It is that time of year folks. The NCAA season hits championship weekend as the top four try and solidify their spots in the playoff.
The end of the NCAA Football season is nearing it’s climax. This weekend sees the power five conferences play for their respective conference championships. Nonetheless, playoff implications are alive and well.
Today we will examine some of the important championship games with big implications. Let’s get started.
SEC Championship #2 LSU vs. #4 Georgia
While a loss would most likely not affect LSU, the same can’t be said for the Georgia Bulldogs. Unfortunately, it is either win or you’re out for Georgia.
It would be a great story to see Georgia beat LSU and retain their spot. However, LSU is no easy opponent. Despite the shaky defense, LSU has been historic on offense thanks to Joe Burrow’s incredible improvement. But a loss would likely keep LSU in since the next closest team, being Alabama, has two losses. No way they get in.
It is a different narrative for the Bulldogs. The unfortunate loss to South Carolina makes Georgia the only top four team with a loss. The top three teams all remain perfect.
That means it is do or die for Georgia considering Utah, Baylor, and Oklahoma are on their heels. Once again, no way anyone with two losses gets in.
With all of that said, I am rolling with Kirby Smart and the Georgia Bulldogs to win this one. While the Tigers offense has been prolific, I expect a tough defense from Georgia to slow down the likes of Burrow and Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
Final result: 30-17 Georgia for the SEC Championship. Sorry Big 12 and Pac 12.
Big 10 Championship #1 Ohio State vs. #8 Wisconsin.
This game is more important for Wisconsin in my opinion. Not saying that Ohio State wouldn’t benefit from another Big 10 title. They go into the playoff undefeated with this win. However, this would be more of a pride game for the Badgers and an opportunity to get a better bowl game.
Despite that, this should be a win for the Buckeyes. QB Justin Fields leads the offense while star defensive end Chase Young anchors a great defense into the game. Not to knock the Badgers because they are a great team in their own right. Nonetheless, Ohio State has too much star power to be beaten. My prediction is a semi-close game leading to an Ohio State victory. They will retain their spot.
Final result: 42-24 Buckeyes for the Big 10 title and show the NCAA world why they are number one.
The Buckeyes are a scary team when firing on all cylinders. It will take a great defensive effort to stop Ryan Day and his squad from claiming their first national title since 2014.
ACC Championship #3 Clemson vs. #23 Virginia
The narrative for the Clemson Tigers all year has been that they are the weakest of the top four teams. Allow me to remind everyone that while at times this team has been vulnerable, they are the reigning national champs.
Trevor Lawrence is experienced enough, and Travis Etienne is among the elite backs in the country. Oh, and their coach is still Dabo Sweeney. Despite playing in the weakest conference of the remaining top seven, Virginia will provide enough of a scare to test the Tigers, but I expect Clemson to come out on top.
However, let’s take a second to remember that Virginia also upset #24 Virginia Tech the week prior. So it would be insane if this upset also happened. Should Clemson fall there is no doubt the door is open for Utah, Oklahoma and Baylor to make their statements to get in.
Now if both Georgia and Clemson were to fall then it really gets crazy. But like I said, I am anticipating a Clemson victory in this one.
Final result: 42-35 Clemson in a very entertaining and close game.
Pac 12 Championship #5 Utah vs. #13 Oregon
By far the most interesting matchup since it is the first of the conference championship games. The other leagues will be keeping a close eye on this one. Spoiler alert, many of the other teams are rooting for Oregon. Utah, despite a weak strength of schedule and not beating a top ranked opponent, find themselves in a very tight spot.
Comparing Utah to Oklahoma, who also sits just outside the top four, both teams have similar weak strength of schedule with the edge going slightly towards the Sooners. Despite that, the Utes find themselves a Georgia or Clemson loss away from cracking the top four. Oregon had a shot, but blew it against Arizona State. Bummer.
The Pac 12 has always had a tough time getting into the playoff. Washington so far is the only team to crack the top four since the format’s inception. However, it is an uphill battle for Utah. Several scenarios have to play out first. Here they are as follows:
- Beat Oregon in convincing fashion
- Hope that either Georgia or Clemson lose their games. Or both lose
- Root for Baylor to beat Oklahoma
Unfortunately, should all three scenarios play out, Baylor may also make a convincing case to get in over Utah should they beat down the Sooners.
With all of that said, look out for a competitive game with a lot on the line. This is the make or break game for the Pac 12.
Final result: 30-27 Oregon pulls off the incredible upset. Sorry Utah. Not an impressive enough schedule to prove otherwise for NCAA and playoff committee.
Big 12 Championship #6 Oklahoma vs. #7 Baylor
This is the matchup that needs to be watched. The first game of Saturday morning will set the tone for the day and the games that follow. The result of this match up could really set the bar for who gets in the playoff and who doesn’t.
Baylor is a dangerous team and one that Oklahoma should not underestimate. Both feature extremely high scoring offenses with decent to subpar defenses. Basically, it will be a high scoring game more likely than not.
The winner of this game, given that they win in convincing fashion, will root for Georgia and Clemson to lose. The winner of the Big 12 is far from out of it. It all comes down to the top four taking care of their business and not allowing the door to be opened.
With all of that in mind, I predict the top four will not change and all of the top teams will take care of business. Leaving Oklahoma and Baylor on the outside looking in.
Final result: 50-42 Baylor pulls the upset to give themselves a chance at the NCAA playoff. Wow what a weekend ahead of us.
For more on the NCAA college football playoff and the bowl season, stay tuned to NGSC Sports.
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