This is what Saturday night is all about, folks. - Gregory Shamus
Time to show the predictions for Championship Week from the CN staff.
Husker Mike: Well, we’ve finally reached the end of the season...and who’da thunk that Notre Dame would be in the title game. (Well, other than self-absorbed Domers...)
Jon Johnston: Remember that song "If You Like Pina Coladas"? I really hate that song. It popped into my head right now. I hate it when that happens.
James Stevenson: It’s crazy this college football season is over. It really seemed to go fast this year. Really insane, and yet, such a fun exciting season with thrilling games. I’d prefer to just stomp everyone, but you can’t deny the thrill of watching this Husker team come from behind over and over again. I’m excited to get to Indy and watch them play for a championship.
Cornhead: It’s been an ok year. Notre Dame vs. SEC in the BCS Championship? yuck.
Salt Creek and Stadium: Can we really define crazy with respect to college football? I mean, in two years time, San Diego State will be in the Big East. And Hawai’i will be playing in the Mountain West. I think. Anyways, I’ll do a final analysis of the year’s staff picks for the Reads next week but I’m pretty sure Brian won.
David McGee: It has flown by. It’s seems like just yesterday I went to the Southern Miss game. Now we’ve come to championship week. Interested to see if Georgia can beat Alabama. I’d rather see that game vs. Notre Dame than have Bama back in there.
Brian: This season has flown by at times and has taken forever other times (the bye week after Ohio State comes to mind). That being said, I’m both really happy and sad about this week coming. I love championship week, but it means the season is close to coming to a close.
Pac-12 Championship: UCLA (+8.5) at Stanford
Jon: How many times can a team beat another team twice in same season, especially in back-to-back games? I answered these predictions first for once, instead of last so no one else can bring up that same point. HA! This prediction isn’t so much about who’s going to win, but who I want Nebraska to play in the Rose Bowl and that selection isn’t as easy as it sounds. Do I want to play UCLA again, and make up for that earlier loss, so that we can feel better about how the season ends that when it started, or do I want to play Stanford, the team that beat us in our first bowl game, the 1941 Rose Bowl, and get payback for that shit that happened to guys I don’t know so many years ago?
Given that we get to play UCLA next season in Lincoln, I have to go with Stanford because we haven’t played them since... 1941. Who the hell doesn’t want a shot at a team that we haven’t played in 71 years? PAYBACK IS COMING, TREE BITCHES! Stanford 35, UCLA 31
Aaron: Well Jon. I’m going with Stanford because I think they are just a better team than UCLA. Cardinal 31, Bruins 17
Mike: Unless UCLA employed a rope-a-dope strategy last week, I don’t see things going well for the bear down on the Farm. Solid defense and enough offense to win this one. Tree 31, Bruins 21
James: Assuming Nebraska wins the Big Ten championship, I’d be more excited to play Stanford. I think Stanford wins, because their lines and defensive front are so good. This should be a bit of a defensive struggle I think. Stanford 28, UCLA 24.
Cornhead: I’m a believer in the Tree. These smart guys can hit and tackle. That’s good enough for me, plus I don’t want a rematch in the B1G title game AND the Rose Bowl. I think it will be closer than last week though. Smart Guys 31, Pretty Boys 30
Salt Creek: You all went Tree? I think UCLA was just playing coy. Bruins by 3. The Bruins turn their second Pac-12 championship game visit into a trophy and a rematch with the Cornhuskers.
DM: In this holiday season, we traditionally chop down pine trees and mount them in living rooms. Instead, we’ll be watching them chop down UCLA on our living room tvs. I think Stanford overwhelmes UCLA as the game goes on. Stanford: 31 UCLA 17
Brian: Damn this is a stupid game time. At a campus site on a Friday afternoon. I mean, kickoff for the game is 5pm local time on a Friday in the Bay Area. We couldn’t push it 2 hours back and put it in Candlestick? Or hell, even Networks Associate/O.co Coliseum across the way? Sigh... on to the game, seems like UCLA doesn’t play good D at home if you look at their track record, and Stanford seems to be able to control the ballgame. Granted, back to back games are tough to sweep but at the same time this Stanford D limited Oregon to 2 touchdowns. Cardinal move on to play in the Rose Bowl (and TJ Simers starts foaming at the mouth like a Pavlov dog).
