Just when it looked as though Alabama had gained control and all was right in the world of college football, West Virginia’s special teams struck back. Alabama had scored a go-ahead touchdown late in the first half, but West Virginia’s Mario Alford returned the ensuing kick down the right sideline, found enough room to burst through and hit fifth gear on his way to a 100-yard touchdown return. Alabama, though, holds the halftime lead thanks to a late field goal, 20-17.
Alabama’s late half touchdown was keyed by a great move by receiver DeAndrew White, who broke loose for a 38-yard gain after making cut after cut once getting his hands on the football. T.J. Yeldon did the rest with a pair of carries to move closer to the end zone and then to punch it in himself. Yeldon, a Heisman Trophy hopeful, has 46 rushing yards at the half.
West Virginia has been sticking to what seems to be the best form of kryptonite to Alabama’s defensive style. Dana Holgorsen‘s offense has been keeping things moving when it can, pushing Alabama’s defense down field without allowing for a chance to substitute when possible. Clint Trickett has thrown for 168 yards and a touchdown, which was hailed in beautifully by a stretching Kevin White. White leads West Virginia with 69 receiving yards. Alabama’s Amari Cooper leads all players with 88 receiving yards at the half.
If you are wondering if Alabama might give quarterback Jacob Coker a shot in the second half, there does not appear to be a reason for a change just yet. Blake Sims has been efficient with his passing and has not done anything to cost Alabama in the process. That is pretty much what you expect from a Nick Saban quarterback.
It’s a pretty good day for Isaiah Simmons.
The Clemson linebacker woke up Sunday as an ACC Champion, found out later he was going to the College Football Playoff as the No. 3 seed and was also was named the winner of the 2019 Butkus Award as the best linebacker in the country.
“Simmons is one of the most versatile athletes to play the linebacker position. He’s an exceptional athlete with unique length and makes plays at all three levels, with terrific rush ability, blitz timing, cover skill and tackling range. He’s a modern-day linebacker with special match-up skills. For as good of a football player as he is, he’s a better person and will represent the Butkus Award with class,” a release confirming the news said.
The Kansas native has 93 tackles, seven sacks, a fumble and two interceptions on the season.
Simmons beat out Cal’s Evan Weaver, Wisconsin’s Zach Baun, Texas Tech’s Jordyn Brooks and Penn State’s Micah Parsons for the award.
LSU linebacker and top 10 pick Devin White won the trophy last year.
The College Football Playoff is set, now it’s time for the rest of the postseason picture to shake out.
The CFP Selection Committee followed up the announcement of the Peach Bowl (No. 1 LSU vs. No. 4 Oklahoma) and Fiesta Bowl (No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Clemson) semifinals with the rest of the New Year’s Six matchups and there are some enticing games to take in over the coming month. Making some tough decisions and throwing in a handful of surprises, here’s the full lineup of the major bowl games:
College Football Playoff Semifinals — December 28, 2018
- Peach Bowl: No. 1 LSU vs. No. 4 Oklahoma
4 p.m. ET, ESPN
- Fiesta Bowl: No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Clemson
8 p.m. ET, ESPN
New Year’s Six
- Cotton Bowl: No. 10 Penn State vs. No. 17 Memphis
December 28, 2019, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN
- Orange Bowl: No. 9 Florida vs. No. 24 Virginia
December 30, 2019, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
- Rose Bowl Game: No. 6 Oregon vs. No. 8 Wisconsin
January 1, 2020, 5 p.m. ET, ESPN
- Sugar Bowl: No. 5 Georgia vs. No. 7 Baylor
January 1, 2020, 8:45 p.m. ET, ESPN
The College Football Playoff National Championship Game is scheduled for Monday, January 13, 2020. Kickoff in that one is slated for 8 p.m. ET on ESPN from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La.
The Selection Committee also released their final set of rankings for the 2019 season. They will not release a top 25 after the bowl games — as that’s left for the AP and Coaches Poll — so the members on the committee are done with their duties this year. In what is sure to be a controversial ranking (or two) for some schools, here’s the order they put teams in:
- Ohio State
- Penn State
- Notre Dame
- Boise State
- Appalachian State
- Oklahoma State
South Carolina fans will soon be able to yell ‘Run the dang ball Bobo!’ next fall.
According to the Post and Courier, Will Muschamp is set to hire ex-Colorado State head coach Mike Bobo as the Gamecocks’ new offensive coordinator “barring a last-minute change of heart.”
Receivers coach Bryan McClendon is expected to remain on staff after serving as OC this past season while Bobo is likely to fill the role vacated by recently fired QB coach Dan Werner.
Bobo is no stranger to South Carolina or SEC fans, having spent eight seasons as the coordinator at his (and Muschamp’s) alma mater of Georgia. He won two conference titles and five division titles while with the Bulldogs and spent 15 years on staff in Athens.
The Rams and Bobo announced they had mutually parted ways after the end of the regular season last week after the head coach spent five seasons in Fort Collins.
Let’s be honest, there was no debating the College Football Playoff this season. You want to try to stir things up and say that Ohio State and not LSU should have been No. 1? Fine.
But those top four teams? That seemed set in stone from the moment Utah fell flat on its face in the Pac-12 title game against Oregon. It was always going to be the Buckeyes, Tigers, Clemson and the Sooners after they beat Baylor in the Big 12 Championship Game.
For formality sake though, the Selection Committee still had to go through the motions and tick off all the boxes in the process. That included, as chairman Rob Mullens told ESPN, discussing final spot in the field between OU and what he revealed to be the No. 5 team in the rankings: Georgia.
“That conference championship win against Baylor moved (Oklahoma) to the No. 4 spot. Wd did spend some time talking about Oklahoma and Georgia but in the end, it was a solid selection for Oklahoma in the No. 4 spot,” said Mullens. “We put them on the board because we want to be thorough and we want to make sure that we consider everything. So we did have Oklahoma and Georgia on the board and Oklahoma was the number four team.”
Such a debate may not have lasted much more than 30 seconds but there you go Bulldogs fans, at least there was some consideration for your team.
Perhaps more notable is the fact that Mullens all but confirmed UGA was the No. 5 team in the full rankings released later on Sunday, which means they’ll be put in the Sugar Bowl against Baylor.