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CFT Previews: Your Dec. 20 Viewer’s Guide

Mark Hudspeth AP

Taking a quick-hit look at the Dec. 20 bowl menu, which on “opening weekend” features five bowl games as the 2014 postseason kicks off.

WHO: Nevada (7-5) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4)
WHAT: The 14th R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
WHERE: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, La.
WHEN: 11 a.m. ET on ESPN
THE SKINNY: Unless you were on Bourbon Street the night before, what better way to cap off your Saturday morning, and start the 2014 bowl season, than with a little Mountain West vs. Sun Belt action?  After never making a bowl in the first 38 years of the football program’s existence, Louisiana-Lafayette has now qualified for four straight under Mark Hudspeth.  Not only that, but they’ve won their first three appearances — all of which came in this very bowl.  Nevada, meanwhile, has lost its last two bowl games and six of its last eight.  The Ragin’ Cajuns are also playing very well as they head into the postseason, closing out the regular season with a 7-1 burst.  That burst came after a 1-3 start to the season that featured losses to nationally-ranked Ole Miss and Boise State as well as Conference USA runner-up Louisiana Tech. UL-L will prove to be a significant challenge to Nevada, one that Cody Fajardo and the Wolf Pack may not be able to overcome.
THE LINE: Louisiana-Lafayette, +1
THE PREDICTION: Louisiana-Lafayette 31, Nevada 27

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WHO: Utah State (9-4) vs. UTEP (7-5)
WHAT: The 9th Gildan New Mexico Bowl
WHERE: University Stadium, Albuquerque, NM
WHEN: 2:20 p.m. ET on ESPN
THE SKINNY: If you’re a fan of old school football that features copious amounts of defense and pounding yards out on the ground, this game is for you.  Utah State is very stingy defensively, giving up just 20.8 points per game (21st nationally).  USU is also very good against the run (26th, giving up 129.2 ypg); that also happens to be UTEP’s strength offensively (35th, 213.8 ypg).  The Aggies, though, are coming off their worst performance of the season, giving up 50 points and nearly 500 yards in the regular-season finale against Boise State.  Something tells me that it’ll be the Miners who will end up paying the price for that debacle.
THE LINE: UTEP, +10½
THE PREDICTION: Utah State 48, UTEP 17

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WHO: Utah (8-4) vs. Colorado State (10-2)
WHAT: The 23rd Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
WHERE: Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, Nev.
WHEN: 3:30 ET on ABC
THE SKINNY: The first day of bowl action has landed what could be one of the best and most intriguing matchups of the postseason.  Colorado State is coming off its best regular season in over a decade, but will also be without its head coach as Jim McElwain took the Florida job and won’t coach in the bowl game.  Utah, the only Power Five team in action today, began the 2014 season 6-1, but stumbled to a 2-3 finish that eliminated it from contention for a significantly more important bowl berth.  The teams do have one 2014 opponent in common in Colorado, with CSU winning at home 31-17 in Week 1 and the U of U winning 38-34 in Week 14 on the road.  A significant focus for Utah’s defense, one of the best in the country, will be shutting down All-American wide receiver Rashard Higgins.  If the Utes can accomplish that feat — it won’t be easy as Higgins has at least 143 yards receiving in each of the last seven games — it would go a long way in securing their first bowl win since after the 2011 season.
THE LINE: Colorado State, +3½
THE PREDICTION: Utah 27, Colorado State 20

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WHO: Western Michigan (8-4) vs. Air Force (9-3)
WHAT: The 18th Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
WHERE: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, Id.
WHEN: 5:45 p.m. ET on ESPN
THE SKINNY: This game very easily could’ve been called the Turnaround Bowl.  The fact that either team, let alone both, are playing in the postseason somewhat constitutes a minor miracle as Air Force won a mere two games in 2013 while Western Michigan trumped even that with just a single win last season.  This game is also your classic immovable object vs. irresistible force matchup: WMU is 37th in the country in rushing yards given up per game (142.7) while AF, as service academies ofttimes are, is seventh in rushing offense at 272.2 yards per game.  Throw in how the Falcons gain those yards on the ground, and it could be a long day for the Broncos.
THE LINE: Western Michigan, +1
THE PREDICTION: Air Force 37, Western Michigan 24

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WHO: South Alabama (6-6) vs. Bowling Green (7-6)
WHAT: The Inaugural Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
WHERE: Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, Ala.
WHEN: 9:15 p.m. ET on ESPN
THE SKINNY: It’s appropriate that South Alabama is appearing in the first-ever Camellia Bowl as the Jaguars, who moved to the FBS level three years ago, are making their first-ever bowl appearance.  Their opponents, meanwhile, are playing in their seventh bowl game the past 12 years.  The Jaguars have struggled to score points all year long, with their 20.2 points per game ranking 113th out of 128 FBS teams.  The Falcons, meanwhile, have struggled to stop the opposition from scoring all season, as its 33.9 ppg (109th nationally) attests.  Whichever trend continues will play a significant role in determining the outcome.
THE LINE: Bowling Green, +3
THE PREDICTION: Bowling Green 38, South Alabama 24

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The Fifth Quarter: Week 15 Rewind

Headache

As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

FOUR TEAMS, TWO SPOTS, ONE CFP HEADACHE
All of the various scenarios entering weekend, with the potential for complete and utter chaos lurking on the horizon, and what did we get?  Chalk.  Chalk as far as the eye can see.

That, though, doesn’t mean all four playoff spots have been decided and everything was wrapped up in a nice, neat bow.  Far from it, in fact, as we got chaos, just not the kind of chaos that ensues after upsets.  What we do know: Alabama and Oregon have locked up two of the spots.  The only question when it comes to those two teams is which one will be the top seed and which will be the No. 2 seed.  Regardless, though, the Tide will be playing in the Sugar Bowl and the Ducks the Rose Bowl.

After that?  Let the debating and campaigning and jockeying commence in earnest.

After 15 weeks of play, the remaining two playoffs spots will come down to four teams: unbeaten, fourth-ranked Florida State and one-loss Baylor (No. 6), Ohio State (No. 5) and TCU (No. 3).  You could make a valid argument for any of those four to be a part of the playoff, with three of them — the one-loss teams — playing their best football of the season at the moment.

So, which direction will the committee go?  I have no clue, but we can look at the raw numbers to see which way they may lean.

With that, let’s go to the Tale of the Four Résumés…

Baylor
Wins vs. bowl-eligible teams: 5, two of those coming on the road
Wins vs. currently-ranked teams: 3 (No. 3 TCU, No. 9 Kansas State, at No. 20 Oklahoma)
Loss: to 7-5 West Virginia on the road

Florida State
Wins vs. bowl-eligible teams: 9, three of those coming on the road
Wins vs. currently-ranked teams: 3 (No. 11 Georgia Tech, No. 18 Clemson, at No. 21 Louisville)
Loss: none

Ohio State
Wins vs. bowl-eligible teams: 9, five of those coming on the road
Wins vs. currently-ranked teams: 2 (at No. 8 Michigan State, No. 13 Wisconsin)
Loss: to 6-6 Virginia Tech at home

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Ramifications 101: setting up Week 15

Cards with Question Marks

After 14 weeks in the 2014 regular season, it all comes down to the final week of the year.

