Championship Weekend Predictions
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It's money time. Rivalries. Conference crowns. National title berths. This 14th weekend of the college football season is the one where you leave the wife and kids at home. It gets nasty now. At stake in this final weekend for Auburn and Oregon are the chance to play each other for a national title. If one or both are to slip, though, unbeaten TCU and an army of one-loss teams (Auburn and/or Oregon would be among them) wait to debate who belongs in Glendale. We are all worn down from a long season, but let's suck it up one last time fans as this weekend is what it is all about!
Arizona State at Arizona - 8:00 - ESPN - Our final Thursday night game of the season has the Wildcats hosting the Sun Devils. Arizona has flirted with the top 25 throughout the year, while ASU really hasn't had much go their way. I know the Devils are capable of the upset, but the smart pick is on Arizona - the better team - at home. Arizona, 33-23.
Illinois at Fresno State - 10:15 - ESPN2 - Over the years, I have grown a respect for what Pat Hill's boys can do in defending their home-field. The Bulldogs can create a rowdy advantage in Bulldog Stadium, and I see that working to their advantage Friday night. The Illini once again have had a mediocre season, and if they win 1,500 miles from home - at night - against an unfamiliar opponent, it will shock me. Fresno State, 35-24.
Rutgers at #24 West Virginia - 12:00 - ABC - The Scarlet Knights are 59th or worse in all of the major NCAA statistical categories and are not going bowling in 2010. The 'Neers, meanwhile, are at home and still have an outside shot at the BCS. WVU can put the pressure on UConn to win, as the Huskies don't play until 8:00 and would have to win to claim the Big East. West Virginia, 31-17.
SMU at Central Florida - 12:00 - ESPN2 - Conference USA Championship Game - With a slightly better record, and home-field advantage, I am going to keep my pick simple and go with the home Knights. The CUSA East division winners are 19th nationally in points for and 18th nationally in points against. That's a balanced team. Central Florida, 28-21.
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati - 12:00 - ESPN - Pitt always seems to get the attention in the Big East, but usually they aren't the class of the conference. Again in 2010, that's what happened. The Panthers are well documented as my least favorite program in the FBS. But despite my feelings for Pitt, I feel they will win this one on the road. Cincy is bad. Pitt, 35-27.
Utah State at #11 Boise State - 3:00 - ESPN3.com - A no-brainer here, BSU might win this one by over a hundred. Then again, with their season absolutely crushed a week ago to the tune of no BCS, and no style points to worry about having fun with, this team may fall apart. Haha. Doubt it. The Broncos will win this one large. Boise State, 50-3.
#17 Nevada at Louisiana Tech - 3:00 - ESPN3.com - Well, the trendy pick at the moment would be Nevada, with them having knocked Boise from the land of the living and all. Besides that Nevada has a much better record, they showed they can play some D in stopping that BSU offensive jugernaut. Nevada, 36-24.
#2 Oregon at Oregon State - 3:30 - ABC - This game here is one of the scariest of the picks. College football offers up crazy happenings all of the time, and this has all of the makings. You know the Beavers have memories of last year in Autzen when the Ducks were throwing roses around. Payback time? We'll see. This will indeed be a war! Oregon, 38-31.
#1 Auburn vs. #19 South Carolina - 4:00 - CBS - It wouldn't surprise me for one second to see the Gamecocks go up big early on Auburn just as Alabama did. The energy for both teams will be off of the charts. But even if USC were to open up a lead of 14 or 21 points, I see no reason why Auburn couldn't come back. The Tigers have a national title game berth at stake, and as hungry as South Carolina will be, I have to think Auburn is just as hungry if not more so. Auburn, 40-30.
Washington at Washington State - 7:00 - Versus - With neither team setting the world on fire, I am going to go out on a limb here and do the unthinkable: pick the Cougars for the win. With Wazzu being 109th in points for and 111th in points against, this is kind of a suicide pick. But the Huskies are struggling, as well, and it would be nice to see WSU get another win. Washington State, 28-24.
#21 Florida State vs. #15 Virginia Tech - 7:45 - ESPN - ACC Championship Game, Charlotte, NC - These two teams are used to this spotlight, as both squads have partcipated in the league's showcase event more than once - and both have won it. This year, I see VT as the slightly stronger team, and with the way Beamer has them playing right now, I'd be a fool to bet against them. Virginia Tech, 27-19.
#9 Oklahoma vs. #13 Nebraska - 8:00 - ABC - Big 12 Championship Game, Arlington, TX - In an old-fashioned Big 8 battle, the Huskers and Sooners tangle for the right to head to the BCS. Basically, it is the Nebraska defense against the Oklahoma offense. Or is it? What about the Husker O and the Sooner D? Either way you measure it, I see OU as slightly better. Oklahoma, 32-26.
Connecticut at South Florida - 8:00 - ESPN2 - Win, and the Huskies will take their act to the BCS - probably the Orange Bowl. Lose, and the Big East crown will likely end up in the hands of West Virginia. It won't be easy. South Florida defeated Miami a week ago, and is on a roll in winning four of their last five. But something is tugging at me to take UConn, and see them roll back to Southern Florida in the postseason. UConn, 30-28.
USC at UCLA - 10:30 - TV tbd - Enough. I'm picking USC. I'm not a big fan of the Kiffin regime, but I'm betting they just had a productive week of practice following last week's loss. On top of that, UCLA has continuously cost me in 2010. This is a home game for the Bruins, but both teams are from LA, so I cannot see that being a huge deal. USC, 30-21.
UNLV at Hawaii - 10:30 - ESPN3.com - Here it is, the final pick of the regular season. Pick number 210 out of 210 for 2010. And - deep breath - it is an easy one. The Rebels are 2-10. The Warriors are 9-3. The game is out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Who would you take? Exactly. Hawaii, 40-24.
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