For college football fans, Saturday was the perfect day to put everything on the back burner. Any responsibilities needed could be pushed aside. It was a day when fans could sit down on the couch, and tune in to match ups that had tremendous implications on the College Football Playoff. The results of Saturday’s games will certainly shake up the CFP rankings that were released last Tuesday.
Spartans Lose Heartbreaker in Lincoln
For the seventh-ranked Michigan State Spartans, the dream of reaching the College Football Playoff was crushed after losing on the road to the Nebraska Cornhuskers 39-38.
In 38 seconds the Spartans watched their hopes for a title berth diminish, as Cornhuskers’ quarterback Tommy Armstrong drove Nebraska 91 yards to score the game-winning touchdown with 17 seconds left. Armstrong found Brandon Reilly along the sideline for the score – a play that needed to be reviewed after Reilly went out of bounds before coming back in play to make the catch and eventually score.
The Cornhuskers needed to rally twice to eventually put the dagger into the heart of the Spartans. Armstrong conducted an offense that scored 19 points in the fourth quarter alone.
Michigan State had a chance in the final seconds, but senior quarterback Connor Cook threw out of bounds as time ran out.
The Spartans are still not mathematically eliminated from playoff contention –but their chances are extremely difficult. With an upset in Columbus on Nov. 21 over the Ohio State Buckeyes, the Spartans would win the Big Ten East placing them in Indianapolis to play for the Big Ten title. If the Spartans run the table and knock off the defending national champs, it would be very difficult for the playoff committee to keep MSU out of the top 4 spots.
The Spartans were not the only unbeaten to fall on the wild day – three of the longest winning streaks in the country were snapped. (Michigan State, TCU, Memphis).
Big 12 Down to Two Undefeated Teams
With all eyes on Baylor and TCU in the Big 12, Oklahoma State became a legitimate playoff contender with a major statement defeating the Horned Frogs, 49-29. Nonetheless TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin’s Heisman hopes disappeared as well, throwing a career high four interceptions and only one touchdown. Yet, the dual threat QB did throw for 445 yards, and met with OK State fans that wanted to meet him after the game.
LSU Goes Down
Boykin was not the only Heisman candidate who took a step back today. LSU running back and Heisman front-runner Leonard Fournette was held to 31 yards on 19 carries. His longest run of the day came in the fourth quarter as he scampered for 16 yards. Alabama went on to win the game 30-16 with Derrick Henry leading the charge rushing for 210 yards and three touchdowns – possibly making himself a top pick for the Heisman.
Clemson Stays No. 1
The crazy day started in the ACC as UNC pounded their in-state rival Duke 66-31 seizing control of the Coastal Division. While the number one team in the land took down ACC champ Florida State 23-13.
All of this happened and that doesn’t include the wild ending in Oxford, Mississippi.
As the year closes – the hype, and heartbreak burns fiercely in the stomach of college football fans. It is another maddening race to the finish, but that is why the game is loved dearly throughout the country.