At stake?  Conference championships, bowl slotting and, most importantly, setting up the field for the first-ever four-team College Football Playoff.

What’s known on the latter front is that, if they both win, Alabama and Oregon will fill two of those four slots.  Outside of that, and without even mentioning the (very real) possibility of one or both of those two teams being upset in their league title games?  Everything and anything else is decidedly up for grabs.

So many possibilities, myriad scenarios, with nothing certain except for disappointment for those who think things are indubitable.  Now, for but a few of those possibilities and scenarios, and mindful that this was written before the Pac-12 championship game Friday night…

F(REAKING)S(HUNNING)U(S)
What to make of the College Football Playoff committee dropping still-unbeaten Florida State from No. 2 after Week 9 to No. 3 after Week 11 to No. 4 after Week 14?  The only thing that can rationally be made of it is that, even if FSU beats Georgia Tech in the ACC championship game, the team and fans alike could — and maybe should — be nervous until the playoff matchups are announced Sunday night as nothing is assured.

Weeks ago I would’ve wagered a sizable chunk of money that there was no way an unbeaten FSU would be left out of the playoffs; now, there’s no way I’m touching that bet.  While it still doesn’t seem possible, it’s more of a possibility than most thought it would be even a month ago.  The only thing the Seminoles can control is (soundly) beating up on the Yellow Jackets.  Another struggle in a close win could prove to be the postseason death knell for the ‘Noles, especially if the other teams nipping at their heels impress.  And if the committee continues on its current ranking tack.

TEXAS TWO-STEPPIN’ TO THE PLAYOFFS… OR NOT AT ALL?
There might not be a conference with more to gain or more to lose in Week 15 than the Big 12.

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Week 14, Statistically Speaking

stats word on a lptop computer AP

A statistical snapshot of the week that was in college football…

.2 — Yards per attempt for USF on its 22 carries in Friday’s 16-0 loss to UCF.

.611 – Winning percentage of visiting teams in Pac-12 road games (33-21) this season. The four teams ranked in last week’s Associated Press Top 25 (Oregon, UCLA, Arizona State, Arizona) have a combined overall road record of 19-3 (.864).

5 — Single-game rushing performances Georgia Southern has placed in the Top 30 all-time at the FBS level this season alone.  Those are No. 2 (613, vs. Georgia State), No. 3 (564, vs. Savannah State), No. 21 (421, vs. Troy), T-No. 22 (419, vs. New Mexico State) and No. 30 (408, Appalachian State).

5 — Times during their 124 meetings Minnesota and Wisconsin have faced each other when both teams are ranked (1954, 1962, 1999, 2005, 2014).

6 — Consecutive losses to end the regular season for Kentucky after it began the season 5-1, leaving the Wildcats one win shy of bowl-eligibility.  UK was also 0-4 after the announcement of a contract extension for head coach Mark Stoops.

6-0 — UCF’s home record in 2014, its first perfect season at home since 2001.

7 — Consecutive seasons Alabama, Nebraska and Oregon have won at least nine games, the only teams in the country that can make that claim.

cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznptm5nju3zweyoduxyzrjmzfhnmrjnjnjzwjmntbiywfl7 — More wins Western Michigan and Air Force have in 2014 (8-4 and 9-3, respectively) than they did in 2013 (1-11 and 2-10, respectively), the biggest turnarounds this season.  TCU (4-8 last year, 10-1 this year) could reach that mark with a win in Week 15, while Memphis (9-3 in 2014, 3-9 in 2013) could do it in a bowl game.

12 — Bowl-eligible teams for the SEC, a conference record.  The only teams from the 14-team league that failed to qualify for the postseason were Kentucky and Vanderbilt.

12 — Consecutive games in which Jake Waters has thrown for 200 yards or more, the longest such streak during Bill Snyder‘s tenure at Kansas State.

12 — Points scored by Northern Illinois off of Western Michigan’s six turnovers in NIU’s 31-21 win Friday.

13 — Consecutive games in which TCU has scored 30 or more points, the longest such streak at the FBS level.

14 — Interceptions this season by Louisville’s Gerod Holliman, tying the FBS record set by Washington’s Al Worley in 1968.

15 — Combined touchdown passes for Marshall and Western Kentucky in Friday’s 67-66 game; Army has thrown 15 touchdown passes the last four seasons combined.

16 — Consecutive home wins for Alabama, the longest such streak in the country.  Baylor is next with 15 straight, followed by Florida State (14) and Boise State (14).

16 — Consecutive seasons Boise State has won eight or more games, the longest such streak in the country.  The Broncos went 6-5 in 1998 prior to starting their streak.

17 — Interceptions this season for Florida State’s Jameis Winston in 392 attempts, the most for any Power Five quarterback.  During his Heisman-winning 2013 season, Winston threw 10 interceptions in 384 attempts.

18 — Players in FBS history to run for 2,000-plus yards in the season, with Indiana’s Tevin Coleman becoming the most recent.  Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon had already surpassed that mark earlier this season.

19-4 — Kansas State’s record vs. Kansas under Bill Snyder, including a 19-1 record since 1993.  Prior to Snyder’s arrival, KU held a 59-23-5 advantage on K-State in the in-state rivalry.

23College GameDay appearances, home, road and neutral sites, for Alabama since Nick Saban took over as head coach in 2007, the most of any other team.  Oregon is next with 18 in that span, followed by LSU (16), Ohio State (13), and Oklahoma and Florida (12 each).

25 — Point deficit Rutgers overcame in 41-38 win over Maryland, the largest comeback in school history.  The previous largest was 24 against Vanderbilt in 2004.

38 — Yards for Melvin Gordon in a Week 2 win over FCS-level Western Carolina, averaging 2.2 yards on his 17 carries.  In his other 11 games, all against FBS competition, Gordon is averaging 202 yards per game and 8.3 yards per carry.

39 — Number of wins for Duke in David Cutcliffe‘s six-plus years as head coach. It’s also the number of wins the football program had in the previous 17 years prior to Cutcliffe’s arrival in 2008.

40 — Consecutive games Texas Tech has totaled at least 325 yards of total offense, the longest such streak in the country.

42 — Yards on a second-quarter completion by Navy’s Keenan Reynolds in a win over South Alabama, his only completion in four attempts in a game that helped the service academy become bowl-eligible.

43 — Years since Memphis won a conference title before clinching at least a share of the AAC in Week 14.

45 — Touchdowns responsible for in 2014 (34 passing, 11 rushing) for Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett, breaking the Big Ten record of 42 set by Purdue’s Drew Brees in 1998 (39 passing, three rushing).

95 — Non-offensive touchdowns for Kansas State since 1999, the most of any FBS team in that span.

100 — Graduation rate percentage for Duke, Northwestern, Notre Dame and Stanford football for the most recent academic year, the only FBS programs that can make that claim.

