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Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) makes a throw during a game between the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Ohio State Buckeyes at Huntington Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN. (Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire)
November 23rd, 2021
The college football regular season concludes this week with Rivalry Week, one of the greatest traditions in all of sports. As we excitedly wait for the Egg Bowl, Iron Bowl, Governor Cup, and Battle for the Axe, there is plenty to discuss from around the sport. Let’s cover the top stories in this edition of our NCAAF Notebook.
This year’s Heisman Trophy race feels like one of the least discussed in recent years. Perhaps ESPN finally got the memo that they were overplaying their hand, or maybe it just really hasn’t been as dynamic as in years past, but as we enter the final week it’s time to keep a close eye on the two favorites.
Alabama quarterback Bryce Young has been the lukewarm favorite for several months, while Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud has steadily climbed up the list to pass Young and become the odds-on favorite entering the final week.
Both players are freshmen with a ton of talent, but Stroud’s November run combined with the Buckeyes’ dominant play has catapulted him to the top. He had six touchdowns against Michigan State, and with a big game against Michigan, will probably earn the trophy. Young has really done nothing wrong, however, so the value sits with the long-time favorite.
Entering the final week, Young has a 71.7% completion percentage for 3,584 yards, 38 touchdowns, and just three interceptions. Stroud has a 71.1% completion percentage, 3,468 yards, 36 touchdowns, and five interceptions.
When the first college football rankings came out, Cincinnati had plenty of reason to be upset with their undefeated record proving inadequate for a top four ranking.
As the Bearcats continue to win, however, and attrition takes down power conference teams above them like Michigan State and Oregon, the door has finally opened for Cincinnati to seize its opportunity.
𝗨𝗣 𝗡𝗘𝗫𝗧 | The #Bearcats hit the road for their @American_Conf regular season finale in Greenville, NC.🆚 ECU📆 Friday, November 26th⏰ 3:30PM📍 Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium📺 ABC pic.twitter.com/vvuKeQLm6I— Cincinnati Football (@GoBearcatsFB) November 22, 2021
𝗨𝗣 𝗡𝗘𝗫𝗧 | The #Bearcats hit the road for their @American_Conf regular season finale in Greenville, NC.🆚 ECU📆 Friday, November 26th⏰ 3:30PM📍 Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium📺 ABC pic.twitter.com/vvuKeQLm6I
The Bearcats should now control their own destiny, with games against ECU and Houston in the conference championship still remaining. Cincinnati isn’t talented enough to win it all, but it will be nice to see an unanticipated entrant join the postseason discussion.
The Florida Gators were thinking playoffs last year when they sat at 8-1 with only a 3-point road loss to ranked Texas A&M on the resume, when Gators’ defensive back Marco Wilson infamously threw a shoe and seemed to forever alter the course of history.
Dan Mullen was 29-6 at Florida with playoff hopes until this exact moment. pic.twitter.com/Te4mZeuGoL— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) November 21, 2021
Dan Mullen was 29-6 at Florida with playoff hopes until this exact moment. pic.twitter.com/Te4mZeuGoL
The Gators proceeded to lose the game that night to LSU, the next two to close their season, and go just 5-6 thus far in 2021.
The result of their 5-9 record in the last 14 games was the termination of head coach Dan Mullen, who couldn’t seem to get anything going this year despite a lot of talent and dynamic offensive weapons.
Mullen has been a successful college coach and will get another opportunity, probably as early as 2022. There is little reason to think he will be taking any time off.
For the Gators, a national coaching search is now underway while several other big schools look to also fill their head coaching vacancies. It is a top job in the sport, but things have not been right in the Swamp since Urban Meyer departed. The last decade has been a disappointment, and the next steps taken in Gainesville will be closely watched by all fans of the sport.
The game of the week this weekend will likely be whichever rivalry game incites the most passion in your soul, as fans all over the sport engage in regional rivalry matchups that remind us why we love this sport so much.
For impartial viewers, however, the game of the week has to be #2 Ohio State vs. #6 Michigan. The Buckeyes take on the Wolverines as an 8-point favorite, and it offers each team a chance at playoff glory with a win.
Michigan under Jim Harbaugh has failed to get over the hump of Ohio State, sitting 0-5 during his tenure in Ann Arbor. The Buckeyes' offense has also looked unstoppable of late. The Wolverines play great defense and have a strong running game, however, which is usually a lethal combination for home underdogs.
Regardless of which game you’re most looking forward to, be thankful for it, and enjoy.
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