The 2016 college football postseason is now all but completed. Only one game remains and you don’t need me to enlighten you as to which game that is. As far as the FBS is concerned, this king of the mountain game is all but done and only two teams stand at the point of the peak.
Every conference, except for two, has completed the four-month march toward the summit. The SEC and the ACC are left standing and ready to do battle. One more time.
I’ll get to that shortly. In the interim, let’s take a gander at how every FBS conference fared in postseason play. We will start at the bottom and work our way to the top.
The Mid-American Conference, or MAC, was the biggest loser with an 0-6 record. It’s crown jewel, Western Michigan, couldn’t even bring home a trophy. That boat did not row.
The Big 10 strutted its stuff from September through November but went as cold as the approaching winds of December when all was said and done. 3-7. O(hio State), where art thou?
The American Athletic Conference (2-5). South Florida was bullish on the SEC’s South Carolina and Tulsa’s Golden Hurricane blew through Central Michigan, and that was it.
The PAC-12? 3-3. Top dog Washington could not mush its way through a Crimson flood. Upstarts Colorado and Washington State were put in their place. That left Utah, Stanford, and Southern Cal upholding the left coast’s honor.
I am concerned with the SEC in, this, my weekly slot. I am even more concerned after its 6-6 performance in bowl games. It took 5-7 Mississippi State, and its APR, to give the conference a break even finish.
Mountain West (4-3). I’ll wager that that even the least informed college football fan is familiar with the highest profile team in the aggregation. Yes, it’s the Boise State Broncos. But Baylor was its prickly opposition in the Cactus Bowl, winning 31-12.
Conference USA also wound up with a 4-3 record in bowls. If anyone can name all seven of the postseason participants, I will reward them with a ticket to its championship game. No Googling!
Things were brighter in the Sun Belt Conference. It went 4-2. Troy, Appalachian State, Arkansas State, and Idaho were your winners. Louisiana-Lafayette and South Alabama did not keep it on the sunny side.
Also with a 4-2 record was the much-maligned Big 12. Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and (cough cough) Oklahoma won big indeed. West Virginia and TCU. Nope!
And the conference with the most wins and best winning percentage (.727) in all of FBS football? The Atlantic Coast Conference! This gang of eastern USA squads stands at 8-3.
One more game is left to be played, and I absolutely will not buy a ducat for anyone who can name the two teams that will wage war in the finale.
But first we will tie a nice bow onto the concluded package of the great gift of games played to this point.
Say what? Yes, the nation’s independents were 100% in the slate of 41 bowl extravaganzas.
BYU and Army were victors over the Wyoming Cowboys and the Mean Green of North Texas State, respectively.
And now, finally! Our SEC will conclude its 2016-17 college football season in the College Football Playoff Championship game!
There are places that you can go to get plethora upon plethora of information and analysis on this uber-event. I will only offer you a humble and simple opinion on the outcome.
All things equal, it all boils down to, for me, one final, and ever-important, thing.
Pat Dye once said that, “It all starts at quarterback.” And that is where it both starts and ends in this game.
Deshaun Watson and Jalen Hurts. The seasoned and smooth veteran versus the talented and terrific freshman.
This, from what I can discern, is what Clemson wanted, and this is what it got.
The Clemson Tigers, and Dabo Swinney, will manage, somehow, to defeat the Alabama Crimson Tide, and Nick Saban.
Clemson 28, Alabama 24
Tampa photo courtesy of Wikipedia