This 12 months’s dramatic college football season entered a brand new section this weekend. Alabama gained what was technically an upset victory over Georgia within the SEC Championship, Cincinnati turned the primary Group of 5 workforce to ever declare a Faculty Soccer Playoff spot, Michigan took one other step in its leveling-up underneath Jim Harbaugh, and a bunch of different convention championship video games helped form the postseason to return.



Right here’s a sampling of who got here out of convention title video games and Choice Sunday trying higher than earlier than, and who didn’t.

Faculty Soccer Week 14 Recap

Winner: Alabama (as all the time)

The Crimson Tide had been 6.5-point underdogs within the SEC title recreation in opposition to Georgia, however they went forward and gained 41–24. The Bama protection confused Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett and intercepted him twice within the second half; security Jordan Battle returned the latter choose for a landing (see above). Bennett couldn’t elevate the Dawgs, however the major cause for the loss was that Heisman Trophy frontrunner Bryce Younger broke aside a protection that had been impenetrable all 12 months. Younger and receiver Jameson Williams related seven instances for 184 yards and a pair of scores, and Bama managed an offensive explosion regardless of not showing all that inquisitive about (or profitable at) operating the ball.

Nick Saban, sometimes a curmudgeon about constructive media protection of his workforce (he calls it “rat poison”), thanked the media at his postgame press conference for offering “yummy” rat poison by doubting him. The No. 1 Tide will play within the Playoff for the seventh time within the occasion’s eight-year historical past.

Loser: Georgia followers’ confidence

The Dawgs aren’t completed. That they had an unbeaten season and an air of invincibility shattered, however they’re nonetheless within the Faculty Soccer Playoff and can face Michigan in an Orange Bowl semifinal on New Yr’s Eve. However they’ve now misplaced seven in a row to Saban, they usually’re winless in opposition to him since his first season on the job in 2007. Kirby Good is 0–4 in opposition to his former boss, and it’s in no way clear that Georgia has a quarterback who can hold with Younger and the high-flying Bama offense (ought to they meet once more within the postseason). To do this, Georgia must beat a Wolverines workforce that has been dominant down the stretch. It’s not a misplaced trigger, nevertheless it now seems like an uphill climb.

Winner: Cincinnati

The Bearcats acquired over an unofficial however beforehand unscalable hump to turn out to be the primary workforce outdoors the Energy 5 conferences to make the four-team Faculty Soccer Playoff. That they had an excellent season, which they completed by beating Houston within the AAC Championship to maneuver to a 13–0 document. However Luke Fickell’s bunch nonetheless wanted so many issues to go proper with the intention to declare the fourth and closing Playoff seed. They wanted to have a win in opposition to one other elite workforce, Notre Dame, however the recreation was scheduled years prematurely, when it wasn’t in any respect clear that Notre Dame could be such a aggressive opponent. Along with profitable that recreation and each different, they wanted a whole lot of issues to fall into place round them, together with Oklahoma State (extra on the Cowboys in a second) dropping within the Large 12 Championship. And in all chance, UC wanted to go unbeaten two years in a row—it additionally went undefeated in 2020’s common season—to lift its profile sufficient to get the choice committee’s consideration. It’s nonetheless not a stage taking part in subject, however the Bearcats had been adequate to make themselves inevitable.

Loser: Oklahoma State

The Pokes’ dream season led to a nightmare. Every week after beating rival Oklahoma in Bedlam, Oklahoma State was a Large 12 Championship win away from nearly definitely sneaking into the Faculty Soccer Playoff. That plan went up in smoke when Baylor stoned the OSU offense on four-straight purpose line performs within the closing seconds of Saturday’s recreation. It culminated with OSU’s Dezmon Jackson racing for the left pylon and lacking it by about one foot (see above).

Winner: Pitt

The Panthers capped off an out-of-nowhere rise by destroying Wake Forest within the ACC Championship by a rating of 45–21. The Demon Deacons scored touchdowns on their first three drives and acquired precisely nothing the remainder of the evening, as Pitt intercepted Sam Hartman 4 instances (returning one for a landing) and sacked him 5 instances. That was lots for Kenny Pickett, the fifth-year Pitt quarterback who was having an average-ish profession earlier than he went supernova in 2021—he’s now made himself a contender for each the Heisman and the No. 1 QB draft slot subsequent April.

Pickett had 253 yards and a few landing passes, plus a protracted landing run that featured a physics-bending pretend slide that someway didn’t trigger ligament harm (above). That play shouldn’t be authorized—QB slides are designed to maintain them from taking harmful hits—nevertheless it’s becoming that Pickett’s unimaginable 12 months ended with him getting away with it.

Winner: Michigan

Let’s wrap with the Wolverines, who obliterated Iowa 42–3 to win the Large Ten title. This has been a season of busting narratives for Michigan—that they couldn’t develop an thrilling passing offense (they did), that they couldn’t beat Ohio State (they did), that they couldn’t win the Large Ten East (that was one in the identical, it turned out), and that one thing would preserve Jim Harbaugh’s workforce from reaching its targets. In spite of everything, one thing all the time did in every of his first six years on the job.

But when anybody was anticipating a lapse in opposition to Iowa on Saturday, they had been sorely disenchanted. Michigan’s offensive line pulverized the Hawkeye protection very similar to it did to Ohio State every week earlier. The Michigan protection let Iowa transfer the ball throughout midfield a number of instances however all the time stood as much as stop touchdowns, and Cade McNamara made sufficient performs at quarterback to complement a dominant operating recreation. The Wolverines will now play within the Faculty Soccer Playoff for the primary time ever, they usually have an actual probability to win it.

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