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Clemson Heads Into Final Week All But Guaranteed a Playoff Spot, But Coach Swinney Is Still Crying Conspiracy

This is it, the final chance for teams to jockey for a spot in the College Football Playoffs. As it stands now, Ohio State, LSU, Clemson and Georgia are the top four teams in the country, but with LSU and Georgia facing each other this weekend, one of them is sure to lose. Depending on how that game breaks, there could very well be a chance for a new team to sneak in, maybe Utah or, more likely, Oklahoma, provided they beat Baylor in the Big 12 title game this weekend.

This is also the final week before Heisman ballots must be submitted, with Joe Burrow still the prohibitive favorite and Jalen Hurts as the only realistic challenger. Tua Tagovailoa was in the hunt until he dislocated his hip, and Chase Young was making some noise, but that two-game suspension has to have put a big dent in his candidacy, even with 16.5 sacks and nine forced fumbles.

Friday, Dec. 6
Pac-12 Championship Game
#5 Utah Utes (11-1) vs #13 Oregon Ducks (10-2)
8pm ET on ESPN3

The Utes were ranked #19 following their September 20th loss to USC, but then managed to move up the polls each of the next seven weeks, topping out with their 45-15 trouncing of Colorado in which Tyler Huntley connected on 14 of 17 for 165 yards and two TDs and the Ute D held the Buffaloes to just 60 yards on 31 carries. The Ducks emerged victorious in the 123rd Civil War, beating cross-state rivals the Oregon State Beavers 24-10. Senior QB Justin Hebert was kinda meh… in his final home game for the Ducks, completing 18 of 30 for 174 yards and a TD, but Mykael Wright made the big play of the game with a 98-yard kick-off return late in the first quarter for a touchdown to put the Ducks up for good.

Saturday, Dec. 7
Big 12 Championship Game
#8 Baylor Bears (11-1) vs #6 Oklahoma Sooners (11-1)
Noon ET on ESPN3

The Bears humiliated the Kansas Jayhawks last week, winning 61-6, as JaMycal Hasty ran 14 times for 92 yards and three TDs and the Baylor D forced six turnovers. The Sooners rolled to a 34-16 win over Oklahoma State in the latest chapter of Bedlam, with Jalen Hurts completing 13 of 16 for 163 yards and a touchdown, and carrying the ball 16 times for 61 yards and another TD. Hurts has so far passed for 31 touchdowns, run for 18 and caught one for a NCAA-best 50 total TDs.

ACC Championship Game
Virginia Cavaliers (9-3) vs #3 Clemson Tigers (12-0)
7:30pm ET on ESPN3

The Cavs took home the Commonwealth Cup with their 39-30 victory over Virginia Tech as Brian Delaney kicked a 48-yd field goal with 1:23 to play to give Virginia the lead and then the defense took over, sacking Tech’s Hendon Hooker on three straight plays, the last of which culminated in a fumble in the end zone that was recovered by Eli Hanback for a final score. The Tigers won the Palmetto Bowl with a 38-3 shellacking of South Carolina, with Trevor Lawrence completing 26 of 36 for 295 yards and three touchdowns. But it wasn’t enough to keep head coach Dabo Swinney from throwing a hissy fit afterward, declaring “We win, against the team that beat [Georgia], and it’s, ‘How do we get Clemson out?’ It’s the dadgummest thing… We’ve got to go 30-0. We ain’t got no choice because we don’t play nobody.”

While it’s true that Georgia lost to South Carolina, it was by just a field goal in double OT and since then the Bulldogs have beaten three nationally ranked teams, while Clemson has yet to play one all season. Swinney also seem to have forgotten that when his team lost to unranked Pitt in 2016, they fell from #3 all the way down to #5, while Georgia’s loss to South Carolina sent them from #3 to #10. And what, exactly, has Clemson done that would make anyone think they’re better than Ohio State or LSU? OSU has played the 9th-toughest schedule, including four top 25 teams; LSU has played the 28th-toughest schedule, including four top-10 teams; and Clemson has played the 80th-toughest schedule (out of 130 teams), including not a single nationally ranked team — as Swinney himself said, they haven’t played nobody.

Big Ten Championship Game
#2 Ohio State Buckeyes (12-0) vs #10 Wisconsin Badgers (10-2)
8pm ET on FOX

The Buckeyes pummeled the Michigan Wolverines last week, scoring a pair of touchdowns in each quarter en route to a 56-27 victory, as Justin Fields completed 14 of 25 for 302 yards and four TDs and JK Dobbins carried the ball 31 times for 211 yards and four TDs, and caught a pair of passes for another 49 yards. The Buckeyes lead the nation in scoring with 49.9 points per game, and have the fourth-stingiest defense, giving up just 11.8 points per game. The Badgers took home Paul Bunyan’s Axe with their 38-17 win over Minnesota, thanks to Jack Coan completing 15 of 22 for 280 yards and two TDs and Jonathan Taylor, who ran 18 times for 76 yards and two TDs and caught two passes for 39 yards and a third TD. These two teams met back on October 26, with the Buckeyes winning 38-7 behind Dobbins’ 221 total yards and two touchdowns.

Stats courtesy SRCFB