who called the polls “rat poison” suddenly needed them to turn up in his favor, and they did. Saban responded with more jubilance than he’s exhibited after winning actual championships.
I believe this was the most gleeful smirk in Nick Saban’s life
After a storybook season, the clock finally struck midnight for the cardiac Canes. Miami followed up a bad loss in the regular-season finale against Pittsburgh with a crushing defeat against defending-champion Clemson. The top ranked Tigers secured the #1 seed by trouncing Miami 38-3 in the ACC Championship. The Hurricanes had been playing with fire all year, and were finally set ablaze as their offense could only muster 17 points in the final two games.
The Buckeyes narrowly missed the final spot in the playoffs, finishing fifth. Ohio State thought they had a good shot at joining Clemson (1), Oklahoma (2), and Georgia (3), but their 27-21 win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game wasn’t enough to move the needle for the selection committee. While the Buckeyes had impressive victories over Penn State, Michigan State, Michigan, and Wisconsin, they were done in by two ugly losses: 31-16 to Oklahoma at home, and 55-24 to Iowa on the road. The 31-point loss to the Hawkeyes was particularly off-putting for the committee and made their claim for the fourth spot futile.
The Seminoles won their final game against Louisiana Monroe 42-10, but the entire affair was an embarrassment for the school. The game had been canceled because of Hurricane Irma, but was desperately rescheduled a few weeks ago when it became clear Florida State would need another victory to become bowl-eligible. To add insult to injury, head coach Jimbo Fisher resigned mid-week to take the head-coaching position at Texas A&M. Speculation had run rampant that Jimbo was interested in the job and recruits wanted assurances the rumors were unfounded. Apparently Jimbo had stopped recruiting, which led to a rash of decommitments. Ultimately FSU was not willing to match A&M’s 10 year, $75 million contract offer. The level of commitment and scrutiny is just a little bit different in the SEC. But so is the fanfare:
Jimbo Fisher’s trumpeted arrival to College Station: https://t.co/GUmttygt2R