Wyatt Cushman, Staff Writer |
Last weekend was one of the most anticipated weekends in recent memory for college football fans around the country. Conference Championship weekend is always highly anticipated, but this year there seemed to be a little more on the table with each championship game basically serving as a National Quarterfinal, where the winner would be invited to the College Football Playoff.
The ACC Championship pitted two of the best teams in the country against each other. Both Clemson and Miami have practically dominated every one of their opponents this year, besides a one weekend upset. Fans of both teams were excited for the start of this matchup all week, but once the players took the field, one side was doing all the cheering, while the other watched their National Championship hopes float away into the night sky. Clemson jumped out to an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter, and the rest of the game would follow that exact blueprint as the defending champion Tigers would go on to win 38-3. This dominating win allowed Clemson to capture the number one seed in this season’s playoff, and they will be one of the favorites to win it all for the second straight year.
Oklahoma and TCU squared off in the Big 12 Championship game Saturday afternoon in a rematch from a few weeks ago. TCU was looking to pull the upset in this one, and for a half they were able to keep up with the high-flying Sooners’ offense. Baker Mayfield proved to be too much however as the Sooners outscored TCU 17-0 in the second half and won by a final score of 41-17. This was Oklahoma’s eighth win in a row and their third consecutive Big 12 title.
The SEC Championship game was held in Atlanta once again this season, and again we saw a team in red dominate. In recent years Alabama has made the SEC Championship game its own party as they have won numerous titles over the last decade. Alabama, though, didn’t even make it to the Championship game this year. Instead, the Georgia Bulldogs were the ones running up and down the field all night long. Much like the Big 12 title game, this one was a rematch of a game held just a few weeks prior, but the winner in this one would be completely different. Georgia learned from its earlier defeat to Auburn en route to a 28-7 victory. With the win Georgia was invited to the program’s first ever College Football Playoff, where they will play Oklahoma.
The other Conference Championship Game that carried some significance this weekend was the B1G Ten Championship game between Ohio State and Wisconsin. Most people thought that the winner of this game would claim the final spot in the playoff, and that would have absolutely been the case if Wisconsin had won, as they were one of two remaining undefeated teams in all of college football. The Buckeyes had other plans however as they would hold on to capture yet another B1G Ten Championship, the 36th in the program’s history.
After the win on Saturday night, everyone knew that it all came down to two teams to take the final spot in this year’s Playoff. Both Alabama and Ohio State had a legitimate shot to be the team the selection committee picked to play the number one team Clemson, but in the end, they favored not the team with the higher quality wins, but the one with the better loss, and that team was Alabama. Although the Crimson Tide did not even compete for their Conference Championship, they were selected over Ohio State, who as mentioned before won their Conference Championship. Some people think the committee got it wrong, but either team would have been an acceptable choice. Alabama is in and for the third year in a row will play Clemson in a game that will send one team to its third straight National Championship Game, and the other packing its bags for home. The National Semifinal games are set to be played on New Years Day with the winners playing in the title game on January 8.