This past Sunday was a wild one. Notre Dame’s renewed energy, Michigan’s belief, the Big 12’s future and more college football takeaways.
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When a quarterback throws for 577 yards and four touchdowns and still loses the conference championship game.
When a historically excellent defense allowed 41 points to be scored on.
When a 58-yard touchdown run resulted from a false slip.
A 75-yard touchdown pass was thrown by a freshman running back.
And to think, the week began with one of the most exciting days in the coaching carousel’s history.
Our correspondents break down the events of the last week in college football and provide insight into the upcoming bowl season.
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Keep in mind the coaches that remained. Some remained because they had other chances, which they turned into new contracts at their previous institutions. Coaches who earn more than $5 million per year are in the minority, but with coaches frequently dismissed after two seasons, who can blame them for trying to acquire as much guaranteed money as possible?
Even yet, it’s encouraging to see players like Dave Clawson continue at Wake Forest. Virginia Tech had him at the top of their list, but the Demon Deacons stepped up to retain him. Clawson has developed a regular winner in Winston-Salem and does it the right way, so it’s a wise decision. Mark Stoops of Kentucky is in the similar boat. He’s developed a winning culture at a “basketball school,” and his team has a chance to win ten games for the second time in four years.
What about Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell? He would have been a top target at a number of schools, including Notre Dame and Oklahoma, if he had been ready to contact with schools prior to the AAC title game. Fickell, on the other hand, was not going to do anything to distract from Cincinnati’s historic season. Fickell wasn’t about to abandon his teammates after the Bearcats became the first Group of 5 team to enter the College Football Playoff.
So, yeah, there is such a thing as college football loyalty. Chris Low (c)
After a pass interference penalty, Oklahoma State receives a fresh set of downs, but the Baylor defense stops the Cowboys on four consecutive plays to win the Big 12 championship.
The Big 12’s new look promises to be an exciting league to watch.
Oklahoma State’s College Football Playoff chances were cut short by a goal-line dive by a two-loss Baylor club, and the Big 12 had a tough weekend.
Things became crazy when Lincoln Riley abruptly left Oklahoma after being the first league coach in the playoff history to make the CFP split for California, of all places. Of course, no one in the Big 12 was very upset about Oklahoma being caught off guard by a split, considering that the Sooners had done the same to the league just a few months earlier.
Commissioner Bob Bowlsby spoke to reporters in the press box before the Big 12 championship game, and had a chance to rag on Baylor and Oklahoma State, two of the “other” teams left behind by the Sooners’ and Longhorns’ anticipated defections, who were competing for the title. He, on the other hand, chose the high road.
On Saturday, Bowlsby remarked, “You don’t replace national brands like the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma.” “We’ll be alright, but men like that are hard to replace.”
The “excellent” section is the bit that interests me the most. The game featured two coaches who were on opposing extremes of the coaching spectrum. Mike Gundy, in his 17th season, played in his first championship game. After ending 2-7 last year and pulling all the proper threads last summer and into the season, Dave Aranda won the league in his second year. Both performed well this season with squads that improved substantially.
Looking forward, the league features both institutions who have made significant investments in sports and culture, as well as fresh blood in huge schools like Cincinnati, which is a legitimate playoff team, and BYU, UCF, and Houston, which competed for the American crown. Texas Tech is pleased about its new coaching staff, and Sonny Dykes, who has previously shown he can recruit in Dallas-Fort Worth and create a program, is a terrific match for TCU.
When asked whether he’d been paying attention to clubs like Cincinnati and Houston, Bowlsby smiled and said, “What do you think?”
While Bowlsby is correct about the loss of two prominent businesses, the Big 12’s future looks exciting. For the time being, ignore the money and posturing for TV agreements and concentrate on the quality of what seems to be an enjoyable product.
The Big 12, which had been on life support just a few months ago, has enjoyed a nice little comeback to close out the year. Dave Wilson is an author.
Utah will play in the Rose Bowl after winning the Pac-12 championship with a strong 38-10 victory against Oregon.
The bright future of the Pac-12
During the waning minutes of the Pac-12 championship game, I approached commissioner George Kliavkoff on the sideline and told him that the mood reminded me of previous Big Ten championship games I had covered.
Kliavkoff was beaming, and rightfully so.
