With the exception of the major bowls, this may be the most popular weekend of the year for NCAA football fans.
It’s “Rivalry Week”, aka “Hate Week” with teams that have been competing against, in some cases over a century, their most hated foe. At the very least, these events are for annual bragging rights. Many also encompass heated intra-state battles.
In some cases, the outcome of these games will determine which teams advance to compete in their respective conference championship. This includes the SEC where the biggest affair of the weekend occurred in Auburn, Alabama when the Tigers met the Crimson Tide in the Iron Bowl.
That’s the obvious game of the week, but we’ll also take a look at another conference deciding victory (ACC) and one Big 10 classic that may now have national championship implications.
Duke 27, North Carolina 25
Normally when the Blue Devils and Tar Heels are involved in a meaningful contest it takes place on a hardwood floor. However there was no Coach K on the sidelines Saturday afternoon when Duke defeated North Carolina 27-25 on the gridiron. The victory gives Duke a 10 win season and berth in the ACC Championship game. That earns them the dubious distinction of meeting newly anointed number 1 ranked Florida State for the conference crown. Good luck with that!
Ohio State 42, Michigan 41
Urban Meyer described his Buckeyes 42-41 win over Michigan as an “instant classic” and that’s a hard description to argue with.
When Devin Gardner, the Michigan QB with the high jersey number (98) hit TE Devin Funchess (#87) for a 2 yard touchdown it looked like an overtime session was in the offering after the extra point kick.
However Wolverines Coach Brady Hoke must be commended for having the guts to go for a 2 point conversion. The play failed giving Ohio State the one point win and a chance at playing in the national championship.
After the game it was easy to find fault with Hoke’s decision, but the fact of the matter was it is more than likely the Buckeyes would have won this game in OT given Michigan’s inability to stop Ohio States running game all day.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Auburn 34, Alabama 28
This was the game of the week going in and certainly maintained that billing coming out, after Auburn upset number 1 Alabama 34-28.
The teams played to a 21-21 standoff through 3 quarters.
Nines were wild in the final quarter with jersey number 9, Amari Cooper catching an A.J. McCarron pass for 99 yards and a touchdown at the 10:28 mark.
Auburn tied the game with just 32 seconds remaining on a Nick Marshall (#14) TD throw to Sammie Coates.
After the Crimson Tide quickly moved the ball to the Auburn 39 yard line, another player wearing a number 99 jersey played a significant role in the game. Freshman kicker, Adam Griffith missed on a 57 yard field goal attempt which was returned 109 yards (100 by NCAA rule) by Chris Davis (#1) for the unbelievable finish.
The national rankings now find Florida State at number 1, followed by Ohio State, Auburn and Alabama in that order. Next week’s conference championships will determine who will contend for the national championship in Pasadena on January 6th.
With the NCAA season ending and the holidays approaching, it is a good reminder that
college apparel makes great gifts.