College Football

Their signature victory

Oklahoma State got its statement win. Critics of the Cowboys had questioned whether they were worthy of playing for the national championship. Their 44-10 win over Oklahoma proved they are ready for the big time.

LSU's defense is really, really good. Looking disinterested for most of the first half, the Tigers relied on a huge punt return by Tyrann Mathieu, then forced three Georgia turnovers in the second half, including a Morris Claiborne interception return for a touchdown, to cruise to a 42-10 win.

The Big Ten title game was a rousing success. After watching blowouts in the ACC, SEC and Pac-12 championship games, it was nice to see Wisconsin and Michigan State step up and provide us with the best game of the weekend.

Clemson took a page from Virginia Tech. The Tigers limped into the ACC championship as losers of three of their last four games but dominated the Hokies with a strong running game and a fierce defense that forced three turnovers and held ACC Player of the Year David Wilson to 32 rushing yards.

The MAC provided another exciting finish. All season, the Mid-American Conference has shown that midweek games can be exciting and fun. It proved it again Friday night as Northern Illinois rallied from 20 points down to top Ohio for the conference championship on a last-second field goal.

Big changes are ahead in the Pac-12. Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA and Washington State will have new coaches on the sidelines next season. Arizona and Washington State already have hired Rich Rodriguez and Mike Leach, respectively, making the conference rife with coaching personalities.

LaMichael James is an amazing talent. The Oregon running back finished the regular season with his fourth 200-plus-yard rushing game against UCLA in the Pac-12 title game. He has 1,646 yards and 17 touchdowns, and if he hadn't missed two games, who knows what he could have done.

Give it up for UCLA for fighting until the end. With a lame-duck coach in Rick Neuheisel coaching his final game Friday night and a bowl bid already secured thanks to the NCAA, the Bruins could have mailed it in. Instead they fought hard against a superior opponent.

Houston had a problem. The Cougars came into the Conference USA title game riding a wave of hype with expectations of an undefeated season and a BCS spot. That all went bye-bye with a 49-28 loss to Southern Miss, which looked better in every facet.

The Big East finished a wild season. Louisville, Cincinnati and West Virginia shared the conference title, with the tiebreaker for the BCS berth going to the highest-ranked team in the BCS standings, West Virginia.