1
16
Ohio State
Florida Atlantic
44
6
8
9
West Virginia
Hawaii
31
30
4
13
Oklahoma
BYU
37
27
5
12
Georgia
Boston College
23
27
3
14
Virginia Tech
Central Florida
33
16
6
11
Missouri
Illinois
31
29
7
10
USC
Arizona State
30
9
2
15
LSU
Cent. Michigan
41
3
1
8
Ohio State
West Virginia
27
9
4
12
Oklahoma
Boston College
26
24
3
6
Virginia Tech
Missouri
24
17
7
2
USC
LSU
21
16
1
4
Ohio State
Oklahoma
3
7
Virginia Tech
USC
1
8
Ohio State
West Virginia
27
9
It could have been the actual BCS National Championship game. Fortunately for everyone, Pitt pulled off the upset in the last week of the regular season to ensure that Ohio State was in and West Virginia was not.

In the playoff game, West Virginia had more rushing yards, won the time of possession battle, equaled Ohio State’s one turnover, had less penalty yards and even converted three out of four fourth down attempts, yet the Buckeyes cruise to another victory with another 200+ yard, multiple touchdown game from sophomore Chris “Beanie” Wells. Wells averaged more than 10 yards per carry on 22 carries, including a 77 yard run in the third quarter.

On the ground, West Virginia did not have a bad game against the vaunted OSU defense, as it put up 268 rushing yards. The Mountaineers failed to convert that success into touchdowns however, only reaching the redzone twice in the game.

In addition to Wells' performance, Ohio State added a 72 yard, fourth quarter touchdown connection between junior quarterback Todd Boeckman and sophomore Ray Small that put the game completely out of reach at 27-9. The game between two teams that threw the ball less than 40% of the time during the regular season featured just 28 pass attempts and 240 passing yards.

The top-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes will advance to the tournament’s “final four” to play the winner of the #4 Oklahoma vs. #12 Boston College contest for what will be a highly anticipated national semifinal game.

Player of the game: Chris Wells (222 rushing yards, 2 TDs)

Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: Ohio State 67% - West Virginia 33%
4
12
Oklahoma
Boston College
26
24
Boston College’s dramatic upset over Georgia in the first round of the December Madness tournament was the biggest story of the playoff’s opening weekend. After the Eagles’ second round output (not to mention the team’s regular season last-second victory over Virginia Tech), the nation will remember the 2007 BC team for many years to come.

Unfortunately for Boston College, the season ends with this valiant effort. On its own 34 yard line and trailing 24-23 after a field goal by former BC walk-on Steve Aponavicius with 1:46 remaining in the game, freshman Sooner quarterback Sam Bradford marched his team down the field.

Often using the middle of the field in front of All-American safety Jamie Silva, Bradford hit Chris Brown for 18 yards, then Juaquin Iglesias for 25 yards and Malcolm Kelly for 16 yards to reach the BC five yard line with 13 seconds left in the game. Bradford had to take a sack on the next play, but the Sooners were able to call a timeout and set up a field goal attempt with three seconds to go.

Senior kicker Garrett Hartley, who has 321 total points for Oklahoma in his career, took the field in attempt to atone for a previous missed extra point and secure a spot in the December Madness semifinals. The 28 yard field goal angled right and hooked inside the uprights late to win the game.

Bradford finished the game with 355 yards and two touchdown passes on 23 of 35 passing. Matching him step-for-step along the way, senior Eagle Matt Ryan threw for 408 yards and three touchdowns on 25 of 49 passing. Neither team ever really got it going on the ground; but, in the second half of this shootout, neither team really tried to run the ball.

Fourth-seeded Oklahoma will move forward to play the #1 Ohio State Buckeyes in the December Madness semifinals. The Sooners will have a week to recover and prepare for what should be a very physical game versus the Buckeyes.

