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1. Ohio State clinches Big 10 Title Game with over Penn State. Ohio State faced their biggest test of the year this week against Penn State and clinched their spot in the Big 10 title with a 28-17 win. The Buckeyes dominated in the beginning, although the score could’ve been higher if not for a rare Justin Fields turnover in the red zone early on. Penn State had some fight in them though, making it a game after two quick scores to put them in position for the upset. But Buckeyes DE Chase Young once again proved why he deserves to be in the Heisman race. His 3 sacks on the day — his first game back from suspension — gives him 16.5 sacks for the year, most all time in Ohio State history for a season. And that’s with a two game suspension. They may not have done enough to prove the should jump LSU, but they have set themselves up as a virtual lock for the playoffs.
2. Oregon goes down in the desert, Utah moves closer to playoffs. Oregon got upset by Arizona State and it was one of the worst performances they’ve put up all year, especially QB Justin Herbert. The senior signal caller looked inconsistent at times and although they made a comeback towards the end, his two fourth quarter interceptions sealed their fate. They’ll still have a chance to win the PAC-12, but that loss is for sure going to knock them out of the playoff race.
Meanwhile, Utah etched another impressive blowout win and will likely move up a spot. RB Zack Moss had another stellar outing putting up 203 yards and a touchdown, while the defense shut down Arizona’s offense only allowing 7 points on 196 yards. It hurts that Utah will likely face a 2 loss Oregon squad in the championship game, as it’d be more impressive if they beat a one loss Ducks squad. But the Utes have a consistently balanced attack and their one loss to USC looks better each week, as long as the Trojans keep winning and moving up in the ranks. Don’t look now, but if Utah wins out and does it convincingly, they could sneak in as that fourth seed.
3. Badgers, Gophers ready to square off for Big 10 West crown. Wisconsin and Minnesota both had big, crucial wins this Saturday and they are set to face off next week for the chance to play Ohio State in the Big 10 championship. For Minnesota, it would be the first time playing in the title game but it’s not the only first time thing they accomplished: for the first time in over 100 years, the Gophers have won at least 10 games in a season. QB Tanner Morgan also set school record for touchdowns in a season with his four scores on the day to beat up on lowly Northwestern 38-22.
For Wisconsin, it was the same old song and dance as RB Jonathon Taylor had his third straight 200 yard game, the 12th time in his career. Since being shut down at Ohio State, Taylor has been virtually unstoppable and is averaging 8 yards per carry over this stretch. Wisconsin’s playoff hopes might be gone, but they still have a chance to finish out the season on a high note and with their best asset playing at peak form, they might have a chance to redeem themselves against Ohio State in the Championship. It’s going to be a fun time in Minneapolis next Saturday.
4. Sooners, Bears ready for the rematch in the Big 12 Championship. Oklahoma, Baylor are set for the Big 12 Championship after the Bears took care of business against Texas and in impressive fashion, as well. I haven’t been that high on Baylor all season and they followed up a really bad loss with as pretty dominant performance, holding Texas to 10 points on the day and stopping the Longhorns 5 out of 14 times on third down. It’s the first Big 12 title game for Baylor, who will look to avenge their 25 point second half meltdown against the Sooners.
For the record, Oklahoma has won the past four Big 12 titles and while they didn’t look that great in their 28-24 win over TCU on Saturday, it was enough to clinch their spot and defend their throne atop the conference. QB Jalen Hurts continues to solidify his Heisman stance, as his 173 yards put him 2nd all time on the single season rushing list for a quarterback. However, he turned the ball over twice — once for a pick six and a fumble in the redzone — and it’s his second straight game with two turnovers and his third fumble in as many weeks. Both teams should finish strong to set up what should be a really fun rematch of last week’s game.
5. Georgia survives Texas A&M despite sloppy offensive performance. Georgia squeaked out a win against Texas A&M, but I think they should drop a spot. I think the only reason why they’re at #4 is because they have a ticket to the SEC championship but after watching them struggle to get their offense moving against the Aggies, I don’t think they can keep up with LSU. They have the defense, granted, but it wasn’t an impressive outing for the Bulldogs. Some people have Jake Fromm pegged as a first round pick and I just don’t see it. It doesn’t help that he doesn’t have the weapons on the outside, but he hasn’t been accurate enough and has been bailed out by his defense every game. When it’s all said and done, I don’t think the Dawgs will be in the discussion.
6. Memphis, Cincinnati game should be pretty fun. There are a ton of great games on next week. Ohio State vs Michigan, Minnesota vs Wisconsin... but one under the radar game is Memphis vs Cincinnati. The top two teams in the AAC square off for the regular season crown — and a potential New Years Day game. Both teams are coming in with one loss but the Tigers have been dominant on offense all year and look like the better team right now. Something tells me this game is going to be in the high 80s, and by that I mean total score. I can easily see this being a high scoring game between two teams who have had their ups and downs on defense.
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Dec 8, 2019; Grapevine, TX, USA; College football playoff selection committee chairman Rob Mullens speaks to the media during selection Sunday at the Gaylord Texan hotel. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports