Well college football fans we have made it to an exciting but sad day. Championship week is here which is great because we get to crown conference champions, but that means we are getting close to the end of the season. My record for the regular season ended up being 41-15 which isn’t too bad at all. We got some high stake conference championship games this week so let’s get to it. Keep in mind I am only previewing the major 4 conference title games so that’s why NIU/BGSU and Oklahoma/Oklahoma State are left off and there are 4 games instead of the normal 5. Lets get to it:
4) ACC Championship #1 Florida State Seminoles vs #20 Duke Blue Devils
Here is a great stat for you. Florida State has not lost to Duke in the last 18 games they have played. That means there are freshman on this FSU team that haven’t been alive for a Duke win in the series. Duke is a great story having got to 10 wins this season and earning their first division title ever. They are also going to a bowl game in back to back years for the first time ever. The problem is, they are running up against a juggernaut in FSU right now. The Seminoles have the clear front-runner for the Heisman trophy in Jameis Winston but this team is loaded at every skill position. Add in that they are aggressive and athletic along the defensive line. The ‘Noles will not take this Duke team lightly and as if they needed any extra motivation, FSU only had one defensive player named to the All-ACC team so they will be out to prove something. Florida State wins big, punching their ticket to Pasadena for the BCS Championship game.
3) Pac-12 Championship #7 Stanford Cardinal vs #11 Arizona State Sun Devils
Arizona State has not been to a Rose Bowl since 1997 and will host a Stanford team that beat them badly earlier this year to try and break that dry spell. The good news for the Sun Devils is that they get this game at home where they are 7-0 this season. The bad news is, they will likely be without their star running back Marion Grice due to a leg injury. Back when the Cardinal won that game this season at home, they jumped on ASU early leading 29-0 at halftime before Taylor Kelly rallied ASU to make it look respectable. Last week against Arizona D.J. Foster, who ran for 124 yards and two touchdowns against Arizona but this will be a much tough test against the Stanford rush defense that is #1 in the Pac 12 against the run. Arizona State will put up some points because Taylor Kelly is a solid QB but Stanford take the Pac-12 crown and goes to another Rose Bowl.
2) SEC Championship #3 Auburn Tigers vs #5 Missouri Tigers
If you picked this game as the SEC Championship coming into the season in Vegas, your bank account is smiling right now. Last year Auburn was 3-9 and Missouri was 5-7 in their debut SEC season. Now both teams are 11-1 and looking for an SEC crown. Auburn has had a bit of a magical run having beaten Georgia on a miracle play and Alabama on “The Kick Six.” Meanwhile Missouri has been steady all season despite missing their starting QB James Franklin for part of the season. In fact, if not for a loss in double OT without Franklin to South Carolina, we would be talking about a potential FSU/Missouri national championship matchup.The key matchup here is Auburn’s rushing attack led by Tre Mason against Missouri’s run defense which bottled up Johnny Manziel last week. I think the Tigers from Missouri have been overlooked all season and will end Auburn’s magical ride this season emerging from Atlanta with an SEC Championship.
1) Big Ten Championship #2 Ohio State Buckeyes vs #10 Michigan State Spartans
Games don’t get much bigger than this in Ohio State’s case. Win against the Spartans and you are 98% locked in for the National Championship. Lose and you have to hear how overrated you were all season and you didn’t play anyone. It will not be a cakewalk to silence their critics though. Michigan State comes into this game with one of the best defenses in the country. They are #1 in the Big Ten in total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense, and passing defense. This defense is no joke. However, Ohio State is #1 in the conference in scoring offense and total offense. So what wins out, great defense or great offense? In this case I simply don’t believe that Michigan State will be able to hold Ohio State down enough. MSU’s offense is borderline putrid and the Buckeyes defense is better than it gets credit for. Ohio State wins by 10, setting their date with Florida State in the Rose Bowl.