College Rewind

Saturday NCAA football recap: Blowout loss for TCU; major victories for Georgia, USC, Clemson, Ohio State

Baker Mayfield is an unstoppable force right now. Brett Deering/Getty Images

Taking a look back at the weekend in college football:

Oklahoma 41, TCU 17

Heisman frontrunner Baker Mayfield led the Sooners to a blowout victory over TCU, throwing four touchdown passes in Saturday’s game. The Horned Frogs were unable to get their offense moving in the first quarter and were subsequently shut out the entire second half of the game. Kenny Hill threw two touchdown passes in the second quarter, leaving the score at 24-17 at the half, but the Sooners sealed their fate in the second half. The 41 points for Oklahoma are the most TCU has allowed all season. Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said, "I'm really proud of our group for not listening to the entire narrative across the country that we shouldn't be playing this championship game and all that mess." The the Big 12 champions wait to learn who their opponent will be and in which national semi-final game.

USC 31, Stanford 28

The Pac-12 championship game was nothing short of a battle at Levi’s stadium on Friday. USC sophomore Michael Pittman Jr. made seven receptions and one score for 146 yards, including a 54-yard pass from Sam Darnold who paved the way to a championship win for the Trojans. The sophomore quarterback was 17 of 24 for 325 yards, completing scoring passes to both Pittman and Tyler Vaughns. Stanford coach David Shaw said “The bottom line is we had opportunities and we didn't make enough plays.” Both teams await their bowl bids on Sunday.

Clemson 38, Miami 3

Kelly Bryant left it all on the field in Saturday’s ACC championship matchup against Miami. Bryant set a championship game record by completing his first 15 passes, forcing aside concerns that he could not live up to the standard set by Clemson icon Deshaun Watson. Bryant was 23 of 29 for 252 yards, with one touchdown pass and one running score. With their choice of bowl game sites, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney left no doubt about his choice. “Get ready, Sugar Bowl,” he yelled. “Here we come.”

Georgia 28, Auburn 7

Just three weeks after an embarrassing loss to Auburn, Georgia handed out a brutal beating of their own on Saturday, winning the Southeastern Conference championship in a blowout 28-7 game. With this victory Georgia claimed its first SEC title since 2005. Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm was 16 of 22 with 183 yards and two scores for the Bulldogs. Auburn scored once in the first quarter before being completely shut out the remainder of the game.

Ohio State 27, Wisconsin 21

Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett dazzled in Saturday’s Big Ten championship matchup against Wisconsin. Just six days after surgery, Barrett threw two touchdown passes, ran for another and led the Buckeyes to their first Big Ten title since 2014. Ohio State coach, Urban Meyer said, “We have two wins over two

top-four teams and another one over a team ranked 12th or 13th. We're a conference champion and we deserve a shot.” The Buckeyes find out where they’re headed next on Sunday.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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