Well, the regular season of NCAA football is over and gone, and for those of you who are getting ready to enter the post-football depression, remember there is still another month of games remaining. Who will play for the national championship? That question was finally answered Sunday evening when it was announced that the Florida Gators had edged out Michigan for the honor of taking on Ohio State. Rutgers played their hearts out but also played themselves into the second-tier Texas Bowl on Saturday, while Wake capped off the best season in school history with a win over Georgia Tech to win the ACC.
West Virginia over Rutgers
It took triple overtime, but the Mountaineers were able to get it done at home as they knocked off the Rutgers Scarlett Knights and ended their dreams of winning the Big East. Both Ray Rice and Steve Slayton had exceptional games, as each topped the 100 yard mark, but the star of the game was backup quarterback Jarrett Brown of the Mountaineers. Brown, who was playing for the injured Pat White, was 14 of 29 for 244 yards and a touchdown.
Runner-Up: Wake Forest over Georgia Tech
UCLA over USC
If USC had defeated the Bruins, they would have gone back to the national title game and faced undefeated Ohio State, but the boys from across town had different ideas. UCLA experienced sufficient play from quarterback Patrick Cowan and was able to hold the potent USC offense to 329 yards. The outstanding defensive effort that UCLA put forth not only allowed them to win the game but let them play the spoiler to any national championship hopes that the Trojans might have had in the process.
BEST TEAM PERFORMANCE
A tainted and struggling team coming off a season in which the starting quarterback was dismissed for receiving illegal payments from a local business and in which star running back Adrian Peterson went down with a broken collarbone, the Sooners were able to make it to the Big XII title game and win the conference in what was supposed to be a down year after the bad breaks and injuries early on. Nebraska was never really able to get going, as the Sooners received exceptional play from quarterback Paul Thompson, who was 19 of 34 for 265 yards and two touchdowns. His counterpart, Big XII offensive player of the year Zac Taylor, was 23 of 50 for 282 yards and a touchdown but three costly interceptions.
MOST DISAPPOINTING TEAM PERFORMANCE
Against Wake Forest, GT was able to move the ball through the air consistently, but lackluster play from quarterback Reggie Ball coupled with an inspired performance from the Wake defense sealed the Yellow Jackets' fate.
Runner-Up: Nebraska Cornhuskers
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Dan LeFevour – Quarterback – Central Michigan
LeFevour was 22 of 30 for 314 yards and three touchdowns against Ohio on Thursday night as the Chippewas took home the MAC title.
DeSean Jackson – Wide Receiver – Cal
In a comeback win against the Cardinal of Stanford on Saturday, Jackson caught seven receptions for 127 yards.
Chris Leak – Quarterback – Florida
Leak was 16 of 30 for 189 yards and a touchdown against Arkansas in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday.
THREE THINGS WE LEARNED
#1. The Big XII is extremely good this year. Usually this would be considered a down year, but all the teams (excusing Baylor) are just good enough that they keep beating each other.
#2: Rutgers is not the best team in the Big East. I would be tempted to say that if Rutgers were to play Louisville five more times, Louisville would win at least four of those matchups.
#3: Steve Spurrier will go nowhere. After the contract extension by South Carolina, it would take a lot of money to lure him away.