Sunday, November 28, 2021

A Chaotic Rivalry Weekend Sets Up Final Sprint for College Football Playoff Spots (VIDEO)

I watched all three big games: Ohio State at Michigan, Oklahoma at Oklahoma State, and Alabama at Purdue.

All great, especially Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State, with four overtimes.

At WSJ, "The semifinal field is still wide open after Michigan defeated Ohio State, Oklahoma State beat Oklahoma and Alabama won ugly in the Iron Bowl":

In Ann Arbor, there was catharsis for Michigan fans. At Auburn, Alabama’s uncharacteristic mistakes set up a quadruple-overtime survival test for the Crimson Tide. And by the time the clock ran out in Stillwater, Okla., the top end of the college football standings had been completely reshuffled.

College’s football’s rivalry weekend brought a huge dose of unanticipated chaos to the College Football Playoff picture. No. 1 Georgia and upstart Cincinnati both remained undefeated. But elsewhere, the top end of the rankings got a major reshuffle.

Michigan has its eye on a playoff spot for the first time after defeating Ohio State 42-27 in a snowy Big House. First it must beat No. 16 Iowa in the Big Ten championship next weekend, however.

Oklahoma State is also eyeing a semifinal debut, having rallied from a nine-point deficit to beat Oklahoma for the first time in seven years and clinch a spot in the Big 12 title game.

Saturday was rougher for No. 3 Alabama, which was held to three points through 59 minutes of the Iron Bowl and needed a last-minute touchdown drive and four additional overtimes to take down a 6-5 Auburn team playing with its second-string quarterback who was visibly injured.

It was an unusually sloppy performance for the Crimson Tide, who tallied 11 penalties for 129 yards. Quarterback Bryce Young, a Heisman Trophy favorite, threw a crucial red-zone interception and completed less than half of his 52 passes, top receiver Jameson Williams got ejected from the game for targeting during a first half kick return and Alabama converted on fourth down just once in four tries. Auburn nearly clinched the game in regulation with just 10 points and 137 total yards of offense.

“I just had a feeling that the way we were playing on defense, that we were going to have some opportunities and be able to come back in the game,” said Alabama coach Nick Saban following the game. “I can’t tell you how proud I am of the way our players kept competing in the game.”

Oklahoma State also pulled off a second-half comeback in its rivalry game against No. 10 Oklahoma. The Cowboys headed into halftime tied at 24 only to see the Sooners open up a nine-point lead after a special teams gaffe, a missed field goal and a turnover in the third quarter.

Just when everything was going wrong, Oklahoma State clawed its way to a 37-33 lead. Steady defense sealed the deal, breaking up several deep balls to the end zone from Oklahoma’s freshman sensation, quarterback Caleb Williams, then sacking him on the final play of the game...