College Football has its issues…but for all of the cupcake buffets we bear through with September’s buyout games, leagues named inappropriately (ten schools in the Big 12 and twelve schools in the Big 10), Johnny Manziel signing sprees and way too many bowl games involving undeserving teams there’s a Saturday after Thanksgiving like this year.  From Michigan staying with unbeaten Ohio State and going for two (despite not making it)…to Duke (?) wrapping up the ACC Coastal Division…to Georgia rallying back in a game that doesn’t mean anything but everything inside the Peach State…to Auburn’s gamewinning return of a missed Alabama field goal…to USC and UCLA both wearing their home colors at the Coliseum (as they should)…we almost forgot to take a breath.  Exhale, fans…because College Football saved its best song for the last track on the 2013 regular season album.  I can almost embrace the American Athletic Conference of America.  Almost.

Bracket Re-Rack– #1 Alabama’s improbable loss shakes up the field a tiny bit… while Clemson’s loss puts the Tigers out of the at-large field.  Fresno State despite no longer being unbeaten still leads the Mountain West, so the Bulldogs postseason isn’t blown in fantasy despite their BCS hopes going down the drain in reality.  And Oregon’s one point win over Oregon State costs the Ducks the last at-large berth…snappped up by Arizona State.

#1 Florida State–#16 Louisiana-Lafayette vs. #8 South Carolina–#9 Baylor

#4 Alabama–#13 Northern Illinois vs. #6 Oklahoma St. –#11 Arizona St.

#3 Auburn–#14 Fresno St. vs. #7 Stanford–#10 Michigan St.

#2 Ohio St.–#15 Marshall vs. #5 Missouri–#12 Central Florida

Alma Mater Update– Bowl Eligibility Baby!  The Orange hold off Boston College 34-31 to wrap up a 6-6 season… potentially sending SU to a third bowl in four years.  And that’s where things get tricky– at 6-6 (with a win over Wagner) will the Orange learn the subtle difference between “bowl eligible” and “bowl worthy”?  With 11 teams available and eight slots to fill (assuming Florida State beats Duke and advances to the National Championship Game)…there’s one interesting possibility.  Could the Carrier Dome be able to handle three Pinstripe Bowl Banners and contain itself?

Maryland clinches a winning season with a 41-21 thumping of NC State… ending its 51-year tenure in the ACC on a winning note.  I’m waiting to see which bowl (Military) the Terps go to (Annapolis) this December (it’s almost a given).  Terrapin Triumphs– CJ Brown regained his September form with 259 yards and 2 TD’s passing…while adding 138 yards and 3 scores rushing…the offense scored the first six times they touched the football…the defense generated in the first half 4 three and outs with a fifth driving losing 10 yards on 8 plays…Matt Robinson earns ACC LB of the Week by notching 17 tackles.  Terrapin Troubles–perhaps CJ can help Brandon Ross (18 carries for 31 yards) reclaim his September Swagger: after gaining 332 yards over the four non-conference games, Ross was held to 328 in 7 ACC affairs.  Takeaway– with a schedule that will regularly feature Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State it’s a good thing the Terps punched their postseason ticket this fall.

Virginia Tech made it a decade of dominance by defeating Virginia 16-6…the highlight being a scoreless second half in Charlottesville as the only time either team moved the ball more than 35 yards on a possession, they each got intercepted.  How poetic.  Actually, the highlight was Kippy and Buffy wrapping up another fun fall of tailgaiting with a delicious Horton Vineyards Vintage Port 2007.  “Big, full bodied, sweet, with refined texture and aromas of blackberry and cherry perfumes”…the perfect elixur for a 10-loss season.  Or at least the perfect compliment to Bergkäse on Captain’s Wafers.

Hokie Highlights– Trey Edmunds rumbled for 93 yards while JC Coleman added 57 on the ground… Demitri Knowles notched 4 catches for 101 yards… Kendall Fuller posted 8 tackles, half of a sack and a whole interception.  Eric Kristensen converted all 3 FG attempts and AJ Hughes averaged 44 yards per punt…BEAMER BALL!, indeed.  Hokie Humblings– 5 sacks allowed…and Logan Thomas was less than stellar in his final regular season game (13-29 with an INT).  Going 4-14 on third down isn’t awesome, either.  Takeaway– a 13-10 loss at home to Duke prevents this consistently uneven team from playing Florida State in the ACC Title game…a good motivation for next year.

Cavalier Congrats– needing 74 yards to reach 1000, Kevin Parks ran for 105 against the #1 defense in the ACC.  Eli Harold notched 3 sacks as the defense held VT to just one touchdown…and 97 total yards in the second half.  Cavalier Concerns– NINE penalties for 83 yards is not ideal.  In a day when passing stats resemble video games, UVa finishes under 50% again with neither David Watford or Greyson Lambert able to provide much spark.  Takeaway– Phillip Sims and Michael Rocco’s departures left the Cavaliers QB situation in a lurch, and after a 10-loss campaign with another solid recruiting class coming in there’s no way to go but up…right?

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