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Fourth & Long: The Time Has Come, Let’s See Who Will be Competing for A National Title in 2021

What a great day of football we had on Saturday! In the B1G Championship the Buckeyes of Ohio State overcame a 10-6 half-time deficit to beat Pat Fitzgerald’s tough Northwestern team 22-10. Trey Sermon had a career day rushing for a B1G Championship Game Record 331 yards and two scores.

B1G Championship Highlights

In possibly the biggest match-up of the day, Clemson blew Notre Dame out of the water in the ACC Championship 34-10. Clemson Quarterback Trevor Lawrence did his best to sway Heisman Voters, throwing for 322 yards and two touchdowns, on 25-36 passes.


  1. Alabama
  2. Clemson
  3. Ohio State
  4. Notre Dame
  5. Texas A&M
  6. Oklahoma
  7. Florida
  8. Cincinnati
  9. Georgia
  10. Coastal Carolina

Also in the Noon ET time slot on Saturday was the Big 12 Championship between Iowa State and Oklahoma. The Sooners held off a come-back attempt from the Cyclones to win the Big 12 for the sixth straight year. Lincoln Riley’s talented offense was led by quarterback Spencer Rattler, who threw for 272 yard and a touchdown. He also added a rushing touchdown. Sooner running back Rhamondre Stevenson pitched in 97 yards rushing on 18 carries.

Big 12 Championship Highlights

In the later games, it was all chalk. In the SEC Championship, Florida gave Alabama all they could handle, but in the end the Crimson Tide squeaked past the Gators 52-46. Alabama’s offense was lethal all night. Mac Jones solidified his Heisman Candidacy throwing for five touchdowns. Devonta Smith may join Jones in the Heisman Race, as he caught 15 balls for 184 yards and two touchdowns. The third head on the offensive three-headed monster that is Alabama, running back Najee Harris, totaled five touchdowns in the game.

SEC Championship Highlights

Finally, in maybe the best game all day, Cincinnati needed a 34-yard field goal by kicker Cole Smith as the clock hit zero, to beat the Golden Hurricanes 27-24. Bearcat Quarterback Desmond Ridder passed for 269 yards and a touchdown. Ridder also scrambled into the end zone for a rushing touchdown. Bearcats Wide Receiver Alec Pierce had a career day catching five passes for 146 yards.

AAC Championship Highlights

Well, all the teams can do now is wait. Will the committee view Notre Dame’s win over Clemson without Trevor Lawrence as a good win, or a coincidence because the Heisman Contender Lawrence didn’t play. Does the committee think Texas A&M’s 8-1 SEC record, with its only loss to (1) Alabama when they had Jaylen Waddle, is better than the ACC slate Notre Dame played. The Buckeyes only played six games, but won them all. Is it enough to earn a chance to play for a championship. The only two locks seem to be (1) Alabama and (2) Clemson. All the Aggies, Buckeyes, Bearcats, and Sooners can do is wait.


1.Alabama 2. Clemson 3. Ohio State

Waiting on 4, 5, 6. No surprises here, everyone kind of expected Ohio State to be in the fold after they stayed in the Top-4 last week without playing a game. Alabama and Clemson as 1 and 2 is also no surprise. Alabama finished undefeated again in the toughest conference in America. Clemson was fully healthy yesterday when they played Notre Dame and crushed them. UPDATE: 4. Notre Dame.

Notre Dame becomes the first team to lose on championship Saturday to go on and still make the playoffs.

UPDATE: 5. Texas A&M

The Aggies did everything they could, but still needed help to get in on Sunday, and they did not get that help. Great season for Jimbo Fisher, and a great senior campaign for Aggie gun-slinger Kellen Mond.

UPDATE: 6. Oklahoma

The Committee LOVES Oklahoma and I don’t know why. They had two bad losses this year versus Kansas State and Iowa State. This will continue to bother me throughout the bowl season and the off-season. What is the committee’s infatuation with Lincoln Riley and the Sooners. Cincinnati did everything they could and finished with a conference championship, and undefeated, only to be ignored by the money-hungry Playoff Committee.

CFP Final Four Unveiled

Well, there you have it! In the Rose Bowl* , two legendary programs will meet for a spot in the title game. (1) Alabama and (4) Notre Dame are two of the top five programs in the country, ranking 3rd and 5th respectively. This year’s “Rose Bowl” will not be played in the legendary “Rose Bowl” Stadium this year. With California not allowing crowds at the semi-final match-up, this game will be played in Arlington at AT&T Stadium, or better known as Jerry’s World.

In the Sugar Bowl, we have a re-match of last year’s Playstation Fiesta Bowl. (2) Clemson will take on (3) Ohio State again this year. The Buckeyes led at one point last year 16-0 before cornerback Shaun Wade was ejected for targetting, and the whole game swung in Clemson’s direction. Clemson ended up going on to win the game 29-23, with Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields throwing an ill-timed interception with 40 seconds remaining in the game. Clemson would go on to lose badly to LSU in the National Title 42-25.

