The selection committee had an easy job two weeks ago, as there were four undefeated major-conference teams that were leading the way in college football. Alabama, Clemson, Michigan and Washington seemed to be poised to win out their seasons and head into the New Year’s weekend as contenders for the national title.
This past weekend, a few of those teams learned how quickly the tables can turn.
Chaos hit when Clemson lost in Death Valley to an unranked Pittsburgh team by a single point early Saturday evening. Clemson hosted Pittsburgh on Saturday with 20.5 point home favorite. Pittsburgh stuck with the Tigers all the way through Halftime only trailing by 1. While many will argue that officiating kept Pitt in the game, the real twist came when Clemson head coach, Dabo Swinney decided to go for it on fourth down with a minute left on the game clock. A first down would have kept the Tigers playoff dreams alive and they only needed a single yard to get there.
Clemson running-back, Wayne Gallman was stopped on both a third and fourth down attempt to get that yard. Pittsburgh’s defense came up big with huge stop. With 58 seconds left in the game Pittsburgh just needed a field goal to win the game. They drove down the field setting up a 48-yard field goal attempt. It was Pitt kicker, Chris Blewitt, who had missed an extra point earlier in the game, who brought the Panthers to victory over the No. 2 team in the nation.
The upsets didn’t stop there.
Michigan found themselves in a similar situation when they went on the road to play Iowa. Michigan was a 21.5 point road favorite heading into game. Iowa just like Pitt wasn’t going to let that happen.No. 3 Michigan faced unranked Iowa in Iowa City, and after taking care of the Hawkeyes’ pink visitors locker room with Jumpman posters and blue tarps, the Wolverines felt pretty good about their chances of staying undefeated.
That all came crashing down when Iowa’s freshman kicker, Keith Duncan nailed a 33-yard field goal as time ran off the clock to secure the Hawkeyes’ victory in Kinnick Stadium in front of over 70,000 fans.
If fans weren’t celebrating, they were stunned. The Wolverines embarrassed Maryland a week ago with a 59-3 win and seemed to only get better as they worked toward their date with the Ohio State Buckeyes. The Hawkeyes’ came off a humiliating game with Big 10 challenger, a 10th ranked Penn State, losing 41-14. Of all games to be tossed into the mix of Upset Saturday, this was the last one on anyone’s list.
The chaos only continued as college football moved even further west.
No. 4 Washington faced a No. 20 USC in Husky Stadium, where Washington seemed to struggle to get going all game as USC took every opportunity to show off their freshman quarterback, Sam Darold who threw 23-33 passing for 287 yards with two touchdowns. The USC defense also man-handled the Husky offense, with two interceptions by their star cornerback, Adoree Jackson.
As the mighty seem to stumble in their path to the crystal football, one team remains a top of the pack, as they seem to be each year. The Alabama Crimson Tide made light work of a tired Mississippi State team in Tuscaloosa to remain undefeated. They face Chattanooga next before they take on Auburn in the Iron Bowl. While Auburn dropped their game to the Georgia Bulldogs, ultimately punching Bama’s ticket to the SEC title game, the Tide will have to remain strong and steady in their rivalry game against the Tigers if they want to remain a unanimous selection with the committee heading into play-off selection time.
So with Clemson, Michigan, and Washington losing this weekend, it reminds us College Football fans that even if a team is massive favorite never look away from an
upset. This will dramatically change the College Football Rankings in every aspect, now it is up to the committee to decide.