124 — Including Saturday, games played in the Minnesota-Wisconsin series, the most-played rivalry at the FBS level.  It’s also the longest-running, consecutively-played rivalry at 108 straight; Clemson-South Carolina at 106 straight is the second-longest.

133 — Points scored in the Western Kentucky-Marshall football game, more than the the combined score of the former’s basketball game Thanksgiving Day (121) or the latter’s Black Friday hoops contest (127).

222 — Rushing yards as a team for Western Kentucky in its win over Marshall, even as Leon Allen had 237 on his own.  The only other Hilltopper credited with a run was quarterback Brandon Doughty, whose statline read two carries for minus-15 yards.

317 — Number of yards rushing Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine ran for in the second and third quarters alone in his record-setting 427-yard rushing performance in Week 13.

320.2Logan Woodside‘s pass efficiency rating in Toledo’s 52-16 win over Eastern Michigan Friday.  Woodside, who came into the game with a 131.2 rating, completed 14-of-18 passes for 323 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions.

340 – Consecutive games Nebraska has sold-out Memorial Stadium, a streak that dates back to Nov. 3, 1962.

Kyle Bolin, Mike Douglas, John Miller

Kyle Bolin

381 — After replacing the injured Reggie Bonnafon, career-high passing yards for Louisville freshman Kyle Bolin in the 44-40 win over Kentucky.  Bolin, who entered the 2014 season as the Cardinals’ No. 3 quarterback, entered Saturday’s game with 35 career passing yards.

456 — Passing yards for Auburn’s Nick Marshall in the Iron Bowl loss to Alabama, his first career 400-yard passing game.  In fact, it was just his second career 300-yard passing game, with the first (339) coming Sept. 14 of last year vs. Mississippi State.

469 — Rushing yards for Arkansas State in its 68-35 rout of New Mexico State.  Three different Red Wolves players rushed for 100-plus yards: quarterback Fredi Knighten (153) and running backs Michael Gordon (143) and Johnston White (110).  Knighten and Gordon combined for eight touchdowns as well, two passing and two rushing for the former and three rushing and one receiving for the latter.

598 — Passing yards for Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes in the two-point loss to Baylor, setting a Big 12 freshman record.  The previous record of 462 was set last season by Tech quarterback Davis Webb, whose injury earlier this season opened the starting door for Mahomes.  It was also the fourth-highest single-game total in Red Raider history.

1,074 — Rushing yards in 2014 for Boston College’s Tyler Murphy, breaking the single-season ACC record for a quarterback of 1,061 set by Clemson’s Woodrow Dantzler in 2001.

1,773 — Yards passing for Washington State’s Luke Falk in the four games since Connor Halliday went down with a season-ending injury.  That’s more than nine FBS teams had in 12 games this season, and nearly more than a 10th (Wisconsin, 1,774).

1933-35 — Last time a Big Ten team (Minnesota) went three straight years without a regular-season loss in conference play prior to Ohio State pulling that trick in 2012-14. The Buckeyes are also the first team ever to produce no ties or losses in conference contests over a three-year period in Big Ten history.

cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpwvinzjjnmiwyzc4y2riodmwotk1n2rinmixmgq0nju31940s — Last decade in which Indiana had a winning record over Purdue in the battle for the Old Oaken Bucket (7-3).  With Saturday’s win, the Hoosiers now have a 3-2 record in the rivalry game in the 2010s.

1968 — Prior to CBS airing it Saturday, the last year the Mississippi State-Ole Miss Egg Bowl was aired on a broadcast network, with that network being NBC.

1983 — Last season LSU played on Thanksgiving Day prior to Thursday’s win over Texas A&M.  The Tigers have played on Turkey Day a total of 26 times in their history, the first coming in 1899.

1986 — Last season Arizona State (No. 13) and Arizona (No. 15) both entered the Territorial Cup as ranked teams prior to this year’s rivalry game.

1998 — Last season prior to this year that Arizona won at least 10 games in the regular season.  It’s also just the second time ever 116-year history of the program the Wildcats have pulled off that feat.

2,260 — Rushing yards in 2014 for Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon, surpassing the Big Ten single-season record of 2,109 of former UW running back Ron Dayne in 1996. Gordon’s total currently stands fourth-best in FBS history, behind only Oklahoma State’s Barry Sanders (2,628 in 1988), UCF’s Kevin Smith (2,567 in 2007) and USC’s Marcus Allen (2,342 in 1981).

3,387 — Career rushing yards for Miami’s Duke Johnson, breaking the school record of 3,331 yards set by Ottis Anderson.

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The Fifth Quarter: Week 14 Rewind

Mississippi State v Mississippi Getty Images

As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

PROJECTING CFP TOP FOUR
As it turns out, there was some significant upheaval — and near-upheaval — around the top of the College Football Playoff rankings that will continue to reverberate for days to come.

First and foremost, obviously, was No. 4 Mississippi State suffering its second loss of the season and seemingly knocking itself out of playoff contention.  Additionally, No. 6 Ohio State suffered a loss (star quarterback J.T. Barrett to a season-ending injury) in a win that could (maybe) (possibly) do serious damage to its playoff hopes as well.

Toss in near-misses from No. 3 Florida State (five-point win over 6-5 Florida) and No. 7 Baylor (two-point win over 4-8 Texas Tech) against bad football teams, and there will be some very eager and attentive bystanders when the new rankings are released Tuesday.  Hell, No. 1 Alabama’s season was on the line as it trailed Auburn by 12 in the third quarter at home before going on a 34-3 run to put the game away.

The team that arguably gained the most this weekend?  TCU, and they were sitting at home on their couches watching the mayhem develop.

About the only certainty coming out of Week 14 is that four different conferences will grab the four available playoff spots.  Which four, and which order, won’t be determined until next Saturday’s play has ended.

Entering Week 14, the Top Four, in order, was Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and Mississippi State.  What will it look like when the rankings are released?  My best guess is…

1. Alabama
2. Oregon
3. Florida State
4. TCU

The main wildcard in all of this — maybe not in this week’s rankings but certainly the final one — is the Buckeyes.  If OSU can beat a very good and 14th-ranked Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game, would the committee put the Buckeyes in ahead of what would presumably be a pair of one-loss teams, Baylor and TCU, that won’t play in a championship game, knowing that the player who helped get the Buckeyes to 11-1 won’t be available?  And, as asked earlier Saturday, would the committee’s view of OSU depend on how Barrett’s replacement, Cardale Jones, performed in his first career start on one of the biggest stages?  We simply don’t know the answers to any of those types of questions, and won’t begin to get answers until, at the earliest, Tuesday evening.

Of course, the Bears still have their own stiff test to pass, hosting No. 12 Kansas State in Week 15.  And then there are the Horned Frogs, who can do nothing to improve its résumé — but could potentially damage it if they struggle — as it closes out the regular season against 2-9 Iowa State.

