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College Football Season

ACC Title Game Is Va. Tech-BC Again;
CUSA Championship Is ECU-Tulsa

by Mike Mitchell and Dave Congrove
November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving weekend had a few turkeys but, for the most part, it was a veritable feast of college football. In one regard, it's still not over. With victories by all three of the Big 12 South teams that were vying for the division title, Sunday's BCS Standings will determine if Oklahoma, Texas or Texas Tech advance to play Missouri.

Texas outmuscled Texas A&M 49-9 on Thursday night to close the season 11-1 overall, 7-1 in the Big 12. It was the largest margin of victory in the series by either team since a 48-0 Texas win in 1898. The Aggies finished 4-8 overall, 2-6 in the Big 12, and clinched at least a share of last place with Baylor in the South division in Mike Sherman's first season as head coach. Texas A&M had won the last two meetings.

Texas Tech (11-1, 7-1) came back from a 28-14 deficit to beat Baylor 35-28 in Lubbock.

Oklahoma kept the offense in gear for a 4th consecutive 60-point performance with a 61-41 win over Oklahoma State in the Bedlam rivalry at Stillwater.

The PAC-10 is now USC's to lose after Oregon State blew their chance to clinch the conference's automatic BCS bid to the Rose Bowl. The Beavers fell behind Oregon 37-10 by halftime, and lost 65-38 in the Civil War. The Trojans can assure themselves of the outright conference title with a win at UCLA next week. A USC loss would hand it right back to Oregon State deep into the conference's tie-breaking procedures.

USC jumped all over Notre Dame, 38-3, as expected. It was the 7th straight Trojan win the series, and the fifth to be decided by 31 points or more in that time span. The Trojans have won the last four home meetings with the Irish by an average score of 42 to 13.

Several races were settled over the weekend, and here is what we now know regarding the various conference titles:

(BOLD teams clinched conference or division title)
Virginia Tech (Coastal) vs. Boston College (Atlantic)
BIG EAST: Cincinnati clinched outright title.
BIG 10: Penn State clinched BCS bid; co-champs with Ohio State.
BIG 12: Missouri (North) vs. Oklahoma, Texas or Texas Tech (South).
CUSA: East Carolina (East) vs. Tulsa (West).
MAC: Buffalo (East) vs. Ball State (West).
MWC: Utah clinched outright title and BCS at-large bid.
PAC-10: USC will clinch with win at UCLA next week.
SEC: Florida (East) vs. Alabama (West).
SUN BELT: Arkansas State-Troy winner next week.
WAC: Boise State clinched outright title; longshot for at-large BCS bid.

Virginia Tech and Boston College will meet in the ACC Championship for the second consecutive season. The Hokies earned the chance to defend their ACC title with a 17-14 win over Virginia on Saturday to claim the Coastal division crown. Virginia Tech's 5th straight win over the Cavaliers, and 9th in the last 10 games, blocked Virginia from the bowl party. Boston College claimed the Atlantic division with a 28-21 win at Maryland.

Pittsburgh pulled off a mild 19-15 home upset of West Virginia on Friday, handing the Big East's automatic BCS bowl bid to Cincinnati. The Bearcats then claimed the outright conference title with a 30-10 win over Syracuse on Saturday. The Backyard Brawl is becoming the Backyard Bawl for the Mountaineers who were knocked out of contention for last year's BCS title game with a home loss to the Panthers.

In CUSA, Rice spoiled Houston's destiny to the West division crown with a 56-42 home upset of the Cougars. The victory would have paved the way for the Owls to play in the conference championship game were it not for Tulsa's late win at Marshall. The Golden Hurricane made a 22-yard field goal with 3:42 left in their contest for the 38-35 win over the Herd in Huntington. Tulsa will host East Carolina in the CUSA title game.

Ball State finished the regular season undefeated (12-0) and clinched the west division berth in the MAC championship game opposite Buffalo. The Cardinals had very little trouble in disposing of Western Michigan 45-22 in Muncie on Tuesday night.

Brady Hoke achieved perfection with Ball State in his sixth season, the first four of which yielded losing records. Hoke was 4-8 in 2003, 2-9 in 2004, 4-7 in 2005, 5-7 in 2006, and 7-6 last year.

Boise State completed its' third undefeated season in five years with a 61-10 blistering of Fresno State on Friday night. The Broncos are longshot candidates for an at-large BCS bowl bid after notching their 49th consecutive home win, and 12th win in-a-row overall.

The Sun Belt champion also wasn't decided this week. Front-runner Troy was idle, but could have clinched the conference's automatic bid to the New Orleans Bowl if Arkansas State had lost at North Texas. It was close, but the Red Wolves prevailed 33-28 to become bowl eligible. Now it comes down to the winner of Arkansas State at Troy next week. Louisiana-Lafayette can become a third co-champ if it beats Middle Tennessee on December 3 and Arkansas Sate beats Troy, but the Ragin' Cajuns would lose the tie-breaker discussion.

