Championship Weekend Edition
B1G Championship: First off, this conference’s logo is awful. It was overthought. But that’s not what is important here. Michigan State vs. Ohio State is. The knock on Ohio State has been their schedule all year; have they really played anyone? Even last week, winning by the skin of their teeth at the Big House, has been held agaist them by some critics. Rightfully so. We give them full credit for going 12-0. If they go 13-0, they should be in the BCS Championship Game. Bad news – Michigan State might be the best team in the country that no one (and I mean no one) has talked about. Spartans 31, Buckeyes 28. Let the madness begin from there.
Pac-12 Championship: Arizona State vs. Stanford. The Sun Devils have not been a topic of conversation in the Pac-12 among the Oregons, UCLAs, Stanfords and even USCs of the world. But they’re a good team and they do have a shot at beating the Cardinal. The problem – Stanford’s running game. Look for the Cardinal to control the game on the ground (as they did vs. Oregon) and give the Sun Devils little-to-no shot. Stanford 27, Arizona State 14
SEC Championship: Missouri vs. Auburn. Tigers vs. Tigers. How can one conference have three teams with the same mascot? Things to talk about during an ice storm. No bother, the Tigers win this one – guaranteed. But which one? Life in the SEC is about three or four plays that define your season. Auburn is the king of karma right now, three plays away from being 8-4. Mizzouri? They’re good, but benefitted from timely injuries to their opponents a few times and a favorable schedule (getting most of their tough games at home). Games are really won and lost in the trenches, which is why the pick is Mizzou. Both of their lines do a great job of controlling the line of scrimmage and they will do so again. Also look for Mizzou’s wide receivers to exploit Auburn’s average corners. Mizzou 34, Auburn 24
ACC Championship: Duke vs. Florida State. Duke is a great story and David Cutcliffe should get consideration for coach of the year (though Auburn’s Guz Malzahn will get it by pulling rabbits out of his hat week after week). Now that Jameis Winston has been cleared, there are no distractions for Florida State, who roll (as they have all year). Seminoles 42, Blue Devils 17
Texas at Baylor: If OU beats OSU, this one is for the Big 12 title. This is also the finale for Floyd Casey Stadium. This is a big one for Baylor, regardless, closing out their most memorable season ever. Texas dug deep after a poor start to the season and also has something to prove. Baylor is just better and it shows Saturday. The Bears’ offense has been slowed just one time this season (at OSU) and no one has come close in Waco. Bears roll, 40-21.
OU at Oklahoma State: Bedlam. Oklahoma faces the same problem that has plagued them all season – the struggle to score points. And the Sooners will need to score to hang with the Cowboys, who score at will lately, especially at home. Look for Oklahoma to be run out of the building early. This one is over by halftime as the Sooners expedite things with two big turnovers in the first 30 minutes. Cowboys 42, Sooners 20.
BCS Championship Game Selections: Florida Sate is in. That’s the easy part. What team with one loss gets in? Ohio State – nope. Alabama? Sorry, you have to win your own conference to get consideration here (even though they did the same thing two years ago and got in). Ain’t happening. Oklahoma State? A loss at West Virginia will haunt them here (and should). Baylor? Not enough street cred for voters. Michigan State? Ranked too low and the Big 10 doesn’t help them here. That leaves one choice – the Missouri Tigers. The SEC gets a shot at eight BCS titles in a row.
Side notes on a cold Friday: who saw Robinson Canoe to the Mariners coming? Me neither. And happy trails, Gary Kubiak.