2018 College Football Week 14 Scores: The Championship Weekend Closing Argument
We have the 2018 College Football Week 14 scores, a week also known as Championship Weekend across college football. In a matter of hours, we will know the composition of the College Football Playoff.
In reality, however, we know it now, or can figure it very strongly. Today, we will MAKE closing arguments for the teams we think won their way into the College Football Playoff this weekend. If you disagree, start a website, launch a segment similar to this one, and object. You better hurry as the selection show is at 12pm Eastern on Sunday.
2018 College Football Week 14 Scores: Power 5 Championships
SEC: Alabama 35, Georgia 28. The game of the weekend took place in Atlanta, as Alabama — again — came from behind on Georgia to snatch a championship from their conference rivals. This time, it was Jalen Hurts, in for an injured Tua Tagovailoa, who led two touchdown drives to take the Tide from a deficit to a lead. You could not script a wilder SEC title game story than the backup quarterback, left on the bench for someone “better,” to have to save the day.
Alabama’s spot as the number one team in the playoff is secure. Georgia will be a major topic of discussion between now and 12pm Eastern time on Sunday, December 2. Do you let in a two-loss team that did not win their conference? The Bulldogs’ losses are to ranked teams, one of them being the number one team. Yes, they played a great game and made some horrible mistakes at the end, but they lost. Further, the LSU game was embarrassing. It comes down to rewarding Georgia for losing while dismissing Oklahoma for winning.
Big 12: Oklahoma 39, Texas 27. Oklahoma won the Big 12 title for a fourth-straight season by avenging their only loss in 2018 to the Texas Longhorns. Early on, the contest looked good for the Horns, though the defense had a few lapses with penalties. It was not until the second quarter that the Sooners got their legs under them, and though it was a tie game in the fourth quarter, the last thing you would expect happened: Oklahoma’s defense made the plays to win the game. The game-winning score for OU was a field goal, followed by a safety on a sack of Sam Ehlinger in the end zone. The ensuing drive for the Sooners was a touchdown and that was all she wrote.
As a one-loss Power 5 conference champion, Oklahoma has a legitimate case. If they should get left out for a second SEC team, not to mention a one-loss Big Ten champ Ohio State staying out, expect those two conferences to complain for an eight-team playoff.
ACC: Clemson 42, Pittsburgh 10. Clemson are yet again the ACC champions, as foretold early in the season by almost everybody with the collapse of Florida State and most of the Coastal Division. A 42-10 ass-kicking speaks for itself.
Clemson will be in the College Football Playoff with no trouble.
Big Ten: Ohio State 45, Northwestern 24. Ohio State pulled away late to make this look a lot more lopsided than it was in the third quarter, but the Buckeyes were the better team. Dwayne Haskins made more of a Heisman case for himself with 499 passing yards and five touchdowns. Northwestern, er, was not as successful.
Ohio State’s destination is most likely the Rose Bowl. They needed Oklahoma to lose, and they needed the Georgia defeat to be more substantial. They will not leap Oklahoma with the Purdue loss anchored to them, and they may not even leap Georgia.
Pac-12: Washington 10, Utah 3. Fans of defense were not disappointed by the Pac-12 title game. Everyone else, meh. There were no offensive touchdowns in the contest; the only one was on defense thanks to a Bryon Murphy pick-six for the Huskies. Offensive statistics were ugly, with Utah and Washington combining for four turnovers and under 500 yards of offense. Neither quarterback was good, but Jason Shelley for Utah was terrible, tossing three picks, one of them deciding the game.
Neither one of these teams had a prayer at the College Football Playoff, and even if they did, this game would have ended those aspirations. Washington was the better team, however, and their reward will be the Rose Bowl.
2018 College Football Week 14 Scores: Group of 5 Championships
MAC: Northern Illinois 30, Buffalo 29. MACtion delivered on Friday night in the first conference championship of the year. Buffalo led the conference all year, managing ten wins and figuring to be the champions of the MAC. When the fourth quarter began, Buffalo had a 12-point lead over Northern Illinois. In fact, the lead was 19 late in the third. This was when the Huskies stormed back, closing the third quarter with a touchdown to make it 29-17.
Just a few minutes later, they scored another touchdown to make it 29-24, and with just over a minute left, NIU took a 30-29 lead over Buffalo. Sutton Smith and the Huskies forced a turnover on downs to stop Buffalo from coming back. The Huskies have won four MAC titles this decade, and their program is a year-in, year-out contender in this conference.
Sun Belt: Appalachian State 30, Louisiana-Lafayette 19. You could say App State is doing just fine at the FBS level. Since jumping in 2014, they are 51-24 overall and 38-10 in the Sun Belt, including winning three conference titles in a row. This was the first Sun Belt title game, with their previous championships coming via the regular season standings.
The folks from Boone, North Carolina had to fight their way for this win, even though they only trailed at one early juncture. ULL gave them a ride, and it was not until the fourth quarter that App State put them away for good.
C-USA: UAB 27, Middle Tennessee 25. This is a great story: A few years ago, the trustees shuttered the football program and caused grief for the players and fans. After voluntarily shutting down the program, they bring it back to life in 2017. Then, in their second season as a constituted football program, they win Conference USA.
The Blazers did not coast to a win, either. Middle Tennessee jumped out to a 13-3 lead, which they blew: UAB rocketed out to a 24-13 advantage. They blew that, too: MTSU came back to take a 25-24 lead. A chip-shot field goal by Nick Vogel of UAB with three minutes to go won it for the Blazers, who are a 10-win team.
American: UCF 56, Memphis 41. This got very ugly for the Knights, trying to polish off another undefeated run through the American. Memphis had several big leads, including 38-21 at the half. UCF came back to outscore the Tigers 35-3 in the second half and win by 15. If that doesn’t say “guts” to you, by a team on their backup quarterback, then nothing will. There was plenty of offense to be seen, and for that backup, Darriel Mack, two touchdown passes was good enough. Each team had 200-yard rushers: Darrell Henderson (Memphis, 210) and Greg McCrae (UCF, 206).
Now the dirty business: UCF is not making the playoff. The Group of Five is seen differently, and the schedule was not as tough. No, AAC, it is not the “Power Six.” They are probably headed for the Fiesta Bowl as a reward for a great season, but it will not end in the College Football Playoff.
MWC: Fresno State 19, Boise State 16 (OT). It was an overtime treat in snowy Idaho, but for the first time in 11 tries, Fresno State won on the Smurf Turf. The Fightin’ Jeff Tedfords went to Boise and defeated the Broncos, 19-16. One could hardly tell the turf is blue, but that just makes the game more interesting. And yes, some people did see this one coming. (Link: 247 Sports/Barkboard)
The offensive star of the game was Alexander Mattison, who carried the ball 40 times for 200 yards and a touchdown. Ronnie Rivers of Fresno, however, scored the winner in the second half of overtime. We got to overtime because Boise State, down 13-7 in the fourth quarter, scored a touchdown — and, of course, the extra point was blocked. Might want to have someone guarding the edge there, Boise.
Fresno State is an 11-win team, will make the final CFP rankings for this year, and is heading to the Las Vegas Bowl.
2018 College Football Week 14 Scores: Our Four Playoff Teams
(3) Notre Dame
2018 College Football Week 14 Scores: Sorry, Guys
(5) Ohio State
Check in on Sunday to see if the committee agrees with us or, in a willful act of defiance, they have inserted other teams.