By Josh Kramer
At last it is time for the “official” final weekend of the College Football regular season. Though we have learned a ton since the beginning of September, there are still plenty of questions in need of definitive answers. These are as follows:
-Who will play in the BCS National Championship Game?
-Who will take home the prestigious Heisman Trophy Award?
-Where will all of the bowl bounds team be heading?
-When will the game of musical chairs in the College Football coaching world generate some solutions?
And I could go on and on..
Here are the marquee matchups.
UCLA at Oregon: Ducks by 31 (yes I expect them to beat the 30 point spread)
Headline: Neuheisel’s final hurrah is an ugly one as Oregon makes UCLA look as if they are standing still in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
-This is quite possibly the worst conference championship matchup in the history of College Football. On one hand, you have a team who is the defending National Runner-up and is in the midst of another outstanding season. On the other hand, you have a team who just lost by 50 points last week, has fired their coach, and has lost six times on the year by double digits. UCLA has zero business playing in this game. How many conference championship games have a team favored by 30 plus points?
-Now I have always been a person who believes in the unpredictability of the sporting world. As the great Andy Roddick once said, “If sports were predictable, they would be like watching a DVD.” UCLA is participating in this game by default. It is a shame that USC, who is arguably the hottest team in America outside of Baton Rouge, will not have the opportunity to participate in this one. We can only pray that last week was not the last we will get to see of Barkley at the collegiate level. But I digress. Oregon has an electric offense and possesses speed unheard of outside of the elite teams in the SEC. Too much speed. Too much talent. The Ducks “run” away with this one. Could you really imagine a six loss team participating in “The Grandaddy of Them All (Rose Bowl)?”
Georgia vs LSU: Tigers by 17
Headline: LSU turns the Georgia Dome into the “Tiger Dome,” as they continue to demonstrate why they are the best team in the nation.
-The SEC Championship Game is always a big game. Any person that follows College Football at all realizes that the SEC is without question the nation’s elite football conference. Therefore, the title game is always a good one. Oddly enough, the SEC has had a major power shift. A few years back, the SEC East was typically the stronger half. This year, the SEC West is head and shoulders the better part of America’s best football conference.
-This matchup will not be nearly as lopsided as the ridiculous Pac-12 Championship Game on Friday night. Georgia has won ten straight games for a reason. They are no pushover. But LSU is the best team in all of the land. Though many are saying that LSU has already clinched a spot in the BCS National Championship Game, they will still bring their “A” game on Saturday to leave no doubt who the nation’s elite team is. There is one telling statistic that defines this matchup. The Bulldogs have gone 2 and 2 against ranked foes this year. LSU has gone an astonishing 7 and 0. Three of these wins against ranked foes have come on the road for LSU. Georgia is balanced and strong on both sides of the ball. LSU is flat-out better in every facet though. It will show come Saturday.
Oklahoma at Oklahoma State: Sooners by 3
Headline: The Cowboys end the year on a very sour note, with a loss to their in-state rivals.
-Oklahoma State looked to be the team that would make their way to the BCS Title Game on January 9th up until two weeks ago. On Thursday, November 18th, the unthinkable happened, and the Cowboys went down to a very average Iowa State team. With the loss, the hopes of a national championship seemingly went out the window. The Sooners came into this season with extremely lofty expectations and lived up to the hype until October 22nd. Since that horrible day, they not only have lost their star receiver Ryan Broyles, they also lost another heartbreaker to Baylor. I do not think anybody in the country expected Oklahoma to lose two games this year.
-Well do not expect the Sooners to lose three games. I realize that the Cowboys possess arguably the best offense in America, featuring the three-headed monster of Weeden, Randle, and Blackmon. But the Sooners are a major rival of the Cowboys. This could be the last regular season game of Landry Jones collegiate career (he is draft eligible). Do not expect the Oklahoma gunslinger to go down quietly. This game will be a shootout in every sense of the word. The only differentiating factor lies in the Sooners defense. It is much better than Oklahoma States. And that will be the difference in what should be a thrilling game at Boone Pickens Stadium.
Wisconsin vs Michigan State: Badgers by 3
Headline: No last ditch hail mary in a rematch of what was arguably the most exciting game of the year.
-The old-school Big Ten Conference finally caved and added in a conference championship game. And this inaugural matchup is a great one. Sure many are surprised to see a Big Ten Championship Game that does not feature some of the elite programs such as Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State. But I do not think the conference could have planned this one any better. When these two teams met back on October 22nd, the thrilling finish took over College Football for a night. The Big Ten hopes for more of the same on Saturday.
-The Spartans ended Wisconsin’s hopes of a national championship on that fateful October evening in East Lansing. Sadly for the Spartans, Wisconsin appears to have gained all of their swagger back and more. Wisconsin is currently playing great football, fresh off delivering a 38-point drubbing to a solid Penn State team. Now this does not take away from the fact that MSU is playing very solid football as well, having won four straight after an embarrassing performance in Lincoln. I just feel like Wisconsin is a much more balanced team, that is really hitting their stride at the right time. Wisconsin’s offensive firepower will be the difference in the first ever Big Ten Title Game, as the Badgers stamp their ticket to the Rose Bowl.
Honorable Mention Games:
West Virginia at South Florida: Mountaineers by 3
-West Virginia does their part to stay alive in the insane race for the Big East Championship behind their lethal combo of Geno Smith and Tavon Austin.
Southern Mississippi at Houston: Cougars by 10
-Could you really see Case Keenum letting this team lose with a BCS berth in reach?
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.