And then there’s this: what if one of Alabama, Oregon or Florida State — or some combination of the three — lose in their respective conference championship games next weekend?  All hell breaks loose, that’s what happens.  The best thing is, at least for non-fans of those squads, it’s entirely possible.  FSU plays a Georgia Tech team that’s won five straight, including Saturday’s win on the road against ninth-ranked Georgia, and runs the hard-to-defend option offense; Arizona, which has dropped No. 25 Utah and No. 13 Arizona State in back-to-back weeks, will prove to be a stiff test for UO, especially seeing as the Wildcats beat the Ducks by seven in Eugene earlier this year; and Missouri, despite the faulty thinking of some, will not be a pushover for UA, especially with that ferocious Mizzou defensive line.

While one of the seven teams may have been “eliminated” in Week 14, there remains plenty of potential for mayhem and carnage in Week 15.  Yep, this playoff thing sure is hurting the best regular season in sports…

A-C-C!!! A-C-C!!!
I don’t know if you noticed or not, but the ACC had a very good day today… and very much at the expense of its big football brother, the SEC.

For those unaware, allow me to count the SEC carcasses left strewn about the South after getting trucked by ACC programs:

  • Clemson 35, South Carolina 17
  • Georgia Tech 30, Georgia 24
  • Louisville 44, Kentucky 40
  • Florida State 24, Florida 19

I don’t know if that’s happened before, especially of late, but I’m quite certain it wouldn’t take long to call the roll of the times it has.  Sure, all four wins came against the weak link in the SEC chain, the East, but it was still an impressive performance by a much-maligned conference.

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Sorting through the Group of Five conference title scenarios

Tiebreaker

Not surprisingly, most of the college football world’ attention is focused on the Power Five conference teams and the College Football Playoff heading into the last full weekend of the 2014 regular season.

There are, though, other goings on in the sport, namely conference races for the other five conferences dubbed the Group of Five.  All five of those leagues have yet to see an undisputed 2014 champion decided; four of those, though, will crown a champ — or co-champ — this weekend, with the AAC being the lone exception (possibly).

With that as a backdrop, here are those various clinching scenarios for the Group of Five leagues:

AAC
Memphis sits at 6-1 with one conference game remaining (vs. UConn), while Cincinnati and UCF are each 5-1 with two games each left (at Temple and vs. Houston for the former, at USF and at East Carolina for the latter).  This conference, however, does not have a championship game, so its method for determining its champ is laid out in the league’s weekly notes package:

In the event of a tie for the American Athletic Conference title, any tied teams would be declared co-champions. There is no formal conference tiebreaker policy for this season. The College Football Playoff committee would be able to select any of the tied teams for a New Year’s bowl game, based on the committee’s rankings.

Memphis is the only team that could claim the outright championship in Week 14, and that would happen if it won and Cincinnati and UCF lost.  Memphis, with a win, is also the only AAC team that can claim at least a co-championship this weekend.

CONFERENCE USA
EAST
At 7-0, Marshall has already clinched a spot in the conference championship game.

WEST
This division is nearly as simple as the winner of the Week 14 game between Louisiana Tech (6-1) and Rice (5-2) will face Marshall.

Another issue for the conference to be decided is where the title game will be played.  If Marshall beats Western Kentucky Saturday, the Herd will host the Louisiana Tech/Rice winner in Huntington.  If Marshall loses and Rice wins, Marshall would again host.  If Marshall loses and Louisiana Tech wins?  I’ll go ahead and allow the conference to lay out the particulars:

If Marshall loses to WKU on Friday and Louisiana Tech defeats Rice, both teams would have the same conference record (7-1). Marshall and Louisiana Tech do not play in the regular season, eliminating the head-to-head tie-breaker, the second tiebreaker after conference record. Therefore, the CFP ranking is the next tie-breaker. If neither team is in the top 25 of the CFP Rankings, average select computer ranking (Anderson and Hester, Billingsley, Colley Matrix and Wolfe) would be used to determine host.

MAC
EAST
At 5-2, Bowling Green has already clinched a spot in the conference championship game.

WEST
Three teams at 6-1 all remain alive in the divisional race: Northern Illinois, Toledo and Western Michigan.  NIU and WMU play late Friday morning, while Toledo faces Eastern Michigan a couple of hours later.  What follows are the scenarios for each to claim the West:

Northern Illinois wins the West if… It beats Western Michigan; NIU holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over Toledo.
Toledo wins the West if… It beats Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois loses; UT holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over Western Michigan.
Western Michigan wins the West if… It beats Northern Illinois, Toledo loses.

MOUNTAIN WEST
MOUNTAIN
Boise State, Colorado State and Utah State are all 6-1 entering the last week of the regular season, with Boise State and Utah State playing late Saturday night and Colorado State traveling to Air Force.  Here are the clinching scenarios for each team:

Boise State wins the Mountain if… It beats Utah State; BSU holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over Colorado State.
Colorado State wins the Mountain if… It beats Air Force and Boise State loses to Utah State; CSU holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over Utah State
Utah State wins the Mountain if… It beats Boise State and Colorado State loses to Air Force.

WEST
With two teams at 4-3 (Fresno State, San Diego State) and two at 3-4 (Hawaii, Nevada), the West is a clusterf… well, you know.  So much so, in fact, that I’m just going to let the conference put this one into the barn:

  • Fresno State: wins the division with a win over Hawai‘i.
  • San Diego State: wins the division with a win over San José State and a Fresno State loss to Hawai‘i.
  • Hawai‘i: wins the division with a win at Fresno State and losses by Nevada (at UNLV) and San Diego State (vs. San José State).
  • In the event Fresno State loses to Hawai‘i, Nevada defeats UNLV and San Diego State falls to San José State, it will create a four-team tie atop the West Division standings at 4-4. In that scenario, Fresno State clinches the division based on the MW divisional tiebreaking procedures.

SUN BELT
As is the case with the AAC, there is no conference championship game in the SBC.  Georgia Southern (7-0) has already clinched a share of the 2014 title in its first season in the league, with a win over Louisiana Monroe Saturday giving them the undisputed title.  Louisiana-Lafayette can earn a co-championship with a win over Troy combined with a Georgia Southern loss.

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Ramifications 101: Setting the table for Week 14

Turkey AP

You may have already cleared your tables of all of the Thanksgiving fixings, but here at CFT we’re just setting ours up.

From rivalry games with little or nothing on the line but pride to matchups dripping with conference and College Football Playoff implications, the plates served up on Friday and Saturday will be a veritable smorgasbord on the final full week of the 2014 regular season. If storylines whet your appetite, be prepared to gorge yourself as these last two days are full of them.

With that in mind, here’s a portion of what we’ll be paying attention to Power Five-wise over the next 36 hours or so.

PLAYOFF PICTURE CLARIFIED?
In a simplistic and minimalist view, the answer to that is no, it won’t be clarified. It very likely will, however, come into sharper focus.

By most accounts, a two-loss team won’t be in the running for one of the four playoff spots. If that indeed comes to fruition, there are seven teams that still hold out viable playoff aspirations: unbeaten and third-ranked Florida State, as well as the one-loss sextet of No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Oregon, No. 4 Mississippi State, No. 5 TCU, No. 6 Ohio State and No. 7 Baylor.

All seven of those teams play this weekend, and all seven will, to some degree or another, be favored. However, five of those seven games involve rivalries; as we all now, though, when it comes to a rivalry game, point spreads and records are tossed out the window.

