Week eight had so much drama, excitement, and a last-second win that showed why this season was so special for everyone involved. If you missed any of it then you missed some special moments. This weeks’ takeaways will be the last one of the regular season and all the games had some amazing story lines. From Clemson and Ohio State playing for perfection to Texas wanting the SEC title all to there own. Washington, Norte Dame, Michigan, and Oregon playing for just two playoff spots in the Big Ten. Auburn and Miami both playing to be last one in in the SEC. To players finishing out amazing college careers. These are just a few of them so sit back, turn off the TV and enjoy your takeaways.
1) FOR THE LAST PLAYOFF SPOT
Plain and simple, Miami wins and they go to the playoffs. Florida was playing for state bragging rights. Something had to give and it did. Kingston Fox came out and put the Gators up early and looked like they were ready for this match up. But wait, Jose Bueno was going to have something to say about it and for the most part, his line kept him upright and clean. With both his arms at times, and his legs, the Canes clawed their way right back into it and took the lead at times. Not to be left out, Avery Jordan did his part too picking up key first downs when needed. That was the first half. Miami comes out and the fireworks really start. Between big plays and big sacks, this was a shoot out till the end. Fox and company were in control late, but Bueno and his South Beach Boys had one last drive left. Win and in. The Canes game to win. End of story. Four plays within the fifteen-yard line to the end zone and then Florida’s defense buckles down. Last play, shot at the end zone, looks like its the game-winning touchdown. Instead, it’s Florida corner Chaz Gorbachuk with the interception. Miami is out and Florida is the kings of the sunshine state.
2) CURTAIN CALL
TCU versus Penn State was the game to showcase the best of two types of offenses. Run game against the passing attack. What it ended up being was a prolific passer who showed the world that out of all the big time performances, he was going to be the one that stood out. It was supposed to be Walker Mills’ and Robert Davis’ show and combined they put up 258 yards on the ground and five touchdowns. Wow, eye-popping. That was combined. James Kovach’s performance was just a party of one. To start the game he was a perfect 12 of 12 passing. Penn State couldn’t decide who to stop with him sharing the ball with five different players. As the smoke cleared he had gone 37 of 44, 433 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. TCU wins 41-35 to end their season. Jared Tetonis ended his amazing career as the recipient of two of those touchdowns and will continue his career in the NFL next year. As for Mr Kovach, the gunslinger will be moving north to Nebraska to write another chapter in his story.
3) BACK-Door-Ing IN
Both Auburn and Oregon finished their season on a three-game losing streak. Also, both were beaten in their season finales by double digits. You read those first lines and you’d think season over, time to go to work for the next season. Nope, they both will be playing in the playoffs as #3 seeds. It took Florida beating Miami to slide the Tigers into the dance. While Oregon needed help from Ohio State with their victory over rival Michigan. They say some times it just takes luck and the bounce of the ball. Both teams got both. Now don’t get me wrong, they are both very talented teams and can make some serious noise come playoff time. Just remember season one and the run Auburn went on to make it to the National Championship game. It isn’t going to be easy with Auburn drawing Washington and Oregon playing one-loss Clemson who will be looking to take their end of season loss out on someone. This is the time of year when you want to go into the playoffs streaking not sputtering. Let us see if one or both of these teams have a little more luck up their sleeves.
4) SO CLOSE
Clemson entered week eight undefeated, looking to win the SEC and lock up a playoff bye. The only thing standing in the way was one loss Texas. Both teams were 4-0 in conference and the Longhorns, by all means, had looked like the more balanced team. Lets not forget that Clemson is the defending National Champs and had no blemishes on their record though. The old saying till someone knocks you off you are still number one held true. This was the match-up everyone one looking towards. Texas is the only team in the country that averages over 40 points per game, while Clemson’s defense gives up just under 28 points per game. These are the numbers and at the end of the night its scary to see what the final score was. Ray ” Voodoo ” Tatum was coming off a game in which he was picked off five times and sacked twice. It just felt like he would be wanting to prove that that game was a one off. Boy was it, The Man from Austin put up 442 yards passing and 6 touchdowns. Not to be out shined, the Texas defense, spearheaded by OLB Howard Cook and FS Jimbo Smithers, put the clamps on Javon Mack, holding him to 214 yards passing and zero touchdowns through the air. Some people would like to say Texas spoiled Clemson in the end. That’s not the case at all, they just did what Texas does and that was the same thing they have done all year. Play balance team football and dominate the other team on both sides of the ball. Final score Texas 49, Clemson 28. Crazy how team averages work out. The Longhorns win the SEC and Clemson has a date with the Oregon Ducks on Monday.
5) THE ONLY ONE
At the beginning of season, the Ohio State Buckeyes where a dark horse team to make some noise in the Big Ten. Noise was it, not picked to be one of the top three teams, just a team that could be tough to play. Guess they don’t know the Ohio State Buckeyes as a team like that locker room does. No team has done what the Buckeyes have done this year and that is to go undefeated in the regular season. Hawaii did hold the record for eight wins in a row, which Ohio State has tied, but they finished the year with two loses. Just how did the Boys from Columbus pull this off? To start with. their defense, known to all as the Sharks. They are the number one defense in the country giving up 24.8 points per game with 15 takeaways and 28 sacks. They have three legitimate DPOY candidates in LB Martavis Marriott, leading tackler in the country, FS Kevin Brackett, who trails by only six tackles, and CB Tom Pence, who is tide for the lead in defensive touchdowns. You throw in week one DPOW LB Scottie James and All-American CB Juan Cantu and you start to see what makes them so good. They play unselfish defense and seem to always come up with a big play at the biggest times of every game to help this team win.
On the other side of the ball is the Ohio State offense, which also ranks number one in the country. What the combo of QB Xavier Allen-Garcia and RB Frost Carlson have done on the ground is special. Carlson leads the country in rushing with 1,192 yards and yards per game with 149. No wonder why he is a candidate for OPOY. XGA, for his special talents, averages 101 rushing yards per game at a clip of 7.2 yards per carry, best in the country. He also has 11 rushing touchdowns which leads all quarterbacks. No wonder the two have been nicknamed “Fire and Ice “. The receiving corp as a unit has been there at all the right times for the big catches or key blocks when called upon. Another reason for the success of this team. Everyone plays together. Finally, the man behind the scenes, Athletic Director Connor Russell, not only recruited this team in one day, but has built a culture that has become infectious and uniting. Everyone plays together and works together for each other. He is the reason this all works. “In Russell we trust ” is the mantra of the Ohio State Buckeyes. Kinda catchy, isn’t it? Undefeated and Big Ten champs has a nice ring to it but something tells me this team isn’t finished yet. Welcome to the playoffs.