NCAA Football

Samaje Perine Injury: Updates on Oklahoma RB's Ankle and Return

Giving up a game-tying touchdown in the final minute of an eventual overtime loss to Oklahoma State was bad enough for Oklahoma. Losing Samaje Perine in the process only compounds the Sooners' frustration.

Guerin Emig of the Tulsa World provided an update from head coach Bob Stoops after the game:

The freshman running back exited the game in the third quarter after fumbling. Jason Kersey of The Oklahoman reported that Perine would be out for the rest of the game:

The good news was that he walked to the locker room under his own power. Carson Cunningham of KOCO 5 in Oklahoma City videoed Perine as he left the field:

Even though his evening ended prematurely, he ran for 151 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries.

The Sooners are headed to a bowl game at some point in the coming weeks, so the health of Perine will be an ongoing storyline for Oklahoma.

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Cardale Jones' Athleticism Will Propel Ohio State to Slim Win over Wisconsin

Do not envy Cardale Jones. Sure, staring at quarterback for Ohio State University in the Big Ten Championship Game against the University of Wisconsin Badgers might seem like a dream gig, but the pressure he faces is difficult to imagine.

Jones has been thrust into the starting role after starter J.T. Barrett was lost for the season with a broken ankle in the Buckeyes' 42-28 win over rival Michigan in Week 14. With only 19 career pass attempts to his name, all eyes will be on Jones as he attempts to win the championship and earn No. 5 Ohio State a spot in the inaugural College Football Playoff.

That being said, don't pity Jones either. He's an uber-athletic, dual-threat signal-caller who has flashed potential in limited opportunities as a Buckeye.

No. 13 Wisconsin is too good of a team to let a Buckeyes offense led by a third-string quarterback run rampant, but Jones should be able to make good enough use of the myriad of physical gifts he has to propel Ohio State to a win in the Big Ten championship and a shot at making the College Football Playoff.

Ted Ginn Sr. coached Jones at Glenville High School and notes the sophomore pivot has plenty of experience running Ohio State's offense. With a week to prepare as the starter, Jones should be comfortable in his role.

"He's been there. He's been running the scout teams. He's been second in line, and I'm quite sure he knows how to run the offense. He's not totally green. One thing I know, he's not scared. And he's going to be prepared. He's an intelligent guy. I don't know what will happen, but I know he'll be prepared," Ginn said, via Fox Sports Ohio's Zac Jackson.

ESPN 850's Bruce Hooley trusts the system to help Jones produce on Saturday:

Ohio State's up-tempo attack should serve Jones well. If he can sustain drives and push the pace, wearing out the Wisconsin defense should allow him to use his big frame and powerful legs to pick up crucial yardage on the ground. 

"The first thing that strikes you is his size," said Wisconsin defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, via Genaro C. Armas of The Associated Press (h/t Minneapolis Star Tribune). "One of their top plays is the quarterback sweep, and he's awfully good at it. ... He lowers his shoulder, runs over guys [and] runs around guys."

At 6'5" and 250 pounds, Jones is indeed tough to bring down with just one defender. He's carried the ball 26 times this season for 206 yards, which comes out to a robust 7.9 yards per carry.

However, few would be surprised if the Buckeyes got off to a slow start against the Badgers.

Wisconsin is ranked second in the nation in total defense, allowing just 260.3 yards per game. The Badgers are especially robust against the pass, allowing opposing quarterbacks to throw just 10 touchdown passes and post a 104.85 passer efficiency rating, per NCAA.com.

It's a tough task, but it's not like Jones is going it alone. Head coach Urban Meyer notes Jones' teammates will be instrumental to his success as well.

"I've said it at least a couple hundred times since the beginning of the week that the quarterback is a product of those around him," said Meyer, via Jackson.

Running back Ezekiel Elliott is a fine player to have in the backfield alongside Jones. Elliott has rushed for 1,182 yards this season, and their combined threat could stretch the Badgers defense on read options. He has solid options in wide receivers Devin Smith and Michael Thomas, as well as a sturdy offensive line.