Especially in the case of the two SEC squads, the favored team would be wise to be on high alert.  So, on a scale of 0-10, with 0 representing “no chance in hell” and 10 being “DEFCON 1 COACH-SPEAK AHEAD,” here are the five rivalry games involving the seven highest-ranked teams:

Chris DavisAlabama-Auburn, 9
Were it not for Auburn entering the Iron Bowl having lost three of its last five games against SEC teams, and it being played in Tuscaloosa, this matchup would’ve rated a solid 10.  Not only is Alabama playing for an SEC title and the right to stay in the playoff mix, they are also looking to exact a little revenge for last year’s Kick-Six.  Even if they wanted to, don’t look for Nick Saban & Company to let his players look past The Plainsmen in any way, shape or form.

Oregon-Oregon State, 5
OSU comes into the Civil War reeling, dropping six of its eight Pac-12 games thus far.  Oregon, though, doesn’t have to look back any further than last year to realize they’d better not peek past their in-state rivals.  In 2013, the Beavers, losers of four straight coming in, put a scare into the 12th-ranked Ducks and came away one point shy, 36-35, from upsetting UO in Eugene.  With this edition of the rivalry being played in Corvallis, and the Beavers looking to snap a six-game losing streak in the series, the Ducks can’t afford to allow their collective minds to wander beyond Saturday night.

Florida State-Florida, 7
With a very quick glance, it all seems to favor FSU.  The Seminoles are riding a 27-game winning streak, while the Gators are about to launch a national search for a new head coach.  The thing is, the ‘Noles have escaped with a handful of wins over the last couple of months.  Meanwhile, the Gators have actually improved over the last month, and their defense (11th in scoring, 23rd in yards) will be one of the best the Seminoles have faced all season.  I’m not saying Florida will upset Florida State in Tallahassee; all I’m saying is that the conditions are ripe for one.  What’s the axiom, those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it?  2014 Seminoles, meet the 2004 Seminoles.  Enough said.

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Week 13, Statistically Speaking

Joey Iosefa, Tau Lotulelei

A statistical snapshot of the week that was in college football…

.592 – Winning percentage of visiting teams in Pac-12 road games (29-20) this season. The six teams ranked in last week’s Associated Press Top 25 (Oregon, UCLA, Arizona State, Arizona, Utah and USC) have a combined overall road record of 23-6 (.793).

.815 — Ohio State’s winning percentage (97-22) in Big Ten play since 2000, the highest league winning percentage among all Power Five schools.  Oklahoma 99-24 is next at .805.

.933 — Career field-goal percentage for Florida State’s Robert Aguayo (42-45).  The all-time career mark, for at least 45 attempts per the 2014 FBS record book, was .900 (45-50) by Louisiana-Lafayette’s Brett Baer (2009-12). The career mark, for at least 55 attempts, is .895 (68-76) by Nebraska’s Alex Henery (2007-10).

0 — Touchbacks this season for Wake Forest punter Alex Kinal, the only player in the Top 25 in punting average who can make that claim.

1 — 400-yard passing games for Jake Waters in his career, the lone one coming in Kansas State’s win over West Virginia Thursday night (400 even).  Waters had only one previous 300-yard game, that coming in November of last year against Oklahoma (348).

Ohio State v Maryland

Brad Craddock

1 — Kickers at the FBS level who have yet to miss a field goal attempt (minimum eight attempts) this season: Maryland’s Brad Craddock (17-17).  Craddock has made 23 straight attempts dating back to 2013, the longest current streak at the FBS level and third-longest in Big Ten history.

1.2 — Yards per play Savannah State averaged in its 64-0 loss to BYU.  The Cougars limited the Tigers to 40 yards passing on 28 attempts and 23 yards rushing on the same number of attempts.

4 — FBS teams currently undefeated in conference play:

Florida State (ACC, 8-0)
Georgia Southern (Sun Belt, 7-0)
Marshall (Conference USA, 7-0)
Ohio State (Big Ten, 7-0)

5 — Consecutive games Auburn allowed 30 or more points prior to playing Samford, the first time that’s ever happened in the history of the football program.

5 — Number of undefeated home seasons in the history of Utah State football: 1968 (4-0), 1972 (5-0), 1982 (4-0), 2012 (6-0) and 2014 (6-0).

6 — Total touchdowns (five rushing, one receiving) for Colorado State’s Dee Hart in a win over New Mexico, the second-highest single-game total in Mountain West History.

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The Fifth Quarter: Week 13 Rewind

Samaje Perine AP

As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

HISTORIC REPEAT
As it turns out, while Samaje Perine made history, the timeframe in which he did it wasn’t historically unprecedented.

In Oklahoma’s win over Kansas, Perine set the FBS single-game rushing record with 427 yards.  That performance broke the record of 408 set a week ago by Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon.  Most assumed Perine’s breaking of a rushing record that was a week old had never happened before; Anthony Thompson would point out what the word “assume” makes out of all involved.

Back on Nov. 11, 1989, the Indiana running back’s 377 yards broke the previous mark of 357 yards.  That record was first set by Washington State’s Rueben Mayes in 1984 and tied by Cal State Fullerton’s Mike Pringle on Nov. 4, 1989, exactly one week before Thompson broke it.

Below is how the FBS rushing record has progressed over the past four-plus decades:

347 — Ron Johnson, Michigan, 1968
350 — Eric Allen, Michigan State, 1971
356 — Eddie Lee Ivery, Georgia Tech, 1978
357 — Rueben Mayes, Washington State, 1984
357 — Mike Pringle, Cal State Fullerton, 1989
377 — Anthony Thompson, Indiana, 1989
386 — Marshall Faulk, San Diego State, 1991
396 — Tony Sands, Kansas, 1991
406 — LaDainian Tomlinson, TCU, 1999
408 — Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin, 2014
427 — Samaje Perine, Oklahoma, 2014

Perine was also second to Thompson in something else — percentage increase of the previous record.  Thompson bested the old mark by 5.6 percent;  Perine, meanwhile, topped Gordon’s week-old record by 4.7 percent.

Some would say, though, the most impressive record belongs to Gordon.  The Badger back did his record-setting damage in three quarters of work and on just 25 carries; the only other players on that list with less than 30 carries were Ivery (26) and Allen (29).  Gordon’s 16.2 yards per carry is easily the best mark among the group, with only Ivery (13.7) within three yards.   Perine did average 12.6 ypc, the third-best among that group of 11 players.

At the opposite end of the yards-per-carry spectrum were Thompson and Sands, who averaged 7.25 yards on 52 carries and 6.8 yards on 58 carries, respectively.

Of course, Perine is the only true freshman to break the record… and he did it in three quarters plus two fourth-quarter plays after not starting a game played in the rain… and he is the only player to rush for 200-plus yards in both halves of a game, all of which makes his performance arguably the greatest of all-time regardless of how you attempt to parse out the numbers.

