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Week 14 Playoff and Heisman Watch

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1. Alabama Crimson Tide (12-0)

Last Week: W – Auburn – 30-12

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Alabama turned it on in the second half of the Iron Bowl and put it on the Tigers. That is a rivalry game that no matter what the team’s records are has been a crazy one. Anything could have happened by the Crimson Tide once again proved that they are just on another level than the rest of the country by making sure only one thing happened, and that was they won the game, as they have done all season long.

2. Clemson Tigers (11-1)

Last Week: W – South Carolina – 56-7

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All Clemson has to do is beat Virginia tech in the ACC Championship game and they are easily in the College Football Playoffs. Clemson has taken over the ACC these past two seasons with Deshaun Watson, who will also get an opportunity to make a strong case to beat out Louisville’s Lamar Jackson for the Heisman Trophy on the final week.

3. Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1)

Last Week: W – Michigan – 30-27 (2 OT)

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If the selection committee does their job then Ohio State will be in the college football playoffs even without a conference or division championship. They have the rest of the resume and purely on the eye test it is clear the Buckeyes are one of the four-best teams in the country. There are things working against the Buckeyes more than just not winning their division in the Big Ten, however. If Wisconsin wins the Big Ten Championship, as right now they are projected to do, even if it’s barely by a thread against a red-hot Penn State team, the Buckeyes can easily say they beat the Big Ten Champs in Madison, but things change a bit if Penn State wins. Another thing working against the Buckeyes is they won’t be able to build on their resume next week while the selection committee is sitting together and watching games together next week. But that shouldn’t matter, Ohio State should be in.

4. Washington Huskies (11-1)

Last Week: W – @ Washington State – 45-17

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Let me say this first, if Wisconsin beats Penn State then it is easy to leave them out of the playoffs since their losses to Michigan and Ohio State show they are clearly a step behind the other teams in the conference. The Badgers missed a shot to have a completely dominant performance against Minnesota and the Huskies had one of those against the Cougars, a ranked opponent that was at the top of their conference. Simply, the easy way out of this entire conundrum (if Wisconsin and Washington both win) is ignoring Washington’s weak strength of schedule and putting them in.

Rose Bowl:Wisconsin Badgers (10-2) vs. USC Trojans (9-3)

If Wisconsin wins the Big Ten they may not make the playoffs, but they would clinch a spot in the Rose Bowl. That’s a nice spot for them. It’s just hard to argue that they are one of the four best teams in the country when really they are the third best team in their own conference, behind Ohio State and Michigan.

But while the Badgers might be disappointed to be out of the playoffs if they win the Big Ten, the USC Trojans came back and beat the odds to get in the Rose Bowl. If Washington wins they’ll have a win over both the Pac 12 champion and the South Division champion. It would be difficult to say they shouldn’t be in the Rose Bowl if the Huskies are in the playoffs.

Sugar Bowl: Auburn Tigers (8-4) vs. Oklahoma Sooners (9-2)

With Alabama safely in the playoffs there has to be some SEC team in the Sugar Bowl. Once again, this has been a conference that has beat up on itself so much, but unless Florida shocks Alabama to win the SEC (which still wouldn’t be enough to get them in the playoffs), the Auburn Tigers look like they the next best team in the conference and should get the spot in the Sugar Bowl.

Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will be meeting in Norman in a defacto Big 12 Championship game. The winner will get into the Sugar Bowl. Belief it or not, both teams do have a shot at the playoffs if complete chaos ensues, but that would require complete and absolute chaos. With the home field advantage in the Bedlam series, the Sooners have to be projected to win that game, securing their spot here.

Orange Bowl: Louisville Cougars (9-3) vs. Michigan Wolverines (10-2)

It’s been a disappointing end of the season for Louisville as they’ve suffered some unexpected losses, but as long as Clemson wins the ACC and leaves the conferences’ spot in the Orange Bowl open then the Cougars at the very least have a spot here. Those few unexpected losses to Houston and Kentucky don’t take away the other big wins they’ve had this year.

And believe if to not, Michigan isn’t completely out of the playoffs either is more chaos occurs, but their loss to Ohio State really hurt them, and unless the Big Ten winner sneaks into the playoffs with Ohio State they disappointingly might not even make the Rose Bowl. Michigan is easily one of the very best teams in the country, though. A spot in the Orange Bowl will have to do for them.

Cotton Bowl Bowl: Western Michigan (12-0) vs. Penn State Nittany Lions (10-2)

Boise State was in a tough spot to win their division anyway, but a straight-up loss to Wyoming completely killed their Cotton Bowl hopes. Western Michigan isn’t guaranteed this spot, though. They still have one more game to win in the MAC Championship game or Navy could swoop in.

If Penn State wins the Big Ten it is going to be very, very hard to keep them out of the playoffs since they beat Ohio State head-to-head and took one of the Power 5 conference crowns. They are one of the hottest team’s in the country right now, they very well may beat Wisconsin, and that could change everything with these standings.