With all this talent, it's little wonder Barrett was able to step into a starting role for an injured Braxton Miller this season and run an offense that put up 44.1 points per game.

Jones' is also gifted with excellent arm strength. Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman gave an off-the-charts rating for his throwing power, via Scout.com's Ryan Ginn:

Unfortunately, he hasn't had many opportunities to show it off this year. Jones has completed 10 of 17 pass attempts for 118 yards and two touchdowns in 2014, mostly in garbage time. The most passes he's thrown in a single game is nine, which came during a 55-14 Ohio State win over Illinois. 

The lack of game reps is disconcerting, but it could work in Jones' favor. Wisconsin may be unprepared for his elite arm strength, and Jones could test the Badgers downfield with a few big throws and engineer some quick scoring drives. If the Badgers do come to respect his abilities, then it could open up more underneath routes—not to mention the rushing attack.

Jones will have some success against Wisconsin, and Ohio State's own defense will shut down Badgers quarterback Joel Stave, limit Melvin Gordon and ensure the Buckeyes come out on top. However, the lack of experience will hurt the Buckyes early, and the win won't be pretty.

If Ohio State loses, it will have no chance of making the College Football Playoff. A slim win might get the Buckeyes in, but they will have to hope for a Florida State loss in the ACC championship or a lame-duck performance from No. 3 TCU against Iowa State. Should Jones and company beat down the Badgers rather easily, they could slip past the Horned Frogs, but the Seminoles' No. 4 ranking serves as a buffer zone of sorts in that scenario.

All in all, it will be a memorable season for the Buckeyes if they capture the Big Ten championship despite losing Miller for the season back in August. Few programs in the country would be able to survive such adversity, but Meyer has proved his worth as a coach and built a thriving program that should be well set up for future success.



All rankings via CollegeFootballPlayoff.com.

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FCS Playoffs 2014: Round 2 Results, Quarterfinals Schedule and Bracket Update

Even though the eyes of most college football fans are on conference championship games, the Football Championship Subdivision is busy settling its champion the old fashioned way: tournament style. 

The second round of the 2014 FCS playoffs took place on Saturday with eight games around the country, including top-ranked New Hampshire. Even though the Wildcats are the No. 1 seed, all eyes are focused on North Dakota State. 

The Bison, who have grown in popularity thanks to ESPN's College GameDay taking its show to Fargo, have won three consecutive titles and are looking to break a tie with Appalachian State as the only schools to win four straight FCS championships.  

Here's a look back at the action from the second round of the FCS playoffs and a look at the bracket heading into the quarterfinal round next week. 

 

Round 2 Recap

The best game of the day took place in Fargo, as North Dakota State got a late touchdown pass from Carson Wentz to RJ Urzendowski to secure a 27-24 victory against the rivals from South Dakota State. The thrilling nature of the game isn't a surprise, as these two schools have built a tremendous rivalry. 

The Bison had their backs up against the wall on that final touchdown drive. Their defense a go-ahead touchdown pass with just over three minutes to play. Wentz is in his first year as the starting quarterback for North Dakota State, so you never know what can happen in this situation. 

With less than one minute to play and the length of the field to go, South Dakota State's drive never really got started. The Jackrabbits had a false start penalty that made it 1st and 15. On the next play, Austin Sumner threw an interception to Tre Dempsey, via Mike McFeely of 790 KFGO Radio:

The runner-up for game of the day came in Pennsylvania, as Villanova needed 15 points in the fourth quarter to avoid an upset on its home field against Liberty.

The Wildcats aren't a huge passing team, nor did John Robertson have a great game with eight completions on 19 attempts, but he made a big play in the fourth quarter with a 70-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Gulyas and converted a two-point conversion to tie the game. 

Robertson used his legs for the go-ahead score with just over one minute to play. Along the way, the junior quarterback became Villanova's all-time leader in yards, via the team's official Twitter:

The biggest takeaway from the early games is how easily chalk held. It's not surprising to see New Hampshire, Chattanooga and Illinois State winning, but Fordham, Indiana State and Northern Iowa looked beaten as soon as the opening kickoff in their respective games. 

