Even though we have a bunch of conference championship games this weekend, it’s likely that none of the results will matter and we‘ll have an Alabama-LSU rematch for the BCS title game. The one variable that could come into play is if Oklahoma State somehow wows the human vote, which consists of two-thirds of the BCS equation, with a big win against Oklahoma Saturday. Here’s a look at this weeks big games in college football:
SEC Championship - LSU -13 vs. Georgia: Even if Georgia wins, LSU shouldn’t fall too far just because of what they‘ve done all season. They have beaten three teams that were ranked in the top-3 this season, including the current No. 2 team, Alabama, on their home field. No voter could justify putting any one-loss team above them. Despite this game being played in Georgia’s backyard, the cushion LSU knows they have should take some of the ’win-or-else’ pressure off them and it wouldn’t be surprising to see a 30-point win.
Big-12 Championship - Oklahoma State -3 ½ vs. Oklahoma: This is the first year that the Big-12 doesn’t have an official championship game. This game has some of it’s luster taken away with the Cowboys losing to Iowa State two weeks ago, but it’s still a big game. Oklahoma State has to hope they win big and voters don’t want to see an all SEC matchup for the title game. However, the decision won’t be a difficult one to make after the Sooners win outright.
PAC-12 Championship - Oregon -31 vs. UCLA: What kind of championship game features two teams where the spread is -30 or higher? UCLA backs into the game by default because of how bad Utah and Arizona State were down the stretch, and most notably, because USC in ineligible to represent the South division. The bad news for UCLA is that this game is being played in Eugene and not on a neutral site. UCLA’s last three road games have seen them outscored 129-18. Look for the trend to continue here with an embarrassing loss by UCLA which will take them to 6-7 on the year.
ACC Championship - Virginia Tech -7 vs. Clemson: This game not only impacts Virginia Tech and Clemson’s chance at getting into a BCS bowl, but Stanford’s as well. Stanford passed Virginia Tech in the latest BCS poll to move into No. 4 which guarantees them a BCS bowl bid. Should the Hokies win impressively while Stanford is idle, they could vault past and possibly leave the Cardinal high and dry out of the BCS mix. As for the game, Virginia Tech gets to avenge their only loss of the season. Clemson won 23-3 at Blacksburg in October, but have been stumbling lately losing three of their last four games. Meanwhile, the Hokies have turned it up a notch and look like one of the best teams to come out of the ACC in recent years having won seven in a row since that loss. They have a great mixture of run and pass on offense to go along with their always tough defense. It should be a long night for Clemson.
Big-10 Championship - Wisconsin -10 vs. Michigan State: The Badgers get a chance to avenge one of their two last-second losses of the season this week at Indianapolis against Michigan State. Both Wisconsin losses came on the road, a place where they have look far different than the one that murders teams in Madison. Against-the-spread, Wisconsin was 0-4 in road games this season while going 7-0-1 at home. Michigan State has reeled off four wins in a row and should be able to hang around in this game and maybe pull off the upset. The loser of this game will find themselves out of the BCS Bowl mix with Michigan and their great traveling party being attractive, but Michigan has to remain with the BCS top-14 to get the invite.
C-USA Championship - Houston -13 ½ vs. Southern Miss: One of the two undefeated teams in the country hasn’t gotten much press of any kind because we’ve all had it beaten into our heads that small conferences don’t matter because of who they play. Last week, Houston handled what was perceived to be tough competition against Tulsa, pounding them 48-16. Should they win this game, they’ll be looking at a bid to the BCS Sugar Bowl against Michigan. And should they beat Michigan and one-loss Alabama beats LSU, they still won’t get any love in the polls.
I am surprised we didn’t see any sports books post the Heisman odds due to Nevada Gaming Control Board’s willingness to listen to proposals on voted upon propositions. Gaming requires that the process of how a winner is determined be sent in for approval. With all the writers and past Heisman members having a vote, it would seem simpler than the process probably is. Anyway, here’s a look at the top contenders with odds:
1) Trent Richardson, Alabama -120: I can see the SEC media machine churning, especially after Richardson’s big 203-yard game against Auburn in the Iron Bowl. On the season he’s averaged six yards-a-carry with 20 TD’s. He wouldn’t be my choice to win, but the media backing and support of him can’t be denied in the odds.
2) Andrew Luck, Stanford 3/2: He’s been the favorite all season, but after losing to Oregon the steam on his campaign has run dry. He looks like the best player in the country to me, but what do I know? He’s completed 70% of his passes and has tossed 35 TD’s to only 9 interceptions.
3) Case Keenum, Houston 10/1: Just like his team, he’s got the weight of being from a small conference on his shoulders. Since when did playing in the best conference determine who was the best player? When I look at Keenum, I see the best stats. He’s completed 73% of his passes for 43 TD’s and only three interceptions. That’s three interceptions, all season while throwing for 4,726 yards! He’s a long shot, but one that a great case could be made for.
4) Robert Griffin, Baylor 15/1: Getting knocked out of the game last week may have hurt his chances of making an appearance at the downtown athletic club in New York, but he has a couple of the most exciting games of the college football season under his belt to go along with great stats. He’s completed 72% of his passes for 34 TD’s and only five interceptions.
5) Matt Barkley, USC 25/1: He shredded UCLA last week with six TD passes giving him 39 for the season. Should he stay another year, he’ll be the favorite win next season, but that is unlikely. He looks like the better pro prospect between he and Luck.