Texas (+11.5) at Kansas State
Jon: Remember how Ron Prince’s Kansas State teams beat Texas, but would lose to us? I miss Ron Prince. Remember just last week when Texas was horrible against TCU, that team they didn’t want in the conference because TCU wouldn’t add anything? Remember when Texas used to do well with good players while Kansas State was making a defensive line out of scarecrows?
This game is for the Big 12 title. Kansas State has a potential Heisman-winning quarterback in Collin Klein. Texas has David Ash injured and Case McCoy starting. Which would you take? Kansas State 35, Texas 24
Aaron: Let’s not forget that KSU has owned Texas in the Big XII era (6-2). Kitties 42, Cows 21
Mike: Kansas State should be well rested after running out of gas against Baylor two weeks ago. And Texas simply …. sucks. Puddytats 49, Moo 19
James: Kansas State closes strong and Klein makes a statement that might shift the Heisman race a bit, but not enough. EMAW 38, Texas 24.
Cornhead: Two teams I love to hate. Texas sucks. K-State is better. Give me K-State, but not sure if I’d give the points. K-State 34, Horns 27
Salt Creek: Texas has never beaten Kansas State as long as I’ve been a fan of Nebraska. True fact. Doesn’t change this year. K-State by 5.
DM: Kansas State gets back on track and Collin Klein reminds everyone why he was the Heisman frontrunner for most of the season. He slices up Bevo and KState heads of to the BCS. KState: 42 Texas 10
Brian: Saturday night in Manhattan, Senior night and a national TV audience to watch Colin Klein play the biggest ego in the Big 12 for a conference title on the line and a trip to a BCS bowl game. Texas will come out guns blazing for the fact that this may have to save Mack Brown’s job (if you believe that Nick Saban is going to quit AlabamHAHAHAHAHA I CAN’T FINISH THAT)... KSU wins the game and the Big 12.
Oklahoma at TCU (+6.5)
Jon: Oklahoma still has a shot at winning the Big 12 title. However that works out, I don’t really care, but I can assure you that they need to win this game in order to do it and that’s all that matters. Did you know that Landry Jones is having a pretty good year? 66% completion rate, 3,745 yards, 27 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Did you know he’s now first in the Big 12 and third in Division IA history in career passing yardage (16,124)? Compare that to Trevone Boykin for TCU whom at the start of the year was a plumber and got the starting quarterback job because everyone else did drugs, got hurt, or did bad things with alcohol.
The only downside for Oklahoma is the scary confines of Fort Worth, the polar opposite of it’s sister city Dallas (RIP Larry Hagman). No chrome and glass there in Fort Worth, which retains much of its cowtown past. Everyone there is always fixin’ to reckon’ about somethin’ or other, while all the while sipping on Lone Star beer at the Stockyards and wondering how them Mexicans get their clothes so damned white. Ah shucks I’m just kidding. Of course, those Okies will fit right into cowtown, and have a good ol’ cowtowny time watching their Land Thievin’ team beat the snot out of the Horned Frogs. Boomer Cowtowny Sooners 35, TCU Cowtowny Frogs 21
Aaron: I’m gonna go with TCU. They have looked great lately and I think they can stop the Sooner offense. TCU 27, OU 21
Mike: What the hell happened to Oklahoma’s defense lately? Other than the Bovines, everybody’s scored at will on the Sooners. So yeah, Landry Jones has to have a big game, and probably will...but it’ll be a shootout. Boomers 49, Froggies 42
James: OU’s defense shows up for this game and tries to make a statement. This is going to be a great game and come down to the wire, but the Sooners triumph over the Horned Frogs. OU: 35, TCU 28.
