Bama clinches SEC title, playoff spot after pulling away from Mizzou

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After wobbling a bit in the third quarter, Alabama regained its balance.  And, in doing so, claimed yet another conference title and a spot at the first-ever playoff table in one fell swoop.

Leading 21-3 at halftime, Alabama watched as Missouri cut the lead 21-13 late in the third quarter before Bama pulled away and claimed a 42-13 win in the 2014 SEC championship game.  The Tide has now won two of the last three SEC championship games and five total (in nine appearances) since the conference went to this format for the 1992 season.  Overall, the Tide claims 28 league titles (24 SEC, four Southern Conference).

This was Mizzou’s second consecutive loss in the conference championship game.  In those games, the Tigers have been outscored 94-55.

Blake Sims was superb, completing 23-of-27 passes for 262 yards and touchdowns.  Most importantly, perhaps, is that the senior tossed zero interceptions.  Senior’s 85.2 completion percentage broke the SEC title-game record of 77.1 set by Auburn’s Jason Campbell in 2004.

Amari Cooper caught 12 of those passes, an SEC title-game record.  Derrick Henry led the Tide with 141 yards rushing and two touchdowns, while T.J. Yeldon chipped in a pair of rushing touchdowns.

The Tide’s defense certainly played a role i the win, limiting the Tigers to an average of 1.8 yards on their 23 carries; Mizzou came in averaging 4.5 ypc.

Were it not for some playground football, the final margin could’ve been a lot worse.

Of Mizzou’s 313 yards of offense, 158 of them on what could be best described as four prayers offered up by Maty Mauk‘s right arm.  Two of those in third quarter — one 63 yards, the other 47 — helped lead to 10 Tiger points and, at least temporarily, closing the gap.

A 14-0 run to close out the game, though, ended any upset hopes the Tigers entertained.

All of the sudden, and after entering Week 15 with many thinking chaos could/would reign, it appears that three of the four playoff spots have been claimed.  Alabama and Oregon, Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in the most recent College Football Playoff rankings, have most certainly locked up two of the spots as they are, by a comfortable margin, the two best teams in college football.  More than likely, the Tide will play in the Sugar Bowl semifinal while the Ducks will get the Rose Bowl semifinal.

No. 3 TCU obliterated 2-10 Iowa State earlier today, leading most to assume that they’ll hold serve and earn the third spot.  Of course, the Kansas State-Baylor game — the Bears beat the Horned Frogs earlier this year — could prompt the committee to reconsider.  Another factor to consider: No. 20 Oklahoma’s overtime loss to Oklahoma State will very likely rob both TCU and Baylor of a win vs. a ranked team, weakening both of their résumés.  That could bode well for two teams right on the heels of TCU.

As for the fourth spot?  You would think that, with a win over Georgia Tech in the ACC title game, unbeaten and fourth-ranked Florida State would claim it.  An FSU loss, however, would bring No. 5 Ohio State (if it beats Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game) and No. 6 Baylor (if it handles K-State) into the equation and the ACC would likely be shutout out of a playoff berth.

Maryland TE Tyler Devera says he has entered transfer portal

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It seems the transfer portal season never really ends. On Wednesday, one of the newest addition to the transfer portal was Maryland tight end Tyler Devera. Devera announced his entry to the portal on his Twitter account.

Devera was a three-star recruit in Maryland’s Class of 2019 and has yet to appear in a game for the Terrapins.

Entering the transfer portal allows Devera to have contact with any other college football program looking to recruit him. It is worth noting Devera had committed to Rutgers before ending up heading to Maryland. Devera decommitted from the Scarlet Knights after his older brother, Brendan Devera, was dismissed by (now former ) Rutgers head coach Chris Ash. Whether or not Rutgers is back in play given the program will (eventually) have a new head coach remains to be seen.

Even though Devera has not played a game this season, he would have to sit out the 2020 season if he transfers to another FBS program, per NCAA transfer rules and barring any potential waiver that receives approval for immediate eligibility. When Devera is eligible again in 2021, he will still have three years of eligibility after using 2019 or 2020 as a redshirt season.

