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Two weeks from Championship Saturday, here are all of the division-clinching scenarios

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Unbelievably, we’re down to the penultimate full weekend of the 2017 season. And, with that, races for divisional and conference championships are both heating up and winding down — or, in a handful of cases, already settled.

Below is how each of the 10 leagues stands with just two Saturdays remaining before championship weekend.

AAC EAST
The winner of the Nov. 24 USF (6-1) at UCF (6-0) game will win the division, regardless of what happens in UCF’s game against Temple at noon today.

AAC WEST
Memphis (5-1) beat Houston (4-2) in mid-October. Memphis clinches the division with a win in either today’s game against SMU or East Carolina in the regular-season finale, regardless of what Houston does. Houston needs for Memphis to lose both of those games, plus win their final two games Tulane and Navy.

ACC ATLANTIC
Clemson has already clinched the division.

ACC COASTAL
Miami has already clinched the division.

BIG 12
Unless Oklahoma (6-1), which beat both TCU (5-2) and Oklahoma State (5-2) earlier this season, loses its last two games — ROTFL one of them is against Kansas — the Sooners have essentially clinched one of the two spots in the conference title game. TCU needs to either win one of its last two games (at Tech, vs. Baylor) and have OSU lose at least one, or win out regardless of what OSU does in order to claim the other spot. OSU, meanwhile, needs to win out (vs. K-State, vs. Kansas) and have the Horned Frogs lose at least one. West Virginia (5-2), which lost to both TCU and OSU, needs to beat Texas and win at OU while TCU and OSU lose at least one game apiece.

There’s also the possibility that all four teams finish at 6-3, getting there by way of OSU, TCU and WVU winning out.  In such a scenario, Oklahoma and TCU would play for the Big 12 title by virtue of a 2-1 record against the foursome.  At 1-2, Oklahoma State and West Virginia would be eliminated.

BIG TEN EAST
If Ohio State beats Illinois AND Michigan loses to Wisconsin today, the Buckeyes will win the division. If that doesn’t happen, the B1G East race will play out in Week 13. Courtesy of the Big Ten Network, below are all of the scenarios heading into Week 12:

Ohio State (6-1): Win vs. Illinois AND Michigan loss at Wisconsin OR win final two games (vs. Illinois; at Michigan).
Michigan (5-2): Win final two games (at Wisconsin; vs. Ohio State) AND Michigan State and Penn State lose one game.
Michigan State (5-2): Win final two games (vs. Maryland; at Rutgers) AND Ohio State loses final two games.
Penn State (5-2): Win final two games (vs. Nebraska; at Maryland) AND Ohio State loses final two games AND Michigan State loses a game.

BIG TEN WEST
Wisconsin has already clinched the division.

CONFERENCE USA EAST
Florida Atlantic (6-0) clinches the division with a win over Florida International (4-2) later today OR with a win over Charlotte in Week 13 even with a loss to FIU. FIU needs to beat FAU AND Western Kentucky AND have FAU lose to Charlotte as well.

CONFERENCE USA WEST
North Texas has already clinched the division.

MAC EAST
Akron and Ohio are both 5-2, but the Zips beat the Bobcats this past Tuesday night. Thus, Akron wins the division with either a Week 13 win over Kent State OR an Ohio loss to Buffalo. Ohio, meanwhile, needs to win next week AND have Akron lose.

MAC WEST
Toledo (6-1) and Northern Illinois (6-1) are left standing, with Toledo beating NIU in the first week of November. So, Toledo wins the West with either a win over Western Michigan OR an NIU loss. Northern Illinois needs to beat Central Michigan AND have Toledo lose to WMU at home to win the division.

MWC MOUNTAIN
Boise State (6-0) beat Wyoming (5-1) Oct. 21. Thus, Boise State wins the Mountain division if it wins its last two games (vs. Air Force, at Fresno State) regardless of what Wyoming does; if it wins one game regardless of what Wyoming does; if it loses its last two games and Wyoming does the same. Conversely, Wyoming needs to win its last two games (vs. Fresno State, at San Jose State) while Boise State loses its last two.

MWC WEST
Fresno State (5-1) beat San Diego State (4-2) Oct. 21. Thus, Fresno State wins the West division if it wins its last two games (at Wyoming, vs. Boise State) regardless of what San Diego State does; if it wins one game regardless of what San Diego State does; if it loses its last two games and San Diego State does the same. Conversely, San Diego State needs to win its last two games (vs. Nevada, vs. New Mexico) while Fresno State loses its last two.