Other Games:
Florida and Alabama each picked up resounding victories. The Tide rolled over Auburn for the first time ever in Tuscaloosa (1-6) to finish the regular season 12-0. The Gators chewed up Florida State 45-15 in Tallahassee to extend their dominance in the series to five straight games.

Kansas stunned Missouri 40-37 in a wild finish at Kansas City on Saturday in the 117th Border Showdown. The Tigers took a 37-33 lead with 1:50 left, but the Jayhawks reclaimed the lead with 27 seconds remaining. Missouri still managed to get into range for a 54-yard field goal that was partially blocked on the final play of the game. Kansas led 26-10 with 10:29 to go in the 3rd quarter. Missouri rallied to take its' first lead at 30-26 with 6:52 left in the game, only to see the Jayhawks go back on top 33-30 with 4:26 remaining.

Georgia Tech stormed back from a 28-12 halftime deficit to Georgia with 26 unanswered points in the 3rd quarter, then held off the Bulldogs for a 45-42 victory in Athens. The Yellow Jackets snapped a 7-game losing streak to Georgia and finished 9-3 in Paul Johnson's first season as head coach.

The ACC earned another victory over the SEC with Clemson's 31-14 rout of South Carolina. The Tigers became bowl eligible with the win and finished the last six games of the season with four victories under interim head coach Dabo Swinney. Swinney took over the team on October 13 after Tommy Bowden resigned after a 2-4 start.

Saturday night, the ACC took a third game from the SEC when Wake Forest knocked off Vanderbilt 23-10.

N.C. State grabbed a 38-28 win at home over Miami to give the ACC ten bowl eligible teams, including every team in the Atlantic division. Only Duke and Virginia failed to qualify for postseason consideration.

Tennessee ended the Phillip Fulmer era with its' 24th straight win over Kentucky, a 28-10 win in Knoxville. That's the longest streak that one team currently has over another team.

FAU became bowl eligible with a come-from-behind 57-50 overtime victory over rival FIU. The teams combined to score 56 points in the 4th quarter

On Friday, Nebraska rallied past Colorado 40-31 to keep the Buffs (5-7) from going bowling. A 57-yard field goal put the 'Huskers up 33-31 with 1:43 left, and a 30-yard interception return sealed the deal moments later. Nebraska (8-4) ended the regular season on a 3-game winning streak, and won 5 of its' last 6.

Also on Friday, LSU fell to 7-5 with a last-second loss to Arkansas (5-7) on Fayetteville. The Razorbacks won a 4th down, 24-yard TD pass with 22 seconds remaining to complete a rally from a 30-14 deficit in the 3rd quarter. The game was filled with scoring streaks as Arkansas took a 14-3 lead, then fell behind 30-14, but scored 17 unanswered points for the win. LSU lost back-to-back games for the first time since 2002, and lost for the third time in its' last four outings. The Tigers haven't managed a two-game winning streak since starting 4-0, and went 3-5 in their final 8 games of the season.

Still Alive:
Arizona State - Won this week 34-9 vs. UCLA. Must win next week at Arizona.
ouisiana - Idle this week. Must win next week vs. Middle Tennessee
Louisville - Idle this week. Must win next week at Rutgers
Middle Tennessee - Idle this week. Must win next week at Louisiana

Made it this week:
Arkansas State (won 33-28 at North Texas)
Bowling Green (won 38-10 at Toledo)
Clemson (won 31-14 vs. South Carolina)
FAU (won 57-50 vs. FIU at Dolphin Stadium)
Hawaii (won 24-10 vs. Washington State)
Memphis (won 45-6 vs. Tulane)
N.C. State (won 38-28 vs. Miami, Fla.)
Southern Miss (won 28-12 at SMU)

Eliminated this week:
Akron (lost 27-6 at Temple)
Auburn (lost 36-0 at Alabama)
Colorado (lost 40-31 at Nebraska)
FIU (lost 57-50 vs. FIU at Dolphin Stadium)
UCLA (lost 34-9 at Arizona State)
UTEP (lost 53-21 at East Carolina)
Virginia (lost 17-14 at Virginia Tech)

4 teams finished the regular season unbeaten: Alabama, Ball State, Boise State and Utah all went 12-0.

Only Hawaii made it through the 2007 regular season unscathed, and the Warriors were blown out 41-10 by Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. It was the first season since 2002 that no team recorded a perfect record.

Boise State was the only team to finish the entire 2006 season undefeated, while Texas did it in 2005. Auburn, USC and Utah all had unblemished records in 2004.

Washington is the only remaining winless team.

Last season, FIU beat North Texas in its final regular season game to avoid being the only winless team. FIU was one of two schools to go winless in 2006 (Duke was the other).

3 teams have yet to defeat a FBS school: SMU, Washington, and Western Kentucky.

FBS vs. FCS:
The divisions were renamed late in 2006. 1-A was given the new moniker of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) while 1-AA was labeled the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).

