A little hard to believe, but championship weekend is already upon us. There are some great games on tap with a lot at stake - both in terms of conference championships to be won and College Football Playoff spots to be earned.
Personally, I’m here for all the chaos. So here’s my rooting interest:
- Georgia over Alabama
- Oklahoma State over Baylor
- Houston over Cincinnati
- Michigan over Iowa
That would almost assuredly knock Alabama and Cincinnati out and move Oklahoma State and Notre Dame in. Given that Brian Kelly just ditched the Irish for LSU for the perceived improved chances of winning a national title, it would be amazing to watch the team he just abandoned go on a run and win the whole damn thing.
Also, I’m sick of seeing Alabama in the playoffs, so let them sit home for once.
Now, to the games...
Friday night you have an 8-4 WKU team favored on the road against an 11-1 UTSA squad. That’s interesting. Also on Friday, we get a rematch of Oregon-Utah from two weeks ago in a game that Utah boatraced the Ducks to the tune of 38-7. Not only did the Utes saddle Oregon with a loss, they also brutally murdered their playoff chances right in front of them... to them, no less!
Saturday kicks off right away with a great match-up: Baylor vs OK State in the Big XII Championship Game. Baylor head coach Dave Aranda is one of the best defensive minds in the country going up against offensive guru and mullet master Mike Gundy. I’m a man! I’m all for it!
Kent State at Northern Illinois. That is a game that will happen.
In the Mountain West Championship Game, Utah State squares off with San Diego State. Over their last five games, Utah State has not had a contest decided by less than 20 points. One of those games was a 27-point loss to a 6-5 Wyoming team. Yeah, go figure. Seven of SDSU’s 11 wins are by one possession, including the last four straight. SP+ and Sagarin both say SDSU wins easy.
Appalachian State heads down to Louisiana to take on the Ragin’ Cajuns and try to avenge their lone Sun Belt loss of the season. That game was a bit of a shocker, as the Mountaineers got shellacked back in mid-October. In the grand scheme, that one didn’t matter, though. App can take home the Sun Belt Conference Championship with a win this time.
In the most hyped and anticipated game of the weekend, Georgia and Alabama face off in the SEC Championship Game. The Bulldogs have been an absolute monster all year, with their 10-3 season opening win over Clemson being their only game of the season that they won by less than 17 points. That’s an absurd fact. Alabama is no slouch, either, although also far from the unbeatable machine they usually are under Nick Saban. The 11-1 Crimson Tide have four wins by one possession, including in three of their last four games.
The only FBS game predicted by the advanced metrics to be more of a one-sided affair than the above mentioned MWC title game is the AAC title game between Houston and Cincinnati. I’ve watched enough of both of these teams to believe it, too. Cincinnati is not one of the best four teams in the country, but they’re a heck of a lot better than Houston.
Saturday night, Michigan gets to prove that their win over Ohio State last weekend wasn’t just a hatred-fueled fluke. Iowa will be their opponent in the Big Ten title game. Nothing screams “boring” quite like the two words “Iowa Football”. The Hawkeyes went on an offensive tear from mid-October to early November where they scored a combined 26 points in three games. They’ve topped 30 points in just four games this year. One of those was against Kent State. The only game this year where they topped 34 points was against Maryland (a 51-14 win, lol).
In the ACC Championship Game, it’s the undisputed best team in the Coastal Division, Pitt, against the third-best team from the Atlantic Division (at least according to both SP+ and Sagarin), Wake Forest. Unfortunately for both NC State (12th in SP+, 19th in Sagarin) and Clemson (9th in both), Wake caught a few more breaks this year and will be in Charlotte. Alas.
There are also some excellent FCS Playoff 2nd round games on tap for this weekend, starting with what should be an incredibly entertaining Eastern Washington vs Montana game on Friday night. On Saturday night, we get to see former NC State QB Matt McKay lead Montana State against UT-Martin. Oh... nevermind. That’s, uhh, super strange. Starting QB of a 9-2 playoff team heads to the door two days before their 2nd round game.
Oh, and USC and Cal are playing a make-up game late Saturday night. Just in case you want to make your Sunday morning awful by staying up late Saturday to watch a couple 4-7 teams and hear non-stop about Lincoln Riley.
Anyways... enjoy the football!
Rankings for SP+ Ratings and Sagarin Ratings listed, respectively, ahead of each team’s name.
[CUSA] 24/52 Western Kentucky @ 55/59 UTSA - 7:00pm - CBSSN
FCS/157 Holy Cross @ FCS/113 Villanova - 7:00pm - ESPN+
[PAC 12] 19/17 Oregon vs 16/11 Utah - 8:00pm - ABC
FCS/89 Eastern Washington @ FCS/95 Montana - 9:00pm - ESPN+
[BIG XII] 18/16 Baylor vs 14/6 Oklahoma State - 12:00pm - ABC
[MAC] 89/97 Kent State @ 101/98 Northern Illinois - 12:00pm - ESPN
FCS/126 Kennesaw State @ FCS/131 East Tennessee State - 2:00pm - ESPN+
FCS/119 SE Louisiana @ FCS/83 James Madison - 2:00pm - ESPN+
[MWC] 80/78 Utah State @ 39/43 San Diego State - 3:00pm - FOX
FCS/123 Incarnate Word @ FCS/85 Sam Houston - 3:00pm - ESPN+
[SBC] 31/35 Appalachian State @ 57/47 Louisiana - 3:30pm - ESPN
FCS/108 Southern Illinois @ FCS/55 North Dakota State - 3:30pm - ESPN+
[SEC] 1/1 Georgia vs 3/2 Alabama - 4:00pm - CBS
[AAC] 29/40 Houston @ 5/7 Cincinnati - 4:00pm - ABC
[SWAC] FCS/205 Prairie View A&M @ FCS/165 Jackson State - 4:00pm - ESPN2
FCS/150 UT Martin @ FCS/109 Montana State - 4:00pm - ESPN+
[BIG TEN] 4/4 Michigan vs 21/18 Iowa - 8:00pm - FOX
[ACC] 11/20 Pittsburgh vs 32/21 Wake Forest - 8:00pm - ABC
FCS/64 South Dakota State @ FCS/110 Sacramento State - 9:00pm - ESPN+
74/62 USC vs 68/63 California - 11:00pm - FS1