PAC-12 NORTH
And now we come to the somewhat convoluted portion of the program. Stanford and Washington State are both 6-2, while Washington is 5-2. Stanford has beaten Washington but lost to Wazzu, while the Apple Cup awaits next Saturday. So, off we go with how each team can win the division.

Stanford: win vs. Cal in Week 12 AND Washington State loss to Washington in Week 13.
Washington: win vs. Utah in Week 12 AND win vs. Washington State in Week 13 AND Stanford loss to Cal in Week 12.
Washington State: win vs. Washington in Week 13 OR losses by Washington AND Stanford in Week 12.

And, if all three teams finish 6-3? Washington, by virtue of its record in divisional games — 4-1, compared to 3-2 for the others — would get the nod.

PAC-12 SOUTH
USC has already clinched the division

SEC EAST
Georgia has already clinched the division

SEC WEST
This one is really simple: the winner of the Alabama-Auburn Iron Bowl next Saturday will clinch the division.

SUN BELT
There’s Pac-12 North convoluted, then there’s SBC convoluted. Entering Week 12, this conference has four teams with just one loss apiece — Troy, Georgia State and Appalachian State at 5-1, Arkansas State at 4-1. To make matters even worse, there has been just one game played between the four — Troy beat Georgia State — and just two in the remaining three weeks of the season — Troy vs. Arkansas State, Georgia State vs. Appalachian State. Things will become (a little) clearer after Week 12 play for the only FBS league that doesn’t have a league game to determine a champion.

Nick Saban, Lane Kiffin among 16 Maxwell Coach of the Year semifinalists

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One recent branch of Nicktator’s coaching tree will be vying with his former boss for one set of coaching honors.

The Maxwell Foundation on Thursday announced its 16 semifinalists for the 2017 George Munger College Coach of the Year Award.  Alabama’s Nick Saban is one of the select 16, as is Florida Atlantic’s Lane Kiffin, who spent the previous three seasons as Saban’s offensive coordinator.

The SEC leads all conferences with four semifinalists, followed by two each for the ACC, Big 12 and Big Ten.  The Pac-12 is the lone Power Five conference with just one.

Kiffin is one five Group of Five semifinalists, joining UAB’s Bill Clark, UCF’s Scott Frost, Army’s Jeff Monken and Fresno State’s Jeff Tedford.  The MAC and Sun Belt are the lone conferences without at last one semifinalist.

Miami and Oklahoma move into top four of AP Top 25

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Georgia and Notre Dame each managed to stay in the top 10 of the AP Top 25 this week after getting blown out on the road, which has allowed both Miami and Oklahoma to move into the top four this week. Miami even picked up some first-place votes from the AP voters following their dominating performance against the Fighting Irish.

No. 1 Alabama remains on top of the poll with a sizable share of the first-place votes from the voters. Miami’s ranking at No. 2 is the highest Miami has been ranked in the AP poll since the 2003 season when they reached the same spot in the poll.

No. 3 Oklahoma moved past No. 4 Clemson and took advantage of No. 7 Georgia and No. 9 Notre Dame falling in the polls. The AP voters kept No. 5 Wisconsin ahead of No. 6 Auburn, and the Tigers did move ahead of the Georgia team they just demolished. No. 8 Ohio State and No. 10 Oklahoma State each jumped into the top 10 this week. No. 11 TCU fell three spots to fall out of the top 10, while No. 12 USC and No. 13 Penn State each moved up three spots to just on the outside of the top 10. The Trojans and Nittany Lions each moved ahead of No. 14 UCF, who remained in the same spot in the poll this week. No. 16 Washington also tumbled out of the top 10, falling five spots, yet they remain in front of the team that beat them Friday night, No. 20 Stanford.

No. 17 Mississippi State actually moved up one spot in the poll this week despite losing at home to Alabama. Meanwhile, No. 24 West Virgina won on the road and dropped one spot in the poll.

Here is this week’s AP Top 25:

  1. Alabama (57 first-place votes)
  2. Miami (4)
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Clemson
  5. Wisconsin
  6. Auburn
  7. Georgia
  8. Ohio State
  9. Notre Dame
  10. Oklahoma State
  11. TCU
  12. USC
  13. Penn State
  14. UCF
  15. Washington State
  16. Washington
  17. Mississippi State
  18. Memphis
  19. Michigan
  20. Stanford
  21. LSU
  22. Michigan State
  23. USF
  24. West Virginia
  25. NC State

Miami surges to No. 2 in coaches poll; Alabama sweeps first-place votes

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You knew there would be some drastic changes in this week’s Amway Coaches Poll after the way Week 11 went down, and there certainly was. Following a dismantling of Notre Dame, No. 2 Miami rocketed up four spots to trail only No. 1 Alabama. The Crimson Tide remain the only team to receive any first-place votes from the coaches this week.

