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Championship Weekend

Championship Weekend

This weekend every conference will crown a champion, except the Big 12, that only has ten teams. They might be crowning dual champions, Baylor and TCU. Why can’t they just bring two more teams into the conference and be done with this, like BYU and Colorado State? I would suggest North Dakota State, but the Big 12, that only has ten teams, doesn’t want to lose to them anymore. Now, to the real, honest-to-goodness, championship games.

PAC-12 Championship

Oregon and Arizona will be vying for the crown. Last year the Ducks played for the crown, had even made travel arrangements to LA, but 247someone on the team made the comment that they didn’t really want to go back to the Rose Bowl since they’d already been there. Ta-Da! Their wish was granted as they lost to Arizona and were knocked out of the championship game. This year, no Duck player has said anything about not wanting to go anywhere, and here they are. In the recently completed regular season, the Wildcats went up to Eugene, OR, and beat Oregon Again! Will they be able to repeat this feat? The answer, believe it or not, lies in the Ducks’ offense and how it works. It’s like a clock, there are lots of gears moving at the same time, usually at high speed. Heisman leader Marcus Mariota must know each and every play like the back of his hand and be able to read the defense and make the right decision on where the ball should go. Each gear turns, and each gear works with the other gears on what they should do, any disruption with the gears causes the offense to become unglued. It doesn’t necessarily stop them, it just causes disruption which can allow the Wildcats to capitalize. No team actually stops the Ducks. They still rack up a bunch of yards and Mariota still makes throws. It’s all about sand in the gears and causing disruption. Not sure if the Wildcats can do it twice in one season, but they have the blueprint. 
Arizona likes to run a fast paced offense as well, and when they have lost it was because of great defensive play by their opponent. When they lost to UCLA it was because the Bruin defense shut them down. It was the most dominant defensive effort the Bruins displayed all year. Against USC, the Wildcats were shut down in the first half, but came roaring back in the second half! If their late field goal attempt hadn’t gone wide right, they would have won. And, if a frog had wings, … . But it was the Southern Cal defensive play that made the ultimate difference. Of course, it could be that UA doesn’t play well against teams from Southern California. Both Arizona and Oregon will play the same way they’ve played all year. Both rely on offenses that are fast-paced, that use a lot of misdirection. Just think of gears within gears, turning, cause and effect. Whichever defense can cause the most disruption will win the game. The Ducks seem to be the team of destiny, they have the probable Heisman winner, and they’ve looked unbeatable lately. Arizona is the Cinderella team they’re very good, but maybe not quite as good as they need to be. They have the blueprint, now they just have to execute it – AGAIN! CigarSmokinFootball’s pick is the Ducks. They have motive (revenge), opportunity (Conference Championship game), and means (Mariota and company). They’re not going to let it slip through their fingers again. Look for a high scoring game, but the Ducks win.

SEC Championship Game

The SEC features Alabama against. Missouri. To say the conference has had a chaotic year would be an understatement. No one could tell who was going to win the West until last weekend. Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Alabama were jockeying for that number one position all year. The Crimson Tide emerged the winner only after they had an uncharacteristic shootout with arch rival Auburn. Alabama, under St. Nick, has 194never been a shootout team. They rely on a running game with a hardcore defense. But they can be much more. Auburn was doing pretty much whatever they wanted against Bama in the first half, and it was causing me a lot of gastric reflux. Then the Tide switched gears, they opened up the offense, made Amari Cooper the focal point, and he delivered. After last Saturday he has secured his spot as a Heisman invitee. Alabama won’t be doing anything new in preparing for Missouri. Since their loss to Ole Miss, every game has been a playoff game, so why change the process? There is one huge item of concern, the play of Blake Sims. He has played well on home turf, but not very well away from Bryant-Denny. This game will take place in Atlanta, where Alabama played their first game of the season, against West Virginia. The Tide won that game but Sims was not great. Now they have the whole regular season under their belts and Blake Sims is still questionable away from T-town. If he plays well, Alabama should be just fine, if he has another first half like he did against Auburn, Missouri will jump all over Alabama.
The Tigers, Missouri variety, find themselves in Atlanta for a second shot at the SEC title. Last year they got involved in a shootout with Auburn and fell a bit short. They’re back. They came from behind to beat Arkansas, otherwise Georgia would be here. Mizzou has had a puzzling year at best. They had a complete melt down against Indiana, at home, on Homecoming, losing, 31-27. Two weeks later they were hammered by Georgia, 34-0. They have struggled against teams where they shouldn’t, like Vanderbilt and Kentucky. They won those games, but it wasn’t pretty. They beat A&M, then had to come from behind against the Razorbacks. But, they didn’t quit. According to Coach Pinkel “It got contagious, you win games like that, a lot of players are making plays…one of the great traits is that when things get tough, they get tougher.” That pretty much sums up the Mizzou season. Now they have their biggest test yet. Can they take down the Crimson Tide? If Alabama plays like they are capable of playing, the answer is no. But should the mistake-prone Sims show up, the Tigers, Missouri variety, can win. They have a formable defensive line that can pressure the QB and slow down the run. Offensively the Tigers do not impress, their passing game is in the bottom third of the nation, and the running game is ranked 57th. They cannot afford to have many three and outs against Alabama. They need to establish a way to run the ball, either by hook or by crook, but they have to establish something that puts the Crimson Tide defense on its heels. CSF is picking Alabama, of course, but it all depends on how Sims handles the pressure. Being away from the friendly confines makes me think I’ll be drinking a lot of Pepto-Bismol.


