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College Football Risers and Fallers: Postseason NCAAF Stock Watch

Quinn Ewers - Fantasy Football Rankings, College FB, NFL Rookies, Draft Sleepers

For some, the 2023 college football season is wrapped up. For others, the postseason looms. For four teams, a shot at a national title awaits. And for everyone, season over or not, 2024 has to be at the front of the mind with the transfer portal creating a wild, wild west atmosphere.

Conference championship week saw a mix of great games and blowouts. Friday started with a Liberty win over New Mexico State, and the Pac-12's final dance occurred as Washington topped Oregon for the second time this season in a thrilling 34-31 win. On Saturday, Texas started the day off hot with a blowout win over Oklahoma State. Miami (OH) pulled off an upset over Toledo, while Boise State took care of business against UNLV. Alabama knocked off Georgia to hand them their first loss since 2021 while SMU pulled off an upset over Tulane, knocking them from New Years' Six consideration.

Troy took care of Appalachian State to win the Sun Belt title, Michigan controlled Iowa in a shutout, and Florida State won with defense against Louisville en route to an ACC title. Only bowl season remains in college football's final installment of the current format that we know and love. Let's dig into one final college football stock report as the season comes to a close.

Featured Promo: Get a full-season College Football Premium Pass for 10% off and win big in 2023 using code BALLER. Exclusive access to our industry-leading DFS Lineup Optimizer, DFS Cheat Sheets and Premium Slack Chat rooms. Go Premium, Win More!

 

Stock Up

Nick Saban, Alabama

Nick Saban is the greatest college football coach of all time. The 72-year-old worked his magic yet again as the Crimson Tide handed Georgia their first loss since 2021 when they lost to Alabama in the SEC title game. The back-to-back champs fell from the number one slot to outside of the playoff picture while Saban and the Tide regained the status of the SEC’s best and snuck into the College Football Playoff as the four-seed.

Some are calling this Saban’s best coaching job of all time, given how quarterback Jalen Milroe has progressed from being benched to premiere championship-winning play. The story of Saban’s dynasty at Alabama is still being written, with the next chapter coming up on New Year’s Day against top-ranked Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

SMU Mustangs

Pony Express revival? SMU got hot at the right time as they upset Tulane 26-14 with freshman quarterback Kevin Jennings, who had attempted 24 passes the entire season, under center on Saturday to win their first and last AAC title. The Mustangs did not win the Group of 5 bid over Liberty, but they head into bowl season 11-2 with a matchup against a future conference foe in store as they take on Boston College in the Fenway Bowl. Southern Methodist’s football program may be in store for a massive revival as they head to the ACC next season.

Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington

Another game, another Washington Huskies win. Michael Penix Jr. just keeps finding ways to get it done, and Washington heads into the College Football Playoff at 13-0 as the two-seed. Penix made plays when needed to hand Oregon a second loss this season at his hands, as he completed 27-of-39 passes for 319 yards with a touchdown and an interception. 

Penix and the Huskies draw a rematch against Texas, whom they defeated 27-20 in the Alamo Bowl a season ago. The two will go head-to-head in the national semifinal in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day.

Quinn Ewers, QB, Texas

It may not have been the best competition defensively, but Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers certainly looked the part under center on Saturday as he had his way with Oklahoma State. The sophomore quarterback completed 35-of-46 passes for 452 yards with four touchdowns and an interception.

While it has been rumored that Ewers could return to school next season to fine-tune his game, he now has the opportunity to go and play on the big stage as Texas earned the three-seed in the College Football Playoff. Ewers raised his stock on Saturday, but the potential is there to raise it significantly higher on New Year’s Day against Washington.

 

Stock Down

CFP Committee

If the goal of the College Football Playoff Committee is to select the four most deserving teams to compete for a national title, they completely missed the mark in selecting a 12-1 Alabama team over a 13-0 Florida State team. It’s quite simple: there are three undefeated power conference champions, and the remaining two each have one loss and played head-to-head. Texas beat Alabama, earning the fourth spot. But that didn’t matter to this year’s committee, which was all about the eye test. 

They simply selected Alabama, who narrowly beat a 6-6 USF team, who needed a miracle to beat a 6-6 Auburn team, who barely edged out a 4-8 Arkansas team - oh yeah, they also LOST A GAME. Florida State, meanwhile, played a non-conference schedule consisting of two SEC teams and also won every game on their schedule en route to a 13-0 season. The committee made a statement with this decision: they don’t care who you play, they don’t care if you win - they just care if you are in the SEC.

The Seminoles, who are the first undefeated power conference champion to miss the CFP, will play Georgia on Saturday, December 30th in the Orange Bowl.

Big Ten Referees

No conference has had worse officiating this season than the Big Ten has, and that was evident once again in the title game on Saturday night. Specifically, Iowa was backed deep in their own territory when Deacon Hill threw what was ruled an incomplete pass on the field. After the whistle had blown the play dead, a Michigan defender picked the ball up.

After further review? It was ruled a fumble and a Michigan recovery. The “turnover” gave the Wolverines the ball inside of the 10-yard line, leading to a touchdown. When in the history of football, after a play is blown dead, can a fumble be recovered? Only in the Big Ten.

Connor Stalions

Just when the Michigan man’s stock couldn’t get any lower, he caught an unprompted stray from Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz on live television. 

Missouri takes on Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl on Friday, December 29th, and may or may not have the Buckeyes’ signs.

Jeff Brohm, Louisville

Jeff Brohm has now made two conference championship appearances in the last three seasons, but has failed to get over the hump and to win a title. This year he had a great opportunity against a Florida State team on their third-string quarterback, but the Cardinals could only muster up six points in the loss.

Despite the ACC championship game stinker, year 1 under Brohm was a success that was headlined by an upset win over Notre Dame. The Cardinals will be back in action in an intriguing bowl matchup against USC in the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday, December 27th.



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