48 Hours: College Football Championship Scramble

By Ron Johnson

Now that Rivalry Week is in the books, we swiftly shift to Championship Week. While everyone else is preparing for March Madness on college campuses nationwide, there are a few schools that are playing for more than just entertainment this weekend. And we’re here for all of it. 

With conference championships on the line, the teams are already feeling anxiety and pressure to perform when it counts. Throw in it the fact that one loss could prove detrimental to so many teams vying for a slot in the Semifinals, and you got the makings of Armageddon this weekend. Here’s to hoping the NFL can throw a little anarchy in to go with this Battle Royale coming up. Let’s add to it that the College Football Playoff Final Four will be determined based on the outcomes of this weekend’s games.

Here now is the rundown of the longest, most stressful 48 hours in College Football.

Friday

Conference USA Championship

New Mexico State vs. 24 Liberty

With a shot at the New Years Six Series on the line, the Aggies and Flames prepare for one final encounter this season. While Liberty is already in the record books (one of only three teams to finish their inaugural season in C-USA undefeated), they are wanting more for their troubles. The Aggies will be a dogfight without question, and they will be looking to become the one in 12-1. A loss for Liberty won’t affect their chances at a great bowl game, but it will have a chance to prove that the season was indeed a fluke. 

Pac-12 Championship

5 Oregon vs. 3 Washington

With a shot at the CFP Semifinals on the line, these two rivals will do battle once more. In one of the more traditional Border Wars, the Ducks and Huskies look to cement their legacy with a chance to play for the National Championship at stake. A loss for the Ducks would most likely have them playing for a less favorable bowl game, but a loss for Washington would knock them clean out of playoff contention. While the Huskies are slightly favored in this game, Bo Nix and the Ducks are looking to not only win what could be the final Pac-12 Championship but also leapfrog Washington into the final four. 

Saturday

Big 12 Championship

18 Oklahoma State vs. 7 Texas

The Cowboys have made themselves relevant in every sense of the word as they are continuing to impress. But if they are looking for a big match moment, their showdown with Texas this weekend will be just that. With the eyes of the Lone Star State all fixated on AT&T Stadium in Arlington, the Longhorns are looking to close the book on their Big 12 Saga with one final win. They are also looking to possibly get a better standing as they are trying for the New Years Six Series as well as the College Football Playoff. 

MAC Championship

Miami (OH) vs. Toledo

This relatively unknown battle of Ohio should be interesting for everyone. The Redhawks have been flying (literally) under the radar and look to lay claim to the MAC Championship this weekend. The only problem is that they have been flying in place with the Toledo Rockets who are also flying under the radar. Only one loss separates both teams (Toledo is 11-1, while Miami is 10-2), but both are looking to go major bowling this winter as a shot at a New Years’ Six Series Bowl game is on the horizon for at least one of them if not both. 

Mountain West Championship

Boise State vs. UNLV

This may not seem like a big game, but don’t tell that to these two teams. The Broncos still have flashbacks of their shocker against Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl one lifetime ago, and UNLV used to be considered a basketball school. Both teams sport a 6-2 record in the Mountain West, but only one can leave Las Vegas AND call themselves champions. 

SEC Championship

1 Georgia vs. 8 Alabama

One game will determine the foundation of the College Football Playoff. Two teams will hold the destiny of the entire Final Four in their hands come Saturday. While Atlanta intends to be rocking like crazy just because it’s their time in the spotlight, for Georgia and Alabama, it is all about either finishing the story or getting the revenge. 

Georgia is looking to hoist up the National Championship for the third straight time, and to get there, they have to take down a familiar foe. While they haven’t really been in the conversation since their loss to Texas, Alabama has a chance to shake the foundation to its very core this weekend. A win for Georgia punches their ticket to the CFP Semifinals, while a win for Alabama potentially puts them in the driver’s seat with an exit towards the CFP Semifinals. To say the least, this and the Pac-12 Championship Game will be the two most focused games of the weekend due to the implications involved. 

American Athletic Championship

SMU vs. 22 Tulane

Not many will focus on this game, but if you just so happen to be in the Bayou this weekend, why not take a shot at it. The Green Wave have been dominant in the American Athletic Conference, as has the Mustangs. While the Mustangs have been submitting their resume for a chance to get an invite to one of the Power Five Conferences, Tulane has been doing it as well. This weekend, these two teams, both undefeated in conference play, get a chance to put that one loss on the other and possibly get their invitation to the New Years’ Six Series. 

Sun Belt Championship

Appalachian State vs. Troy

Don’t look so surprised that Appalachian State is back in another championship game. This is the team that stunned James Madison a few weeks ago, and now they look to do it again to the Trojans. Troy has been a force in the Sun Belt, racking up a 7-1 conference record. While not many will be focused on the Sun Belt, do not be surprised if you see Troy in the Top 25 of the List of Collision by the end of the season. 

Big Ten Championship

2 Michigan vs. 16 Iowa 

college football

The motto for the Wolverines has been simple: Michigan vs. Everybody. Despite Jim Harbaugh not being on the sideline most of the season due to suspensions and shenanigans, the Wolverines have shown true heart and true grit to stay one step ahead of the Committee and the Big Ten Conference. While Iowa has impressed some (myself included), do they really have what it takes to take down a gutsy Wolverine program? Oh, and Harbaugh will be back on the sidelines unless the Big Ten catches him in an Urban Meyer situation (google it kids). A win for Michigan should punch their ticket to the Final Four, while a loss possibly opens the door for another non deserving team (like Ohio State) to sneak into the CFP Semifinals.

ACC Championship

14 Louisville vs. 4 Florida State

The Cardinals suffered a huge setback in momentum as they fell to Kentucky last week, while the Seminoles kept their playoff hopes alive with a survival win against Florida. While Louisville is looking to right the ship on Saturday, they picked the wrong team to try their luck with. Florida State is a different breed this time around, so it is no wonder that everyone is saying that this is the best the ‘Noles have looked since the Era of Bowden. A win for Florida State should lock up their spot in the CFP Semifinals, but a loss could be detrimental, especially if Oregon, Alabama or Texas win their championship games earlier in the day/week.

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