The Pac-12, despite missing the College Football Playoff for the sixth consecutive season, had a very strong week last week.
USC finally behaved like a blue-blood program, investing heavily in the hiring of Lincoln Riley, an A-list coach. The Pac-12 then staged its inaugural championship game in Las Vegas at Allegiant Stadium, which is a fantastic venue for spectators. Utah supporters were out in force, outnumbering the 56,511 in attendance. Even though the game had no drama or national consequences, there were seats available, and the building had a lot of enthusiasm.
Looking ahead, similar atmospheres are expected when USC, Washington, Arizona State, and other teams visit Vegas. Around the league, Kliavkoff’s leadership and approach have gotten off to a good start. Another season without a playoff berth is disappointing, but the Pac-12’s long-term prospects are improving. Adam Rittenberg’s remark
In the SEC championship game, Jameson Williams rushed for 184 yards and two scores. Icon Sportswire/Rich von Biberstein
The argument for Jameson Williams to be the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft
In a long-awaited SEC championship game battle, Alabama’s offense defeated Georgia’s historically outstanding defense, which had been allowing 6.9 points per game. Alabama’s quarterback Bryce Young and wide receiver Jameson Williams proved to be too much for the Crimson Tide, who scored 41 points.
Williams, who was previously stuck in the middle of Ohio State’s wide receiver depth chart, has established himself as Bama’s go-to option time and time again, and might potentially be the first wide receiver off the board in the 2022 NFL draft. On seven receptions, he had 184 yards and two scores, including a 67-yard touchdown reception that was the longest in SEC championship game history.
Williams has a good argument to be the most spectacular player at the position in college football in 2021, with 68 receptions for 1,445 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns in his first season at Alabama. At the top of April’s draft, he’ll be up against former Buckeyes teammates Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave.
Williams is a three-level threat who puts vertical pressure on opponents. He’s the only player in program history with four or more 75-yard touchdown receptions, and his speed adds a new dimension to the mix.
With the College Football Playoff matchups set, Williams will get another chance to show off his game-breaking ability against an experienced Cincinnati secondary that includes another likely first-round pick in cornerback Ahmad Gardner, who has yet to give up a touchdown reception as the Bearcats’ nearest defender in coverage during his three-year career. Scouts will have a front-row seat to the back-and-forth clash between two projected top-25 draft choices on December 31. Jordan Reid, author
In his Louisiana career, Levi Lewis set a school record with 73 throwing touchdowns. Andrew Wevers is a sports reporter for USA TODAY.
Levi is a champion when he leaves Louisiana.
Billy Napier deserves a lot of credit for transforming Louisiana into a Sun Belt powerhouse. He came in with a well-thought-out strategy and executed it well, finishing 40-12 in four seasons and earning the chance to become Florida’s next head coach.
However, when I watched the Ragin’ Cajuns defeat Appalachian State to win the league title on Saturday, I was reminded of another guy who deserves credit for the program’s revival.
In remembrance of Napier’s last game, fans screamed “Billy! Billy!”
They should’ve also taken a time to yell, “Levi! Levi!”
Levi Lewis was outstanding in his last game at Cajun Field on Saturday, avoiding pressure and making huge plays time after time. With the way he flicked his left wrist and threw a 27-yard touchdown throw in the first quarter, he looked like a poor man’s Michael Vick. He rushed 56 yards for another score two possessions later, the longest run of his career, which seemed appropriate.
After that, Napier was almost in tears as he spoke about what Lewis meant to him.
He added, “That youngster is one in a million.”
Never mind Lewis’ 73 throwing touchdowns or the fact that he had only thrown four interceptions entire season. Napier was moved by Lewis the person, noting how hardworking he was and how he’d developed into a leader who had a great impact on his colleagues.
Napier and Lewis got close during the course of their four years together. They had faith in one another. It came to the point where Lewis even spoke like Napier and walked around the field like a coach.
“They listen when he talks,” Napier remarked of Lewis.
Lewis helped Napier become a better coach, and Lewis helped Napier become a better quarterback. Theirs was a mutually beneficial arrangement that benefited both them and their institution. Alex Scarborough’s remark
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The “Michigan football news” is a recap of the Wolverines’ season and some takeaways from other games. Notre Dame’s renewed energy, Michigan’s belief, the Big 12’s future and more college football takeaways. Reference: michigan football news.
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