Uniform updates: Rutgers wearing long sleeved jerseys, Texas Tech throwing it back to 1976

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The Texas Longhorns won’t be the only school wearing a throwback style this weekend. Add Texas Tech and Rutgers to the mix of teams adopting a look that pays tribute to a certain era in program history.

Rutgers, the birthplace of college football, will be doing neer before seen in the modern era of college football. The Scarlet Knights will wear long-sleeve jerseys. The long sleeves mimic the style of uniform worn by the earliest college football players, although these uniforms will be made of a much more athletic material compared to the gear worn by those in 1869. The red long sleeve jerseys will be topped by a white helmet with a classic “R” logo. From head to toe, it is quite a unique look for the Scarlet Knights.

Texas Tech won’t be wearing long sleeves, but they will be wearing a look similar to the one worn during the bicentennial. The retro uniforms to be worn by Texas Tech this weekend take a page from the 1976 Red Raiders with a white helmet and red double-T logo, complete with red stars. Texas Tech claimed a Southwest Conference title in 1976, so the design choice is appropriate for the Red Raiders.

Not to be forgotten, Boston College has been teasing its own throwback look for this weekend too. I’m just guessing it will be one Doug Flutie would appreciate.

Teams suiting up in uniforms designed to pay tribute to a previous generation of program history has been a thing for a while now, but it is great to see so many schools getting in on the fun in the 150th anniversary season of college football. Every team should make it happen.

But wait, there’s more! Boise State is going to wear a uniform similar to the one they wore during their Fiesta Bowl victory over Arizona in 2014.

C’mon Boise State. If you’re going to do a Fiesta Bowl throwback look, it is required by law that it must be the uniform worn in the win against Oklahoma.

Alabama removes Class of 2019 five-star defensive lineman Alfano from roster

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The writing may have been on the wall for much of the season, but Alabama freshman defensive lineman Antonio Alfano appears to no longer be a part of the Alabama football program. Alfano’s name went missing from the team’s online roster, as noted by BamaOnLine.com on Wednesday.

Alfano was among the prized recruits in Alabama’s Class of 2019, but a suspension led to head coach Nick Saban eventually saying Alfano “basically quit” the team. Rumors of his pending entrance to the NCAA transfer portal were ignited following quotes from his family, but BamaOnline reports Alfano has yet to formally have his name added to the portal.

So, uh, what gives?

It’s hard to say for now. Alfano was suspended for unknown reasons early in the season and had yet to play a game for Alabama. His removal from the team’s online roster suggests he will not be making a return to the Crimson Tide. That would suggest an entry to the transfer portal is imminent, especially since his parents previously stated Alfano was doing just that (and publicly saying he should stay at Alabama).

Whatever the future holds for Alfano, there will likely be a number of programs willing to take a look and see if he’s ready to get back on the field in a new environment. If he does transfer, he would have to sit out the 2020 season before being ruled eligible to play again in 2021 with three years of eligibility remaining.

Wayne Gretzky voices support for Oklahoma State RB Chuba Hubbard Heisman Trophy campaign

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The Heisman Trophy campaign for Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard is officially on, and it already has the support of The Great One. Hall of Fame hockey icon Wayne Gretzky was featured in a video shared by the Edmonton Oilers lending his support for Canada’s own Hubbard.

“I just want to pass on our congratulations from everyone in Edmonton,” Gretzky said in a short video clip shared by the Edmonton Oilers. “We’re all really proud of you. Keep going.”

Hubbard, a native of Edmonton, was appreciative of the message and words of encouragement from an Edmonton sports hero.

Hubbard is a native of Edmonton. Hubbard rushed for 6,880 yards and 82 touchdowns in high school. Hubbard currently leads the nation in rushing with 182.33 yards per game. As of today, Hubbard is the only running back with 1,000 rushing yards midway through the season. The next closest to Hubbard in rushing yards is Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins (826 yards) and Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor (825 yards).

Hubbard is hoping to become the second Heisman Trophy winner in Oklahoma State program history. Barry Sanders won the Heisman Trophy in 1988.