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Week 15 Recap

by Big Al

Things turned out pretty much as expected, with only one real upset in championship week. And, for once, we have 4 clear teams that deserve playoff berths, with pretty much no question about who belongs there.

Oregon 37 - Utah 15

I can only imagine that the playoff committee was enormously relieved by this result. It cleared up the choice that would need to be made between Utah and the Baylor-Oklahoma winner. Of course, that guaranteed none of the other games to be played, but it at least eliminated one source of possible friction.

Utah made some great strides this year, though, and they have been pretty consistent performers in the Pac-12. They can't close the deal yet, but they are proving to be consistently good in their new home.

Clemson 62 - Virginia 17

Well that turned out exactly as expected. And with Clemson choke-slamming Virginia for the ACC title, they punched their ticket to the playoffs. I'll have more to say about that in a later article, but I'm already late enough with this one to run into digression.

LSU 37 - Georgia 10

With LSU's demolition of Georgia, they are now the #1 seed in the playoffs. They are certainly deserving: they played a good schedule and took down their opponents ably. And with Joe Burrow winning the Heisman (like I said, this is late), they are riding high. And their defense stood tall in the last couple of games, which was the one question mark I had about them. Maybe all those issues are not sorted out, but they seem to have figured out some things lately. And now it's on to Atlanta!

Ohio State 34 - Wisconsin 21

Ohio State played like hot garbage for one half, then played like flame-spitting demons in the second. I think the Buckeyes were rather complacent when they lined up against Wisconsin: after all, they'd handled them pretty roughly the first time they played. But Wisconsin came out swinging and knocked Ohio State around pretty well. But Ohio State proved too much in the end. The first half seems to have cost Ohio State the #1 seed, but they are a deserving team all the same. More on that later.

Oklahoma 30 - Baylor 23

Baylor got so close once again. But Oklahoma pulled it out in overtime to advance to the playoffs. I feel bad for Baylor: they only lost to one team all year, but did it twice in very close games both times. And this time they did it with their, what? Third-string quarterback? The Bears just could not get a break. Darn shame for them, but Oklahoma has shown some serious grit this year in their two wins over Baylor. Great job Sooners!

Memphis 29 - Cincinnati 24

I'm an Ohio guy, so I root for the Ohio teams. And I was hoping Cincinnati might be able to pull out a win in their second try again Memphis. But Memphis is a pretty darn good football team. Cincinnati is too, but Memphis really takes it to another level. Great job Tigers, and we're looking forward to seeing you in Arlington!

Boise State 31 - Hawai'i 10

I'm guessing Boise State won this game as soon as Hawai'i walked off the plane. It's cold in Boise in December. Then when you're freezing your pineapples off before the game and the opposing team comes out in short sleeves, well, there's some psychological advantages that you just can't overcome. All the same, great job by Hawai'i to get to the game in the first place! And great job Boise State for winning it!

Appalachian State 45 - Louisiana 38

Louisiana made a game of it, but App State was just too much. I don't know that the Mountaineers are going to turn into Boise State east, but they have been consistently good. Their move up to FBS has been rather successful. Not too many teams can say that. I can think of a few examples, but I'll spare them having having their names called out in a rinky-dink website.

Miami(OH) 26 - Central Michigan 21

As expected, the MAC turned out an 8-5 conference champion. I'm not going to pretend that's impressive. The MAC has its days in the sun, but it also has a tendency to be, um, less than stellar. But these guys play hard, and they earn their scholarships when they go to places like Alabama and Ohio State for paychecks that keep the rest of the athletic department afloat. They earned a place in the sun for 3.5 hours on Saturday, December 7. The records may not be stellar, but I doubt Miami is disappointed to be raising a conference championship trophy.

Florida Atlantic 49 - UAB 6

I had expected UAB to put up more of a fight in this game. But it got out of hand in the second quarter and it doesn't seem like UAB could do much about it. And with that, Florida Atlantic has had a championship season! And Lane Kiffin is, once again, off for new adventures elsewhere. Where is it this time? Ole Miss? Anyway, he did a great job with the Owls and deserves some recognition for that. I may be speaking ill of him down the road, but he showed he is a good coach by taking FAU to a conference championship.

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