Big 12, that only has ten teams.

362K-State vs. Baylor is not an official championship game, it just turned out to be one. Baylor has the inside track to the Big 12 title, but if TCU beats last place Iowa State, then the Bears can do is tie for the title. Why the Big 12 can’t figure out they need two more teams, I don’t know. Baylor needs to not only win this game, but they need to win it in impressive fashion. As it is right now, the Horn Frogs are ranked ahead of them even though they beat TCU. They are ranked 6th by the committee behind Ohio State and TCU, if they want to earn a spot in the playoffs they have got to make this game a showcase of who they are. Which is why Petty has already said he is playing in this game despite getting knocked out of last week’s game against Texas Tech due to a concussion. K-State, however, more than likely has different plans. Two years ago the Wildcats came down to Waco with a Heisman candidate QB and an unblemished record. The Bears beat them up 52-24 and ruined their season. Wonder if the Cats are thinking of revenge? You know they are! Besides, should they beat Baylor, they will earn a share of the Big 12, that only has ten teams, title. Baylor will rely on QB Petty. If he has a repeat of his West Virginia performance, the Bears will lose. K-State wants nothing more than to ruin the Bears season and they are perfectly capable of pulling it off. K-State has lost twice this season, once to Auburn and then to TCU. Since that Auburn loss they simply don’t beat themselves, they take pride in not causing their own downfall. The Wildcats are fundamentally sound. For the Cats to win, they have to play a mistake free game. Baylor is picked to win by most the talking heads, sports writers, and one cousin. But this is not a gimme game. K-State can and just might win this one. CSF is tempted to pick the Cats, so, what the heck, Kansas State pulls the upset.


ACC Championship

Florida State made it to the Championship game, darn it. They are going to have their hands full with Georgia Tech and the Triple Option 212attack. No one likes to play against the Yellow Jackets. They hate only having one week to prepare for the Triple Option that relies on misdirection and deceit. It’s hard to figure out and the defense must play fundamental football all game long. Mistakes lead to Georgia Tech scores. FSU has struggled, they allow teams to hang around and every game is close. But they are winning. They are closing out a second season without a loss and should be lauded for what they’ve accomplished, but they’re not. The entire program is covered in questions, cover-up, and deceit, and no matter how much they win, they are not going to be acknowledged until it’s cleared up. Georgia Tech comes in after winning five straight games, taking down arch rival Georgia in overtime last week! GT has the best opportunity it’s had to gain respect since the early 90’s. All they have to do is take down #4 FSU. CSF is picking the Yellow Jackets and pulling for them. Paul Johnson made a statement last week against Georgia that hit home. He said, “I’ve had more talented teams then this one, but I’ve never had a complete team like this year’s team.” Tech plays like a team, everything they do is team, team, team and that is exactly what it’s going to take to win the ACC.


Great White North Championship

Ohio State vs. Wisconsin. Is Ohio State getting the short end of the straw because of the injury to J.T. Barrett? Maybe. If Barrett hadn’t gotten ohio state logoinjured, the Buckeyes would be the favorite. Now that he is out and third string back-up Cardale Jones is taking the snaps, doubts have settled in. Will Jones be able to move the offense against Wisconsin? When Barrett was the new QB and he met a somewhat, however slight, defense in Virginia Tech, The Buckeyes lost. It took a while before Barrett grasped the offense and got it moving. Once he did get it, the Bucks were good to go. Cardale has one week to prepare for the biggest game of his life. A GWN Championship and a possible berth in the playoffs are on the line. How he preforms will determine OSU’s future this year. The run defense of OSU will share the spotlight. They have the unpleasant task of trying to stop one of the top backs in the nation, Melvin Gordon. He set the single game rushing record of 408 yards against Nebraska. It is reported that he has a sprained ankle and will be limited on his playing time. HA! They will have to cut this guy’s leg off to limit his in this game and even then he still might carry the ball. The Badgers are a run first, second, third, and fourth type of team. Every now and again they attempt a pass but there is not a lot of emphasis on the aerial game. To beat Ohio State, the Badgers have to put a ton of pressure on Cardale, get him confused, and then they have the ball as well as they did against the Cornhuskers. The Buckeye offense needs to help out their young QB by playing the best they’ve played all year. They need to establish their own running game and they need to do it from the get-go. Ohio State needs to avoid the third and longs. It’s going to be a tough game and it should be close. Wisconsin is set up to pull off the upset and they can do it. Ohio State is probably still the better team, but they have to go out and prove it. CSF is picking the Badgers;- my editor….Buckeyes.

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