We’ve seen college football play itself out through the first 13 weeks of the season and Conference Championship Weekend is finally here. While some of the match-ups aren’t all that enticing, there are a few games to pay attention to, including what amounts to a national semi-final. Let’s take a look.
Dr. Pepper ACC Championship Game: 7:00, ESPN
#13 Florida State (10-2, 7-1) vs. Georgia Tech (6-6, 5-3)
This looks to be the least entertaining of the four BCS conference championship games of the weekend, unless you’re a Florida State fan of course. Besides a one-point loss at NC State earlier in the year, Florida State’s only other loss came at the hands to a good (just not consistent) Florida team last week. EJ Manuel should do very well against the Yellow Jackets, who are 86th in the nation in scoring defense. With Florida State’s dominating defense and the very predictable run-heavy offense of Georgia Tech, the ‘Noles should march their way right to Miami for the Orange Bowl.
Prediction: Florida State 45, Georgia Tech 10
Big Ten Football Championship: 7:17, FOX
#12 Nebraska (10-2, 7-1) vs. Wisconsin (7-5, 4-4)
These two met in the regular season in Lincoln when Nebraska overcame a 27-10 first half deficit to win 30-27 off a fourth quarter field goal. Although they aren’t ranked, if Wisconsin plays to their potential they definitely have the capability to hang with Nebraska throughout the game in Indy. Although it should be Ohio State playing in this game (if it wasn’t for their post-season ineligibility), Wisconsin will make for a good opponent; however, Nebraska should take this game a little easier than they did on Sept. 29. Taylor Martinez should have his way as the Huskers will punch their ticket to the Rose Bowl.
Prediction: Nebraska 33, Wisconsin 17
Pac-12 Football Championship: 7:00, FOX
#16 UCLA (9-3, 6-3) @ #8 Stanford (10-2, 8-1)
This game looks like a great match-up on paper, but the timing comes as somewhat of a disappointment. The two met just last week in Los Angeles as Stanford took down the Bruins, 35-17. It is very hard to beat a team twice in a season (just ask LSU), but I don’t see UCLA overcoming the Cardinal this time around. Stanford is a very complete (and quite underrated) football team that should be able to take care of business at home, an extra advantage in this conference’s championship game compared to others.
Prediction: Stanford 24, UCLA 14
SEC Championship Game: 3:00, CBS
#2 Alabama (11-1, 7-1) vs. #3 Georgia (11-1, 7-1)
This is without a doubt the best game on tap for Saturday. Alabama has gotten themselves, with quite a bit of help, back into the National Title race and has one test left: the Georgia Bulldogs. Georgia benefited from not playing ‘Bama, LSU or Texas A&M from the West, but took care of business with everyone else on their schedule. With the exception of a blowout 35-7 loss at South Carolina, the ‘Dawgs are undefeated on the year. While I think Georgia has a legitimate chance to win this game, I do see Nick Saban and Alabama getting back to the National Title Game to take on Notre Dame in Miami on Jan. 7.
Prediction: Alabama 26, Georgia 21
While it’s been a confusing season as far as the national title contenders and possible conference champs, we will have it all sorted out by the end of Saturday night.