Florida State wins ACC Championship, remains undefeated, but is it enough for CFP?


If the BCS system were still in the place, the Florida State Seminoles would be preparing to play in the National Championship game after their 37-35 victory over Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the ACC Championship Game.

Instead, an undefeated Florida State squad now has to sweat it out as the College Football Playoff committee decides the team’s fate.

A 13-0 record used to automatically equate into being one of the best teams in college football. Yet there is very little faith in this year’s Seminoles.

Seven of the team’s games this season were decided by six points or less. Even the ACC Championship Game was a little too close for comfort as the Yellow Jackets drove the ball 97 yards in just over a minute to get within two points.

Florida State looked stellar on offense, though.

Quarterback Jameis Winston played arguably his best game of the season. Winston was 21-of-30 passing for 309 yards and three touchdowns. More importantly, the redshirt sophomore didn’t make any mistakes. All season Winston was prone to throwing poor passes. The quarterback didn’t have a turnover against the Yellow Jackets.

Freshman running back Dalvin Cook also performed tremendously well. The young workhorse ran the ball 31 times for 177 yards with Florida State’s offensive line dominating up front.

However, the defense was another story.

Georgia Tech scored a touchdown on its first three possessions. And Florida State’s defense struggled to stop Paul Johnson‘s triple-option offense. The Yellow Jackets amassed a whopping 331 rushing yards.

Despite another close call and a lackluster performance on defense, Florida State emerged as the victor. The program continued to do so in each and every game this season.

The Seminoles haven’t lost a game since the 2012 season. That should carry some weight with the playoff committee.

What remains uncertain is exactly how the committee will eventually decide to decipher the best four teams.

Saturday’s outcomes were exactly helpful for Florida State.

The No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes absolutely demolished the No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers in the Big Ten Championship Game. The Buckeyes are playing like one of the elite programs in the nation at this very moment.

The No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs entered the weekend ranked higher than Florida State and easily whipped an inferior Iowa State Cyclones Squad.

And the No. 6 Baylor Bears may have completed the most impressive victory by beating the No. 9 Kansas State Wildcats by 11 points.

It should be almost impossible for the playoff committee to keep Florida State out of a semifinal game, but the possibility still exists. An undefeated record and an ACC Championship should be enough to squeeze Florida State into the inaugural College Football Playoff. It’s just not a certainty.

Everyone will find out at 12:30 p.m. (ET) Sunday.

LSU students will go to class on Saturday to make up for national title game

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LSU students who got to skip class for the national title game (and the ensuing celebrations…) were hit with a dose of reality returning to Baton Rouge on Friday.

According to an announcement from the university, classes that were cancelled on Monday and Tuesday for the championship game have been rescheduled. As a result, students will have to go to class on Saturday, Jan. 25 and Saturday, Feb. 8.

So yes, Saturdays in the fall have resulted in a few Saturdays of work in the spring.

The school had received a bit of criticism when it was announced that classes were cancelled on the dates surrounding the championship game. While the practice has happened elsewhere, the nature of the game being less than an hour from campus in New Orleans certainly made things unique for the Tigers and their large fan base.

While some students no doubt had hoped that the classes at the time were indeed cancelled, it turns out they were in fact just being rescheduled. Going to school on a Saturday probably isn’t what many had in mind when signing up for the spring semester but there’s probably not a soul in purple and gold will take issue with the change given that it comes as a result of hoisting the ultimate football trophy on Monday night in the Big Easy.

Virginia safety Chris Moore enters transfer portal

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The transfer portal has claimed another name.

As first noted by ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, Virginia safety Chris Moore has entered his name into the database as he explores a move out of Charlottesville.

Moore started five of his nine appearances for the Cavaliers in 2019 and wound up recording 42 tackles. While he was in line to become one of the key members in the secondary going forward, a prior  suspension for violating team rules back in November may have wound up playing a role in his departure and standing with the team.

The safety had previously missed all of the 2018 season with an injury as well.

Moore was originally a three-star recruit out of Ashburn, Va. in 2016 and, assuming the redshirt senior has a degree, likely has a season remaining as a grad transfer.

DL Jay Tufele, WR Tyler Vaughns skipping draft to stay at USC

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Clay Helton has a lot of issues to deal with at the moment. Having a talented USC football team is not one of them.

The Trojans received a rare bit of good news on Thursday evening as two key players announced they were skipping the 2020 NFL Draft. In back-to-back announcements, defensive lineman Jay Tufele and wideout Tyler Vaughns confirmed they would remain in Los Angeles for the 2020 season.

Tufele is one of USC’s best defensive players. He recorded 42 tackles and 4.5 sacks last season as a redshirt sophomore despite dealing with a handful of injuries. With leading sacker Drake Jackson also back, there’s a nice tandem up front for whoever the team hires as defensive coordinator to work with going forward.

Vaughns returning also makes a dangerous receiving corps that much deeper. Michael Pittman Jr. was lost to graduation but the next three top wideouts are set to be back in 2020. Add in a group of solid tailbacks and both J.T. Daniels and Kedon Slovis at QB and USC will once again have one of the top offenses in the Pac-12.

Whether it will all help save Helton’s job again remains to be seen. If nothing else though, there’s at least there’s some positive news for the cardinal and gold this offseason with Tufele and Vaughns back in the fold going forward.

Nebraska and OC Troy Walters “mutually agreed to part ways”

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A year after significantly falling short of expectations, an offseason of change has commenced at Nebraska.

In one of the first big moves since Scott Frost took over at his alma mater, the Cornhuskers and offensive coordinator Troy Walters announced on Friday that they had ‘mutually agreed to part ways.’

“Troy has been a valued member of our coaching staff for the past four years,” Frost said in a statement. “Troy is a good mentor for his players, provides great energy on and off the field, and carries himself with a presence off the field that will be missed. I want to thank him for his work on our coaching staff, and wish him and his family all the best going forward.”

The duo first came together when Frost was hired at UCF and led a number of prolific offenses, including the undefeated 2017 team for the Knights. Walters was a finalist for the Broyles Award that same season though has not called plays for either team.

Walters had a distinguished career as a player at Stanford that included All-American honors and a Biletnikoff Award in 1999. He spent several years in the NFL before going into coaching during stops at Texas A&M, N.C. State and Colorado.

The departure of Walters could interestingly lead to a reunion between Frost and a familiar name in Mark Helfrich. The latter was head coach at Oregon when Frost was elevated to offensive coordinator for the Ducks and is in search of a job after being let go by the Chicago Bears from a similar role.