Conference Championship Week Primer: What’s At Stake
Nothing I say in this blog post is going to surprise you. Aside from mentioning that, for the second year in a row, Missouri will be representing the East in the SEC Championship game, nothing should offend you. Consider this the de facto viewing guide for this weekend, which is not without intriguing matchups and (obviously!) playoff implications.
Pac-12- #7 Arizona vs. #2 Oregon (Friday, 9pm, FOX)
Since the best way to tackle this post is chronologically, let’s start with the league which decided to get its chaos out of the way early and start the weekend with a ferocious bang. Oregon has lost exactly three games in the past two years, and averaged 45.7 points in compiling a gaudy 22-3 record. Two of those losses? To an Arizona team, slowing down Heisman
candidate frontrunner winner Marcus Mariota’s offense to the tune of 40 points total.
Rich Rodriguez has re-established himself as a premier coach, Anu Solomon and Nick Wilson (both freshmen) have made for a terrifying backfield, and Zona’s 3-3-5 seems the perfect foil to Oregon. #PACtion has been great all year, and even as the ‘safest’ bet for the playoff, Oregon could be in trouble.
B1G- #13 Wisconsin vs. #5 Ohio State (Saturday, 8:17pm, FOX)
Without Braxton Miller and now J.T. Barrett, Ohio State turns to Cardale Jones as the QB du jour. Losing out to Barrett has proven nothing negative about Jones’ ability, and if he can distribute the ball the way Barrett did, I still think Ohio State has a good shot to win this and sneak into the playoff (gag).
On the other side, Wisconsin features 2000-yard back Melvin Gordon, no passing game to speak of, and a classic run-heavy B1G team. By the time this game kicks off, we should have an idea of what’s at stake for the Bucknuts. Otherwise, it’s the one I’d recommend skipping.
The Mess in the Big XII
According to the selection committee, TCU is the best this league has to offer. Vexing, because just two weeks ago they beat KANSAS by two measly points. The #3 Horned Frogs can seal a berth in the playoff at home against Iowa State (noon, ABC/ESPN3).
Much more interesting is #9 K-State at #6 Baylor (7:45, ESPN). A K-State win anoints TCU as the undisputed champion of the league (if only we had a way to determine that in some kind of championship structure…)** while a Baylor win and any slip-up from the top five makes them a difficult team to leave out of the playoff.
**- Technically, K-State would be co-champion, but lost to TCU head-to-head. If Baylor holds serve, they’re co-champion who beat TCU head-to-head. What a system!
One more thought on the Big XII: Oklahoma State/#20 Oklahoma in BEDLAM! is on FS1 at 3:30, and is your only option for a switchback channel during the SEC ‘ship.
Speaking of Which…
I went to trivia last night and we lost out on championship tickets by one measly point. I was going to sell the mess out of them to a confused Mizzou fan. #1 Alabama vs. #16 Mizzou (3:30, CBS) should be a bloodletting. I hope it is. Although a Mizzou win would also be hilarious. Basically, the only unsatisfactory result of this game is a close Alabama win.
The fact that this game is 1 vs. 16 got me thinking about the NCAA Tournament, and how much freaking fun it’d be to have a 16-team field in college football. As it stands right now, we’d be looking at:
Yeah, we need this to happen.
And Some #ACCtion
#4 Florida State vs. #11 Georgia Tech (8, ABC): I can’t get over the funny feeling that Tech steals this one in front of 21,000 loyal ACC fans. It’s just the most #goacc thing that could happen at this point.