New Hampshire got a season-best 110 rushing yards and four touchdowns from Nico Steriti in a 44-19 victory over Fordham. The senior running back came into the game with 396 yards on 101 carries, though he has been used in plenty of scoring situations, as evidenced by his 12 touchdowns. 

It's no surprise that the Wildcats used the ground to secure this victory, as they average 177.7 yards per game on the ground and have picked up 35 of their 60 touchdowns this season via the run. 

Despite the final score, New Hampshire head coach Sean McDonnell had praise for Fordham before the game, telling Tim O'Sullivan of The Concord Monitor that the undefeated Rams were among the best he's seen:

“This is the most skilled team I’ve seen out of the Patriot League in my 16 years of coaching,” McDonnell said.

“(And) they’re not just an offensive football team, their defense can play.”

While the respect may have been there, the gap in talent was evident. Speaking of talent, No. 5 Illinois State was all over Northern Iowa, 41-21, behind 382 passing yards and four touchdowns from quarterback Tre Roberson. 

Mike Hlas of The Cedar Rapids Gazette rubbed salt in the wound for fans of Indiana football, noting that Roberson used to play for the Hoosiers:

While he didn't get a lot of playing time with Indiana, Roberson was effective for the Hoosiers in 2013 with 15 touchdowns and four interceptions on 138 attempts. The Hoosiers could have used that production with an offense that ranked 121st in passing. 

The win provided the Redbirds revenge for their only loss in the regular season, a 42-28 defeat at Northern Iowa on November 1. 

The first upset of the day came courtesy of Sam Houston State, which went to Florida and knocked off No. 3 Jacksonville State, 37-26. It was an unusual game, as the two teams combined for 50 points in the first half. 

After the coaches were able to make adjustments at halftime, things calmed down, but not before Sam Houston State put up 13 points in the third quarter.

Jacksonville State didn't score in the second half, and the 26 points it put up ties its second-lowest total of the year against FCS competition. Michigan State held the Gamecocks to seven points in the season opener. 

The Bearkats used a dominant rushing attack in their victory, carrying the ball 53 times for 241 yards. Four players had at least 10 carries, though none of them broke 100 yards.

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Lane Kiffin Calls Touchdown to DeAndrew White Right After Snap vs. Missouri

He did it again.

Last week, Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffincalled an Amari Cooper touchdown before it happened.

It worked out so well before, he thought he'd do it again.

In Saturday's SEC Championship Game between Alabama and Missouri, Kiffin raised his arms as soon as he knew DeAndrew White was going to get open for the score.



That 58-yard bomb put Alabama up 14-0 in the title game.

[Vine, Twitter]

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Missouri Defensive End Shane Ray Ejected for Targeting vs. Alabama

Missouri defensive end Shane Ray was ejected for targeting during the 2014 SEC Championship Game vs. No. 1 Alabama.

Early in the second quarter, with the Crimson Tide clinging to a 7-0 lead, quarterback Blake Sims completed a 58-yard touchdown bomb to DeAndrew White. Right after Sims fired the scoring toss, Ray launched at him while leading with his helmet, earning the ejection.

The pass from Sims was quite significant from a historical standpoint:

With that pass, Blake Sims passes AJ McCarron for the most yards by an Alabama QB in a season. McCarrron had 3,063 in 2013. #SECChampionship

— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) December 6, 2014

Ray is one of the top playmakers on the Tigers defense, so this is a huge loss. What do you think—was the right call made?

[Vine]

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4-Star QB Sheriron Jones Decommits from Florida, Names Tennessee Front-Runner

Four-star quarterback Sheriron Jones has decommitted from the University of Florida in the wake of Will Muschamp's firing.

"With the coaching change, I don't feel it will be the same at Florida," Jones said, per Ryan Bartow of 247Sports (subscription required). "With a coach that hasn't recruited me at all, I don't think things would be the same."

According to Gator Country's Andrew Spivey, Jones said he "isn't sure if he will consider Florida or not."

Jones, ranked the nation's No. 8 dual-threat quarterback, told Bartow that Tennessee currently leads for his services.

"They are the front-runner right now," Jones said of the Volunteers.