Cornhead: I like Boomer Sooner in this one, and I like them to cover. Why? I don’t know. Sometimes you just go with your gut, and oh yeah, Oklahoma is the better team. Give the points, boys. Sooners 41, Frogs 28
Salt Creek: Despite almost losing to UTEP this year, Oklahoma has rebounded nicely to another solid year under Bobby Stoops. OU will pick up the Big 12’s second BCS bid this year unless K-State loses, in which case Oklahoma wins the Big 12. Why would Oklahoma want to leave the Big 12 for any other conference where they’d have to actually try to win the conference? Oklahoma wins this in dominant fashion, by 20 points.
DM: TCU has had to deal with the rumors that their coach will be heading elsewhere after the season. Will they be able to handle one more of the big boys and play with their customary chip on the shoulder or will they fall prey to the big win hangover after knocking off Texas on Thanksgiving weekend? I think they answer the bell and punch OU in the mouth early. I think OU finds a way to come back in the end, though. Sooners: 27 TCU:24
Brian: TCU is getting better on offense, but still can’t stop anyone on D. Oklahoma will win and have to wait till the end of the slugfest in Manhattan to find out if they are B12 champs.
SEC Championship: Alabama (-7) vs. Georgia
Jon: Every night this season I’ve got on my knees and prayed "Dear Lord, please spare us from Alabama this year ‘cause I’m really sick of Nick the Robot winning too many football games."
Then I was contacted by ESPN last week about doing a documentary, the entire theme of which will be different sports fans doing the same thing throughout the season, the whole thing shot in a split screen with Mark Richt on one side and the praying fan of the moment on the other. Can good finally triumph over evil or are we all doomed again this season? Georgia 24, Alabama 17
Aaron: I’m going with Georgia as well. It’s week 13 and I’m not convinced that Alabama is unbeatable. Georgia 24, Alabama 21.
Mike: My default prediction would have been to go with Bama. But the game is a hour from Athens, and the BCS is involved here. So apply Chaos Theory here. Dawgs 23, Overpriced Laundry Detergent 17
James: I think Georgia pulls this out. Which means I’m probably jinxing this. But Alabama has looked human this year and it’s about time for Georgia to finally win. Georgia 21, Alabama 17.
Cornhead: This is the only game that really counts this weekend, let’s be honest. It’s the only game in town, the only game anyone is talking about, and is really, really, just a big game because no other conference or team matters. SEC! SEC! SEC! Looks like a lot of Dawg lovers here, but I think Tide Roll, or is it Roll Tide? Regardless, you fellas need to take the money line, I’ll take Bama to win but the Dawgs to cover. Tide 24, Dawgs 21
Salt Creek: I’m under oath to defend the state constitution of Georgia, and that includes football. I think. GO DAWGS.
DM: See, I really would love to say that I thing Georgia has a shot in this thing. I know they’re really good and I know they’ve had a terrific season, but I just can’t get that game at South Carolina out of my head. I think Bama’s the better team. I think that plays out on Saturday. Georgia might be in this thing well into the fourth quarter or perhaps even later, but I think Bama’s talent and experience take over down the stretch and hold on for the win, paving the way back to the title game where they look to repeat as champs. Bama: 21 UGA: 20
Brian: HAHAHA LOOK AT ALL OF YOU FOOLS PICK MARK RICHT, LIKE HE CAN WIN ANYTHING BIG EVER. Not happening then, not happening now. With the title game on the line, Bama will come out and go all MAN’S GAME B**CH on everyone and the TIDE WILL ROLL INTO MIAMI TO TAKE ON THE IRISH.
B1G Championship: Nebraska (-3) vs. Wisconsin
Jon: In the first half, Nebraska squishes Wisconsin into a wonderful mixture that includes beer, bratwurst, and cheese curds, melting them into a gooey concoction that goes good with chips and more beer. In the second half, Nebraska gets too gluttonous and begins to choke and choke and choke with no one around to save them but Eric Martin who at the last second dashes in and performs a perfect heimlich maneuver which causes an upchuck of the now foul mixture that Martin takes and runs and runs and runs it far away to a place where it can never harm Nebraska again until next season when all of us forget everything we learned in this one and have to learn it all over again. Nebraska 30, Wisconsin 27
Aaron: The weather will not be a factor. The defense is playing really well right now and the offense has cleaned up a lot of their problems. Nebraska 35, Wisconsin 21.
