A FEW WEEKS ago, I wrote that the SEC East had morphed into ACC football. My sincere apologies go out to the ACC and its fan base.
The ACC is considerably better than the SEC East, and this past weekend’s results proved that. The ACC went 4-0 against the SEC East, sending out a signal of how far the ACC has advanced the past few seasons – as well as how far the SEC East has fallen.
Clemson defeated South Carolina. Georgia Tech defeated Georgia. Florida State defeated Florida. Louisville defeated Kentucky.
It represented perhaps the biggest weekend of victories in ACC history, and perhaps the lowest point for an SEC division in history.
Even Missouri’s celebration of a second consecutive SEC East championship should be a bit muted. Missouri won the East without a signature victory. The champs also lost a home game to Indiana, which finished the season with a 4-8 record, including 1-7 in the Big Ten.
At least Missouri and Georgia helped save some face for the East in games against the SEC West. Missouri defeated Texas A&M and Arkansas, and Georgia defeated Arkansas and Auburn. Those were the only four wins for the East in 14 games against the West.
Down to six The real college football playoff that is the regular season eliminated two more teams over the weekend, leaving six teams in the running for the four College Football Playoff spots with one week to go.
Marshall was knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 67-66, overtime loss to Western Kentucky. Mississippi State was eliminated by losing a second game, this one to Mississippi.
That leaves unbeaten Florida State and once-beatens Alabama, Baylor, Ohio State, Oregon and TCU vying for the final four spots. Florida State is in, regardless if it loses to Georgia Tech in the ACC championship game.
In the final week, Baylor and TCU complete their regular seasons with games against Kansas State and Iowa State, respectively. Alabama faces Missouri in the SEC championship game, Ohio State – with a third-string quarterback – goes against Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game, and Oregon meets Arizona for the Pac-12 championship.
Bowling Enough teams have qualified to fill all 76 bowl slots, and some teams with 6-6 records or better likely will stay home for the holidays.
There are 80 bowl-eligible teams because Georgia Southern (9-3) and Old Dominion (6-6) are in transitional years. Temple and Oklahoma State can win a sixth game to become bowl eligible this weekend. Temple plays at Tulane and Oklahoma State is at Oklahoma.
Two teams have accepted bids, Navy to the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl and BYU to the Miami Beach Bowl.
About that stat line There is a reason you probably thought Clemson accumulated more than 225 yards rushing Saturday against USC.
Clemson wide receiver Artavis Scott ran what is called a “speed sweep” six times for 170 yards. But because quarterback Deshaun Watson tapped the ball forward to Scott instead of handing it off, the play is recorded as a pass rather than a run.
If you add those totals to Clemson’s rushing yards, the Tigers carried the ball 46 times for 395 yards. That would have been the highest rushing total by a USC opponent since Arkansas ran for 542 yards in 2007.
Learn from NFL For TV programming purposes, NFL games generally last about three hours. The average length of games a season ago was 3:11, and last week’s games were finished in a tidy 3:04, including a 2:45 game.
College eventually will figure out a way to shorten games to enhance the fan experience, but not anytime soon. College games seem to be inching closer to the four-hour mark.
USC games this season lasted an average of 3:32 with a low of 3:11 at Auburn and a high of 3:59 in the overtime loss to Tennessee at Williams-Brice Stadium.
It is more difficult to shorten the college game, because its halftime shows are longer. But college football could adopt many of the speed-up rules now used in the NFL and better hold TV producers to the allotted time for commercial breaks.