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Week 14 Recap

by Big Al

The season is complete. The conference champions are crowned. It was a memorable capstone to an amazing year.

Baylor 21 - Oklahoma State 16

9 days after Thanksgiving, I was thankful that I did not have a rooting interest between either of these teams. Seriously, I actually thanked God for that. My heart could not have taken this game.

Baylor roared to an early lead, but Oklahoma State was up to the challenge. In wwhat became a battle of defenses (in the Big XII, no less), the entire game came down to a goalline stand with 30 seconds left. That race to the pylon between Dezmon Jackson and Jairon McVea is going to be marked in my brain for decades. It was a very good play call, the execution was solid, and it was only one safety who played his assignment properly and stood in the way of an Oklahoma State victory.

59 minutes and 30 seconds of football came down to one play (and one quarterback sneak to avoid a safety). That's what's wonderful and terrible about this game. One play to find out if you are jumping out of your shoes or getting your guts kicked out. Baylor won that play, the game, and the Big XII championship. That's one heck of a way to spend 7 seconds on a Saturday.

Cincinnati 35 - Houston 20

The big winner of the Big XII championship was really Cincinnati. The committee would have moved Oklahoma State over them if the Cowboys had won. And with Oregon's loss to Utah, the committee was stuck with having to include the only team that honestly and truly deserves a spot in the playoffs. They deserved it last year, too, but the jackasses on the committee found a way to screw them over. Anyway, where was I?

Right, Cincinnati! They got the conference championship, the spot in the playoffs, and an undefeated season. And with all the major college football powers trying to fill head coaching spots with warm bodies before the early signing period, Cincinnati might even get to keep their coach for another year.

Utah 38 - Oregon 10

I really thought Oregon would have more for this game. But Utah is clearly the better team here. They will make for an interesting Rose Bowl.

Pittsburgh 45 - Wake Forest 21

Okay, first, Pittsburgh won the game, and congratulations to them on a job well done! It's been a while since Pitt had a big win like that, so I'm happy to see them making some noise.

And now onto the fake slide. It was inevitable. The rules to protect players are so inflexible that players (especially quarterbacks) can use them to their advantage. In fact, it's in the interest of players to fake slides sometimes and actually slide others. Eventually, the player will get a targeting call on the other team. And if the opposing player slows up, then it's free yards. Even if a defender starts a tackle before the opposing player attempts to slide, that defender will be called for targeting. So you fake slides, send receivers on kamikaze missions over the middle, and duck your head when you're getting tackled to try to get helmet-to-helmet contact.

The rules are so protective of offensive players that it's in the interest of teams to send offensive players into dangerous situations. And defenders are not allowed to make them regret those decisions, so the offense can put players into even more dangerous situations to attempt to get more 15-yard penalties with ejections... often of one of the other team's best players. I'm not sure where this is going, but it's going to end badly one way or another.

Alabama 41 - Georgia 24

As much as I dismissed Georgia's chances in this game, some part of me thought that Georgia would at least put up a fight here and maybe challenge the Tide's supremacy. Nope. This one went exactly as it always does.

Michigan 42 - Iowa 3

I thought maybe Iowa had some destiny on their side. Nope. This one went exactly as expected.

Utah State 46 - San Diego State 13

Nice to know there's one unexpected result this weekend.

Louisiana 24 - Appalachian State 16

I really did think App State would pull off the win. They have a tendency to do that sort of thing. Instead, it was Louisiana who... got their coach hired away by Florida. Anyway, great win for the Cajuns!

UTSA 49 - Western Kentucky 41

UTSA didn't get the undefeated season, but they got their conference championship! Honestly, if they were going to drop a game, better last week than this week. They were not going to a major bowl, so I'm glad to see they got a trophy!

Northern Illinois 41 - Kent State 23

I did actually see this game. Or the first part of it when there was some a shred of doubt about the outcome. Kent State had a great year, but came up short. Congratulations, Northern Illinois!

California 24 - USC 14

This certainly puts the cherry on top of a USC season that was poorly thought-out from the get go. Let's hope for the sake of Southern Cal that they come up with some decision-making processes in the offseason. I know Lincoln Riley hopes they do.

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