Bartow notes UT coach Mike Bajakian visited the quarterback this week and that Jones plans to officially visit but has not scheduled the date.

Tennessee is currently led by sophomore Josh Dobbs, who gained a hold on the starting position following a superb performance against top-ranked Alabama.

Behind Dobbs, however, the Vols are relatively thin at quarterback, so Jones could enter a favorable situation in Knoxville. Justin Worley is a senior, and Nathan Peterman has failed to impress during scattered appearances over the last two seasons.

Ole Miss recently offered Jones, who also said Nebraska has ramped up its recruiting efforts, per Mike Schaefer of Huskers Illustrated (subscription required). However, the impact of Bo Pelini's dismissal is unclear at this time.

After attending the Elite 11 camp in Oregon this summer, the Rancho Verde High School (California) product guided his team to a 10-3 season record. Jones has accepted an invitation to participate in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl.

Florida now holds just eight verbal commitments for the 2015 class. The school officially announced Jim McElwain as their new head coach Thursday afternoon, so its recruiting efforts should increase shortly.

Bleacher Report's Tyler Donohue lists 3-stars Chason Virgil and Lamar Jackson as potential Gators targets. Luke Stampini of 247Sports writes Drew Hughes, UF's director of player personnel, told Jackson, "While he's still there, Florida still wants me."

McElwain may ultimately elect to stand firm at quarterback with Treon Harris, Jeff Driskel and highly touted 2014 prospect Will Grier returning next season. However, Driskel's eligibility will expire in 2015, so look for McElwain and Florida to add one player under center in the upcoming class.

 

Recruit rankings and information courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.

Follow Bleacher Report college football writer David Kenyon on Twitter: @Kenyon19_BR.

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Ball Boy at Bowling Green vs. Northern Illinois Game Shows off Great Hands

Red Lightning set the standard for ball boys, but soon he will join the ranks of past college football legends. As with all legacies, there must be a changing of the guard.

When Bowling Green and Northern Illinois faced off Friday night, a mysterious new ball boy prodigy caught a glimpse of screen time and made the most of it.

He's clearly been watching Odell Beckham Jr. highlights lately.

[YouTube, h/t Reader Ethan Brown]

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Will TCU Make College Football Playoff?

The closing statement has been heard in Fort Worth. Now, after clinching a share of the Big 12 crown with a 55-3 victory over Iowa State, the No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs await the final verdict.

Given how the College Football Playoff committee has operated each week, Gary Patterson's team should start preparing itself for good news.

Earlier this week, the 12-person board elected to have the Horned Frogs leap over an undefeated Florida State squad in the rankings—an unforeseen move that also showed how TCU has become the committee's darling.

Playoff chairman Jeff Long cited FSU's struggles with lesser opponents. After all, the 'Noles needed second-half rallies during their last three contests to outlast teams with a combined 19-16 record.

Laura Keeley of the Raleigh News & Observer objected, supplying a voice of reason amid the surprising shift.

With that being said, while the 34-30 win over Kansas raised a few questioning eyebrows, it was really the only time TCU had a lapse against an inferior foe. The Horned Frogs hammered Oklahoma State by 33, Texas Tech by 55 and Texas by 38.

Plus, Patterson and Co. earned a trio of victories over the Big 12's top teams, defeating No. 4 Oklahoma 37-33, No. 20 West Virginia 31-30 in Morgantown and No. 7 Kansas State 41-20. TCU's success in those conference battles impressed the committee more than a three-point loss to Baylor hurt the Frogs.

And then, Iowa State happened. The No. 3 team's closing statement wasn't particularly convincing early on.

The Horned Frogs, favored by five touchdowns per OddsShark, stumbled into a 17-3 halftime lead, with seven points resulting from a perfectly executed double pass.

In Florida State's defense, each first-half struggle was opposite a program that has qualified for bowl season. None of Miami, Boston College and Florida is especially dangerous, but each is not terrible, either.

TCU, on the other hand, hobbled by Kansas—the second-weakest Big 12 foe—and Iowa State through 30 minutes. The lackluster performance in the latter game nearly sparked a debate: Are the Frogs simply a big-game team that encounters difficulty bringing the same intensity level to matchups they're expected to dominate?