PROJECTING CFP TOP FOUR
Unlike previous weeks, there was no upheaval around the top of the College Football Playoff Top 25 in Week 14.  The highest-ranked team to lose was No. 8 Ole Miss, and, with two losses, it’s unlikely the Rebels were a realistic playoff option to begin with.

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Nick Saban, The Seven Million Dollar Man, tops coaching salary list

Nick Saban AP

Not surprisingly, the man who has held the top spot for the last couple of years, and who received a new and improved contract thanks to Texas rumors, sits atop USA Today‘s annual coaching salary list once again.

According to the chart for 2014 released by the newspaper Wednesday, Alabama’s Nick Saban is far and away the top earning coach in college football, with total pay amounting to $7,160,187 in 2014. Saban’s salary increased more than $1.6 million over what he made in 2013. That $1.6 million increase, incidentally, is more than 63 coaches made for the entire 2014 season.

At the opposite end of the spectrum from Saban is Appalachian State’s Scott Satterfield, whose total pay in 2014 is $225,000.  To put that into perspective, what USA Today lists as “Other Pay” has the amount of $209,984 under it for Saban.

In what will likely come as a surprise to many, or even most, the SEC and, yes, Big Ten have the most coaches in the Top 10 in salaries with four apiece.  In what will likely come as another surprise to many, including me, the highest-paid B1G coach doesn’t call Columbus home… and only Saban will make more than him in 2014.  That coach?  Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio at $5.636 million, although $2 million was a retention bonus he received earlier this year as part of a new contract.

Below are the Top 10 coaching salaries, based on total pay:

1. Alabama’s Nick Saban, $7.16 million
2. Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio, $5.636 million
3. Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops, $5.058 million
4. Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin, $5.006 million
5. Texas’ Charlie Strong, $5 million
6. Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, $4.536 million
7. LSU’s Les Miles, $4.369 million
8. Penn State’s James Franklin, $4.3 million
9. Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz, $4.075 million
10. South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier, $4 million

The SEC, though, still reigns supreme when it comes to coaching salary as every one of its listed coaches are in the top 34.  The lowest-paid coach from that conference?  Kentucky’s Mark Stoops at $2,701,600, but that’s still more than 87 coaches made this year.

You have to go all the way down to No. 44 on USA Today‘s list to find the first head coach from a Group of Five school: Cincinnati’s Tommy Tuberville at $2.2 million.  SMU’s June Jones was the only other Group of Five coach above the $2 million mark ($2.019 million), although he resigned his position early on in the 2014 season.

There’s just one Power Five head coach who makes less than $1 million, and that’s Rutgers’ Kyle Flood at $987,000.  There are 13 Group of Five head coaches who make more than Flood.

Below are the highest- and lowest-paid head coaches for each of the 10 FBS conferences.

AAC
Highest: Tommy Tuberville, Cincinnati, $2.2 million
Lowest: Bill Blankenship, Tulsa, $759,436
(No data for Temple’s Matt Rhule)

ACC
Highest: Jimbo Fisher, Florida State, $3,591,667
Lowest: Paul Chryst, Pittsburgh, $1,578,757
(No data: Boston College’s Steve Addazio, Wake Forest’s Dave Clawson, Syracuse’s Scott Shafer)

BIG 12
Highest: Bob Stoops, Oklahoma, $5,058,333
Lowest: Paul Rhoads, Iowa State, $1,808,025

BIG TEN
Highest: Mark Dantonio, Michigan State, $5,611,845
Lowest: Kyle Flood, Rutgers, $987,000

CONFERENCE USA
Highest: Rick Stockstill, Middle Tennessee State, $803,129
Lowest: Larry Coker, UT-San Antonio, $402,150

MAC
Highest: Frank Solich, Ohio, $554,500
Lowest: Dan Enos, Central Michigan, $360,000

MWC
Highest: Jim McElwain, Colorado State, $1,500,000
Lowest: Ron Caragher, San Jose State, $525,000

PAC-12
Highest: Chris Petersen, Washington, $3,681,720
Lowest: Mike Riley, Oregon State, $1,510,008
(No data: USC’s Steve Sarkisian)

SEC
Highest: Nick Saban, Alabama, $7,160,187
Lowest: Mark Stoops, Kentucky, $2,701,600
(No data: Vanderbilt’s Derek Mason)

SBC
Highest: Mark Hudspeth, Louisiana-Lafayette, $1,003,156
Lowest: Scott Satterfield, Appalachian State, $225,000

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Week 12, Statistically Speaking

stats word on a lptop computer AP

A statistical snapshot of the week that was in college football…

-12.8 — Negative pass efficiency rating for Cole Stoudt in Clemson’s 22-point loss to Georgia Tech.  Stoudt, playing in place of the injured Deshaun Watson, completed 3-of-11 passes for 19 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions.  Two of those picks were returned for touchdowns by the Yellow Jackets.

.628 — Winning percentage of visiting teams in Pac-12 road games (27-16) this season.

.869 — Nebraska’s winning percentage in home games since 1990 (146-22), the top mark in the country.  Florida State is next up at .856 (121-20-1).

0 — Number of both points and punts for San Jose State in its loss to Hawaii.  The Spartans’ 11 drives ended on downs three times; with missed field goals three times; with turnovers three times; and the end of the half/game twice.

1 — Number of touchdowns scored by USC seniors this season, which came Thursday night in the win over Cal on tight end Randall Telfer‘s 15-yard scoring catch.

4 — Receptions East Carolina’s Justin Hardy needs to surpass Oklahoma’s Ryan Broyles‘ FBS record of 349 career catches.  Hardy, with 346 receptions, has three regular season games plus a bowl game to eclipse Broyles’ mark set from 2007-11.

4-26 — South Carolina’s record vs. Florida from 1911-2009.  Since then, the Gamecocks own a 4-1 mark against the Gators.

5 — Wins vs. teams ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll for Alabama’s Nick Saban, breaking the tie for most all-time he had been in with Jimmy Johnson, Jack Mollenkopf, Joe Paterno and Lou Holtz.

13 — Consecutive road games won by Ohio State, the longest such streak in the country.  Missouri has won nine in a row on the road.

14 — Interceptions thrown this season by Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg on 373 attempts, one year after tossing 10 in 392 attempts.  Additionally, the true sophomore has completed less than 50 percent of his passes in three straight games.

17 — Consecutive road losses for Hawaii prior to the win over San Jose State Saturday night.  That streak had been the longest in the country.

17 — Consecutive SEC losses for Arkansas before the win over LSU.  Prior to that, the Razorbacks’ last conference win was Oct. 13, 2012, against Kentucky.

32.1 — Percentage of 28 passes completed by Dane Evans in Tulsa’s 31-7 loss to UCF Friday night, the lowest of his career.  Evans also tossed three interceptions and totaled just 69 passing yards in accumulating a career-low pass efficiency rating of 43.2.

34-0 — Oklahoma’s regular season record the game after a loss since 2004.  The last time the Sooners lost back-to-back regular season games was in 1999, Bob Stoops‘ first year in Norman.  Those losses were to Notre Dame by four and to Texas by 10.

42 — Days between Georgia’s fourth home game of the season at Sanford Stadium (Oct. 4 vs. Vanderbilt) and its fifth (Nov. 15 vs. Auburn).

