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No. 5 Oklahoma rallies but falls short on the road at Kansas State

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There is one less undefeated team in FBS college football after No. 5 Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) saw a fourth-quarter rally against Kansas State (5-2, 2-2 Big 12) come up just short. An onside kick after cutting Kansas State’s lead to 48-41 was illegally touched by an Oklahoma player, and the Wildcats were able to go into a victory formation to close out the Sooners.

Kansas State held a 48-23 lead on the Sooners early in the fourth quarter after James Gilbert finished off a 10-play drive with a short touchdown run. But as so many teams trying to pull off a major upset have seen before, closing the door is often a difficult task, especially against a team with the potential to score at any moment like Oklahoma. Jalen Hurts (19/26, 395 yards, 1 TD, 96 rushing yards, 3 rushing TD) completed a pass to CeeDee Lamb on the first play from scrimmage after the Kansas State touchdown, and Lamb finished off a quick 70-play touchdown strike to keep hope alive. Oklahoma forced Kansas State to punt on their next two possessions, with a 90-yard touchdown drive in between.

Kansas State quarterback Skyler Thompson had a big day in a game that was supposed to star Hurts. Thompson passed for 213 yards and rushed for four touchdowns to help the Wildcats score their first win against a top 5 team since 2006.

So, what does this all mean for the Sooners? A season with a chance to defend their Big 12 title is still in the mix, and a spot in the College Football Playoff is certainly a bit more difficult to reach but not at all out of the question. Oklahoma still must respond to this loss with authority and take care of their schedule the rest of the way. A 1-loss Big 12 champion would still have a shot to gain a playoff spot. What is unknown is just how much additional help Oklahoma would potentially need. But that’s something to worry about later on if the Sooners remain in play.

The good news for Oklahoma, is there is such a thing, is this loss is not the kind of ugly loss that dooms them without question. Kansas State is on its way to a likely winning season, and the Sooners did claw back with a big game in the box score by their top Heisman Trophy candidate.

Oklahoma will get an extra week to stew over this one, as their next game will be played in two weeks at home against No. 23 Iowa State. Kansas State will look to follow-up this win with one next week on the road at Kansas. A win against the Jayhawks would make Kansas State bowl-eligible.

LSU opens as double-digit favorites on Oklahoma; Ohio State slight underdog to Clemson

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While definitely subject to change, the initial wagering odds for the degenerates in the reading audience are out.

Earlier Sunday, and in a surprise to absolutely no one, the four semifinalists for the 2019 College Football Playoff were released.  LSU was given the No. 1 seed by the selection committee and will face No. 4 Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl.  No. 2 Ohio State, which came into Championship Saturday ranked first in the country, will square off with No. 3 Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl.

According to the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, LSU is a 7/5 favorite to win the 2019 national championship.  Clemson is next at 2/1, while Ohio State sits at 3/1.  Oklahoma, which won its way into the playoffs at the expense of Georgia, is a decided underdog at 16/1.

Speaking of underdogs, the SEC Tigers are currently listed as a 12½-point favorite in their matchup with the Sooners.  Despite being the higher seed, the Buckeyes have opened as a two-point underdog to the ACC Tigers.

The over/under for Ohio State-Clemson opened at 63; for LSU-Oklahoma, it’s at 75.

LSU and Oklahoma have squared off just twice previously, with the most recent matchup coming in 2004.  Clemson and Ohio State have met three times in their collective histories, the most recent meeting coming in the 2016 College Football Playoff — a 31-0 win for the Tigers.

Arkansas confirms hiring of Georgia OL coach Sam Pittman as head coach

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When it came to replacing the fired Chad Morris, Arkansas, as it turned out, didn’t have to look outside of the SEC.

Sunday, with one of its top targets, Lane Kiffin, already having been locked up by SEC West rival Ole Miss, Arkansas reportedly pivoted its attention to Georgia’s Sam Pittman.  A few hours later, the Razorbacks confirmed that Pittman has been hired as the school’s next head football coach.

“Sam Pittman has been an integral part of successful teams that have competed at the highest levels, including for SEC and NCAA Championships,” UA athletic director Hunter Yurachek said in a statement. “As one of the nation’s premier offensive line coaches, he has built a remarkable body of work thanks to his tremendous passion for his student-athletes, including teaching the fundamentals and developing his players on and off the field. Sam instills in his players the motivation, grit and determination required to compete and win. Throughout this process, I heard from many of his former players about the tremendous influence he had on them as a player and as a man.

“Sam knows the Southeastern Conference inside and out and is one of the nation’s best recruiters. His connections throughout football will enable him to build a quality coaching staff. In his previous tenure, Sam and his wife Jamie fell in love with the state of Arkansas and with Razorback fans. They know what a special place this is and are excited for the opportunity to come back to the Home of the Razorbacks.”

The hiring marks a return to Fayetteville for Pittman as he was a member of Bret Bielema‘s first coaching staff in 2013. In 2016, he left for Georgia, where he spent the past four seasons as the Bulldogs’ offensive line coach.  He also served as Kirby Smart‘s associate head coach.

The 58-year-old Pittman will be officially introduced as the Razorbacks’ 34th head coach Monday afternoon.

Mizzou zeroing in on Eli Drinkwitz as next head coach

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Once again, it appears a Power Five program will pilfer a Group of Five school for its next head football coach.

Sunday afternoon, Bruce Feldman of The Athletic reported that Applachian State’s Eli Drinkwitz “has emerged as a strong candidate” for the vacancy at Missouri.  Subsequent to that, ESPN.com reported that “Drinkwitz has reached an agreement to become Missouri’s next head football coach and a deal is being finalized.”

An official announcement of Drinkwitz becoming the permanent replacement for Barry Odom, who was fired late last month after four seasons at his alma mater, is expected no later than Monday.

The 36-year-old Drinkwitz is in his first season as the head coach of the Mountaineers, his first head-coaching job at any level of football.  App State stands at 12-1 on the season after claiming its second-straight Sun Belt Conference championship Saturday with a win over Louisiana.

Dec. 21, App State will face UAB in the New Orleans Bowl.

Georgia WR Dominick Blaylock reportedly suffered ACL tear in SEC title game loss

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A rough weekend for Georgia was underscored on Sunday as reports surfaced saying one of their key young players is done for the rest of this year and likely part of the next one.

As per Rivals’ Radi Nabulsi and a host of other beat writers in Athens, Bulldogs receiver Dominick Blaylock suffered a torn ACL in the loss against LSU in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday.

The freshman from Marietta, Ga. had to be carted off the field in the first quarter after making a short catch and planting his knee awkwardly. The team’s top receiver, Lawrence Cager, was already out after undergoing knee surgery on Nov. 29.

Blaylock had made 18 catches for 310 yards and five touchdowns at UGA this season.