College Football Research


Week 14 Preview: Championship Week

by Big Al

It's championship week in college football, when we add an extra set of games to determine conference championships that nobody really cares about, because everybody just wants to get into the College Football Playoff.

And what's so horrible about more than one team being able to call themselves conference champions? If they earned that right, do we really lose anything by having more than one team be successful? I'd rather make successes of teams than failures. And yes, I know that doesn't fit in with how people think of things these days.

You can pretty well count on at least one upset this weekend; and the loser will complain about how having to play a conference championship game wrecked their season. But you can never quite tell just who it's going to be. I do have my guesses though. Or my guess, as it were.

Northern Illinois vs. Buffalo

I confess I have not seen either team play this year. Having a job a family tends to get in the way of my watching college football. So how about Northern Illinois?

Utah vs. Washington

Amidst one wild, wacky, and entirely enjoyable Pac-12 season that was the most fun conference race to watch all year, we sometimes lost sight of the biggest fact of the year: Washington is the best team in the Pac-12. Washington proves it on Friday.

Texas vs. Oklahoma

Of all the conference championship games, this one is going to be the one to watch. These two teams don't like each other. But this rivalry usually tempered by the fact they play it in October. Now it's an end-of-season game. And after the first game, it seems things got heated. Now they are just in full-on hate mode.

Oklahoma is out for revenge. Sam Ehlinger is dealing with an injured shoulder. That will be good enough for a reversal of the earlier result. Oklahoma wins.

Louisiana-Lafayette at Appalachian State

Appalachian State just keeps hanging around, being good at football. It's a long way to get to the top, but they will make a statement with a win here.

UAB vs. Middle Tennessee State

After UAB cancelled their football program, it seemed the experiment had failed. Well, that turned around quickly. Now they are back and playing for a conference championship. I'll go with the feel-good story of the parts of the country that aren't the middle of Tennessee. UAB it is.

Memphis vs. Central Florida

Amongst all the arguments about Oklahoma vs. Ohio State for the 4th spot in the playoffs, nobody is taking UCF seriously. Since when has the best team in the state of Florida been a team that you can overlook? Anyway, UCF wins.

Alabama vs. Georgia

This rematch of last year's national title game is looking like and oh, screw this. Alabama.

Fresno State at Boise State

I have a soft spot for Boise State. How can you not love the big, blue field? Okay, yes, I know a lot of people hate it, but Boise State put a stamp on their program with a big loophole nobody ever knew was even a loophole until they ran through it. You know when you're in Boise, baby! So I'll go with my soft spot and go with Boise State.

Clemson vs. Pittsburgh


Northwestern vs. Ohio State

Ohio State fans are going to be yelling "Roll Tide!" and "Hook 'em Horns!" all of Saturday. College football makes strange bedfellows. But the letdown of Oklahoma losing is going to sting. That puts a lot of pressure on Ohio State to not just win, but win big. That means they are not focusing on winning. Meanwhile, they are playing a team that lost only one conference game all year, and has had three weeks to prepare for the Big Ten championship game. And Ohio State is coming off of a hard-hitting, emotional win against their big rival and this game is something of an annoyance and an afterthought. Do you smell upset? Northwestern will find out it smells like roses sometime around 12:30 in the morning, thanks to all those damn ads.


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