Friday, November 27, 2020

College Football Frenzy: Cincy, BYU bringin’ it in bid for final four

Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Desmond Ridder dives over the top for a touchdown against the UCF Knights at the Bounce House in Orlando, Fla., on Nov. 21, 2020.

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But when it comes right down to it, a Group of Five program will never make the playoffs unless there’s expansion to at least six teams.

Even though the CFP is still in its infancy, it’s old-school thinking not to expand and allow for a few more options in a 130-team FBS race to the national title every year.

Especially with every-once-in-a-while teams such as Cincy and BYU — and UCF the last few years — rising up to be legitimate threats without getting a chance to take on the big boys of college ball.

And they are both legit with QBs Desmond Ridder and Zach Wilson getting much-deserved Heisman Trophy looks from those teams.

Ridder was Heisman-worthy Saturday, leading the charge of Cincinnati — now 8-0 — with brilliant leadership that included 395 total yards and four touchdowns over UCF (5-3).

Wilson, meanwhile, played in just the first half of a 66-14 beatdown of North Alabama, a winless FCS side at 0-4, but passed for 212 yards with an eye-popping QB rating of 256.3.

Sure, the win in Provo isn’t remarkable for 9-0 BYU, but it became the first to nine victories on the season, and — just like it reads ‘ANY PLACE ANY TIME’ on Wilson’s headband — it wants more games to prove it belongs.

Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver DeVonta Smith makes a catch against Kentucky Wildcats defensive back Brandin Echols at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Nov. 21, 2020. Photo by Mickey Welsh /USA TODAY Sports


Holy COVID! Kentucky (3-5) was ravaged by the virus, to the tune of 10 players lost, and then got ravaged 63-3 by No. 1 Alabama (7-0), which totalled 509 yards … The virus also hit Pittsburgh (5-4) hard, as it lost 16 players but still vanquished visiting Virginia Tech (4-5) 47-14 … All told, COVID-19 caused the postponement or cancellation of 18 games in Week 12. Included was No. 4 Clemson (7-1) at Florida State (2-6), which was supposed to feature the return of QB Trevor Lawrence after he was sidelined by the virus for two games … How weird is this season? No. 6 Florida (6-1) played its first true road game in 42 days, beating up host Vanderbilt (0-7) 38-17. And the first game of the season for Utah (0-0) came late Saturday — that’s Nov. 21 — against No. 20 USC (2-0) in Salt Lake City in Pac-12 After Dark action … Other late Saturday games saw: USC transfer QB JT Daniels get his first start for No. 13 Georgia (4-2), facing offensively inept Mississippi State (2-4); Bedlam between No. 14 Oklahoma State (5-1) and No. 18 Oklahoma (5-2) played at night in Norman for the first time; No. 21 Liberty’s (8-1) perfect bid come to an end in a 15-14 loss to host NC State (6-3); and No. 23 Auburn (4-2), in head coach Gus Malzahn’s 100th game with the school, host pedestrian Tennessee (2-4).

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