Well, Rivalry Week is finally behind us. It was a long holiday weekend of college football that began on Wednesday night and didn’t end until late Saturday night when Washington put the final nail in the Washington State coffin to win their 69th Apple Cup. Here are some Winners and Losers from last week!
1. Atlantic Coast Conference – In case you’ve been living under a rock, the ACC went 4-0 against the mighty SEC on Saturday. Georgia Tech defeated Georgia 30-24 in overtime, Louisville outlasted Kentucky 44-40, Clemson defeated South Carolina 35-17 and Florida State held on to beat Florida 24-19. The Cardinals of Louisville are the new to the conference but aren’t new to the Commonwealth Cup against Kentucky. Georgia Tech snapped a five game losing streak against the Bulldogs, Clemson snapped at five game losing streak against their in-state counterparts, Louisville won their fourth game in a row against Kentucky and Florida State won their second game in a row against the Gators.
2. TCU Horned Frogs – Usually this article is written on Monday but since it is being written on Wednesday, it’s even easier to say that the Horned Frogs are winners this week based on their win last Thursday and their jump in the polls on Tuesday. While everyone was sleeping off their Thanksgiving comas Thursday night the Frogs were beating the Longhorns into a pulp in front of all of the Longhorn faithful to the tune of 48-10. The Frogs forced 6 turnovers and scored 28 points in the fourth quarter. The other way that TCU are winners this week is for how that 48-10 win over 6-5 Texas propelled the Frogs into the 3rd spot in the College Football Playoff Poll.
3. Arizona Wildcats – For the first time in Arizona history, the Wildcats won the Pac-12 South after their 42-35 win over arch rival Arizona State in the Territorial Cup on Friday afternoon. The Wildcats needed help from the Stanford Cardinal as Arizona needed a UCLA loss to clinch the division title and a chance at a rematch with the second ranked Oregon Ducks. Head Coach Rich Rodriguez has turned a program that was, for most part, in the dumps and turned it into a consistent Pac-12 contender. Arizona defeated Oregon 31-24 in Eugene on the first Thursday night in October and now gets a chance to go 2-0 against the second ranked team in the country.
1. Mississippi State Bulldogs – Just three weeks ago, Mississippi State was ranked number one in the country in the College Football Playoff Poll. Then they lost on the road to Alabama, rolled all over Vanderbilt and then turned around and lost to in-state rival Ole Miss 31-17 in the Egg Bowl. All Mississippi State had to do to remain in the College Football Playoff was beat a team that they had beaten four of the last five meetings and they couldn’t do it. Let’s not take away from what all Mississippi State has accomplished this season as they had never won ten games in a regular season in school history and had only had double digit wins twice in program history. Unfortunately, they won’t represent the SEC West in Atlanta but will get as good of a bowl game as they have ever had.
2. Georgia Southern Eagles – Like I said before, usually this article is written on a Monday but this week it is being written on a Wednesday which puts Georgia Southern in the Losers column not because of anything they’ve done because they’ve only lost three times this season and none of those losses came to the hands of any team in their new conference, the Sun Belt. The NCAA rules do not allow first year FBS programs to play in bowl games for some ridiculous reason. Georgia Southern has won their conference in their first season in the FBS and went undefeated in conference play yet the NCAA denied the Eagles’ appeal to represent their conference in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl as Sun Belt Champions.
3. UAB Blazers – This is just sad. First year Blazers head coach Bill Clark got UAB bowl eligible for the first time since 2003 and in most scenarios, Clark and the Blazers would have been praised by their fans, administration and other fans around college football. Well, not this time. The brass at the University of Alabama at Birmingham decided that it was time to put an end to the football program citing ‘fiscal realities’. In a Tuesday afternoon press conference, representatives of UAB said that they would need upwards of $49 million to continue football operations. The actual University of Alabama has payed smaller schools upwards of $1.5 million combined to play ‘cash’ games over the last three years but historically have never played the smaller schools in their own state. Besides, they needed a threat from the state legislature to play rival Auburn.
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