50 — Career starts for Michigan State defensive end Marcus Rush, setting a school record for a player at any position.

53 — Consecutive games for Iowa without a missed or blocked extra point, the longest streak of any school in the nation.

92 — Consecutive games in which Stanford has scored at least 10 points, the longest current streak in the country.

190.9 — Rushing yards per game Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon is averaging this season, which is more than 82 FBS teams average per contest.

214 — Yards receiving for Nelson Agholor in USC’s win over Cal Thursday night.  That gives Agholor back-to-back 200-yard receiving games (220 vs. Washington State), the first time a Trojan has ever turned that trick.

+221.4 — The differential between rushing yards gained vs. rushing yards allowed by Wisconsin entering Week 12, the best mark in the country by far (Navy’s +174.3).  That differential will only increase exponentially as UW outgained Nebraska 581-118 on the ground.

277 — Rushing yards for Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds in the win over Georgia Southern.  Incidentally, those two teams combined for 769 yards rushing and just 144 passing.

307 — Rushing yards for Indiana’s Tevin Coleman in the 45-23 loss to Rutgers.  In.  A.  Loss.

316.8 — Pass efficiency rating for Zach Terrell in Western Michigan’s 51-7 win over Eastern Michigan.  Terrell only misfired on two of his 19 passes, throwing for 357 yards and four touchdowns.

Leon Allen345 — Rushing yards for Western Kentucky’s Leon Allen, making him the third player to top the 300-yard mark in Week 12.  Prior to Week 12, no FBS player had rushed for more than 300 yards in a single game this year.

424 — Passing yards for Blake Frohnapfel in UMass’ 24-10 win over Ball State Wednesday night.  Frohnapfel, who didn’t throw a touchdown pass in the contest oddly enough, has now thrown for more than 400 yards three times this season, including a 589-yard effort in late September.  This was the first game, however, the Minutemen won during one of the senior’s 400-yard games.

436 — Career-high passing yards for Gunner Kiel as Cincinnati became bowl-eligible with a Thursday night win over East Carolina.

472 — Career-high passing yards for Pete Thomas in Louisiana-Monroe’s loss to Louisiana-Lafayette.  His previous career-high was 387 in 2011 when he was at Colorado State.

483 — Rushing yards for Pittsburgh’s James Connor the past two games, 220 in Week 12 and 263 in Week 10.  Oddly enough, the Panthers lost both games.

Marquise Williams628 — Rushing yards for North Carolina’s Marquise Williams, setting the school’s single-season record for a quarterback previously set by Jim Lalanne in 1940 (541).

670 — Rushing yards for Melvin Gordon on 34 carries spanning two career games against Nebraska, a ridiculous 19.7 yards per carry.

1941 — Last year Temple beat Penn State on the gridiron.  Since then, the Owls are 0-38-1, including Saturday’s setback to the Nittany Lions.

1950 — Last football meeting between Maryland and Michigan State prior to Saturday night’s encounter.

1960 — Prior to Saturday’s game against UTSA, Southern Miss’ last game in the city of San Antonio.  The Eagles, though, suffered their first loss in the city, dropping their all-time record there to 4-1.

1999 — Last year both Oklahoma and Texas were unranked in the Associated Press poll before Week 12 of the 2014 season.

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The Fifth Quarter: Week 12 Rewind

Mississippi State v Alabama Getty Images

As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

PROJECTING CFP TOP FOUR
Thanks to fifth-ranked Alabama’s win over top-ranked Mississippi State and sixth-ranked Arizona State’s upset loss at Oregon State, there will certainly be a shakeup when the College Football Playoff committee releases its updated Top 25 rankings this Tuesday night.

Just how big of a shakeup?  That’s hard to say, if for nothing more than we have very little data on the the 13-person group’s thought process.

The Tide was leapfrogged by No. 4 TCU last week, seemingly because of the strength of the latter’s résumé.  Nothing, though, quite strengthens the ol’ résumé like a win over the No. 1 team in the country.  Mix in the Horned Frogs struggling on the road against lowly Kansas, and that Big 12 school will likely find itself on the outside of the Fine Four.  So will another from that conference, Baylor, thanks to its strength of schedule, or lack thereof.

Speaking of résumés, No. 3 Florida State’s took a significant shot this weekend.  FSU has what some would’ve consider three quality wins this season, Clemson, Notre Dame and Louisville; those first two teams suffered bad losses in Week 12, meaning the Seminoles, despite being undefeated, could find themselves at No. 4 when the rankings are released.  Some “experts” have even suggested they could be outside the Top Four entirely.  While the latter scenario seems far-fetched, the former certainly isn’t.  Remember, the committee moved one-loss Oregon ahead of FSU in the last set of rankings.

It would not be surprising at all to see the Tide, No. 2 Oregon and, yes, the Bulldogs ahead of the ‘Noles come Tuesday night.  MSU’s résumé is certainly much stronger than FSU’s, with wins over LSU, Auburn and Texas A&M surpassing anything the team from Tallahassee has done this season.  The Bulldogs, though, lost some luster aside from its first loss as each of those teams mentioned as quality wins lost in Week 12.

The other one-loss team in the Top Ten, No. 8 Ohio State, simply doesn’t have the strength of schedule to move up more than the one spot ASU’s loss hands them.  Plus, they have the albatross that is the still-inexplicable loss to Virginia Tech earlier in the year hanging around its neck, although some — some — of the stink of that loss came off as Tech upset No. 21 Duke earlier today.

Again, it’ll all come down to what the committee values more: overall résumé or overall record.  As we saw last week, it was decidedly the former, so I’m predicting the Top Four come Tuesday will look like this:

1. Alabama
2. Oregon
3. Mississippi State
4. Florida State

I’m not saying it’s right, and I’m not saying it’s what I would do — scroll down a little to see who would be in my Top Four — I’m just saying it’s how I think the committee will look at the current state of the top of its rankings.  Or not.  One of the two.

CONFERENCE CHASE CLARITY
Well, for the most part.

With 12 weeks in the books, and just two more remaining in the regular season (three if you’re the Big 12), more than half of the nine Power Five division/league races have either been claimed (ACC Atlantic,  Pac-12 North) or have a very clear front-runner (Big Ten East, SEC East, SEC West).

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Week 11, Statistically Speaking

stats word on a lptop computer AP

A statistical snapshot of the week that was in college football…

-9 — Rushing yards for Northwestern in the one-point loss to Michigan.  Quarterback Trevor Siemian totaled minus-37 yards rushing, while the Wildcats’ leading rusher, Justin Jackson, had plus-35.

.844 — Overall career winning percentage (54-10, fifth season) for Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, the best for any ACC head coach with three or more seasons.  His winning percentage of .842 in ACC games is best of all-time, ahead of the legend he replaced at FSU, Bobby Bowden (.814).

1.3 — Interceptions for Louisville’s Gerod Holliman after a three-pick performance against Boston College.  Holliman now has 12 interceptions with two regular season games and a bowl game remaining; the all-time FBS record for interceptions in a season is 14 by Washington’s Al Worley in 1968.  Incidentally, there are only 17 FBS teams with more interceptions this season than Holliman.

