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NCAA Football: ND to the National Championship and Heisman Watch

With the last regular season game completed for many teams, bowling season is looking a little clearer and teams have finally showed their true colors.

One side of the equation for the BCS championship game has been answered: Notre Dame is team No. 1 after defeating USC 22-13 on Saturday. As for its opponent, that has not been determined yet.

The race for the Heisman is also tightening. Boy things have changed after Geno Smith and Matt Barkley were once top contenders.

Now, say hello to Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. His chances are increasing.

Notre Dame to the BCS championship

ND QB Everett Golson

After its Saturday win over rival USC, the Fighting Irish ended it season at 12-0 and punched its ticket to the BCS championship game.

Once again, it wasn’t the prettiest win for Notre Dame but just as it did all season, they got it done.

This week they sit at No. 1 in the AP and in the BCS rankings.

For the program, it’s been a long drought for an undefeated regular season: 1988. With its Jan. 7 visit to Miami, it will be the team’s first opportunity to play for the national championship in 24 years.

And it only took coach Brian Kelly three years under his watch to get there.

Against USC, quarterback Everett Golson had 217 passing yards and 47 more in rushing. His running back Theo Riddick ran for 146 yards and one touchdown while kicker Kyle Brindza should get the MVP award. He was the team’s leading scorer with five field goals.

Riddick said of the team’s season via ESPN, “The way we looked at it, if we won all of our games, at least we’d give ourselves a chance. We’ve got super confidence as a team now.”

Also finishing its season at 12-0 was Ohio State after a 26-21 win over rival Michigan last weekend. For the Buckeyes, their season has come to an end as they’re ineligible for a bowl game.

For coach Urban Meyer, it was an impressive first year.

So if it’s not going to be battle of these undefeated teams, then who is likely to be Notre Dame’s January opponent?

On Saturday, the Alabama Crimson Tide will meet the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC title game. These two teams are No. 2 and No. 3 respectively in the BCS rankings and the winner will likely face Notre Dame in the BCS national championship game.

What are the odds Notre Dame will go all the way? The bettors give them +250.

Manziel Continues Heisman March 

Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel

On Saturday, Texas A&M (10-2, 6-2) quarterback Johnny Manziel led his team to a 59-29 rout over Missouri and saw his Heisman stock continue to rise.

For the day, the punky Manziel had 372 passing yards, 67 rushing yards and a combined five touchdowns.

Now that the Aggies regular season is over, here’s a few stats accumulated by Manziel in his rookie season. He had 3,419 passing yards, 24 touchdown passes, 1,181 rushing yards and 19 additional rushing touchdowns.

Yes, add that together and he had an SEC-record 4,600 yards of total offense and 43 touchdowns combined.

He is now FBS player No. 5 to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 in one single season and the only freshman to ever do this, according to CBS Sports. His Aggies at 10-2, have 10 wins in a season for the first time since 1998, including one victory against then No. 1 Alabama in its new conference, the SEC.

Now that the regular season is over, look for Manziel to speak to the media on Monday.

As for that former No. 1 contender Collin Klein, he still has one more chance to beef up his stats in Saturday’s game against Texas.

To-date, he has 2,306 yards, 14 touchdowns and six interceptions.

And then there’s Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’O (4/1). While the NCAA’s defensive player of the year, the likelihood of winning is almost as good for the freshman Manziel.

The award will be announced on Dec. 8 and for now, Manziel has 2/5 odds to take the prize, while Klein sits at 5/2.


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