No. 6 Auburn also made a worthy move up four spots in this week’s ranking and the coaches even do the correct thing in putting the two-loss Tigers just ahead of No. 7 Georgia. Had it been a closer result, Georgia may have managed to stay just ahead of Auburn given the ridiculous nature of the coaches poll at times, but this felt like the right call to anyone who watched Auburn’s performance against the Bulldogs.

No. 3 Clemson and No. 4 Wisconsin swapped spots in the coaches poll this week, despite the Badgers remaining undefeated and Clemson struggling to put Florida State until late in the game on Saturday. No. 5 Oklahoma moved up two spots, and No. 8 Ohio State bumped up three spots to re-enter the top 10 this week. No. 9 Notre Dame fell four spots to remain in the top 10, while No. 10 USC moved up four spots to crack the top 10.

No. 12 UCF remains the highest-ranked Group of Five team in the coaches poll, as expected. But they were passed in the poll this week by USC and No. 11 Penn State. Other notable drops in the polls this week were experienced by No. 14 TCU (down five) and No. 15 Washington (down seven). No. 24 Michigan State took the hardest fall, dropping eight spots. No. 23 Stanford returned to the poll this week while Virginia Tech and Iowa State each fell out of the poll this week. No. 25 West Virginia filled the other remaining spot at the bottom of the poll as a result.

Here is this week’s full coaches poll, with first-place votes noted.

  1. Alabama (63 first-place votes)
  2. Miami
  3. Clemson
  4. Wisconsin
  5. Oklahoma
  6. Auburn
  7. Georgia
  8. Ohio State
  9. Notre Dame
  10. USC
  11. Penn State
  12. UCF
  13. Oklahoma State
  14. TCU
  15. Washington
  16. Washington State
  17. Memphis
  18. Michigan
  19. Mississippi State
  20. USF
  21. LSU
  22. NC State
  23. Stanford
  24. Michigan State
  25. West Virginia

Others receiving votes: Virginia Tech, Northwestern, Arizona, Boise State, South Carolina, Iowa, Kentucky, Army, San Diego State, Iowa State, Troy, Ohio

Historic rout of No. 12 Michigan State has No. 13 Ohio State en route to Big Ten East crown

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No. 13 Ohio State (8-2, 6-1 Big Ten) certainly stormed back from an embarrassing loss on the road the previous week. No. 12 Michigan State (7-3, 5-2 Big Ten) had no chance against the Buckeyes on this Saturday as Ohio State took control of the game right from the start with an overwhelming running game en route to a 48-3 victory that puts Ohio State in the driver’s seat in the Big Ten East Division with two games remaining.

Mike Weber carried the ball for 161 yards, with over 120 of those yards coming on two touchdown runs against the Spartans defense. Weber had a 47-yard touchdown run right up the middle of Michigan State midway through the first quarter on a third-and-short and he took one 82 yards on the first play from scrimmage later in the second quarter as Ohio State was pouring it on in Ohio Stadium. J.T. Barrett got in on the fun with a pair of rushing touchdowns and he completed an eight-yard touchdown pass to freshman J.K. Dobbins (who later became the third true freshman in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season) as Ohio State stormed their way to a 35-0 lead in the first half.

Barrett opened up the second half of the game with a 48-yard strike to Binjimen Victor for a score to extend the lead to 42-3. It was total domination all game long for the Buckeyes on offense and defense. A week after effectively leading the Spartans to an upset of Penn State, Brian Lewerke never managed to get on track in the passing game for the Spartans, and the running game never had space to get going either.

Ohio State’s 45-point victory was the most lopsided margin of victory for the Buckeyes over the Spartans, and it is the third most lopsided victory over a ranked opponent in school history.

With the win, Ohio State is now in sole possession of first place in the Big Ten East with a one-game lead in the loss column and they own head-to-head tiebreakers against both Michigan State and Penn State. With just two games left to play against Illinois and at Michigan, it would appear Ohio State fans can start making reservations in Indianapolis for the Big Ten championship game against Wisconsin. The question may be if there is enough in the tank to fuel a playoff push. That seems unlikely at this point, but Ohio State did pick a great day to score a blowout win like this. Three top 10 teams are guaranteed to lose today on the college football schedule, and No. 9 Washington suffered a loss Friday night. If Ohio State can play like this the next three weeks, they will remain on the radar for sure, although they may still need a little too much help to get back to the College Football Playoff for a third time.

Ohio State will host Illinois next week. Michigan State will return home for a game against Maryland.