College football games of the week: Conference championship edition
It appears our National Title game is set with winner of Georgia vs. Alabama playing Notre Dame in Miami. All of the drama of the past two weeks was replaced by zero drama and no upsets, except for this nonsense. BRUTAL. Anyway, there is plenty at stake this week. All the Conference Championship Games are this weekend and while most don’t involve a National Title berth, they all involve rings, and getting a ring is the ultimate goal of a college football player and team. Let’s see what’s on deck.
Like I said, it’s Ring Week. There is nothing like winning a conference title ring to make the blood, sweat and tears of the last 11 months worth it. Of course some teams have more at stake than that.
Friday, November 30
PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
No. 16 UCLA Bruins @ No. 8 Stanford Cardinal: 7 p.m. on FOX
They play again, a week later, this time in Palo Alto. The Cardinal throttled UCLA pretty good last week despite my favorite blue uniforms, here against Arizona. With the conference at stake, I think the Cardinal once again win, but it won’t be as easy or as convincing. It’s hard to face the same team twice in one year, but the physical Cardinal are athletically ahead of the Bruins right now — and that’s enough to get it down. Cardinal 27, Bruins 24.
Saturday, December 1
BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
No. 12 Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Wisconsin Badgers: 7:17 p.m. on FOX
Ohio State Buckeyes Penn State Nittany Lions Wisconsin Badgers meet the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Indianapolis for the Big Ten Title. The Badgers have had a bad year, set off by tailback Monte Ball getting beaten up in the pre-season and finished off with a 2-game losing streak to end the regular season. It can all be remedied with a ring, but they aren’t getting it.
The Huskers and Super Grump Bo Pelini are going to win this game on the ground with Taylor Martinez and the Black Shirts’ ability to stop Ball and the Whiskey offense. I’d love to see a Pelini melt down, but I think it will be a Pelini celebration. Big Red 28, Jump Around 21.
ACC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
No. 13 Florida State Seminoles vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: 7 p.m. on ESPN
Anything can happen in these Title Games (I was at the 2001 Big 12 Championship — anything can happen), but that isn’t going to happen here. The Seminoles roll into the Orange Bowl vs. the winner of Louisville/Rutgers (6:30 p.m., ESPN, not a Title Game but the winner is the Big East Champion and likely heads to the Orange Bowl).
The Jackets can move the ball on the ground and their students are very smart. Engineers, I think. Right? I don’t know anyone that went to school there. I probably don’t know anyone who got accepted there. So hang your hat on academics, fellas, because FSU is going to blow you out. Osceola 38, Ramblin’ Wreck 17.
SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs vs. No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide: 3 p.m. on CBS
This is The Game before The Game before Notre Dame. Check out that rhyme: The Game before The Game before Notre Dame, son. Winner gets a berth in the National Title game and a shiny SEC ring.
I can’t remember the last time UGA was here while Bama seems to always be here. I like what Georgia is doing, and I think their fans — and team — are going to be rabid in the Georgia Dome Saturday afternoon. I really, really want to go with UGA, but I’m afraid Saban is too good, too ruthless and has too much defense. Tide 30, Dogs 20.
Worst Game of the Week
South Alabama Jaguars @ Hawaii Rainbows: 10 p.m.
Why is this the worst game? Because it’s the last one. Army/Navy is next week and bowl season is starting, but South Alabama at Hawaii is officially the last game of the last weekend of college football. I can’t believe it’s over.
I did alright this week, except for ou. You suck, ou.
No. 1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish @ No. 18 USC Trojans
Why it was included: A National Title berth for Notre Dame on the line.
Prediction:Irish 31, Trojans 21. USC puts up a fight even without Matt Barkley, but the Irish prevail.
Reality:) Irish 22, Trojans 13. USC put up a fight even without Matt Barkley, but the Irish prevailed.
This game went exactly as I thought it would. USC and their home crowd made it closer than it probably should have been, but Manti Te’o and that Irish defense harassed redshirt freshman Max Wittek into two interceptions and made an epic goal line stand with two minutes to play that would have cut the lead to 22-20.
But honestly it wouldn’t have mattered if they did score, because Notre Dame would have found a way to win it. Congrats to the Irish for punching their ticket to the National Title game, and congrats to me for (almost) getting this right.
No. 4 Florida Gators @ No. 10 Florida State Seminoles
Why is was included: Gators have a shot to play for the whole thing. These two hate each other, top 10 match up.
Prediction:Noles 24, Go Gata 17. Florida State is too much at home. No hand-wringing necessary for the Notre Dame game.
Reality: Gators 37, Noles 26. There I go again doubting Florida. And there I go again, losing, by doubting Florida.
The Seminoles rallied from an early 13-0 hole to take a 20-16 lead and seemed in complete control at the start of the fourth quarter, but that’s when disaster struck. Quarterback EJ Manuel scrambled out of the pocket and was TATTOOED by a Florida defender, knocking the ball loose and the bejesus out of Manuel.
The Gators recovered and on the first play after the turnover Mike Gillislee took it to the house for a 23-20 Florida lead. It was downhill from there as the Noles could muster nothing on offense and the Seminole defense, the second best in the nation, gave up 244 yards rushing. I don’t like Florida and I do like Florida State, so this game sucked.
No.5 Oregon Ducks @ No.15 Oregon State Beavers
Why it was included: The Civil War. An Oregon win keeps their dreams alive of playing for the National Title.
Prediction:Oregon 38, Oregon State 21. Civil War and rivalry aside, Oregon rolls.
Reality: Oregon 48, Oregon State 24. Civil War and rivalry aside, Oregon rolled.
That went exactly as I thought. The Ducks are just too deep, talented and dangerous on offense to contain them twice, and the defense is good enough to allow the offense to blow games open, making the other team one-dimensional and easier to defend. We could be headed for an Oregon vs. K-State Fiesta Bowl, which have as much in common as Kim Jong-il and Andy Dick. You decide who will be who.
No.21 Oklahoma State Cowboys @ No.13 oklahoma sooners
Why it was included: Texas can win the Big 12. I hate oklahoma.
Prediction:Oklahoma State 41, ou 38. Oklahoma State is coming on and can score points, they find a way on the road because I hate oklahoma.
Reality: ou 51, Oklahoma State 48. I am sure normal people thought that was a highly entertaining game and very compelling, what with ou scoring to tie the game on 4th & Goal as time expired in regulation… But I am NOT a regular person. I hate them and I hate when they win. Jerks.
Worst Game of the Week
Auburn Tigers @ No.2 Alabama Crimson Tide
Why it was included: You have seen Alabama play. You have seen Auburn play.
Everything went as expected. The Tide annihilated War Eagle and then Auburn fired Gene Chizik. Water is wet, the sky is blue.
That’s it for this week. See you next week.
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