The second half against the Cyclones, however, answered that question. Scratch that, a 31-point third quarter reminded the nation what TCU was capable of doing.

With more than 12 minutes remaining in the final frame, the Horned Frogs held a dominating 55-3 lead and provided little reason to be downgraded in the polls.

How exactly can the committee drop TCU behind FSU—and ultimately playoff—following such an impressive day? They propelled the Frogs over an undefeated Florida State team prior to the final outing, so it's borderline unreasonable to think Baylor can jump both TCU and the 'Noles.

Additionally, the question of whether Baylor deserves the spot continues to linger, though that answer may appear completely obvious following the Bears' matchup with Kansas State. Nevertheless, Baylor's head-to-head win seems to carry little relevance at this point.

Ultimately, the Frogs must let that chip fall where it may. In coach speak, TCU controlled what it could control, which was its on-field performance during the regular-season finale.

It's clear that right now, the Horned Frogs are playing better football than Baylor, and the four-team playoff is intended to showcase the best football.

TCU has seemingly proven itself worthy of a spot in the inaugural College Football Playoff, considering the committee's recent track record. The Frogs just need to hear the final verdict, and it will likely be a positive one for the co-Big 12 champions.

 

Follow Bleacher Report college football writer David Kenyon on Twitter: @Kenyon19_BR.

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SEC Championship Game 2014: Alabama vs. Missouri Live Score and Highlights

Alabama 7, Missouri 0—Early 2nd Quarter

Alabama is one win away from punching its ticket to the inaugural College Football Playoff.  Even with a loss to Missouri, it's still possible the Tide could make the four-team field, but it would be a significant risk considering the plethora of potential one-loss conference champions waiting just outside of the current Top Four.

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SEC Championship 2014: Biggest Keys to Victory in Alabama vs. Missouri Battle

On paper, the Missouri Tigers don’t have a chance to beat the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2014 SEC Championship Game.

After all, Missouri lost to Indiana, got blown out by Georgia and played a tissue-soft conference schedule that missed most of the formidable SEC West opponents. Alabama is the closest thing to a dynasty we have seen in college football the last 10 years and has the inside track on a College Football Playoff spot.

However, they don’t play the games on paper. Read on for a preview and some of the biggest keys to the SEC Championship Game.

 

Alabama vs. Missouri

Date: Saturday, Dec. 6

Time: 4 p.m. ET

TV: CBS

Live Stream: CBS Sports Live 

Odds: Alabama -14.5, via Odds Shark, as of Friday afternoon at 1 p.m. ET

 

Keys to Victory

Missouri Pressure vs. Alabama Offensive Line

Line play is always one of the most overlooked keys in any football game, and that will be no different during the SEC title clash.

The most interesting aspect of this game will be Missouri’s defensive line against Alabama’s offensive line. The Tigers led the SEC with 40 sacks this season, largely because of Shane Ray and Markus Golden. Ray finished atop the SEC leaderboard with 14 sacks, while Golden tallied nine sacks as well.

However, Alabama’s offensive line is the best in the conference and allowed only 11 sacks the entire season. Cam Robinson and Co. will have to slow Ray and Golden down so Amari Cooper and the Alabama receivers have enough time to get open downfield.

One way to neutralize a talent gap is with consistent pressure. A few sacks can force the Crimson Tide into 2nd- and 3rd-and-long situations, which would also take the rushing attack out of the picture. 

Matt Hayes of Sporting News and Eric Edholm of Yahoo Sports both had complimentary things to say about the dominant Missouri defensive line:

If the Tigers can get consistent pressure on Blake Sims, this game could go off script.

 

Backfields

Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry are the SEC running backs who make the most headlines in this matchup, but Missouri’s Russell Hansbrough and Marcus Murphy are incredibly dangerous in their own right.

ESPN Stats & Info compared the two combinations, and the statistics are much closer than many would guess:

The running game will serve a different purpose for each team. Alabama will use Yeldon and Henry to force Missouri defenders closer to the box, which will open Cooper up for the big play downfield off play-action passes. It’s hard enough to stop Cooper as it is without devoting extra defenders to slowing down the run.