Make sure you tune in this week on Tuesday afternoon as the Fourth & Long fellas discuss these final rankings, do a quick preview of the match-ups, and just recap a crazy college football season. The results are in, folks, it’s (1) Alabama, (2) Clemson, (3) Ohio State, and (4) Notre Dame who will compete for the title in 2021!

Players of Championship Weekend:

  1. Trey Sermon, RB, Ohio State: The Sooner-transfer sure picked the right time to have the biggest game of his life. Sermon rushed for an Ohio State single-game rushing record 331 yards and two touchdowns. His 331 rushing yards are also the most of any player in any conference championship game in FBS History.
  2. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson: Sunshine is back folks! After missing the first meeting against Notre Dame because of the virus, Lawrence came out for vengeance on the Fighting Irish. He was 25-36 for 322 yards and two touchdowns. The Heisman Candidate also rushed 14 times for 90 yards and another score.
  3. The Alabama Three-Headed Monster (Harris, Jones, and Smith): It is going to be tough to beat Alabama this year, as this might be the most talented team Nick Saban has had in years. Najee Harris rushed 31 times for 178 yards and two scores. He also caught five passes for 67 yards and three more touchdowns. Mac Jones solidified his Heisman Case going 33-43 for 418 yards, five touchdowns and just one interception. Many thought that when the Tide lost star receiver Jaylen Waddle early in the season, their passing game would take a hit. Not a chance, folks. Devonta Smith has been a monster. He caught fifteen passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns. He’s now caught 98 passes for 1,511 yards and 17 (!) touchdowns. You could have a Heisman Ceremony with just these three and most people would be okay with it.
  4. Kellen Mond, QB, Texas A&M: What a ride it’s been for Kellen Mond and the Aggies. After losing their second game of the season to a fully healthy Alabama team, they now go into bowl season on an 8-game winning streak. Mond has started for four years at A&M and every year he’s gotten better. From his freshman year until this season his completion percentage went from 51% to 64% and his quarterback rating has gone from 108.8 all the way to 148 this year. On Saturday, in his final SEC game, Mond was 26-32 for 281 yards and one touchdown. He also ran the ball 12 times for 59 yards and another score. Texas A&M and Jimbo Fisher will definitely miss Mond next year, as he was a true four-year player. I mean without a doubt, Mond’s career at Texas A&m surpasses Johnny Manziel’s.
  5. Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati: What a year for Ridder and Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell. Last night in the AAC Championship, Ridder was 19-29 for 269 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed 16 times for 83 yards and another touchdown. Ridder’s stats this year are very good, throwing 17 touchdowns, rushing for 12, and throwing just 6 interceptions. People will look back in a few years and wonder how this Cincinnati team didn’t even crack the top-6. Thanks, Oklahoma.
  6. Kyle Trask, QB, Florida: Trask left it all out on the field Saturday Night versus Alabama. He was 26-40 for 408 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for a score on a quarterback sneak. Trask definitely proved his case as a Heisman Contender after last night’s game. The 6-foot-5 senior signal caller will take his talents to the NFL next year. Some team will be lucky to scoop up Trask late in the first round or early second. Last week’s loss to LSU really hurt the Gators, and Texas A&M for that matter.

Awards Finalists Predictions (Predicted Winners In Bold):

Heisman: Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama – Kyle Trask, QB, Florida – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

Coach of the Year: Tom Allen, Indiana – Jamey Chadwell, Coastal Carolina – Luke Fickell, Cincinnati – Brian Kelly, Notre Dame – Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern

Doak Walker (Best RB): Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama – Jaret Patterson, RB, Buffalo

Biletnikoff Award (Best WR): Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss – Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State – Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama

John Mackey (Best TE): Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida – Charlie Kolar, TE, Iowa State – Austin Stogner, TE, Oklahoma

Outland Trophy (Best Interior Lineman): Brady Christenten, OL, BYU – Christian Darrisaw, LT, Virginia Tech – Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

Rimington Trophy (Best C): Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa – Landon Dickerson, C, Alabama – Mike Novitsky, C, Buffalo

Dick Butkus Award (Best LB): Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame – Jon Rhattigan, LB, Army

Ted Hendricks Award (Best DE): Rashad Weaver, DE, Pitt – Zion Tupuola-Fetui, DE, Washington – Tarron Jackson, DE, Coastal Carolina

Jim Thorpe Award (Best DB): Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama – Elijah Molden, Slot, Washington – Shemar Jean-Charles, CB, Appalachian State

Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award: Gabe Brkic, K, Oklahoma – Nick Sciba, K, Wake Forest – Brandon Talton, K, Nevada – Sarah Fuller, K, Vanderbilt*