Mike: I think Nebraska is really, really going to miss Baker Steinkuhler this week. I don’t know that Nebraska can shut down Montee Ball like they did in Lincoln without him...and as we all know, Nebraska is going to turn the ball over a few times in the dome. I hate to say it, but I’m going with the upset. Bucky 35, Herbie 31 Hopefully you all can razz me all December long about this one.
James: This is going to be a tough, hard fought game. I’d feel better about it if Baker and Jackson were still in. We now have an issue in the center of both of our lines. It increases the effectiveness of their running game (and ultimately play-action pass) game, and decreases the effectiveness of our inside running game. That said, we’ll win this game by running to the edges and spreading out their nasty line backing corps. Get Taylor and Borland running all game and they wear out.
It’s going to be a close fought game, Nebraska won’t find points easily, but neither will Wisconsin. Can we protect Martinez enough in the passing game and make plays happen there (losing Jackson hurts, but having Burkhead back is huge)? The offense should almost be at full speed inside the dome’s controlled conditions.
Most importantly, can Nebraska not beat itself? It dug a whole we almost didn’t recover from in game one. Starting on more equal footing and building a lead is key. If Nebraska gets up by a couple scores, Wisconsin may not be able to come back.
Over the entire year, Nebraska has been the team that has made the clutch plays and came from behind to win. Wisconsin has lost its close games and can’t close. No reason to think that will change here. Huskers 28, Badgers 24.
Cornhead: I think it’s a close game, which favors us. Agree with Mike losing Baker is huge, but somehow, someway, this team pulls it out. Their backs have been against the wall all year, and they keep finding ways to win. I think we will remember this season for a long time, and one reason for that is the B1G Trophy they’re bringing home to Lincoln. This team expects to win, and I think they do. Corn 27, Cheese 23
Salt Creek: Oh my god, Jon. Nebraska in a hard fought win. Fortune smiles on Brett Maher, who boots the game-winner as time expires.
DM: This will be the hardest game of the year, but when it comes right down to it, Nebraska’s the better team. Wisconsin really didn’t stop Nebraska in September. I don’t really expect them to tomorrow, either. I know Wisconsin is as healthy as they’ve been in a long time and the loss of Steinkuhler and Jackson concerns me, but I don’t think it swings the talent balance in the favor of Wisconsin. As long as Nebraska doen’t give two opportunities where they have to go less than 25 yards and give the ball back on a roughing the kicker penalty, I think they win. It will be a close, bruising affair, but I think NU’s got the skill talent edge almost across the board that they should come away with this one. I think NU parties like it’s 1999 Saturday night. Huskers 34 Wisconsin 24
Brian: This game validates Bo Pelini, validates Taylor Martinez, validates Tom Osborne’s hiring of Bo, and will finally prove that Nebraska is indeed BACK as so many Husker fans want to point out. However, this is also a game that has haunted Nebraska for so many years lately: being favored over a team that is probably better than most people think. I want this win not for the Rose Bowl but to finally be able to say that after 14 long ass years, Nebraska won their conference and is the best there is (as long as you don’t put OSU in that argument).
Now, do they win? That’s a great question, and I do think they do win this one. To win, however, they must avoid the anemic start they had last time they played the Badgers. The penalties (especially on 3rd/4th down to get off the field), the fumbles (which Nebraska got very lucky with last time) and basically playing a good football game versus a good team. Montee Ball will make runs, Chris Borland will make plays on defense, hell even Curt Phillips may make a play. Doesn’t matter, cause if Nebraska plays like they have the last month for four whole quarters, well call your travel agent and get the florist on the line cause you’re going to Los Angeles again to the Rose Bowl. Nebraska wins the B1G Championship.