Well, Ohio State is in the clubhouse, already winning the *real* B1G TEN Championship and, possibly, getting the Barry Switzer Special and winning the *real* national championship in January as well. Whatever the case, our season is over and we’re free to fast forward this season until the spring game in April 2013. However, non-Ohio State programs are still playing college football and sorting out bowl game bids for themselves. The headliner of the weekend is obviously the SEC Championship Game. Since the Southeastern Conference has a birthright into the national championship game every year, the winner of this contest between Alabama and Georgia will take on… wait for it… Notre Dame in Miami, Florida. Should that be Alabama, as it likely will be, you can rest assured knowing full well that God exists, He has Bama bangs, and He thinks banning flavored dips is gay as hell. Roll Tide.
- Louisville @ Rutgers (ESPN, 7:30pm ET). This shaped up to be the de facto Big East Championship Game since early November, though losses last week by both Rutgers (to Pittsburgh) and Louisville (to Connecticut [!!] in three overtimes) complicated this picture considerably. If Rutgers won, it won the Big East outright. If Louisville won, a four way tie may follow, contingent on the outcome of the Cincinnati-Connecticut game. Indeed, Louisville won. It was retribution for Kyle Flood punting on the Louisville 31 yard line. The end result was a 14 point swing, from which Louisville never looked back. Louisville won the Big East’s BCS bid (Orange Bowl, in all likelihood) and, inadvertently, served as the tie-breaker in the ACC-B1G TEN Challenge.
- Northern Illinois v. Kent State (ESPN2, 7:00pm ET). MAC Championship Game. Who would’ve thought the MAC Championship Game would feature two ranked teams and the de facto Big East Championship Game between two 9-2 teams wouldn’t feature any ranked teams? Kent State is #17 and Northern Illinois is #21. Both feature former B1G TEN assistant coaches — Dave Doeren (Wisconsin) and Darrell Hazell (Kent State) — who are being pitched as candidates for higher profile jobs. It remains to be seen where Hazell may be a candidate, but Doeren’s name has come up in connection with the opening at North Carolina State. Kent State’s ranking at #17 is very, very interesting. It may need Stanford to murder ball UCLA in the evening, but if it moves up a spot, it’s guaranteed a spot in the BCS. I don’t think Rutgers losing helped Kent State’s case, given Kent State’s “signature” victory at Rutgers earlier this season. Both programs are 11-1, but I’m kind of left wondering how it’s possible that Kent State could lose to Kentucky and Northern Illinois could lose to Iowa.
- UCLA @ Stanford (FOX, 8:00pm ET). Pac-12 Championship Game. It’s a rematch too. Stanford and UCLA played each other last Saturday in the Rose Bowl, with Stanford winning 35-17. As such, Stanford won the tie-breaker over Oregon in the Pac 12 North and secured its spot in the Pac 12 Championship Game, which it will host. Meanwhile, this is UCLA’s second consecutive Pac-12 Championship Game. Who saw that one coming when the Pac-10 became the Pac-12 and split into divisions?
- Oklahoma @ Texas Christian (ESPN, 12:00pm ET). Oh, right, Big XII. Remember these guys? The ten team Big XII no longer has a conference championship game, but instead has the round robin schedule that drags into what would otherwise be a conference championship weekend. Oklahoma is still in the thick of it for the Big XII’s BCS invite. At #11 in the BCS, it’s eligible for an at-large as well. It remains to be seen what happens in the MAC Championship Game, though. Oklahoma, which won Bedlam last week in overtime, needs to win today and hope Kansas State loses later in the day. The Wildcats still have that tie-breaker.
- Oklahoma State @ Baylor (FX, 12:00pm ET). Hey, this would’ve been really interesting last year at this time.
- Central Florida @ Tulsa (ESPN2, 12:00pm ET). Conference USA Championship Game. Central Florida is in a bit of a limbo with the NCAA regarding its own scandal, but its decision to appeal means it is eligible for this game. Remember Central Florida? We beat the
Golden KnightsCITRONAUTS in our non-conference schedule, hoping that Central Florida would run over everyone else en route to a one-loss season. This would help our AP national championship claim, because California sure as hell wasn’t going to help this year. Well, it didn’t quite work out that way. Central Florida lost to Missouri at home, and lost at Tulsa two weeks ago. both losses were close. The Citronauts could avenge the last loss on Saturday.
- Nicholls State @ Oregon State (Pac 12 Network, 2:30pm ET). Remember this? It was supposed to be played in Week 1, though Hurricane Isaac interfered with that. Both agreed to play at the end if Oregon State didn’t make the Pac-12 Championship Game. Rather, both agreed to play each other when Oregon State didn’t make the Pac-12 Championship Game.
- Boise State @ Nevada (ABC, 3:30pm ET). Oh man, really?
- Cincinnati @ Connecticut (ABC, 3:30pm ET). I mentioned this earlier, but a Cincitucky victory gives the Bearcats a share of the Big East championship this season. This will make a great parting gift for head coach Butch Jones when he accepts the Purdue job shortly.
- Alabama v. Georgia (CBS, 3:30pm ET). SEC Championship Game. This time, Alabama can actually win its conference and play for the national title. Nick Saban is also hedging bets by complaining how unfair it is that Florida is basically guaranteed the Sugar Bowl for sitting at home and watching this game, seemingly forgetting just how Saban himself gamed the system last year. How Saban doesn’t get more shit for the things he says is beyond me. Alas, such were my six years in Alabama. It is interesting that this is the first time Alabama has played in the SEC Championship Game without playing the aforementioned Florida Gators. This is Alabama’s 7th appearance. Meanwhile, it’s Georgia’s fifth appearance, and second straight appearance. In 2003, Mark Richt’s Bulldogs played Nick Saban’s Louisiana State Tigers, losing 34-13.
- Pittsburgh @ South Florida (ESPN2, 7:00pm ET). They’re playing for pride at this point, folks. Well, maybe Skip Holtz is playing to not get fired, but it’s too late for him.
- Texas @ Kansas State (ABC, 8:00pm ET). This would have been much, much more interesting if Kansas State had not lost to Baylor two weeks ago. It’s now coming off a bye, with only the BCS bid and conference championship on the line. A Kansas State win sends Bill Snyder’s resurgent Wildcats back to the Fiesta Bowl, its first trip to the desert since the 2003 season. You remember that game, don’t you? A national championship berth, and a Heisman for Collin Klein, were previously on the table. Across the field, Texas is only playing to do Bob Stoops a solid. The loss to Texas Christian last Friday put the Longhorns out of contention for a BCS at-large, and probably cost the Longhorns the Cotton Bowl too? I’m not sure. A loss in the Little Apple might be curtains for Mack Brown, though.
- Florida State v. Georgia Tech (ESPN, 8:00pm ET). ACC Championship Game. Georgia Tech got a waiver to play in a bowl game at 6-7, which is a great contingency plan. Georgia Tech’s athletic department is basically entering the ACC Championship Game waving a white flag. It’s only in the ACC Championship Game because the Miami Hurricanes made the decision to forgo postseason play while still under the NCAA microscope. As for Florida State? Well, conceding 24 4th quarter points last week to Florida means it’s playing only for the Orange Bowl. It had an outside shot, however outside, of playing for the BCS Championship.
- Nebrasky v. Wisconsin (FOX, 8:00pm ET). B1G TEN “Championship” Game. *cough* *clears throat*. Excuse me…