The run game will also slow down the pass rush for just a second if the Missouri defensive line has to hesitate to help with the run. With Ray and Golden pinning their ears back and attacking Blake Sims, every second counts. 

As for Missouri, it will use the run to shorten the game as the underdog. The most effective way to stop Yeldon, Henry and Cooper would be to keep them on the sidelines while the Missouri offense does its work, so if the Tigers can consistently move the chains and keep the clock running, it will greatly improve their chances at an upset.

 

Amari Cooper

Cooper is arguably the best player in the country and single-handedly swung the Iron Bowl. Auburn made the mistake of covering him with one defender on a number of occasions, and the end result was 224 receiving yards and three touchdowns. He finished the regular season with 1,573 receiving yards and 14 touchdown catches.

Stopping Cooper is much easier said than done, but a team can’t beat Alabama if it lets him go off. Florida Atlantic gave up 189 receiving yards and a touchdown, Florida gave up 201 yards and three touchdowns, Texas A&M gave up 140 yards and two touchdowns, Tennessee allowed 224 yards and two touchdowns and Auburn saw its Iron Bowl chances slip away.

Cooper also saves his best performances for the biggest moments. In three games against Auburn, an SEC title game and two bowls, he is averaging 144.2 yards and has nine touchdowns.

Missouri cornerback Aarion Penton discussed the matchup, via Tod Palmer of The Kansas City Star.

“He’ll be the best guy I’ve played against by far," Penton said. "He’s a very elite player and everything he does makes him elite. But that’s why I came to this school, to face people like him. It will be a great challenge.”

No argument here.

Prediction: Alabama 31, Missouri 14

 

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College Football Week 15: Live Scores, Highlights and Reaction

Keep it locked right here as we bring you live College Football Week 15 coverage!

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ACC Championship Game 2014: FSU vs. Georgia Tech Live Score and Highlights

The Florida State Seminoles and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are set to do battle in the ACC Championship Game. It will take place at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the game will air at 8 p.m. on ABC.

Florida State is the only undefeated team in the FBS, but it's been hanging on to that by a thread. One of the reasons the Seminoles have struggled to win easily is the play of quarterback Jameis Winston. The 2013 Heisman Trophy winner has thrown 11 interceptions in the last five games and has thrown only eight touchdowns during that span.

Winston and the Seminoles are going up against a Georgia Tech team that got a huge boost last week when it beat archrival Georgia for the first time since 2008.

The Yellow Jackets rank first in the ACC in scoring and rushing offense. They have three players who have rushed for over 675 yards, including quarterback Justin Thomas, who has 861 yards and five touchdowns.

Be sure to come back here when the game kicks off for the latest scoring updates, highlights and analysis.

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Mike Singletary Goes a Little Bonkers on 'College GameDay' Set

Mike Singletary, how the cameras have missed you.

When Lee Corso picked No. 9 Kansas State to beat No. 6 Baylor on set of ESPN's College GameDay on Saturday, the former San Francisco 49ers head coach/longtime NFL assistant took some aggression out on the eccentric Corso. Singletary had a College Football Hall of Fame career at Baylor.

Later, after Singletary picked Iowa State to upset the No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs, the commentators around him couldn't contain their laughter.

[YouTube, SB Nation]

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Big Ten Championship 2014: TV, Live Stream, More for Wisconsin vs. Ohio State

The Ohio State Buckeyes are trying to find a way to sneak into the inaugural College Football Playoff but have a tough final test, taking on the Wisconsin Badgers in the 2014 Big Ten Championship Game.

At 11-1, the Buckeyes are currently on the outside looking in for the playoff picture. They currently sit at No. 5 behind teams like the Florida State Seminoles and TCU Horned Frogs, hoping for a slip-up so that they can try to win their first national title since 2002. Meanwhile, the 10-2 Badgers are trying to spoil Ohio State's chances while helping running back Melvin Gordon with his Heisman Trophy resume.

