- Georgia Bulldogs 23 – Alabama Crimson Tide 26
Highlights: Jalen Hurts might have a 25-2 record as the starting quarterback at Alabama, including back-to-back trips to the College Football Playoff National Championship presented by AT&T. But on Monday night, he was toast, and his coach, Nick Saban, knew it. So coming out of halftime, Saban did the unthinkable: On the game’s biggest stage, with a title on the line, he rolled the dice and benched Hurts in favor of a true freshman with eight games of backup experience under his belt. The quarterback in question? Tua Tagovailoa. The previously unheard of lefty from Hawaii came in and resuscitated a struggling offense just in time for Alabama to overcome a double-digit deficit and beat Georgia 26-23 in overtime to win its fifth national championship under Saban. Tagovailoa was an afterthought coming into Monday night in Atlanta. But there he was, on the field on fourth-and-4, down a touchdown, with less than four minutes remaining. There he was, hopping around in a collapsing pocket, waiting and waiting and waiting before finding Calvin Ridley for the game-tying score. There he was again, in overtime, throwing a 41-yard walk-off touchdown to DeVonta Smith. Tagovailoa pumped his fist, and confetti rained down inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
- Georgia Bulldogs 54 – Oklahoma Sooners 48
Highlights: Sony Michel burst through the line for a 27-yard touchdown run to give No. 3 Georgia a 54-48 victory Monday night against No. 2 Oklahoma, winning the first overtime Rose Bowl and sending the Bulldogs to the College Football Playoff championship game. Michel, who had a fumble in the fourth quarter returned for a go-ahead Oklahoma touchdown, ran for 181 yards and three scores for the Bulldogs (13-1), but none bigger than the last one in the second overtime. In the final game of one of his great career, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield threw for 287 yards and two touchdowns, and caught a touchdown pass that gave the Sooners a 17-point lead with 6 seconds left in the first half. But the Heisman Trophy winner could not get the Sooners into the end zone in the first overtime when a touchdown would have ended the game.
- Alabama Crimson Tide 24 – Clemson Tigers 6
Highlights: In a game where every yard was a struggle, the Crimson Tide defenders took matters into their own hands. They accounted for a pair of touchdowns just 13 seconds apart in the third quarter to turn an offensive slog into a 24-6 rout of defending national champion Clemson in the Sugar Bowl semifinal game Monday night. Leading only 10-6 after a turnover to start the second half handed Clemson a field goal, the fourth-ranked Tide (12-1) quickly snuffed out any thoughts of a repeat title for the Tigers. Clemson was held to 188 yards, 260 yards below its season average and never reached the end zone. Quarterback Kelly Bryant was sacked five times and the Tigers were held to 64 yards on the ground. Alabama played it tough right to the end, denying Clemson on a fourth-down pass into the end zone with just over a minute remaining. Alabama will be playing Georgia in the College Football Playoff National Championship presented by AT&T on January 8th.
For years, there was only one place where Saturday night’s triumphant story had been written: inside Baker Mayfield‘s head. He knew no one else was entertaining that fantasy. What once seemed improbable for Mayfield has now become reality. He’s the latest winner of college football’s highest honor, the Heisman Trophy. As much as he might have wanted this, even he couldn’t have predicted what winning the award would actually be like. “It’s a dream right now,” Mayfield said. With 2,398 total points and 732 first-place votes, the quarterback who walked on at Oklahoma, after spending a year as a walk-on at Texas Tech, won the trophy Saturday night, a year after attending the trophy presentation as a finalist. This time, Mayfield finished ahead of Stanford running back Bryce Love (1,300 total points) and 2016 Heisman winner Lamar Jackson of Louisville (793).
Sun Devils Hire Herm Edwards as Head Coach – Former NFL coach and current ESPN analyst Herm Edwards has taken the Arizona State head-coaching job, the school said Sunday night. A news conference has been scheduled for Monday morning to announce the hire and unveil “plans for a restructured ASU football program.” Edwards, 63, has spent the past nine years as an NFL analyst for ESPN. Before that, he was a head coach in the NFL for eight seasons, and he compiled a 54-74 record with the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs.
Fisher’s Texas A&M Deal Richest Ever – Florida State football coach Jimbo Fisher has resigned to take the head-coaching job at Texas A&M, Florida State officials said Friday.
Fisher won’t coach the Seminoles against Louisiana Monroe on Saturday. Associate head coach and defensive tackles coach Odell Haggins instead will lead the team. Sources told ESPN that Texas A&M officials have approved a 10-year, $75 million, fully guaranteed contract for Fisher, which is the richest deal in college football history in terms of total value. He will be the second-highest-paid coach in the FBS with an average salary of $7.5 million, which ranks behind only Alabama’s Nick Saban.
Pitino Sues Louisville for Breach of Contract – Former coach Rick Pitino has sued the University of Louisville Athletic Association for $37.6 million, saying it breached his contract by placing him on unpaid administrative leave without notice and then firing him last month with no legally justified cause. Pitino was fired in October in the wake of an FBI investigation of bribery and fraud in college basketball related to the steering of recruits to Adidas, sports agents and financial advisers. Pitino maintains he wasn’t aware of an alleged payment from a Cardinals assistant to the family of Brian Bowen during the recruiting process. Louisville has since announced that Bowen, a freshman, won’t play for the school but can transfer if he wishes. University spokesman John Karman told the Courier-Journal that Louisville is aware of the Pitino lawsuit.
Amid Protest, Vols Won’t Hire Schiano – Tennessee has backed out of a memorandum of understanding with Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano to be the Volunteers’ next football coach, sources told ESPN’s Chris Low. The memorandum of understanding was signed by both parties Sunday in Columbus, Ohio, and the school had planned to introduce Schiano at a news conference Sunday night. But when news broke that Tennessee was close to finalizing a deal with Schiano earlier Sunday, there was public outcry among Tennessee fans, with people citing his alleged connection to the Jerry Sandusky era at Penn State.
Texas A&M Fires Coach Sumlin After Six Seasons – The Kevin Sumlin era has come to an end at Texas A&M. The school fired Sumlin on Sunday after he posted a 51-26 record over six seasons with the Aggies. The move came less than 24 hours after the Aggies ended their regular season with a 42-21 loss to LSU to drop to 7-5. “Kevin’s tenure included some remarkable achievements and he leaves our program as one of the winningest football coaches in our storied history,” Texas A&M athletic director Scott Woodward said in a statement. “Kevin made us a better all-around football program and led our program with dignity and character. He’s a first-class person.
Florida Hires Miss. State’s Mullen as Coach – After six seasons at Mississippi State, Dan Mullen is heading to Florida to be its next football coach. Mullen’s 69-46 record for the Bulldogs makes him the second-winningest coach in school history, behind only Jackie Sherrill. The Bulldogs are 8-4 (4-4 SEC) this season.