It’s championship weekend!
Nebraska football is not competing for a championship, obviously but you can still enjoy the college football weekend. It takes the pressure off! You can sit back and enjoy watching other fans go insane while their teams have their hopes and dreams crushed by losing their conference championship and a potential shot at the playoff. One more great weekend of watching people scream about wanting their coaches fired even though those coaches did well enough to get their teams into the tops in the nation.
It’s my understanding that there are 10 teams still capable of making the College Football Playoff. Going into the final weekend of football, that's amazing! I'm not going to play out all the scenarios for you because most of them are not probable, and I am lazy. I have my favorites and I’m going to share them with you because that’s the kind of guy I am - I especially hope your favorites are my favorites too. We could be great friends!
Currently, the College Football Playoff rankings look like this:
- Miami - Florida
- Ohio State
- Penn State
I like the top four as they are right now.
It will be fine with me if Clemson beats Miami in the ACC conference championship game and Wisconsin beats Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game.
I don't really care about the Big 12, but I'd rather that Oklahoma got in than have two SEC teams which is what I fear will happen if there are upsets of the top four teams. I certainly don't want Alabama getting into this playoff. I'm tired of them. I imagine that everyone else other than ‘Bama fan is to. Watching them play football is like watching the NFL and I'm only gonna do that if there are no other options, those options including shoving sharp pins under my toenails, then adding hot sauce for extra agitation.
This need to keep the top four in place leaves me in a quandary. I am typically a guy who roots for chaos and mayhem when Nebraska is not involved, yet this weekend I am rooting for the top four teams (as determined by the completely unbiased and all-knowing College Football Playoff Ranking Committee of Extreme Wisdom) to win. What the hell is this?
Georgia would certainly leapfrog Alabama should they beat Auburn. You know that the winner of the SEC title game is in. Were the SEC title winner not in the playoff for whatever reason there would be riots beyond the South. People don't like riots. Property gets damaged, beer gets spilt, it's messy, everyone gets pissed off and someone has to go to jail. Therefore the winner of the SEC title game will always be in the College Football Playoff.
If Wisconsin loses to Ohio State, there's an excellent chance that the Big Ten won't have a representative in the playoff. We were told before the season started that the Big Ten East was a giant monster with which no one in the Big Ten West could compete; that no one in the Big Ten West could survive . If Wisconsin loses, that prediction comes true and we have to hear about the same crap all over again next year. If Bucky Badger wins, at least we have some ammo with which to fight the other side.
The Pac 12 is definitely out. The conference beat itself up, but really there weren't any exceptional teams. I have to admit, I probably watched less Pac 12 football this year than I have since becoming an adult a few years ago. You keep expecting USC to explode with all the talent available out there in Cally, but no.
So what's going to happen?
Oklahoma versus TCU
Remember years ago how Tom Osborne was against the Big 12 conference having a championship game because he knew that it would destroy a shot at a national title for teams in the conference over the years. Tom Osborne is still right, and we’re not even in that conference anymore.
Oklahoma should win this game. They have the offense and Baker Mayfield and while we know there is no defense in that conference, the Sooners can score points like golfball-sized hail putting the dents in your Corolla. On the other hand, they have to beat TCU twice after beating them three weeks ago. That sucks. And it’s difficult.
Clemson versus Miami
Clemson lost to Syracuse earlier in the season while Miami lost to Pitt last week. Both head scratchers. You know damned well I'm not going to root for Miami in this game and I wouldn't expect that most of you would either. The only good thing Miami has going for them is Mark Richt as their coach...
I watched Miami to lose to Pitt last weekend and I was surprised at how well Pitt and ran the ball. Pitt had them down 24-7 until Miami scored a couple late TDs. It was so bad that Richt benched starting quarterback Malik Rosier for backup Evan Shirreffs. Before coming onto the field against Pitt, Shirreffs had thrown five passes all year!
The key - what will last week’s game do to Miami’s psyche? The ‘Canes have to thrive off that to win. Maybe a couple big plays early and Clemson beats the snot out of them.
Georgia versus Auburn
This is a much more exciting game without Alabama in it and because of that well worth watching for everyone. It's gratifying that Nick Saban will be sitting and watching just like the rest of us. If running back Kerryon Johnson were 100%, I'd say Auburn wins this game by double digits. Unfortunately Johnson has a shoulder injury. Will he play, not play, play injured? We’ll know Saturday.
Auburn still has Jarrett Stidham, and Stidham has come around in last few weeks to become one of the more exciting quarterbacks in the nation. I still think Auburn will win this game, but it'll be a lot more interesting in kickoff since we don't know what the Tigers can do in the running game.
Wisconsin versus Ohio State
This game is the most intriguing of the day because nobody knows which Buckeye team is going to show up. Will it be the one in which J.T. Barrett plays like the best quarterback in the nation and where his receivers don't drop every other ball? Or will it be the one that can't figure out what it's doing on offense, and doesn’t give J.K. Dobbins a lot of carries?
Ohio State is the best team in the nation when they want to be. They have the highest upside, meaning they can be more explosive than anyone else, but they can also be incredibly bipolar.
Put that up against a Wisconsin team that's anything but bipolar. The Wisconsin offense is consistent as is their quarterback Alex Hornibrook. They’ve got Jonathan Taylor, and that dadgummed tight end Troy Fumagalli.
The Badger defense hasn't gotten as much credit as they deserve; they are the best defense in the nation in terms of rushing and total defense, and second in scoring and passing. That defense will be the difference in the game.
This is the most important game in Wisconsin football history. I have no ill will toward Wisconsin, I just wish we were good enough to compete with them on a yearly basis from now on for ever and ever. I hope they get into the College Football Playoff because, again, the alternative is them not getting in and having two SEC teams in. Screw that!