It won't be easy for the Buckeyes, but the Big Ten Championship Game will have major playoff implications, so a number of teams will be keeping an eye on Ohio State during Saturday's game.

 

Game Info

When: Saturday, December 6, 8:17 p.m. ET

Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

Watch: Fox

Live Stream: Fox Sports Go

Betting Info: (via Odds Shark)

  • Over/Under: 52.5
  • Spread: Wisconsin (-3)

 

Storylines to Watch

Cardale Jones Trying to Bring Buckeyes to Promised Land

Few players in Ohio State history have ever had as much pressure put on them as redshirt sophomore quarterback Cardale Jones. Originally the third-string QB, injuries to Braxton Miller and, most recently, J.T. Barrett have forced Jones to start under center with a chance for a spot in the College Football Playoff at stake.

Barrett suffered a broken ankle last week against Michigan that ended his season, but he has a lot of confidence in his backup.

"Cardale is a great player," Barrett told Austin Ward of ESPN.com. "I honestly feel like if I wasn't starting this year, Cardale would have done the same things I did this year. Cardale is that talented. He definitely can do it."

Jones has only thrown 19 passes during his career at Ohio State, but the expectations are high for the 6'5'', 250-pound quarterback. He'll have a tough task going against Wisconsin's defense, however, as it's allowed just 156.6 yards per game and 10 total passing touchdowns while sacking opposing quarterbacks 35 times.

Even if the Buckeyes are able to win, they'll likely have to hope for a team in the Top Four to lose this weekend in order to make it into the playoff. However, the Buckeyes can't focus on that right now, especially Jones, who will have to find a way to lead Ohio State to possibly their biggest win of the season.

 

Melvin Gordon Looking to Build on Heisman Resume

Even though they aren't playing for a spot in the playoffs, the Badgers are still trying to add another big win before bowl season. At the same time, their offense will be trying to assist Gordon as he attempts to become the first Heisman Trophy winner out of Wisconsin since Ron Dayne back in 1999.

The numbers this season for Gordon have been eye-opening, with the junior running back rushing for 2,260 yards and 26 touchdowns while averaging 8.0 yards per carry. It's not like he's been putting these numbers up against weaker opponents, either, as ESPN's Joe Schad pointed out just how impressive his numbers have been against winning teams.

Gordon still has some tough competition for this year's Heisman thanks to some terrific seasons from Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota and Alabama Crimson Tide receiver Amari Cooper. The award may be Mariota's to lose, however, as he has put up 47 total touchdowns while throwing just two interceptions.

But Gordon still has a chance to tighten up the race with another big game on Saturday. The Buckeyes have given up 145.6 rushing yards per game along with 21 touchdowns on the ground, but they have yet to face a running back quite like Gordon.

He may not be the Heisman front-runner right now, but another huge game for Gordon could have the voters thinking twice before writing Mariota's name down.

 

Prediction

There's a very small sample size for Jones at quarterback, and although that may be an advantage for the Buckeyes, it's going to be really hard to put in a backup quarterback in a conference championship game and expect everything to run smoothly.

Wisconsin's defense has allowed just 16.8 points per game, ranking fourth in the nation. The Badgers are a physical team heading into Saturday with plenty of momentum thanks to seven straight wins, and they're looking to get revenge on Ohio State after last year's 31-24 loss.

All eyes will be on Ohio State's offense, but the real battle will be on the other side of the ball. If Ohio State's defense can find a way to contain Gordon, then they'll at least give Jones a chance to lead his team to a win.

But I can't see the Buckeyes stopping Gordon. He's one of the more talented runners I've watched play in college, combining speed, acceleration and balance to hit holes at the line of scrimmage before breaking away for big gains. Gordon will have a handful of those runs, and I expect Wisconsin's defense to make things difficult for Ohio State.

Prediction: Wisconsin 28, Ohio State 20

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ACC Championship 2014: TV, Live Stream and Projections for FSU vs. Georgia Tech

The Florida State Seminoles will be looking to keep their 28-win streak, as well as their chances of making the College Football Playoff, intact with a win against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on Saturday in the 2014 ACC Championship game.

