Alabama beats No. 1 Georgia, Texas makes bid for College Football Playoff with win
After handing Georgia its first loss in nearly two years, Alabama mixed a raucous celebration of its latest Southeastern Conference championship with a whole lot of lobbying for a College Football Playoff spot that no one could've envisioned in September.
Jalen Milroe, the quarterback who epitomizes the Crimson Tide's remarkable turnaround from an early-season loss to Texas, posed a pointed question to the committee that will decide who's in - and who's out.
"Georgia is No. 1, right?" said Milroe, who was picked as MVP of a 27-24 victory Saturday that snapped the top-ranked Bulldogs' 29-game winning streak. "We just beat the No. 1 team. What do you consider us?"
Alabama would have to make a big leap from No. 8 in both the AP poll and the most recent CFP rankings - and perhaps leapfrog the No. 7 Texas team that beat it 34-24 in Tuscaloosa on Sept. 9 - to claim a spot in the four-team playoff that will be announced Sunday.
Another big question: Is Georgia's bid for a third straight national title over?
Coach Kirby Smart bristled at the notion that his team - with two straight national titles on its resume - squandered a shot at becoming the first team in the AP poll era to win three championships in a row.
"It's the best four teams," Smart said. "So if you go tell me somebody sitting in that committee room doesn't think that Georgia team is one of the best four teams, I don't know if they're in the right profession because we're a really good football team."
After his Iron Bowl heroics a week earlier, Milroe threw a pair of touchdown passes and Alabama's defense dominated much of the way after giving up a score on Georgia's opening possession. It was the 30th SEC crown for the Tide - more than twice as many as any other school.
"A lot of people doubted this team," said Milroe, who was benched early in the season but bounced back to become one of college football's most dynamic players. "I never gave up on this team. That's the biggest thing."
No. 7 Texas 49, No. 19 Oklahoma State 21:
Seventh-ranked Texas is leaving the Big 12 with bookend championships. Quinn Ewers set a career high by throwing for 452 yards with four touchdowns in a 49-21 victory over No. 19 Oklahoma State in the Big 12 championship game. The Southeastern Conference-bound and 12-1 Longhorns won the title in the Big 12's inaugural 1996 season, plus 2005 and 2009. Ewers completed 35 of 46 passes and his touchdowns went to four different receivers. The biggest one was 362-pound defensive tackle T'Vondre Sweat, the Outland Trophy finalist who lined up as a tight end for a 2-yard score.
No. 25 SMU 26, No. 17 Tulane 14:
Kevin Jennings threw a touchdown pass and accounted for 266 yards from scrimmage in his first career start, Collin Rogers kicked four second-half field goals and No. 25 SMU beat No. 17 Tulane 26-14 on Saturday in the American Athletic Conference championship game. The Mustangs (11-2) also turned in a stifling defensive performance, limiting Tulane (11-2, No. 22 CFP) to a touchdown during the final 59 minutes to snap the Green Wave's 10-game winning streak and dethrone the defending league champs. SMU sacked Michael Pratt seven times. Defensive back Isaiah Nwokobia's interception in the fourth quarter all but sealed it, sending numerous fans to the exits of Yulman Stadium, where the Wave had celebrated their first AAC title a year ago.
Miami 23, No. 23 Toledo 14:
Rashad Amos ran for two touchdowns, Graham Nicholson kicked three field goals and Miami (Ohio) beat No. 23 Toledo 23-14 in the Mid-American Conference championship game. The RedHawks last won the MAC title in 2019 when they beat Central Michigan. It is the first time Miami has won 11 games in a season since 2003. The Rockets were attempting to become the first Toledo team to win 12 straight games since 1971. Nicholson's 40-yard field goal at the start of the fourth quarter put the RedHawks in front for good. Both teams are 11-2.
Troy 49, Appalachian State 23:
Kimani Vidal rushed for 233 yards and five touchdowns and Troy scored twice in a six-second span of the fourth quarter in a 49-23 victory over Appalachian State for the Trojans' second straight Sun Belt Conference title. Troy produced a lopsided win in the league championship game after a 1-2 start for the second season in a row. This one was up for grabs until a 28-point fourth-quarter outburst. That included three Vidal scores and a strip-sack and score by Don Callis.
Boise State 44, UNLV 20:
Taylen Green threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more, Ashton Jeanty rushed for 153 yards and a TD, and Boise State won its fifth Mountain West championship, beating UNLV 44-20. The Broncos have won three straight games under interim coach Spencer Danielson to improve to 8-5. They are expected to head to the LA Bowl, which has the first choice from the Mountain West. UNLV was playing in its first Mountain West title game and fell to 9-4. The Rebels are set to play in their first bowl game in a decade. Boise State outgained the Rebels 527-298, including 301 yards on the ground.