Player of the game: Joe Jon Finley (99 receiving yards, 2 TDs)

Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: Oklahoma 52% - Boston College 48%
3
6
Virginia Tech
Missouri
24
17
Missouri freshman do-everything “athlete” Jeremy Maclin is a freak; unfortunately for the Tigers, he is not on the field to try and tackle Brandon Ore or Tyrod Taylor. Maclin put together his second straight playoff game with over 370 total yards and a touchdown to almost single-handedly will Mizzou to the December Madness semifinals.

He led the team in rushing with 52 yards and receiving with 137 yards to go with 184 return yards. Ultimately though, the Virginia Tech Hokies kept the ACC alive with a total team effort. The sophomore running back Ore rushed for 118 yards and two touchdowns, while the quarterback tandem of the rushing specialist Taylor and passing specialist Sean Glennon combined to complete 65.5% of its passes for 254 yards. Taylor tacked on 41 yards rushing on just six carries.

On defense, Virginia Tech shut down everyone but Maclin. Removing Jeremy Maclin’s rushing stats, Mizzou rushed for just 32 yards on 33 carries (including sacks). And outside of Maclin’s receptions, junior quarterback Chase Daniel averaged just 4.5 yards per pass attempt.

Virginia Tech may not have the offensive depth as some of the other top seeds in this playoff, but it does have a defense that is as intelligent, balanced and deep as any other in the country. Thus far, the defense has been enough to get them into the December Madness “final four”. Will it be enough to earn the team a place in the championship? As long as Glennon and Taylor are mistake free, Virginia Tech is in good shape.

Some questions concerning the Hokies have been answered, but more remain. Can they beat a team with an experienced, senior quarterback like John David Booty (Matt Flynn or Matt Ryan)? Or an athletic offense littered with versatility and depth like USC and LSU? And if LSU wins, can the Hokies put their 41 point regular season loss behind them? We’ll find out in the December Madness semifinals as Virginia Tech takes on the winner of the very eagerly anticipated LSU-USC contest.

Player of the game: Jeremy Maclin (373 total yards, 1 TD)

Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: Virginia Tech 80% - Missouri 20%
7
2
USC
LSU
21
16
Fittingly, the best was saved for last in the second round of the December Madness tournament as the teams that began the season ranked #1 and #2 squared off for the right to play Virginia Tech in the playoff’s semifinals. After watching the game, it is clear that these are the two deepest and most talented teams in the nation.

In this matchup though, the team that was originally picked to win it all, the USC Trojans, triumphed over the higher ranked team that had not lost in regulation, the LSU Tigers.

Early in the game, John David Booty and the Trojans’ offense forced big-hitting All American safety Craig Steltz to step out of his comfort zone in pass coverage. Booty found sophomore tight end Anthony McCoy for an eight yard TD to open the scoring in the first quarter. Then, after a meager four play drive by the Tigers, Booty finished off a six-play, 70 yard drive with a six yard touchdown pass to senior, former wide receiver Fred Davis, his eight TD reception of the season.

The score remained 14-0 going into the half, but LSU rallied after a Steltz interception led to a one yard plunge by senior running back Jacob Hester. On the ensuing USC possession, five different Trojans touched the ball in eight plays as the Trojans marched 71 yards back down the field to answer LSU’s touchdown and put the Tigers comeback hopes out of reach for good. A late Charles Scott touchdown run closed the gap in the score, yet USC was able to ice the game soon after.

Illustrating the depth of both teams, 19 different players possessed the ball on offense in this game of heavyweights. Booty earned Player of the Game honors, finishing the game with 258 passing yards and two touchdowns on 21 of 39 passing.

There will be no LSU-Virginia Tech rematch, but things do not get any easier for either team as the nation’s hottest team, USC, will face one the team that the computers tabbed as the best in the country, Virginia Tech, for a spot in the December Madness Championship Game.

Player of the game: John David Booty (21-39, 258 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT)

Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: USC 67% - LSU 33%

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