Last week’s record: 5-1
This season has flown by and now it is time to crown the conference champions. I am going 6-0 this week and taking a big swell of momentum into bowl season.
Pac-12 Pick: UCLA at #9 Oregon
(Friday @ 8 p.m. ET on FOX)
- First of all, do not blame this scenario on the Bruins. The blame for the least anticipated conference championship game of all time is squarely upon the shoulders of UCLA’s hated rival, USC. If the Trojans wouldn’t have been on probation, the nation would be basing their Matt Barkley Heisman decision off of his performance tonight in Eugene. Instead, the team that just fired their coach and lost last week to USC by 50 is in charge of finding a way to slow down the Oregon Ducks. Rick Neuheisel could certainly use this kind of victory on his resume and I look for him to pull out all of the stops. Snapping every ball with one second on the play clock, using every gadget play he has seen over the last 20 years, or pulling the Cal strategy of faking defensive injuries throughout the game should not be ruled out for tonight’s lackluster showdown. I am only envisioning a 38-3 trouncing for the Ducks on their way to the Rose Bowl for the second time in three years.
C-USA Pick: #24 Southern Miss at #6 Houston
(Saturday @ 12 p.m. ET on ABC)
- Like I said a few weeks back, the main thing holding back small conference programs are the other small conference programs who gear up to beat them in huge situations. All Southern Miss has to do is lie down and let their Conference USA brother go to the Sugar Bowl. Unfortunately for Case Keenum and the Cougars, Austin Davis and the Golden Eagles are tired of being upstaged. Davis has thrown for over 3,000 yards and 24 touchdowns yet, you have never heard of him because another guy in his conference has thrown for over 4,700 yards and 43 touchdowns. Southern Miss is on the road tomorrow, so they will have to make some big plays early in order to capture any momentum. With the Heisman on the line, I see Keenum throwing 40 passes and seven of them for a score. Houston wins 63-28 and punches their BCS ticket.
SEC Pick: #14 Georgia vs. #1 LSU in Atlanta
(Saturday @ 4 p.m. ET on CBS)
- What a crazy year the BCS has lined up against LSU: they have to craft one more win against a hot Georgia team in Atlanta in order to play an even better Alabama team that they have already beaten. In truth, I would like to see Georgia win this game and still send LSU into the championship with one loss. In true BCS fashion, however, LSU would somehow get left out of the “what have you done for me lately” game and watch Alabama beat Oklahoma State. With that in mind, I think it is best for the Tigers to soundly dispatch the Bulldogs and set the record for the lowest score in a national title bout. In order to do so, Jordan Jefferson must click immediately against the stout Georgia D and avoid any of the stupid mistakes that have doomed he and his coach over the past few years. You know that the LSU defense will show up no matter what, so it will come down to their ability to control the clock with the run game and limit careless turnovers. Tigers win by closer than expected, 23-14.
ACC Pick: #20 Clemson vs. #5 Virginia Tech in Charlotte
(Saturday @ 8 p.m. ET on ESPN)
- Yes, this match-up has already happened and I correctly chose the Tigers to win in Blacksburg. Since that game, Clemson has done its best vanishing act as the Hokies have reeled off seven straight victories en route to another ACC title game appearance. This reminds me of March Madness simply because there is always bound to be one game on the bracket that matches up two teams that played earlier in the year, and you have to draw straws to choose if the first time winner can push the right buttons again. In this edition of the football version, I would be remissed to choose a slumping Clemson over a top-form Virginia Tech squad. Frank Beamer has done this so many times and can adjust his game plan so well, I just don’t see Clemson being able to out-duel the old timer and beat him twice in one season. Clemson needs a high scoring affair while Virginia Tech will be shooting for another great defensive showing. I am awaiting the latter, going with a Hokie victory by the score of 24-13.
Big 12 Pick: #10 Oklahoma at #3 Oklahoma State
(Saturday @ 8 p.m. ET on ABC)
- Folks, do not be surprised if the system decides that a one-loss Big 12 champion is more worthy of a title spot than an Alabama team who has already loss to the top team. Oklahoma State has a case to play LSU, but it has to finish business at hand with Oklahoma first. The problem is that the Cowboys haven’t beaten the Sooners in its last eight tries. The good news is that they get their rival at home in Stillwater and the Sooners have not been up to their own standard of being in the top five at this juncture in the season. First inclination tells me that this game should be high in points and low in defense. Oklahoma State is loaded while Oklahoma’s offense has been decimated by injuries and will rely heavily on its two-headed QB scheme to wear down the surprisingly good Cowboy defense. I have seen a game in Stillwater, and the crowd is intimidating in the early parts of the season. Tomorrow night’s atmosphere will be rowdy, as well as surreal with the recent tragedy of the OK State women’s basketball coaches. That community has been through its fair share of terrible dealings over the last decade, and they have shown a resolve that I think will be a huge factor for this huge game. Oklahoma State wins the Big 12 over its big brother, 38-31.
Big 10 Pick: #15 Wisconsin vs. #13 Michigan State in Indianapolis
(Saturday @ 8:17 p.m. ET on FOX)
- This is the beauty of having a conference championship game, and the Big Ten will finally get to marvel at it first hand. These two teams produced one of the games of the year when they played last, ending with a hail-mary touchdown that deflated Wisconsin’s national title hopes. Now, the two divisional champs will square off once more for the evolved conference trophy. This game will be a complete coin toss, a match between two of the nation’s best defenses who allowed a combined 68 points when they met on October 22. With a trip to the Rose Bowl on the line, you can be sure that the Spartans and Badgers will be playing somewhat tight and careful under the dome in Indianapolis. In a game of stingy calling at a neutral site, the edge goes to Wisconsin. Their running game alone has the ability to stretch out any drive to take over ten minutes, and it has accounted for 27 more rushing TDs than that of their opponent’s ground attack. You will be seeing the Badgers playing in Pasadena in 2012 as a result of a 24-17 win tomorrow night.