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The Week That Will Be: Championship Saturday

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Who can buy their Sugar/Rose Bowl tickets, and who might want to make alternate plans.

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Last Week: 5-1 ATS 4-2 SU
For the Year: 41-42-1 (.494) ATS 58-26 (.690) SU


We learned last week…

• Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mark Snyder was fired last week after LSU’s 384 rushing yards broke the proverbial camel’s back…but perhaps the Aggies should look at the other side of the ball, because after all in their biggest games they scored 17 on LSU, had only 340 total yards against Missouri, scored 20 against Ole Miss, needed two late touchdowns to make the Mississippi State game more respectable and of course put up a big fat goose egg against Alabama. But nope. All the defense’s fault.

• Rich Rodriguez winning any sort of Coach of the Year award means Armageddon is near. Prepare yourselves.

• Georgia and Georgia Tech somehow managed to fumble the football a combined three times inside the opponent’s five-yard line, and the game ended on an interception in overtime. Too much turkey was consumed in Athens.

• The highest scoring Iron Bowl ever was the Amari Cooper Show (13 receptions, 224 yards, 3 touchdowns), coming to an NFL stadium near you next fall.

Patrick Mahomes since the Texas game: 1,319 yards, 14 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. That Quandre Diggs hit knocked some football into him.

• Well I thought that TCU would wilt under the pressure, but their defense might as well have been sipping a 30-year scotch and smoking a cigar while waiting for another turnover to fall into their hands. Texas fans like to point to the quarterback position and say that there needs to be a competition at that spot in the Spring, but when you finish 6-6, and lose three home games by 21 points or more, every position needs to be up for grabs in the Spring.

Okay, okay, NOW I give you permission to talk about the playoff rankings, and yes, NOW is the time to FREAK OUT if you are Baylor or Ohio State looking in from the outside.

So yes, you have the predictable "grass is always greener" rhetoric about expanding the playoff to either 8, 12, or 16 for the people that enjoy mediocre teams winning championships by catching a football against their helmet until they fall to the ground.

Let’s be sane here. Look at this year. If you expand it to eight teams, then you have teams like Arizona (beat UTSA by a field goal, needed a hail mary to beat Cal) and Michigan State (blown out by Ohio State and Oregon) sneaking in, only to spare us to death by getting blown out the first weekend.

No.

In 2012 you would have had three two-loss teams. Same for 2011 (including Arkansas, I don’t like any playoff system that features Arkansas). 2010 would have featured Arkansas AND Oklahoma. Out. In 2009 Texas would have had to play Oregon in the first round. Not sure I could have handled that. 2008 would have featured Texas Tech. Invalid data.

So let’s talk about where we are. Alabama is likely in win or lose this weekend, and we can all curse like we haven’t since we caught the dog drinking the water from the Christmas tree stand if it happens, but you know this playoff isn’t going to shutout the SEC, so stop trolling Paul Finebaum about it, it just makes him smarmier.

Oregon is likely out if they lose, and might be replaced by Arizona, and we have already determined that college football shouldn’t have to watch that. Lose and TCU not only loses their chance at the playoff, dude, they would have lost to Iowa State. The Cyclones team might tear down the goalposts if that happens.

And then, of course there is Florida State, who always gets their name spelled correctly at Starbucks, who actually puts the folded sheet on the bed correctly the first time every time, who hits every green light on their commute to work and who has never heard All About that Bass. They’re lucky. And they know it. They revel in it. And why wouldn’t you.

On the outside looking in is Baylor and Ohio State. We could just have them play each other in some sort of consolation bracket but Baylor is more likely to schedule NOT the Ohio State University and the Buckeyes might run out of quarterbacks by then and be forced to run Joe Germaine out there on a special waiver from the NCAA.

The TCU/Baylor argument is tired, almost as tired as the Baylor hate for the University of Texas that forced an assistant SID somewhere down the line to vote Texas 5th in 2008 in the <air quotes>Coaches Poll<air quotes>, so they can drown their sorrows in domestic beers at George’s for all I care.

