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Championship Weekend And Why The Big Ten Will Be Out Of The College Football Playoff

The Big Ten’s hopes lie with Ohio State. Ugh.

Ohio State v Maryland Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

Championship weekend is nearly upon us. I look forward to the day that Nebraska plays on this weekend. Like you, my hope is that this is in the very near future. This is, of course, for selfish reasons. It’s not just that winning is more fun, it’s that it’s a real pain when the season ends as early as it has the past two seasons. Last year we had Scott Frost hiring to keep us all going. This year will have more anticipation than ever and the minutes turn into hours, hours turn into days, days turn into months and months turn into years.

Championship Weekend

Game Time Channel Favored
Game Time Channel Favored
MAC: Buffalo vs. Northern Illinois Friday - 6:00:00 PM ESPN2 Buffalo by 3.5
Pac-12: Utah vs. Washington Friday - 7:00:00 PM FOX Washington by 6
Big XII: Oklahoma vs. Texas 11:00 AM ABC Oklahoma by 8
Sun Belt: Appalachian State vs. LA Lafayette 11:00 AM ESPN App State by 16.5
CUSA: Middle Tennessee vs. UAB 12:30 PM CBS Sports MTSU by 1.5
AAC: Memphis vs. UCF 2:30 PM ABC UCF by 3
SEC: Alabama vs. Georgia 3:00 PM CBS Alabama by 13.5
MWC: Boise State vs. Fresno State 6:45 PM ESPN Boise State by 3
ACC: Clemson vs. Pittsburgh 7:00 PM ABC Clemson by 28
B1G: Northwestern vs. Ohio State 7:00 PM FOX Ohio State by 14.5

I’ve included a table of this weekend’s championship games. There appears to be some exciting match-ups, but unfortunately none of the games expected to be close are that interesting to anyone but those teams’ fans.

None of the Power Five Championship games are expected to be close except the Pac-12, which features Washington and Utah, two teams that have zero chance to get into the College Football Playoff. Oklahoma is favored by just over a touchdown over Texas in the Big XII championship game. Alabama is favored by nearly two touchdowns over Georgia in the SEC Title game. Clemson is favored by four touchdowns over Pitt, and Ohio State is a two-touchdown favorite over Big Ten West division winner Northwestern.

The easy-to-pick top three in the College Football Playoff are Alabama, Clemson, and Notre Dame, who has already sealed their entry as they have no conference in which to win a championship.

All the frothing at the mouth comes about that fourth team. It’s down to Oklahoma, Ohio State, and (gag) Georgia.

Oklahoma plays earliest in the day. They sit at #5 in the College Football Playoff Rankings, right behind Georgia. They lost to Texas 48-45 in the Red River Shootout (whatever they call it these days), and given the non-existent defense, there’s no reason to expect a different type of score this time around with Oklahoma coming out on top because it’s very difficult to beat a team twice in the same season.

Sooners vs Longhorns should be a very fun way to start the college football day.

Then we get Alabama vs Georgia. It’s a car wreck on the side of the freeway. You want to get on to your destination, but you can’t help but look at what happened. It’s also the potential wreck of the season. If Georgia can somehow beat Alabama, you have a pretty good chance that there will be two SEC teams in the playoff again this season. The committee set their precedent last year when a one-loss Alabama didn’t win their conference, but still got in.

I hate Alabama as much as the next guy that isn’t ‘Bama fan (ROLL TIDE). It’s not just their dominance that’s boring, it’s their team. It’s the knowing that they’re going to crush their opponents the same way every game, much like people whose order at Subway never changes. It’s their robot coach.

There appears to be no one willing or able to save us from them.

The best possible outcome for everyone not in the SEC is Alabama badly beating Georgia for two reasons. First, we don’t want to waste our time with the false hope that somehow the Bulldogs can pull this out at the last minute, and two, we don’t have to worry about a second SEC team in the playoff.

Clemson and Pitt. Woooo. Another game that will be over by halftime.

This brings us to the Big Ten title game - a match up for the ages! The Buckeyes are heavily favored but if they get caught up in thinking about a playoff bid, Northwestern will drag them into the mud and they’ll find themselves fighting in a slugfest into the fourth quarter.

Ohio State badly needs a blow out, but they’re playing a team whose worst loss of the season came in the second week, a 21-7 loss to Duke. The Wildcats lost to Michigan by three and at the start of November they lost to Notre Dame by 10. Northwestern does not get blown out.

Ohio State’s 49-20 loss at Purdue is the biggest mark on anyone’s schedule currently in playoff consideration. It’s a real problem for Ohio State, much like their 55-20 loss to Iowa in 2017. It gives the playoff committee a way out - an excuse to keep them out of the playoffs. Never mind the Buckeyes had the most impressive win of the season (so far), they barely got past the Boilers, a team that nearly didn’t make bowl eligibility. Non-bowl-eligible Maryland only lost to them in overtime because the quarterback couldn’t hit a wide open receiver on a two-point conversion attempt.

I expect Ohio State to overlook Northwestern just like everyone else has. The game will be closer than expected.

I wouldn’t be surprised if after this weekend the Big Ten finds itself out of the College Football Playoff again.