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College Football regular season wrap up

by Paul Cifonelli - Staff Writer
Wed, Nov 28th 2018 10:00 am
The Virginia Cavaliers vs Penn State Nittany Lions via Wikipedia.org.
The Virginia Cavaliers vs Penn State Nittany Lions via Wikipedia.org.

ACC

Atlantic Division

#2 Clemson (12-0, 8-0), #20 Syracuse (9-3, 6-2), North Carolina State (8-3, 5-3), Boston College (7-5, 4-4), Florida State (5-7, 3-5), Wake Forest (6-6, 3-5), Louisville (2-10, 0-8)

Clemson is yet again the best team in the ACC, if not the country. QB Trevor Lawrence has silenced any doubters in the process. Syracuse has been a pleasant surprise behind QB Eric Dungey. Boston College has also had a solid breakout season. Florida State and Louisville have had seasons to forget.

Coastal Division

#24 Pittsburgh (7-5, 6-2), Georgia Tech (7-5, 5-3), Miami (FL) (7-5, 4-4), Virginia (7-5, 4-4), Virginia Tech (5-6, 4-4), Duke (7-5, 3-5), North Carolina (2-9, 1-7)

This is clearly the weaker division in the conference. Pittsburgh may be the fifth best team in the conference but has a shot at the title. Miami and Virginia Tech have had down seasons, but both can make a bowl game. Duke and Virginia have both made guest appearances in the AP Top 25 Poll this season, which shows how those programs have grown.

Big 12

#6 Oklahoma (11-1, 8-1), #14 Texas (9-3, 7-2), #25 Iowa State (7-4, 6-3), #13 West Virginia (8-3, 6-2), TCU (6-6, 4-5), Baylor (6-6, 4-5), Kansas State (5-7, 3-6), Texas Tech (5-7, 3-6), Oklahoma State (6-6, 3-6), Kansas (3-9, 1-8)

The conference is loaded with star quarterbacks. Between Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray, Iowa State’s Brock Purdy and West Virginia’s Will Grier, game changing quarterbacks are the key to success in the Big 12. Texas, however, is getting the job done with a solid defense and a balanced offense. TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma State have all managed to pull off a few upsets while staying competitive.

Big Ten

East

#10 Ohio State (11-1, 8-1), #4 Michigan (10-2, 8-1), #12 Penn State (9-3, 6-3), Michigan State (7-5, 5-4), Maryland (5-7, 3-6), Indiana (5-7, 2-7), Rutgers (1-11, 0-9)

Ohio State beat Michigan to take the division crown, which shows that the Buckeyes are still the kings of the East. Michigan did have a great season, but they have to get over the hump eventually. When QB Trace McSorley is healthy, Penn State is very dangerous. However, he wasn’t this year. Michigan State was a major disappointment and Rutgers is one of the worst teams in the FBS.

West

#19 Northwestern (8-4, 8-1), Wisconsin (7-5, 5-4), Iowa (8-4, 5-4), Purdue (6-6, 5-4), Minnesota (6-6, 3-6), Nebraska (4-8, 3-6), Illinois (4-8, 2-7)

The West is clearly inferior to the East, but Northwestern is legit. They have a shot at beating Ohio State and winning the Big Ten title this weekend. Wisconsin has seen its season implode due to quarterback woes. Iowa has done some really Iowa-like things this season. Purdue has been a great feel-good story. Nebraska has seen things turn around after an 0-6 start to the season.

Pac-12

North

#16 Washington (9-3, 7-2), #8 Washington State (10-2, 7-2), Stanford (7-4, 5-3), Oregon (8-4, 5-4), California (7-4, 4-4), Oregon State (2-10, 1-8)

Washington defeating Washington State was expected before the season but QB Gardner Minshew II made that look like an upset. Minshew has been a revelation for the Cougars but could not get them over the hump. Washington should take the Pac-12 title as planned before the season. Stanford and Oregon both have been steady but not elite.

South

#17 Utah (9-3, 6-3), Arizona State (7-5, 5-4), USC (5-7, 4-5), Arizona (5-7, 4-5), UCLA (3-9, 3-6), Colorado (5-7, 2-7)

Utah took control of this division by being consistent all year while seeing quarterbacks get hurt. Arizona State has been good with new coach Herm Edwards despite the hire drawing negative reviews before the season. The rest of the division has been a major disappointment, to put it lightly.

SEC

East

#5 Georgia (11-1, 7-1), #15 Kentucky (9-3, 5-3), #11 Florida (9-3, 5-3), South Carolina (6-5, 4-4), Missouri (8-4, 4-4), Vanderbilt (6-6, 3-5), Tennessee (5-7, 2-6)

Georgia has been dominant this season outside of being destroyed by LSU. The rematch with Alabama should be a fun one. Kentucky has been much better than expected but RB Benny Snell has been as dominant as advertised. Missouri and QB Drew Lock have been really solid and defied expectations also.

West

#1 Alabama (12-8, 8-0), #22 Texas A&M (8-4, 5-3), #7 LSU (9-3, 5-3), #18 Mississippi State (8-4, 4-4), Auburn (7-5, 3-5), Ole Miss (5-7, 1-7), Arkansas (2-10, 0-8)

Alabama and QB Tua Tagovailoa have dominated everyone all season. That should make next week’s contest with Georgia interesting if it is close. The rest of the division has beaten itself up. There is no clear second-best team but Texas A&M, LSU and Mississippi State could all be that team. It just depends on the day. And that Texas A&M-LSU marathon may still be going on as you read this.