And Ohio State…a few weeks ago we told them to go in the corner and eat their pizza because any argument from a team that lost to Virginia Tech at home is invalid, and then they went out and nearly lost to Michigan. The same team that just now figured out they don’t really have a head coach if he doesn’t wear a headset.

Whichever way it goes by this time next week we’ll already be tired of ESPN talking about the upcoming match-ups and next weekend we have to actually spend time with our families, so enjoy Championship Saturday while it lasts.

And with that...

PAC-12 TITLE GAME: Arizona v. Oregon -14.5:


One of the great mysteries of college football, right up there with how Kirk Ferentz is one of the highest paid coaches in the game, is how Arizona has a two-game winning streak over Oregon. Marcus Mariota, the Heisman favorite, has committed more than a quarter of his career turnovers against the Wildcats (3 INT, 3 fumbles), so it starts right there.

The Ducks, and especially Mariota, are on a roll, and won’t falter here, but it should be a good one.

Oregon 38 Arizona 28
ATS – Arizona
SU – Oregon


BIG 10 TITLE GAME: Ohio State v. Wisconsin -3.5:


J.T. Barrett set a Big 10 record with 45 total touchdowns (34 passing, 11 rushing) this season, so it is obviously a huge setback for the Buckeyes and their quest for that final playoff spot.

Wisconsin, meanwhile, is shooting for their third conference title in four years, will have to deal with Melvin Gordon’s bum ankle, but one good ankle may be all he needs.

Wisconsin 24 Ohio State 16
ATS – Wisconsin
SU – Wisconsin


ACC TITLE GAME: Georgia Tech v. Florida State -4:


We all know Florida State’s problem with looking like a viable contender, but the question that I have here is, what is Georgia Tech’s best victory this year over a team not coached by Mark Richt?

A down year Clemson? Yikes.

Jameis Winston has now thrown 17 interceptions, the most of any Power Five conference quarterback, so if he continues to do that this could be an upset, but it will likely be just another close one where the Seminoles out-talent the other team in the fourth quarter.

Florida State 34 Georgia Tech 27
ATS – Florida State
SU – Florida State


SEC TITLE GAME: Missouri v. Alabama -14.5:


Missouri hasn’t won an outright conference title since the days of that heated Kennedy/Nixon presidential race of 1960, and they won’t do it here, but they certainly have a chance as they have an underrated defense and an offense that doesn’t put up big numbers but is certainly efficient (35 of 38 when they reach the red zone scoring points).

Facing that defense will be Blake Sims, who was nearly pulled in the first half against Auburn, and who has tended to struggle away from Bryant Denny Stadium this season, accounting for 50 less total yards per game on the road or at a neutral site. Any scenario of a Missouri win would feature Sims struggling.

Alabama 28 Missouri 17
ATS – Missouri
SU – Alabama


Iowa State @ TCU -33:


Win and they are likely in is the scenario for the Horned Frogs, who have scored 30 or more points in 13 straight games, the longest streak in FBS.

Neither one of those goals should be a problem against the Cyclones, who give up 37 points a game and have lost five games in a row.

TCU 48 Iowa State 17
ATS – Iowa State
SU – TCU


Kansas State @ Baylor -8:


Baylor has won 15 straight home games, the second longest such streak in the country (Alabama - 16), but they likely need an impressive victory here to have a chance of jumping anyone ahead of them without a loss this weekend.

The health status of Bryce Petty is unclear, but indications are that he will likely play, but if he doesn’t back-up quarterback Seth Russell is more than capable, as he displayed against, ahem, Northwestern State, throwing for 438 yards and five touchdowns in the first half alone.

Baylor is deadly at home, while Kansas State has struggled away from Manhattan, narrowly defeating Iowa State and West Virginia, getting a gift one-point win over Oklahoma and getting blasted by TCU.

Will it be enough? Only Condi knows.

Baylor 37 Kansas State 24
ATS – Baylor
SU – Baylor

For entertainment purposes only. Save your money for keeping a PR firm on retainer.