Dropping Out

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Texas A&M (8-4): The Aggies completely fell apart after winning their first seven games of the year. The Aggies have lose four of their last six games. Looking back, their record is loaded with wins over true cupcakes like Prairie View A&M, New Mexico State and Texas-San Antonio. They might have a decent record, but they’re completely out of the New Year’s Six Bowl picture.

On the Cusp

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Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-2): If the Cowboys win in Bedlam they’re in something. The Big 12 is pretty fortunate that their Week 14 game between the Sooners and Cowboys happened to be a defacto Big 12 title game.

Navy Midshipmen (9-2): 75 Points! That showed just how dominant Navy is. Right now Western Michigan is still in control of the ‘Group of Five’ spot in the Cotton Bowl, but if they stumble and the Mids win the AAC then they should jump into the New Year’s Six game.

Florida Gators (8-3): If the Gators stun everybody and win the SEC then they will get in the Sugar Bowl. It really seems impossible that the Gators will do that, but there is still a sliver of hope for them.

Virginia Tech Hokies (9-3): Just like Florida, the Hokies technically have some hope since they are in a conference championship game, but they would have to pull off a massive upset of Clemson to get into the Orange Bowl.

Colorado Buffaloes (10-2): Unless Colorado wins the Pac 12 it would be hard to say they should get in a New Year’s Six bowl game since USC beat both the Buffaloes and the Huskies. It’s been an incredible turnaround for them, but they must win to play in a New Year’s Six game.

Key Week 14 Games

Pac-12 Championship Game: Colorado Buffaloes (10-2) vs. Washington Huskies (11-1)

Colorado has had a tremendous turnaround season but the Huskies need to win this game to have a shot at getting into the playoffs. The Buffaloes don’t look like they could get into the playoffs, they’ll be happy in another big bowl game, however. This game is very important for Washington. It will give them their biggest win of the season and a dominant win could even further make a case for them to make the playoffs.

Big Ten Championship Game: Wisconsin Badgers (10-2) vs. Penn State Nittany Lions (10-2)

This game is so interesting because the winner honestly might not matter for the playoffs, but if the Nittany Lions are the victor, it would be very hard to keep them out of the playoffs since they beat Ohio State already. If Wisconsin wins it would be easier to keep them out of the playoffs, but as the champion of easily the most dominant conference in the country this year it still have to be a tough conversation.

ACC Championship Game: Clemson Tigers (11-1) vs. Virginia Tech Hokies (9-3):

If Clemson wins they are win the playoffs but complete Chaos could happen if they do lose to the Hokies. It doesn’t seem likely that that could happen, but certainly the Hokies could mix things up.

SEC Championship Game: Alabama Crimson Tide (12-0) vs. Florida Gators (8-3)

This too seems like a one-sided conference championship game, and honestly Alabama seems like they are in the playoffs no matter what, but anything can happen.

Bedlam: Oklahoma Sooners (9-2) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-2)

It’s interesting that it worked out for this game to be scheduled for the final week of the regular season and to become the defacto Big 12 Championship game but that is what we have here and the winner will be going to the Sugar Bowl. You never know though, if complete chaos happens then maybe the winner could sneak into the playoffs.

MAC Championship Game: Western Michigan Broncos (12-0) vs. Ohio Bobcats (8-4)

If Western Michigan wins then they should be in the Cotton Bowl as they’ll be an undefeated ‘Group of Five’ champion. It’s that simple of a road for them.

AAC Championship Game: Navy Midshipmen (9-2) vs. Temple Owls (9-3)

If the Broncos get upset in the MAC Championship game then the winner of this game should get the now in the Cotton Bowl.

Heisman Watch

lamar-jacksonLamar Jackson – QB, Louisville

220/382 (57.6%), 3,390 Pass Yards, 30 Pass TDs, 9 INTs, 1,538 Rush Yards (6.6 YPC), 21 Rush TDs

Deshaun Watson – QB, Clemson

305/452 (67.5%), 3,626 Pass Yards, 34 TDs, 14 INTs, 444 Rush Yards (4.0 YPC), 4 Rush TDs

Jabrill Peppers – LB, Michigan

72 Tackles, 16 TFL, 40 Sacks, 1 INT, 8 QBH, 1 FF, 167 Rush Yards (6.2 YPC), 3 Rush TDs, 310 PR Yards (14.8 YPR), 1 PR TD, 260 PR Yards (26.0 YPR)

Baker Mayfield – QB, Oklahoma

222/311 (71.4%), 3,381 Pass Yards, 35 Pass TDs, 8 INTs, 6 Rush TDs

Zach Terrell – QB, Western Michigan

228/318 (71.7%), 3,086 Pass Yards, 30 Pass TDs, 1 INT, 222 Rush Yards (3.3 YPC), 6 Rush TDs

Lamar Jackson may have literally fumbled away his Heisman Trophy. A quarterback has some extra standards they are held to and losing games hurt them since they are in most control of that than other positions. Losing back-to-back games to end the regular season really opened the door for somebody else to get it. The player who could step up and take the award seems like it could be Deshaun Watson, especially since he will be playing a huge game to pad his resume a bit more. Western Michigan quarterback Zach Terrell jumps in at the very bottom. He doesn’t really have hope of winning the Heisman, but he’s been incredible this year.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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