AAC

East

#9 UCF (11-0, 8-0), Temple (8-4, 7-1), Cincinnati (10-2, 6-2), South Florida (7-5, 3-5), East Carolina (3-8, 1-7), Connecticut (1-11, 0-8)

UCF has the country’s longest winning streak but it seems destined to come to an end with QB McKenzie Milton going down for the season. Temple has played spoiler all season and Cincinnati has been great also. Connecticut has put itself in the conversation for worst team in the FBS.

West

Memphis (8-4, 5-3), Houston (8-4, 5-3), Tulane (6-6, 5-3), SMU (5-7, 4-4), Navy (3-9, 2-6), Tulsa (3-9, 2-6)

Memphis has one of the most potent rushing attacks in the country with RBs Darrell Henderson and Patrick Taylor Jr. If Houston’s QB D’Eriq King was healthy for its game against Memphis, Houston was looking primed to win the AAC title. They were one of the most potent offenses in the country and DT Ed Oliver made the defense stout. Navy has been one of the biggest disappointments in the country.

C-USA

East

Middle Tennessee (8-4, 7-1), Marshall (8-3, 5-2), FIU (8-4, 6-2), Charlotte (5-7, 4-4), Florida Atlantic (5-7, 3-5), Old Dominion (4-8, 2-6), Western Kentucky (3-9, 2-6)

Middle Tennessee has the ultimate feel-good story with RB/WR Zach Dobson, but he’s also a legit threat on the field. QB Brent Stockstill is a big-time quarterback for them, also. Florida Atlantic has failed to repeat last season’s success, but RB Devin Singletary has still been fabulous. Old Dominion’s early-season upset over remains one of the biggest upsets of all time.

West

UAB (9-3, 7-1), North Texas (9-3, 5-3), Louisiana Tech (7-5, 5-3), Southern Miss (6-5, 5-3), UTSA (3-9, 2-6), UTEP (1-11, 1-7), Rice (1-11, 1-7)

UAB is quite the team, considering the school’s football team is only in its second season after being shut down. Not only is it a good story, but a very good team on the verge of cracking the AP Top 25. That’s it for this division, as UTEP and Rice are two of the worst teams in the nation.

Independents

#3 Notre Dame (12-0), Army (9-2), BYU (6-6), Liberty (5-6), Massachusetts (4-8), New Mexico State (3-9)

Notre Dame has completed a perfect season and just about secured a spot in the College Football Playoff. Army has fought its way back into national relevance, albeit with a relatively weak schedule. Liberty, the former school of Brockport RB Zach Samborski, has looked solid in its first season in the FBS.

MAC

East

Buffalo (10-2, 7-1), Miami (OH) (6-6, 6-2), Ohio (8-4, 6-2), Bowling Green (3-9, 2-6), Akron (4-7, 2-6), Kent State (2-10, 1-7)

Buffalo has pretty much dominated this division all season. Aside from being blown out by Army and Ohio, nothing has stopped the Bulls. Miami has managed to shake its inability to win close games to become bowl-eligible.

West

Northern Illinois (7-5, 6-2), Toledo (7-5, 5-3), Western Michigan (7-5, 5-3), Eastern Michigan (7-5, 5-3), Ball State (4-8, 3-5), Central Michigan (1-11, 0-8)

This is one of the most competitive divisions in football, but not one of the best. The top four teams are solid but all are also pretty equal. Nothing separates any of the four except for the styles of offense they run.

MWC

Mountain

#23 Boise State (10-2, 7-1), #21 Utah State (10-2, 7-1), Wyoming (6-6, 4-4), Air Force (5-7, 3-5), Colorado State (3-9, 2-6), New Mexico (3-9, 1-7)

Boise State is the division champs for seemingly the 100th year in a row. They always win the conference, but Utah State put up quite the fight. The Aggies have one of the best offenses in the country but were unable to overcome the Broncos’ defense.

West

Fresno State (10-2, 7-1), Nevada (7-5, 5-3), Hawaii (8-5, 5-3), San Diego State (7-5, 4-4), UNLV (4-8, 2-6), San Jose State (1-11, 1-7)

Fresno State dominated the division from start to finish, but Hawaii may be the most exciting team. The Rainbow Warriors brought back the Air Raid offense and have been really effective with it. Nevada and San Diego State have been their normal and boring yet successful selves.

Sun Belt

East

Appalachian State (9-2, 7-1), Troy (9-3, 7-1), Georgia Southern (9-3, 6-2), Coastal Carolina (5-7, 2-6), Georgia State (2-10, 1-7)

The three best teams in the Sun Belt reside in the East. Appalachian State is a few plays away from being 10-1 with a road win over Penn State. Troy is always good no matter what happens. Georgia Southern has ridden QB Shai Werts and its triple option offense to an outstanding season.

West

UL-Lafayette (7-5, 5-3), Arkansas State (8-4, 5-3), UL-Monroe (6-6, 4-4), South Alabama (3-9, 2-6), Texas State (3-9, 1-7)

This is one of the worst divisions in the FBS and there is no way around it. Arkansas State looked like the favorite to win the conference in the preseason and was in the AP Top 25 in the preseason. However, QB Justice Hansen was not enough to get the Red Wolves past QB Andre Nunez and the high-flying Ragin’ Cajuns.