Weekend Preview: We are the Champions
If you don’t have a Conference Championship, I don’t know how you can really know who the best team in your conference is. And if you don’t know who the best team in your conference is, then I assume that you don’t have one. And if you don’t have a best team in your conference then I’m not going to waste time this weekend watching you. So if you want insights on the Big 12, the Big East, the WAC or some other sham of a conference go elsewhere. I’ll talk about Championships only this week.
The Most Awful Conference gets things rolling for Championship Week on Friday night with a highly anticipated matchup between two ranked MAC teams, Northern Illinois and Kent “State.” I can respect Northern Illinois for what they are: an 8-0 MAC team with a win over Army, Kansas and an FCS foe as well as a one point, season-opening loss to Iowa. I can’t respect Kent State at all because they lost to the Kentucky Wildcats and gave UK their lone FBS win of the season – a 33 point win for the ‘Cats. If you lose by 33 to Kentucky you don’t go to a BCS Bowl. And if Kent State wins, moves up to 16th and remains ahead of the Big East champion (which there apparently isn’t since there isn’t a game) then they qualify for a BCS Bowl. Wow.
The Pac 12 also squares off Friday night in an attempt to get fans of real football to watch as a “warmup” for Saturday. I’m not going to spend time on this, because this game was just played. Seriously it has to be weird losing to the same team twice – once at home and once away – within six days. But that’s what UCLA is about to experience as Stanford wins.
The Conference USA Championship pits UCF (9-3 overall, 7-1 in C-USA) against Tulsa (9-3, 7-1) in a game between two Fairley evenly matched squads. Both teams come into the game averaging just over 35 points per game, but I give the offensive edge to the Knights given a slightly higher level of competition. And, unlike most C-USA squads these guys actually play a little bit of defense. Tulsa ranks 38th in the nation in scoring defense against FBS squads while UCF comes in at 24th.
Central Florida has been on a nice little run over the past few years (with last year being a bit down) and were bolstered by a bowl win over a struggling Georgia team in the 2010 Liberty Bowl. I’d expect the Knights to take this one, and with Tulsa favored by one point in Las Vegas I’d be tempted to throw some dough at the moneyline.
And that was me writing two paragraphs about Conference USA football.
I don’t think you’ll get as much verbiage from me on this game because it doesn’t deserve words. Georgia Tech is a terrible football team and might be worse than their 6-6 record implies, but quality wins Prebyterian and Duke have the Jackets poised to make BCS run. True story. Unfortunately Florida State will beat the Jackets and drop them below .500 thus ending the fairy tale story of the team that lost to Middle Tennessee State by 21 points and unranked BYU by 24 – both at home – a cautionary, but fictitious, tale of the dangers of automatic conference bids. If I had to bet I’d expect the Seminoles to cover this 13 point spread.
The Big 10
The Wisconsin Badgers weaseled their way into the Big 10 Championship Game by being in the same division as a bunch of delinquents – Ohio State and Penn State. So the third place finisher in the “Leaders” Division is now slate to take on the most legendary winner of the “Legends” division, Nebraska. Everything indicates a Nebraska win, but this matchup was close when the two squads met back in late September with the Huskers winning by three at home. I really want Wisconsin to win because I’m running out of times to say, “You can’t spell ‘Montee Ball’ without ‘Tee Ball.’” So I’m taking the Badgers (a 2.5 point underdog in Vegas).
The National Championship
Whoever wins the SEC will win the National Championship. I think everyone in the world – even in Ireland – knows that. Accordingly I have more thoughts than I can share in this space, so keep reading all my Georgia/Alabama write-ups.
I mentioned earlier that Kent State could become the least qualified BCS team ever – which is quite a bold statement. Here is videographic proof.
Be Sure to Read this Coverage of Conference Championship Week as well:
- Weekly Recap
- SEC Coaching Carousel
- Manti Te’O would be a backup for Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree
- Data Dump: White and Nerdy Statistical Analysis on the SEC and the BCS Top 3
- Georgia’s Defense vs. Alabama’s Offense: Stopping the Tide Rush the Key to Georgia Victory
- Knocking the Heisman Candidates
- Georgia’s Offense Shouldn’t be Scared of Alabama’s Defense
That’s all I got/