KEY: (*) – Honorary Finalist

Maxwell Award (Best Player): Najee Harris, RB, Alabama – Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State – Kyle Trask, QB, Florida – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

Chuck Bednarik Award (Best Defensive Player): Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, EDGE, Notre Dame – Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa – Jon Rhattigan, LB, Army – Tarron Jackson, DE, Coastal Carolina – Myjai Sanders, DE, Cincinnati

Ray Guy Award (Best P): Porter Wilson, P, Duke – Zach Von Rosenberg, P, LSU – Presley Harvin III, P, Georgia Tech

Davey O’Brien (Best QB): Mac Jones, QB, Alabama – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU – Kyle Trask, QB, Florida – Sam Ehlinger, QB, Texas

Disney Spirit Award (Most Inspirational): Darien Rencher, RB, Clemson*

KEY: (*) – Winner

Walter Camp All-America Team (First Team In BOLD)


QB: Zach Wilson, BYU

QB: Kyle Trask, Florida

RB: Breece Hall, Iowa State

RB: Najee Harris, Alabama

TE: Kyle Pitts, Florida

TE: Charlie Kolar, Iowa State

WR: Devonta Smith, Alabama

WR: Elijah Moore, Ole Miss

WR: Garrett Wilson, Ohio State

WR: Amari Rodgers, Clemson

FB: Tyrell Robinson, Army

FB: Nelson Smith, Navy

OL: Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech

OL: Brady Christensen, BYU

OL: Cain Madden, Marshall

OL: Jacob Gall, Buffalo

OL: Nolan Laufenberg, Air Force

OL: Wyatt Davis, Ohio State

OL: Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State

OL: Darian Kinnard, Kentucky

C: Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa

C: Mike Novitsky, Buffalo

PK: Gabe Brkic, Oklahoma

PK: Nick Sciba, Wake Forest

PK: Sarah Fuller, Vanderbilt*

KEY: (*) – Honorary All American


DL: Raymond Johnson III, Georgia Southern

DL: Ronnie Perkins, Oklahoma

DL: Nik Bonitto, Oklahoma

DL: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame

DT: Haskell Garrett, Ohio State

DT: Milton Williams, Louisiana Tech

DT: Keenan Stewart, UTEP

DT: Tyler Davis, Clemson

LB: Zaven Collins, Tulsa

LB: Kadofi Wright, Buffalo

LB: Nick Bolton, Missouri

LB: Dylan Moses, Alabama

LB: Paddy Fisher, Northwestern

LB: Joseph Ossai, Texas

CB: Patrick Surtain II, Alabama

CB: Shemar Jean-Charles, Appalachian State

CB: Marcus Jones, Houston

CB: Elijah Molden, Washington

S: Trevon Moehrig, TCU

S: Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame

S: Keith Gallman, South Alabama

S: Jaquan Brisker, Penn State

P: Zach Von Rosenberg, LSU

P: Porter Wilson, Duke

PR: Marcus Jones, Houston

PR: Phillip Brooks, Kansas State

KR: Trestan Ebner, Baylor

KR: D’Shawn Jamison, Texas


Head Coach: Luke Fickell, Cincinnati

Head Coach: Tom Allen, Indiana

Offensive Coordinator: Steve Sarkisian, Alabama

Offensive Coordinator: Phil Longo, North Carolina

Defensive Coordinator: Brent Venables, Clemson

Defensive Coordinator: Mike Hankwitz, Northwestern

Special Mentions:

QB: Justin Fields, Ohio State – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

RB: Jaret Patterson, Buffalo – Travis Etienne, Clemson

FB: Jax Dineen, Kansas State

WR: Jaquarii Roberson, Wake Forest – Chris Olave, Ohio State – Jaelon Dardon, North Texas

OL: Landon Dickerson, Alabama – Jackson Carman, Clemson – Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma – Trey Smith Tennessee

C: Drake Jackson, Kentucky – Josh Myers, Ohio State

DL: Kwity Paye, Michigan – Ali Fayad, Western Michigan – Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon – Christian Barrimore, Alabama

LB: Baron Browning, Ohio State – Garrett Wallow, TCU – Nate Landman, Colorado

CB: Kaiir Elam, Florida – Eric Stokes, Georgia

S: Kolby Harvell-Peel, Oklahoma State – Brandon Joseph, Northwestern

Final CFP Top 25

  1. Alabama
  2. Clemson
  3. Ohio State
  4. Notre Dame
  5. Texas A&M
  6. Oklahoma
  7. Florida
  8. Cincinnati
  9. Georgia
  10. Iowa State
  11. Indiana
  12. Coastal Carolina
  13. North Carolina
  14. Northwestern
  15. Iowa
  16. BYU
  17. USC
  18. Miami (FL)
  19. Louisiana
  20. Texas
  21. Oklahoma State
  22. San Jose State
  23. NC State
  24. Tulsa
  25. Oregon

Follow Me on Twitter: @BrownlojCLE

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