The College Football Notebook

November 22, 2009 1:06 PM

Clinchings & Controversies

The ACC & Big 12 settled their championship game matchups on Saturday. Out east, Clemson beat Virginia 34-21. I was surprised this one was as tough as it was for the Tigers, as the Cavs hung with them for the first half before falling. C.J. Spiller was quiet with only 58 yards, so this should end the ill-advised Heisman talk circulating around him. Kyle Parker, the more valuable component of the offense, was an efficient 19/26 for 234 yards and no mistakes. The Tigers held a 2-0 turnover edge to help make the difference.

As predicted here, Clemson could've backed in to the berth in Tampa had they been so inclined. Boston College and North Carolina staged an absolutely atrocious football game up in Chestnut Hill, combining for eight interceptions and ten turnovers. But BC, needing to win to keep any faint hopes of catching Clemson alive, was the more

atrocious of the two. They accounted for six of the turnovers, fell behind 21-0 and lost without putting up a real struggle. UNC is the team no one in the ACC would want to play if the season started over today, but if they are going to do any damage in their bowl matchup, Tyler Yates simply cannot be throwing it up for grabs like this.

Elsewhere in the ACC, Virginia Tech and Miami had big margins of victory, as they angle with each other for positioning in the bowl hiearchy. But Miami's 34-16 win over Duke was deceptive. The Blue Devils were right in this game for three quarters. It was a show of QB-WR combos, as Thaddeus Lewis and Donovan Varner hooked up for the Dookies, while Jacory Harris and Leonard Hankerson did the same for the 'Canes. Duke led 16-13, before three Miami TDs in the fourth quarter averted an embarrassing homefield upset. There was nothing deceptive about Virginia Tech's 38-10 lambasting of N.C. State. The Hokies dominated

the ground game on both sides of the ball.

In the Big 12, it was Texas and Nebraska securing places at the Palace in Dallas on December 5. The Longhorns clinching was anticlimatic by this point and they routed Kansas 51-20. The Jayhawks are struggling on the field and the allegations of verbal abuse against head coach Mark Mangino are causing considerable problems off of it. If the allegations are true, I have little sympathy with the Jayhawk coach, who is said to have belittled players coming from the ghetto and mocked another as being a poor friend to someone who'd recently died. I'm usually on the coach's side in these controversies, and my favorite all-time person in sports is Bob Knight, who's on my screen saver at work, so I'm not exactly sympathetic to players who cry about stuff like this. But if Mangino did say these things, he's well beyond the line. I want to withhold judgement, but Kirk Herbstreit noted on Gameday, that it's

interesting none of Mangino's former players have come to his defense, at least not yet.

On the field, Nebraska beat Kansas State 17-3, in a fairly non-descript game at Lincoln. K-State matched up with the home favorites, but penalties and a 2-1 turnover margin was the difference. There's nothing to suggest the Cornhuskers can stay in a game with Texas, but winning the North is still a badly needed step forward for Bo Pellini's program.

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