Despite going 12-0 this season, the Seminoles are just No. 4 in the nation behind the Alabama Crimson Tide, Oregon Ducks and TCU Horned Frogs. A loss on Saturday could end their hopes for a second straight national title, but a win would likely secure a playoff berth. As for the Yellow Jackets, they'll be looking to take down their third consecutive ranked opponent after beating Clemson and Georgia.

Although they're undefeated, the Seminoles have had some close calls recently, winning their past three games by a total of just 12 points. The Yellow Jackets could end up being their toughest test of the season, and a Florida State loss could cause a major shake-up in the playoff standings.

 

Game Info

When: Saturday, December 6, 8 p.m. ET

Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina

Watch: ABC

Live Stream: WatchESPN

Betting Info: (via Odds Shark)

  • Over/Under: 61
  • Spread: Florida State (-3.5)

 

Storylines to Watch

Triple Option Will Challenge Florida State's Defense

Few teams in college football still run the triple-option offense, but the Yellow Jackets have found ways to succeed with it. Their offense ranks fourth in the nation with 333.8 rushing yards per game while also scoring 37.2 points per contest.

Florida State's defense is filled with NFL-caliber talent, but even the best defenses can struggle when having to go against a completely different type of offense. The Seminoles have allowed just 3.7 yards per carry this year while forcing around two turnovers per game.

Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher talked about planning against the triple option according to the Associated Press via ESPN.com, saying:

It's a whole different perspective of how you have to defend their offensive attack. It's going to have to be a complete gameplan overhaul as far as different things you do. Everybody had a certain way they play that. You have your plan, you know what you do. We work on those things in the offseason when you have to play teams like this and then you try to implement based on what they do.

The defensive front seven for the Seminoles will have to remain disciplined against Georgia Tech's offense, because any slip-ups can result in big plays on the ground or through the air. The Yellow Jackets could struggle to pass the ball with leading receiver DeAndre Smelter out with a torn ACL, so sophomore quarterback Justin Thomas will have to be extra careful with the ball when passing.

 

Jameis Winston Must Avoid Turnovers

Opposing defenses have done a better job of containing Jameis Winston this season compared to his Heisman-winning freshman year. After throwing 40 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions in 2013, Winston has throws just 21 touchdowns with 17 interceptions in 2014.

The turnovers have been especially concerning as of late for Winston. Over the past five games, Winston has thrown 11 interceptions, including three games with more than one. ESPN Stats & Info pointed out that no quarterback has helped his team win the national championship with more than 15 interceptions in a season.

Georgia Tech's defense is no stranger to forcing turnovers, either. This season, they've forced opposing quarterbacks to throw 16 interceptions while averaging 2.3 forced turnovers per game.

Florida State may want to consider establishing the run game to put some of the pressure off of Winston. Freshman running back Dalvin Cook will have to carry the load on the ground with Karlos Williams out due to a concussion according to ESPN College Football.

Cook may only be a freshman, but he's emerged as a productive back, running for 728 yards and seven touchdowns on just 124 carries. If the Seminoles are going to keep the Yellow Jackets on their toes, Cook will need to help them maintain offensive balance.

 

Prediction

A lot will come down to what Georgia Tech can do offensively against the Seminoles. Florida State can expect plenty of running plays, but they must be prepared for when Thomas keeps the ball and tries to throw downfield.

Fortunately for the Seminoles, they have some terrific players in their secondary in P.J. Williams and Ronald Darby. Both are expected to be selected in the 2015 NFL draft if they declare, with Williams potentially going as early as the first round.

On offense, Florida State still has plenty of weapons for Winston to throw to, as well as a promising young running back in Cook. Rashad Greene and Nick O'Leary have become two of Winston's favorite targets, and both should find themselves open from time to time throughout the game.

At this point, the Seminoles are likely tired of being overlooked, especially considering that their last loss came in November of 2012. Winston may have taken a step back statistically, but the rest of the roster is filled with players that will likely be playing at the next level in the near future, and Fisher should have them ready to prove to the nation that they're still one of the top teams in the nation.

Prediction: Florida State 35, Georgia Tech 20

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