1. Arkansas runs out of gas…. again. In its six losses this season, Arkansas scored a grand total of 40 points after halftime. Twenty-six of those points came against Georgia, and the Hogs were down 38-6 at the break. In losses to Auburn, Alabama, Texas A&M, Mississippi State and Friday versus Missouri, Arkansas either watched leads turn into deficits or close leads turn into blowouts. I’m not sure if it’s play-calling, execution, halftime adjustments, depth or team conditioning, but it’s something Bret Bielema will have to fix next season if the Razorbacks are to be in contention for a title more meaningful than The Nation’s Best 6-6 Team.
On Friday, Arkansas watched a 14-3 lead turn into a 21-14 loss with 30 passes and 30 rushes. The Razorbacks threw a combined 44 passes against 88 rushes in wins over LSU and Ole Miss.
Here’s the drive chart from Arkansas’ final possession Friday. Note how much time was left when the Razorbacks took over.
2. But enough about Arkansas, Mizzou won the SEC East again! Who says this team can’t compete against Alabama? The Tigers run the ball when it matters – seriously, they ran it 11 times for 85 yards on the game winning touchdown drive – and harass opposing passers like they owe them money. Hasn’t Gary Pinkel’s team taught us something about writing them off already?
Missouri won six straight games to clinch SEC East – underdogs in four.
— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) November 29, 2014
3. Nebraska punted the ball directly into the rear end of one of its own players for an Iowa touchdown, dropping its deficit to 24-7, and still won. Tommy Armstrong threw two interceptions and completed less than 50 percent of his passes, but played the hero by throwing three second-half touchdown passes. Take it away, Faux Pelini:
— Fake Bo Pelini (@FauxPelini) November 28, 2014
4.The best part of Western Kentucky 67, Marshall 66 wasn’t that Brandon Doughty and Rakeem Cato combined to complete 63-of-96 passes for 908 yards and an NCAA-record 15 touchdowns with six interceptions, it’s that WKU’s Leon Allen rushed 33 times for 237 yards and a touchdown, while Marshall’s Steward Butler answered with 24 rushes for 233 yards and two scores.
5. The best turnaround you haven’t witnessed this season has been Troy Calhoun at Air Force. Calhoun went 34-18 from 2007-10, slipped to 13-13 in 2011-12, and then bottomed out to 2-10 last season. But he’s rebounded in a big way in 2014, knocking off 10-1 Colorado State 24-22 to polish off a 9-3 regular season, a seven-win bump from last season’s disappointment.
6. What’s the best part of Arizona’s Pac-12 South championship? Is it that they did it with a redshirt freshman at quarterback (208 yards, two touchdowns), a freshman at running back (178 yards, three touchdowns), and an All-American sophomore linebacker? Or that they did it at the expense of Arizona State?
The answer, of course, is yes.
7. The gap between “bad” and “good” isn’t nearly as far as the gap between “good” and “great.” UCLA has proven to be the perfect example of this under Jim Mora. The Bruins went 17-21 in the three seasons prior to Mora’s hiring, and are 28-11 in now three complete regular seasons since – 0-6 against Oregon and Stanford, and 28-5 against everyone else. Worse yet, those losses have come by 18, three, 14, 28, 12 and now 21 points.
8. No one runs its block quite like Northern Illinois runs the MAC West. In a de facto MAC semifinal game, Northern Illinois scored on its first play from scrimmage at Western Michigan, and then watch the Broncos rip off 21 unanswered in the next 26 minutes. Rod Carey’s team showed the championship resolve that has been bred into its DNA, scoring the game’s final 24 points to win 31-21 and claim its fifth straight division championship. No other program in college football has as many division titles in the last eight seasons.
9. Good luck to UNLV’s next head coach. Athletics director Tina Kunzer-Murphy gave an interview to the Las Vegas Sun after accepting head coach Bobby Hauck’s resignation in which she said, “It’s not the coach. It’s us. We have to change the culture… We can’t just keep putting people in that chair without fixing the culture of UNLV football.”
10. Three things Frank Beamer teams always do: block punts, beat Virginia, and go to bowl games. Virginia Tech used a blocked punt for a touchdown to key a 24-20 win over Virginia, its 11th straight win over UVa and 15th in 16 tries, to clinch its 22nd consecutive bowl game.