The 2011 college football season is winding down, and it’s conference championship week, with seven of the six conference with championship games holding those games. That math may seem a little skewed, but that’s how this season has gone.
Two of the conferences have already held their championship games, with Northern Illinois winning the Mid-America championship game and a berth in the GoDaddy.com bowl, and Oregon winning the Pac-12 and a spot in the Rose Bowl.
If you’re not a football fan, don’t worry. We’ll find something shiny for you to play with.
Football fans, it’s time to find out who’s gonna lose this weekend. Maybe, from that, you can tell who will win. Maybe not.
Texas (22) vs Baylor (17)
It’s not a conference championship game. Rather, it’s a match-up of two ranked teams with seven losses between them. Baylor is the highest ranked 3-loss team, and Texas is the highest ranked 4-loss team. The big attraction about this game is Baylor’s quarterback, Robert Griffin III, whose name sounds like he ought to be stranded on a tropic desert isle with a professor and a movie star.
Most of the talking heads at the ESPN channel want to have his baby — I’m talking about the guys, not the sports babes — and are promoting his for the Heisman. And the numbers he’s put up against Stephen F. Austin, Rice, Iowa State, Texas Tech, Kansas and the like is impressive. And, if he can put up some more big numbers, he could be the first Heisman Trophy winner from a 3-loss team since 1987.
Mack Brown’s Big Horny Cattle might have something to say about that, though. This season has been better than last year for Texas, but they haven’t beaten a ranked opponent all season. This is their last chance, and it won’t be easy.
Who’s gonna lose? Texas.
New Mexico vs Boise State (7)
There’s no conference championship on the line in Smurf Village this weekend, just the hope of a BCS bowl when Chris Petersen’s Broncos host the Spanish Wolves from Albuquerque. Unless the SEC sends three teams to BCS bowls, there’s an opening for an at-large, non-AQ conference team that’s ranked high enough. The team from the 57th State fits the bill … if they can get past New Mexico.
Bob Davie is unbeaten as the Lobos head coach, but he’s winless as well. His debut at the helm of New Mexico couldn’t come at a worse time.
Who’s gonna lose? New Mexico.
Oklahoma (10) vs Oklahoma State (3)
This is the game that caused the funny math I was talking about earlier. There is no Big 12 championship game this year, because there aren’t 12 teams in the Big 12. However, as things worked out, the winner of this game isn’t just the Oklahama State Champs, but they’re also the Big 12 champs.
All the experts that were talking about Oklahoma playing for the national championship look pretty silly right about now. Still, the Sooners are the highest-ranked team with less than 10 wins.
The Cowpokes from Stillwater, under the direction of Brandon Weeden and his posse of receivers, look to take another wheel off the Sooner Schooner, and hope for an upset in Atlanta to help them make it to the national championship game.
That’s a long-shot at best, but Oklahoma State has the tools to do its part … and will.
Who’s gonna lose? Oklahoma.
Southern Miss (24) vs Houston (6)
More than just the Conference-USA title is on the line when the Cougars from Houston take on the Golden Eagles from Hattiesburg. If Houston wins, they get a BCS bowl slot. Of course, if Southern Mississippi wins and jumps from 24 to 16 (or higher), they’ll likely get a BCS slot.
Case Keenum has put up some obscene numbers this season for the Big Cats. His worst game was a 304-yard performance. And they took him out of that game after the 2nd play of the 4th quarter.
Those numbers, though, have come against unranked opponents. This week will be Houston’s first game with a ranked team. Of course, it’ll be Southern Mississippi’s first game against a ranked team, too.
While Austin Davis doesn’t have the same kind of numbers Keenum has, he’s still thrown for over 3,000 yards this season, which isn’t too shabby. The Golden Eagles running game is a little better, as is their defense … but not by much.
Unless the Cougars make mistakes, they should wrap up a BCS bowl slot and keep their unbeaten record intact.
Who’s gonna lose? Southern Mississippi.
Virginia Tech (5) vs Clemson (20)
If not for their loss on October 1st, the Hokies could be in line for a shot at the BCS championship game. But they did lose that day. And, in this year of rematches, the team that beat them is their opponent in the ACC Championship Game.
Clemson was on a roll, playing world beaters until the last four games of the season. The Tigers lost 3 of those 4 games and dropped from contending for the national championship to tryng to be the next-to-worst BCS bowl team.
VPI would win this game on paper … but they don’t play it on paper. The Cats from Death Valley will be a hard foe to beat. The Hokies may not have it in them. Then again, they just might.
Who’s gonna lose? Clemson.
Wisconsin (15) vs Michigan State (13)
The first Big Ten championship game is also a rematch. Back in October, Wisonsin got beat after time expired on a hail mary and an instant replay review. The win helped Michigan State wind up with the best record in the B-1-G. And, since those two teams are in different divisions, they get to do it all again.
Well, maybe not all. Don’t expect another Hail Mary on the final play and another instant replay overturn after the clock has run out. But don’t be surprised if the unexpected happens.
It’s been a funny year, and these two teams helped the comedy play out. This should be a good game, and the winner gets to play Oregon in the Rose Bowl. The loser won’t get a BCS slot, but probably should.
Who’s gonna lose? Michigan State.
Georgia (14) vs LSU (1)
After opening the 2011 season with a performance that was as ugly as those silly-ass Nike uniforms, the Bulldogs from Georgia have turned into a decent football team. So good, they made it to the SEC championship game for the first time in six years. It’ll be Georgia’s 4th visit to the conference title game, and the 3rd time they’ve faced LSU in the title game.
LSU, meanwhile, is making their 5th appearance in the title game. And, if the Tigers win, they’ll secure the SEC a 6th straight national championship. Of course, they way this season has gone, LSU could lose this game and still play Alabama for the national championship. That scenario puts Georgia in the Sugar Bowl, and probably keeps Boise State out of a BCS bowl. That would be payback for making the Bulldogs look so bad back in September.
How likely is that to happen? Well, the Bulldogs have one of the best defenses in the nation. Jarvis Jones lead the SEC in sacks, while Bacarri Rambo leads the conference in interceptions.
LSU, though, has the best defense, and defense wins championships.
Who’s gonna lose? Georgia.