2 — FBS players and who have accounted for more than 9,000 yards passing and 3,000 yards rushing in a career, and both played at Nevada: Cody Fajardo (9,084 and 3,025, 2011-present) and Colin Kaepernick (10,098 and 4,112, 2007-10). Kaepernick’s 14,210 yard of total offense is No. 1 in FBS history, while Fajardo’s (12,109) is currently 16th.

2 — Rushing touchdowns allowed by Alabama’s defense this season, the fewest in the FBS.  Next lowest?  Utah’s allowed five.

2-7 — Record of teams the game after playing Navy this season.  That includes Notre Dame’s second loss of the season, a 55-31 decision to Arizona State this weekend.

3 — Weeks in a row a player from Rutgers’ opponent has been named as the Big Ten’s Player of the Week.  That streak temporarily came to an end this week as the Scarlet Knights are on a bye, although Indiana — and the nation’s second-leading rusher Tevin Coleman — await next week and could easily extend the streak to four straight.

4-3 — Touchdowns vs. incompletions for Hutson Mason in Georgia’s blowout win over Kentucky.

5 — FBS players who have ever totaled 200-plus yards rushing and 100-plus yards receiving in a single game: Brian Hill, Wyoming vs. Fresno State, Nov. 1, 2014 (281 rushing, 106 receiving); Donald Buckram, UTEP vs. Tulane, Nov. 7, 2009 (234, 109); Steve Slaton, West Virginia vs. Pittsburgh, Nov. 16, 2006 (215, 130); Emmett White, Utah St. vs. New Mexico St., Nov. 4, 2000 (322, 134); and Thomas Jones, Virginia vs. Buffalo, Nov. 13, 1999 (221, 110).

10.1 — Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett leads the FBS in passing touchdown percentage (26 TDs on 233 attempts; 11.1 percent).

11 — Games in a row Oregon’s Marcus Mariota has thrown two or more touchdown passes, the longest such streak for an FBS quarterback.

13.1Nick Chubb‘s yards per carry average as he ran for 170 yards on just 13 rushes in Georgia’s blowout win over Kentucky.

14 — 300-yard passing games for Baylor’s Bryce Petty, breaking the school record of 13 previously held by Heisman winner Robert Griffin III.

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The Fifth Quarter: Week 11 Rewind

Jeff Heuerman, Urban Meyer, Shelley Meyer AP

As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

SEPARATION SATURDAY
Thanks to a handful of games, the divisional and conference races have become, for the most part, much clearer in Week 11 than they were in Week 10.

Three of the divisional races in four of the Power Five conferences have either officially been decided (Pac-12 North) or are all but officially decided (ACC Atlantic, Big Ten East).  At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Big Ten West and SEC West are only slightly clearer than a week ago.

Below we take a quick trip through each of the Power Five conference races and see exactly where things stand with three weeks left in the regular season (four for the title game-less Big 12).

ACC

Atlantic
With the win over Virginia, all Florida State (6-0) needs to do is beat either Miami (Fla.) next week or Boston College the week after to claim the division title and a spot in the conference championship.  Clemson (6-1), which lost to FSU earlier in the season, would need to win its last ACC game against Georgia Tech in Week 12 and have the Seminoles lose both of their remaining league games to win the Atlantic.  Yeah, that’s not gonna happen.

Coastal
With three weekends left in their regular seasons, the Coastal race is essentially a three-team chase: Duke (4-1), Georgia Tech (5-2) and Miami of Florida (3-2).  If the Blue Devils win out — Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Wake Forest, all at home — it’ll be a second consecutive Duke-FSU ACC title game.  Should the Blue Devils and Yellow Jackets trip once and the Hurricanes win out — they still face FSU — it’d be The U in Charlotte based on the win over Duke earlier in the season.  The ‘Canes, though, don’t own the head-to-head over Tech, so they’ll need to finish ahead of the Yellow Jackets.

BIG TEN

East
This one is very straightforward: all Ohio State (5-0) has to do is avoid losing two of its last three games while Michigan State (4-1) wins all three of its in order to stake its claim to a spot in the Big Ten title game.  The remaining games on the slate are certainly manageable, with contests left against Minnesota, Indiana and Michigan.  The win over the Spartans gives the Buckeyes the head-to-head tiebreaker and affords them a cushion should they slip up once the rest of the way.  Maryland, at 3-2, is technically still alive but unofficially eliminated.

West
Three teams are tied at 4-1 — Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin — and one is at 3-2 — Iowa — in what’s easily the most muddled divisional race in the land.  The last three games for NU and UW are all against teams from that group of four, while the Gophers will face the two teams it’s currently tied with plus Ohio State.  The Hawkeyes, who lost to the Gophers in Week 11,  have Illinois remaining in addition to Nebraska and Wisconsin.  Given how the schedule is assembled, the B1G East very likely won’t be decided until the final weekend late this month.

BIG 12

Thanks to TCU’s win over Kansas State, and Baylor’s thumping of Oklahoma, the Big 12 now features a trio of one-loss teams.  TCU holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over K-State, while BU holds the same over them.  The Bears and Wildcats meet in the regular season finale; the winner of that game and the Horned Frogs could very well finish in a tie if everything goes to form.  Based on the head-to-head, you can bet your behind that they’ll be rooting like mad for K-State.

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Week 10, Statistically Speaking

stats word on a lptop computer

A numerical snapshot of the week that was in college football…

.850 — Duke’s winning percentage with Anthony Boone as a starter (17-3), the highest mark in the program’s history.  Worth Lutz‘s record of .846 has stood for 60 years (1951-54, 11-2).

0 — Number of intersectional foes that have played continuously longer than Notre Dame and Navy, meeting every year since 1927 (88 games).  The Irish’s 43 straight wins over the Midshipmen from 1964-2006 remains the longest winning streak by one team over another in FBS history.

1 — FBS quarterbacks with at least 150 pass attempts who have not thrown an interception this season, that one being Utah’s Travis Wilson (165 attempts).  Last season, Wilson’s 16 interceptions — in just 237 attempts — were the second-most in the nation. Ball State’s Jack Milas has not thrown a pick in 116 attempts.

1.1 — Number of interceptions Louisville’s Gerod Holliman has averaged per game this season.  His 10 interceptions in nine games are the most for an FBS player since North Carolina State’s David Amerson recorded 13 in 13 games in 2011.  The all-time FBS record for interceptions in a season is 14 by Washington’s Al Worley in 1968.  I should also add that Ole Miss’ Senquez Golson has nine picks in the same number of games.

1-34 — Kansas’ record in Big 12 play over the last 35 conference games, stretching back to early November of 2010. The Jayhawks haven’t won back-to-back league games since October of 2008.

3 — Players who have thrown for more than 3,000 yards through the first 10 weeks of the season, with Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty and Cal’s Jared Goff joining the group.  Entering this week’s slate of games, there was one — Washington State’s Connor Halliday, who sustained what turned out to be a season-ending injury Saturday.

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