By J.D. McKay
Some weeks there is so much happening in sports it is challenging to decide what to write about. This is not one of those weeks. Our boys’ basketball team has not played any conference teams and beat Class 2A Clarksville last night by 40. The NBA and NFL are both playing regular season games, and college basketball has not started conference play either. However, college football is playing conference championships this week, several of which should have serious playoff implications.
The conference championships that could affect the College Football Playoff are the Big Ten Championship, SEC Championship, Big Twelve Championship, and AAC Championship.
The Big Ten Championship is being played Saturday at 8:00 p.m. on Fox. It is Northwestern playing Ohio State. Ohio State will win, but it will probably be close. If Northwestern can contain OSU quarterback Dwayne Haskins, they could win.
Implication- OSU has lost to unranked Purdue by 29 and beat 4-8 Nebraska and 5-7 Maryland by less than one touchdown, so I am not sure if they deserve to get in at all, and another close win to Northwestern will probably keep them out. Losing will guarantee that they are out.
The SEC Championship is on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. on CBS. First-ranked Alabama is playing fourth-ranked Georgia in a repeat of last year’s SEC Championship game. Bama will win, by at least 15 points, but if Georgia can score a lot of points and keep up the pace with Bama, they could make it interesting.
Implication- Bama has been the best team in college football by a lot this year, so even if they lose they will still be in the playoff. Georgia is what really makes things interesting. As I said, Alabama is already in, as are Clemson and Notre Dame. That means if Georgia wins they will be the three or four seed, but if they lose, it opens that fourth spot in the playoff bedlam will ensue.
The Big Twelve Championship is Saturday at 12:00 p.m. on ABC. I guarantee it will be a high scoring game, because Oklahoma has basically no defense and a high powered offense Texas may struggle to stop. However, Texas beat OU earlier this season and I think they will win again Saturday.
Implication- Texas is not really in playoff contention, but if they beat OU for the second time this year they will knock them out potential that fourth spot.
The last meaningful championship is the AAC Championship on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on ABC. For anyone who does not know, the AAC stands for the American Athletic Conference. It was home to Louisville for one year and basically replaced the Big East in football. It is also a group of five conference m which makes getting a team in from this conference significantly more difficult. However, after going undefeated last year, claiming a national championship (that really means nothing, the only people to acknowledge it are UFC fans and Florida’s governor), and now being 11-0 this season, The University of Central Florida has made a case for themselves to be in. Saturday they are playing Memphis who they beat 31-30 in their closest game this season. I expect UCF, who has only improved this season, to beat them by at least 14.
Implication- UCF does not have the opportunity to play many decent teams in the regular season, so their strength of schedule in incredibly weak. However, if they thump Memphis and OU loses, their great wins over bad teams might be valued over OSU’s good wins over Michigan and Penn State and bad wins to Maryland and Nebraska. That could slide them into the fourth seed and actually give them a chance to play for a championship instead of just saying they won one.
My expected CFP
- Notre Dame