Thursday, December 10, 2009

NCAA Football: Conference Championship Weekend Craziness

Well, it is a bittersweet time of year. When the NCAA football season has pretty much ended, it is the first sign of what I believe is the most depressing time of year: the off season. We must now savor the sights of Bowl Season before hanging up the shoulder pads until spring practice. But even though the end of the season is upon us, the last week or so proved to be one of the most exciting in all of 2009, filled with record-breaking performances, tearful losses, and some darn good football.
In a 39-34 loss to Georgia Tech, CJ Spiller logged over 300 all-purpose yards and setting an ACC Championship record of 234 yards rushing, with 4 TDs. With how important Spiller is to his Clemson team, and how good he is, there is definitely an argument to be made that he should have been a finalist for the Heisman. Overall it was an exciting game, lading GT a spot in the Orange Bowl.

While Clemson will be playing in the Music City Bowl on Dec. 27, Florida State seemed to have had a visit from the Bowl-Fairy, receiving an invitation to the Gator Bowl on Jan. 1. This is (obviously) due to Bobby Bowden’s request that his final game be played in the State of Florida, against the team he started his major college football career with back in 1965 as an assistant, and took over the Head Coaching position in 1970. Wise decision, seeing as the Gator Bowl sold out within 2 hours of the announcement on Sunday night.

A heart breaker if you’re a ‘Husker, a miracle if you’re a ‘Horn. Nebraska almost did what many thought would be impossible, but almost only counts in horseshoes. Colt McCoy played the cool-cowboy this weekend, as he got his team in place for a game-winning field goal with only 1 second remaining, and without a sense of urgency. Nebraska thought they had the game, the conference, and a BCS bid in hand, but McCoy casually shot that down with a floater-pass out of bounds, stopping the clock with just enough time for Hunter Lawrence to get the job done. And even though McCoy had a terrible performance throwing for only 184 yards and 3 INTs, he is one of the 5 players invited to NY for the Heisman presentation, and will be playing in the BCS Championship game. One-man wrecking-crew Ndamukong Suh logged 12 tackles and 4 sacks for Nebraska in the loss, but will join Colt McCoy in NY as a Heisman finalist.

LaMichael James ran for 166yds and three scores in a 37-33 Oregon victory over Oregon State for the PAC-10 title. LaGarrette Blount made his return to the field after sitting out for the now-infamous sucker-punching of Boise State LB Byron Hout in the season opener. But that’s not even the big news from the PAC-10 this weekend.

In one shocker, Washington destroyed No. 19 Cal 42-10. QB Jake Locker accounted for 5 TDs for the Huskies, as the Cal continued to miss stud-RB Jahvid Best. Washington had nothing to play for but pride, seeing as they will not be bowling this year. Cal will be playing Utah in the Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 23.

Possibly the biggest news is Arizona’s upset of USC 21-17, as the Wildcats ended 2009 second in the conference, received their second consecutive bowl invitation, and recorded their best regular-season record in a decade. On the other end of the spectrum, USC had their worst season since Pete Carroll took the helm, and their first non-BCS bowl in 7 years.

Nothing big happened in the SEC this weekend. Other than No. 2 Alabama beating No. 1 Florida for the SEC Championship and a berth in the BCS Championship against Texas. Tim Tebow (literally) cried as Mark Ingram made his final argument for why he should win the Heisman, rushing for 113yds and 3TDs. Greg McElroy showed that he had a little Tim Tebow inside of him, as he went 12 of 18 for 239yds and a TD against the No. 1 defense in the nation. But along with his offensive productivity, McElroy showed that he had the leadership (and blocking skills) and other intangibles for him to ensure a trip to the National Championship, and was later rewarded with the SEC Championship MVP. But most impressive, was the Alabama rushing crew ended with a total of 251 rushing yards against the UF defense, most rushing yards allowed since Urban Meyer showed up in Gainesville.

As a consolation, UF will play in the Sugar Bowl against a (likely) coach-less Cincinnatti, seeing as Brian Kelly (who has enough of an Irish-sounding name to be head coach in South Bend) met with Notre Dame officials this past Tuesday. And after being named a finalist for the Heisman for the third time, Tim Tebow will be up against Mark Ingram one more time, but this time for a spot in the record books.

2 Minute Drill
Here are a few blurbs about how this week was crazy in other ways…..

-Regular season officially ends this weekend with Army v. Navy.

-No. 21 Houston defeated by Eastern Carolina for the Conference USA Title. Case Keenum went 56 of 75 for 527yds and 5TDs (43 total in ’09), but also threw 3INTs (9 total in 2009).

-Tennessee allegedly sending hot girls to high school football games to recruit players. Seems like an effective strategy, albeit against the NCAA rules.

-Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate, two of the best in the nation at their respective positions will enter NFL Draft.

-Congress closing in on NCAA Playoff: House of Representatives subcommittee within the Energy and Commerce Committee approved legislation that would make it illegal to promote any NCAA football game as the ‘National Championship’ unless it is following a single-elimination tournament.

[Editor's Note: Rob Burckhard will discuss this topic in further detail at 5pm today.]

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Anonymous said...

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