For the eighth consecutive season, WhatifSports.com is proud to present the ultimate college football playoff in a tournament we refer to as December Madness 2011.
Over the next three weeks, the Top 16 college football teams (11 conference champions and five at-large programs based on BCS rating) will compete for the December Madness title.
Utilizing our award-winning college football simulation engine, we "play" each matchup 1,001 times.
View the December Madness playoff bracket and complete box score here: http://www.whatifsports.com/decmadness/
To amend a line from the film Anchorman, "Today we spell redemption "H-O-C-K-E-R."
When one imagines a hypothetical showdown between offensive juggernauts Oregon and Arkansas, kickers rarely would factor into the picture. Perhaps the nimbleness of LaMichael James springs to mind, or the poise and guidance of Tyler Wilson. Even the aesthetically-pleasing and constantly-altering uniforms of the Ducks pop into your mind before special teams make an appearance. So it's apropos that the booters from both squads would decide the outcome of this battle.
James commenced the scoring with an eight-yard run for paydirt in the first quarter, only for Oregon kicker Alejandro Maldonado to miss on the PAT. Arkansas would answer with a 41-yard field goal and nine-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Cobbi Hamilton, but, alas, Arkansas' foot, Zach Hocker, could not convert on his point-after-touchdown attempt.
Oregon came back with two scores of their own in the second quarter, with Darron Thomas finding De'Anthony in the back of the end zone for a 16-yard conversion and James racking up his second score of the day off a two-yard plunge. Arkansas ended the half with a Tyler Wilson scamper, making the score 20-16 Oregon at the break. Yes, all PATs were successful in the second quarter.
Sadly, this was not the case for the second half, as a 61-yard airstrike from Wilson to Dennis Johnson was sullied by another missed PAT, giving Arkansas a two-point lead. The team's proceeded to swap touchdowns, with James reeling off a 61-yard run to the Promised Land and Wilson hitting Greg Childs from 10 yards out, as Arkansas led 29-27 at the onset of the fourth quarter.
Wilson posted his fourth touchdown of the day to start the final quarter, with Joe Adams as the lucky recipient. The Ducks, down but not out, would answer with 10 points in under two minutes, thanks to a Maldonado field goal and another James touchdown, this time a 59-yard bolt to give Oregon a one-point lead with 4:37 to go.
The Razorbacks engineered a drive of their own, only to be stalled at Oregon's 29-yard line. Despite missing two gimmies in the game, coach Bobby Petrino sent out Hocker for a 46-yard try. The flight of the pigskin looked inauspicious at takeoff, yet the ball hooked through the uprights to give Arkansas a two-point lead with a minute to spare. Darron Thomas and the Oregon offense could not muster an answer, as the Razorbacks advance to the Final Four of December Madness.
Player of the game: Tyler Wilson (388 passing yards, 4 TD)
Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: Arkansas 54.1% - Oregon 45.9%