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
27
24
3
7
Virginia Tech
USC
22
23
1
7
Ohio State
USC
1
4
Ohio State
Oklahoma
27
24
Though three of the top four seeds advanced to the December Madness semifinals, the playoffs have not been without excitement, drama and intrigue. This game was more of the same as top-ranked Ohio State, which was bounced by LSU in this round last year, got past a very balanced Oklahoma team. The Buckeyes prevailed and, as it would in the present BCS system, will represent the Big Ten in the National Championship.

The game could have easily gone the other way though. After Ohio State sophomore running back Chris “Beanie” Wells scored from 10 yards out to put Ohio State up 27-24 with 1:55 remaining in the game, Sam Bradford and the Sooner offense were able to march the ball into Ohio State territory.

Facing a fourth-and-seven from the Buckeye 45 and 58 seconds on the clock, Vernon Gholston pressured Bradford into scrambling far to his left and throwing across his body in attempt to reach junior wide receiver Manuel Johnson. Johnson leapt toward the ball, yet fell just short of bringing in a catch that could have kept hope alive for Oklahoma.

For the game, Wells carried the load with 32 carries, accounting for 132 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The output gave the All-Big Ten back 597 yards and seven scores in just three December Madness games.

Potentially the biggest play of the game came earlier, at the end of the first half. Ohio State trailed 10-6 with four minutes to go in the first half. Wells scored his first touchdown soon after that to put the Buckeyes ahead 13-10.

Then, with five seconds remaining on the second quarter clock, Todd Boeckman lofted a Hail Mary toward the left side of the endzone. Junior wideout Brian Robiskie jumped up and brought the ball down for the TD as the half expired. Obviously, that 44 yard score on a fluky play ultimately provided enough for the OSU victory.

Bradford, just a freshman, paced the OU offense with 244 yards on 22 of 34 passing. Boeckman had an eerily similar game with 300 yards on 23 of 36 passing. The Buckeyes’ defense was able to keep running back Chris Brown in check, but Allen Patrick exploded for 114 yards on just 17 carries.

His success as the speedier of the two backs suggests a different outcome if the ultra-fast freshman DeMarco Murray had been healthy. #1 Ohio State advances to the Championship Game to face the winner of the USC-Virginia Tech showdown.

Player of the game: Chris Wells (132 yards, 2 TDs)

Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: Ohio State 53% - Oklahoma 47%
3
7
Virginia Tech
USC
22
23
Questions were finally answered for Virginia Tech , but I am not sure they like the answers. After what appeared to be a good pitchers’ duel early on, David Buehler’s name will forever be remembered in college football playoff lore as the USC Trojans narrowly defeat the Virginia Tech Hockies, 23-22.

Buehler, a junior who started this season after Mario Danelo’s tragic passing over the summer, lined up a crucial kick late in the fourth quarter to cap an 11 play, 61 yard, go-ahead drive for the Trojans. His kicked sliced barely inside the right upright as USC fans went wild.

The 24 yard field goal to win the game with 56 seconds left may actually have been Buehler’s least dramatic field goal of the day. He had hit a 50 yard attempt late in the first half and missed badly from 45 and 48 yards.

Setting up the big kick, Chauncey Washington had two long runs that extended the drive and helped to milk the clock down so Virginia Tech had very little chance to respond at the end of the game.

Outside of Buehler’s rollercoaster of a day, Washington was the biggest story and the key to USC’s success. Tech had very little answer for the senior back, as he rushed for 164 yards on just 20 carries and picked up 43 yards receiving on only two catches.

Feeding him the ball was an effective, but not highly efficient John David Booty. Booty, also a senior, worked well with his tight ends again, finding Fred Davis and Anthony McCoy for touchdowns for the second straight game.

On the flip side, the Trojans’ defense looked much stronger than any team the Hokies had faced thus far in the playoff. Coming off of two 100+ yard rushing games, Brandon Ore fell flat with just 56 on 25 carries. And still, though they lost almost every single statistical battle, the Hokies fought with USC until the very end.

Ultimately, for a team that finished first in the final regular season computer rankings, yet was shut out of the actual BCS, a final four appearance – in the December Madness playoff and a great showing in the that game, win or lose – is a more than adequate culmination to one of the most trying and inspiring seasons that any team has ever had to endure.

Frank Beamer and his team should be commended on their determination and, as cliché as it may sound, their heart. LSU may be playing for all the marbles in New Orleans on January 7, but it’s USC that will face the Buckeyes in this playoff as the Trojans survive to play #1 OSU in the December Madness Championship Game.

Player of the game: Chauncey Washington (207 total yards)

Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: USC 64% - Virginia Tech 36%

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