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The 5 Big Storylines You Need To Know
Posted Nov 18, 2012

Other than the fun from Stanford and Baylor, here's what else happened this weekend.

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It was the moment SEC fans were hoping for and Notre Dame fans were dreaming of. Oregon lost to Stanford, Kansas State was bombed by Baylor, and now it all sets up perfectly for the Irish to play the SEC champion for the BCS championship. But several other big things happened that flew a wee bit under the radar. In case you weren’t paying attention, or if you got all caught up in the thrilling upsets, here are five other key tidbits that made this one of the wilder weekends of the season.

The wild and wacky Pac-12

Last season, UCLA played for the Pac-12 championship as the representative from the South only because USC wasn’t eligible. This time around, the Bruins are going to play for the championship because they earned it on the field, beating the Trojans and winning the division with no asterisk. And now, with Stanford beating Oregon, things get really, really interesting. The Cardinal and Bruins play this week in what could be the first of two meetings in eight days. The battle means almost nothing for UCLA unless Oregon loses.

If the Bruins win and if Oregon beats Oregon State, the Ducks will host the Pac-12 championship for the second year in a row. If Stanford wins, it’ll get UCLA up on The Farm for the title game, and if Stanford and Oregon both lose, it’ll be Cardinal-Bruins in the Rose Bowl for a second week in a row. Easy, right? The one big overall story is that USC is definitely out and it’s not going to be a Trojan-Duck Pac-12 title game like everyone was looking forward to before the season began.

Tajh Boyd and Clemson

With Collin Klein having an awful night in the loss to Baylor, and with Johnny Manziel not coming through against LSU and Florida earlier in the year – not to mention the bias against freshmen – the Heisman chase is wide open. Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd is more than worthy stat-wise, but he and the team have been out of the spotlight, partly because they play in the ACC and partly because they lost to Florida State in late September. Even though Boyd was terrific against the Seminoles with three touchdown passes and 44 rushing yards, he’s not getting the Heisman respect. That’s starting to change after bombing away for 426 yards and five scores in the win over NC State, making it three games in the last four with five scoring passes. Meanwhile, 10-1 Clemson has won seven straight games by 14 points or more since the loss to FSU, and now, no matter what happens against South Carolina next week, an at-large BCS spot could be a lock.

Oklahoma 50, West Virginia 49

Arguably the best game of the day suffered from being played at the same time as the Stanford-Oregon and Kansas State-Baylor. Oklahoma and West Virginia traded knockout shot after knockout shot in a wild and crazy shootout that was ultimately decided by a missed two-point conversion. West Virginia got up 49-44 with just under three minutes to play on Geno Smith’s fourth touchdown pass of the game, but he didn’t get in on the conversion try. Oklahoma rolled back down the field finishing with a five-yard Landry Jones scoring pass to Kenny Stills with 24 seconds to play for a 50-49 lead and the win. Jones finished the day with 554 passing yards and six scores, while West Virginia receiver/running back Tavon Austin ripped off 344 rushing yards and two scores on 21 carries, to go along with four catches for 82 yards. In all, the two teams combined for 1,440 yards of total offense and 14 touchdowns.

Ohio State is still unbeaten

For all the years for the Buckeyes to not be eligible for a bowl game, this has to be the year? One of just two unbeaten teams remaining, there would be a dogfight right now over whether or not OSU is more deserving of a BCS championship slot than an SEC champion, but there’s no point in going through the debate. However, as meaningless as it might be since Wisconsin will represent the Leaders in the Big Ten championship, the Buckeyes will get a trophy for winning the division after a thrilling 21-14 overtime win in Madison. Now the rivalry date with Michigan really will be worth watching. Can OSU finish 12-0 and set the tone for 2013 while officially ending Michigan’s dream of winning the Legends? Can the Wolverines end Urban Meyer’s first year on a down note while hoping for an Iowa win over Nebraska? After Michigan blasted the Hawkeyes, the stage has been set.

The WAC’s fantastic finishing kick

It might be the last year of the WAC in terms of a football conference as we know it, but it’s closing out with a bang. The top three teams – Louisiana Tech, Utah State and San Jose State are putting on a show. San Jose State beat BYU 20-14 to get to 9-2 to set up a big date against Louisiana Tech to close out the regular season. However, the Bulldogs suffered a wild 48-41 overtime loss to Utah State, coming back from down 41-17 with 16 minutes to play to force the frame on a 32-yard field goal as time expired. Utah State scored in OT and held, and now it only has to beat lowly Idaho to win the title. The only other losses outside of the conference came in painful fashion. Utah State missed a makeable game-winning field goal to lose to Wisconsin 16-14, and lost to BYU 6-3. Louisiana Tech lost to Texas A&M 59-57 in the final seconds, and San Jose State started out the year with a 20-17 loss to Stanford. That’s it.