December 1, 2011
The MAC Championship will feature two teams who have gotten better as the season went on. Ohio has won five games in a row, while Northern Illinois has won seven and are the favorite to win this game. While Northern Illinois has been beating teams by pretty big scores this season, I like the Bobcats to hold on and pull off the upset in the first title game of the college football weekend.
This game might be the biggest mismatch out of all of the conference championship games coming up this weekend. With USC being ineligible to participate in this game, UCLA comes in at 6-6 and shouldn’t be much of a match for Oregon. Barring an unforeseeable collapse, Oregon should be headed to its 3rd straight BCS bowl.
Houston has an undefeated season and a shot at a BCS at-large bid on the line as they try to win their first C-USA Title since 2006. However, the 10-2 Southern Miss team they will face on Friday is no pushover. Even with the impressive season Southern Miss has had, not many are giving them a shot to stop QB Case Keenum and the Cougars. Heisman candidate Keenum and the home-field advantage should be more than enough to put the Cougars on their way to a BCS bid.
The game with probably the most attention on it this weekend will be the SEC title game. The entire BCS breakdown hinges on this game. If LSU loses, they could possibly still be headed to the National Championship, but it opens the door for the discussion of many other schools. If they win, like most people believe, the fact that Georgia is ranked #14 is a big deal. If they lose and drop in the standings, it allows a team below them to move into the top 14, which is one of the requirements needed to be a BCS at-large bid.
The game will be played in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, so Georgia should have the home field advantage. Regardless, until someone shows they can hold their own with LSU, I have to think they win again and secure their undoubted spot in the BCS Championship game.
The big point that has to be made here is that while Virginia Tech is 11-1, their lone loss this college football season came at the hands of Clemson. Revenge will be on their minds when they get their rematch with the Tigers, who started the season 8-0, but have struggled down the stretch. Both teams would love to be able to cap their season with a BCS berth, and we should see two teams desperate to claim an ACC Championship. While Clemson will be playing close to home, I think the Hokies avenge their earlier loss and continue on to a BCS bowl.
The inaugural Big Ten Championship game will host a rematch of a game that ended on a last second hail mary pass that resulted in the Spartans upsetting Wisconsin. Their preseason National Championship hopes gone, the Badgers are hoping to rebound and get back to the Rose Bowl for the second straight season. The Spartans defense will stand in its way, having intercepted Russell Wilson twice the last time they played (he threw one other INT all season). This game, like many Big Ten games, is hard to call, but I think it’s hard to beat a team twice in college football. I think Michigan State’s defense will keep it close, but Wisconsin escapes with a win.