College football is now in bowl season. Each week more is learned about each team, even though not everything can be known. Putting the pieces together on college football each season is part of why fans love it. With that being said, here is College Football: 5 things learned from conference championship week.
1. Jalen Hurts isn’t rusty
Alabama looked sluggish against Georgia and the offense didn’t get a lot going with Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback. Tagovailoa had to leave the game with an injury while the team was down seven points. In an ironic move, Jalen Hurts had to come in to complete the game, much like Tagovailoa did in the National Championship last season.
Hurts has been criticized for his passing in the past, but had to use both his arm and his legs to help Alabama win the game. He finished 7/9 for 82 yards and a touchdown. Hurts also rushed for 28 yards and a score. He threw his touchdown pass to Jerry Jeudy to tie the game, then ran in a touchdown to put Alabama ahead for good.
It’s never easy coming into a game cold, not to mention he was coming off an ankle injury, and perform well. Hurts was able to put his ego aside and remain at Alabama after losing his starting job. He stepped up to the occasion and now Alabama is headed to the College Football Playoff.
2. UCF is undefeated again
The Golden Knights’ chances at a second consecutive perfect regular season seemed like it was in jeopardy against Memphis, as they were down at halftime. UCF was without starting quarterback McKenzie Milton and their defense was allowing the Tigers to run all over them.
Backup quarterback Darriel Mack was able to lead a great comeback in the second half. Mack finished with 348 passing yards and two passing touchdowns. He added 59 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. He got a lot of help from Greg McCrae who rushed for 206 yards and one touchdown.
It probably won’t be enough to get them into the College Football Playoff, but UCF should be extremely happy with their team’s success. They are headed to a New Year’s Six Bowl Game.
3. Oklahoma is likely the fourth team in the CFP
Oklahoma was able to avenge their only loss of the season by beating Texas 39-27. They won the Big XII Championship Game and with one loss are likely going to be the fourth team in the CFP.
For a little while, it looked like Georgia could win the SEC Championship, which would probably knock Oklahoma out of the CFP. Alabama came back to win, meaning that Oklahoma, who was ranked number five in the last CFP rankings, are likely going to move up with their win. Their competition for the fourth spot is Georgia and Ohio State. Georgia lost a close game to the number one team in the country, but there has never been a two-loss team in the CFP. Ohio State may not be able to jump Oklahoma because of their bad loss to Purdue earlier in the season
If things go Oklahoma’s way, the nation could be treated to a great matchup of Oklahoma’s offense against Alabama’s defense.
4. Washington underperformed this season
Washington was able to beat Utah in the Pac-12 Championship on Friday. They won a defensive game 10-3 and are now headed to the Rose Bowl. With the win, it shows that they are a good team, but they also should have done better this season.
At the beginning of the season, Washington was a CFP contender. They then lost their opening game to Auburn and two more games later in the season. They finished at 10-3 with a Pac-12 Championship, which isn’t too bad, but they were good enough to be in the CFP. Their offense, which was led by Jake Browning and Myles Gaskin, failed to live up to expectations. The Pac-12 Championship was actually the key piece of evidence, as they only scored three points, with the defense providing a touchdown.
5. The CFP is imperfect, but it’s not expanding soon
This whole season has seen arguments that the College Football Playoff should expand to more teams to give everyone a shot. While the system, like any, is imperfect it will not change for a long time.
Three big fan bases will be arguing over who should/should’ve be/been in the CFP. UCF will also argue for it as well. All of these teams have their flaws. Georgia has two losses, Oklahoma has a very bad defense, Ohio State has a bad loss to Purdue and UCF didn’t play anybody. This is what college football wants and needs. Having fan bases argue and talk about the sport is never a bad thing for the sport. Millions of people will tune in on ESPN to find out what four teams will make it.
With the four-team format, every week is scrutinized. The arguments above demonstrate that and it can be assured that college football doesn’t want to lose that interest in the sport.
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