FBS teams went 85-2 (.977) against FCS teams this season, and are 375-37 (.910) since 2003.

Here are the losses by the FBS this season:
Cal Poly 29, San Diego State 27 (Week 1)
New Hampshire 28, Army 10 (Week 2)

This year, 82 different FBS teams participated in a total of 87 games that pit the FCS against the FBS. Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Texas Tech and Western Kentucky each played two such games.

ACC teams played more games versus FCS schools than any other conference. Here is the number of FCS games for each conference:

Conference Teams In Conf. Games vs. FCS Avg. Per Team
ACC 12 14 1.167
Big East 8 7 0.875
Big 12 12 10 0.833
Big 10 11 9 0.818
MWC 9 7 0.778
WAC 9 7 0.778
SEC 12 9 0.750
Independents 3 2 0.667
MAC 13 8 0.615
CUSA 12 7 0.583
Sun Belt 9 5 0.555
PAC-10 10 2 0.200
Totals 120 87 0.725

Utah has won 13 straight games. Regular season complete.

Alabama has won 13 straight games. The Tide beat Auburn at home 36-0.

Ball State has won 12 straight games. The Cardinals defeated Western Michigan at home 45-22 on Tuesday.

Boise State has won 12 straight overall, 19 consecutive home games, 49 straight regular season home games, and has never lost at home to a fellow WAC conference member (32-0). Overall, the Broncos have won 38 straight conference home games since losing to Idaho in the final game of the 1998 season when it was a member of the Big West. Boise State beat Fresno State 61-10 at home on Friday.

Oklahoma has won 23 straight home games. The Sooners won 61-4 at Oklahoma State.

BYU has won 18 consecutive home games. Regular season complete.

Washington has the longest losing streak in the nation at 13 games, and has lost 8 consecutive home games. The Huskies visit California on December 6.

SMU has lost 10 straight overall, 17 straight conference games, 15 consecutive road games, and 21 straight to FBS teams. The Mustangs lost 28-12 at home to Southern Miss.

Iowa State has lost 10 straight overall, and 17 consecutive road games. Regular season complete.

NEW COACHES: The 2007 season featured 24 new head coaches. Nine led their team to a bowl game. This year began with 18 coaching changes, and grew to 19 when Tommy Bowden stepped down from Clemson on October 13.

Only one team with a new coach failed to defeat an FBS school - SMU.

Arkansas 5-7 Bobby Petrino Defeated LSU at Little Rock 31-30
Baylor 4-8 Art Briles Lost at Texas Tech 35-28
Colorado State 6-6 Steve Fairchild Regular season complete
Duke 4-8 David Cutcliffe Lost to North Carolina 28-20
Georgia Tech 9-3 Paul Johnson Won at Georgia 45-42
Hawaii 7-5 Greg McMackin Defeated Washington State 24-10
Houston 7-5 Kevin Sumlin Lost at Rice 56-42
Michigan 3-9 Rich Rodriguez Regular season complete
Mississippi 8-4 Houston Nutt Defeated Mississippi State 45-0
Navy 7-4 Ken Nuimatalolo Won at Northern Illinois 16-0
Nebraska 8-4 Bo Pelini Defeated Colorado 40-31
Northern Illinois 6-6 Jerry Kill Lost to Navy 16-0
SMU 1-11 June Jones Lost to Southern Miss 28-12
Southern Miss 6-6 Larry Fedora Won at SMU 28-12
Texas A&M 4-8 Mike Sherman Lost at Texas 49-9
UCLA 4-7 Rick Neuheisel Lost at Arizona State 34-9
Washington State 2-11 Paul Wulff Lost at Hawaii 24-10
West Virginia 7-4 Bill Stewart Lost at Pitt 19-15

Midseason Change:      
Clemson 4-2 Dabo Swinney Defeated South Carolina 31-14

COACHES WHO WON'T BE BACK: The 2008 season wasn't close to being over when jobs started opening up for 2009.

(See Coaching Changes for details):

Bowling Green - Gregg Brandon out.
Clemson - Tommy Bowden out.
Eastern Michigan - Jeff Genyk out.
Kansas State - Ron Prince out. Bill Snyder in.
Miami (O.) - Shane Montgomery out.
Mississippi State - Sylvester Croom out.
New Mexico - Rocky Long out.
San Diego State - Chuck Long out.
Syracuse - Greg Robinson out.
Tennessee - Phillip Fulmer out.
Toledo - Tom Amstutz out.
Utah State - Brent Guy out.
Washington - Ty Willingham out.
Wyoming - Joe Glenn out.

Purdue - Joe Tiller announced in January that this would be his last season, and former assistant Danny Hope was hired away from Eastern Kentucky to become his successor. Tiller was 87-62 in 12 seasons at Purdue, and 126-92-1 when you include his 6 seasons at Wyoming from 1991-1996. Purdue was just 4-8 (2-6, Big Ten) this year.


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