College conference championship craziness continues

Several teams upset in championship game 



Utah tight end Dalton Kincaid attempts to catch the ball by jumping over WSU defensive back Jordan Lee during an NCAA football match, Oct. 27.

BRANDON WILLMAN, Editor-in-chief

In the final games, before bowl season begins, every conference had its championship game. Several upsets, underperformances and blowouts occurred, and several games directly affected the playoff.

Two games occurred on Friday and the final nine were played on Saturday. The first two conferences to play were Conference USA and Pac-12, on Saturday, the championship games were the Big 12, MAC, Sun Belt, American, Mountain West, SEC, SWAC, ACC and Big Ten.

Up first was UTSA and North Texas, the No. 23 Roadrunners were favored heavily as the Mean Green boasted a record of 7-5 coming in compared to 10-2. The passing offense for UTSA was dominant from the jump, as at halftime, they held a 24-10 lead and never looked back.

Roadrunner quarterback Frank Harris went 32-27 for 341 yards and four touchdowns. Harris also added 49 yards on the ground and another score. It was a multi-level offense for the team, as running back Kevorian Barnes had 175 yards and a TD on his own rushing.

Defensively, the team also intercepted opposing QB Austin Aune twice and held their offense to 2-10 conversions.

Next up was the Pac-12 championship game which featured a rematch between the hopeful playoff contender USC and the one team that beat them, the Utah Utes. Caleb Williams did his best heroics, but dealing with a busted pinky and beat-up legs, he did not get the job done.

The Trojans’ defense did not make the trip, as they gave up 47 points and were unable to get a stop in big spots. The final score was 47-24 in favor of the Utes and it effectively killed the chances for the Pac-12 to have a representative in the playoff.

Quickly, some of the less memorable, or impactful, games that were played were the MAC Championship, won by Toledo by a score of 17-7 over Ohio. Troy beat Coastal Carolina 45-26 in the Sun Belt and Fresno State beat Boise State 28-16. Finally, the new Colorado Buffaloes hire, Deion Sanders led his Jackson State team to a 43-24 win over Southern in the SWAC Championship.

Another game with potential playoff implications was the Big 12 Championship between TCU and Kansas State. If the Horned Frogs won, their spot in the playoff was locked up and in the case that they lost, things get a little trickier.

Between questionable officiating and play-calling, the game entered OT and TCU had the ball first. On a fourth and goal from inside the one-yard line, they failed to punch it in and Kansas State just needed to score any way possible to win.

On a field goal, they took the win 31-28 and upset the No. 3 ranked Horned Frogs. It is still entirely possible they get the fourth seed, but the committee may choose to give the nod to a two-loss Alabama team instead.

Tulane and UCF played for the crown of the ACC, with the winner likely being the group of five representatives for the New Year’s Six Bowls. The Knights were dead on arrival, with no fully healthy QB available.

The Green Wave survived a late surge to take the win 45-28. QB Michael Pratt went 20-33 for 394 yards, four TDs and one interception. Wide receiver Duece Watts only had three receptions but still tallied 134 yards and a touchdown on his touches.

Georgia and LSU played for the SEC and the first scoring play proved that it never was meant to be a close match. On a blocked kick, the Bulldogs returned the ball for a TD and took an early 7-0 lead. The final score was a 50-30 win and the Tigers were without their star QB for a large portion of the game as he had to exit with an injury.

Georgia’s Stetson Bennett continued to prove his worth and showed why the doubt that he was a good starter was unwarranted. In the game, he went 23-29 for 274 yards and four passing TDs.

Clemson played UNC for the title of the best team in the ACC and behind Cade Klubnik, they took the win by a score of 39-10. Tar Heels’ Drake Maye had his worst season performance as he threw two picks and did not punch it in through the air.

The final game of the day was Michigan and Purdue and despite the Wolverines missing Blake Corum due to a season-ending injury, Donovan Edwards had 185 yards on the ground and a score. J.J. McCarthy only threw the ball 17 times but was still able to get the ball into the endzone three times for a convincing 43-22 Michigan win.

Following the matches, the playoff seems to be set with Georiga, Michigan, Ohio State and TCU looking to be the final four teams in the hunt for the coveted crown of the best team in college football for the 2022-23 season.