Alabama coach Nick Saban found out how important a kicker is, while the other rivalry games were mostly blowouts for the favorites. A missed field goal by Alabama cost them a chance to play in the College Football Playoff, but other playoff contenders, LSU, Ohio State, and Clemson all won by 35 or more points.
The Alabama-Auburn game, however, was back and forth for four quarters. With two minutes remaining, Alabama kicker, Joseph Bulovas missed a 30-yard field goal that would have tied the score. The Crimson Tide lost to Auburn, 48-45. It was the second-highest scoring Iron Bowl. The first occurred in 2014 when Alabama won, 55-44.
The kicking problem at Alabama isn’t new. Since Saban took over in 2007, Crimson Tide kickers have missed 101 field goals, the most by any FBS team in that span. Bulovas is the only SEC kicker to miss multiple field goals from 30 yards or closer this season.
Still, Saban wasn’t ready to put the loss on his kicker, telling reporters after the game that the whole team was responsible for not beating Auburn.
“I don’t think anyone feels worse than Joe does about missing that kick,” Saban said. “We all feel bad, and we all should.”
Rivalry Games Blowouts
The biggest hyped rivalry game was Ohio State at Michigan, and it was a bust. Bettors cleaned up on the game, however as the Buckeyes were favored by nine, and won easily, 56-27.
Dave Mason at BetOnline said before the game that they needed Michigan.
“Gulp – insane action coming in on Michigan v Ohio State,” Mason tweeted. “House needs the Wolverines big – about 78% of the cash on the Buckeyes (-8). By kick-off there will be more money on OSU than any other college side this year.”
They, and other sportsbooks, got thumped on the game. The over scored big, hitting with 11:18 left in the third quarter. The over has now hit the last seven times Ohio State and Michigan have played.
It was the second-highest point total allowed by a Jim Harbaugh-led Michigan team. The first was the team’s 62-39 loss last year to Ohio State.
LSU, Clemson Win Big
The other three teams in the College Football Playoff picture are LSU, Clemson, and Georgia. They all won their rivalry games easily. LSU played Texas A&M, and were 17.5-point favorites. The Tigers, who are No. 2 in the CFP Rankings behind Ohio State, had the spread covered by the end of the first quarter. They put up 21 points in the first 15 minutes, en route to a 50-7 victory.
Clemson had to give away 27.5 points in its game against South Carolina, and it turned into a sweat for bettors. The No. 3 Tigers didn’t have the number covered until the third quarter, and even then, it was only by a half-point. They did add a little distance in the fourth quarter when they scored to make it 38-3.
Georgia, the last team in the playoff so far, faced Georgia Tech and was a 28.5-point favorite. The Bulldogs had an easy time with the Yellow Jackets, defeating them, 52-7.