Championship Weekend Predictions
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It all comes down to this! Championship weekend is upon us where major hardware can be won and major dreams can be dashed. The five major conferences will all be decided on Saturday, setting up for what is sure to be an amazing Sunday evening of bowl announcements...Here are my predictions for the games that will decide the conference champions of 2013...
Saturday, December 7th
#17 Oklahoma (9-2) at #6 Oklahoma State (10-1) - 12:00 - ABC - If my calculations are correct, the Cowboys control their own destiny in the race for the Big-12 crown. Oklahoma State's only loss is to West Virginia, who is not in consideration any longer, therefore the Cowboys have the head-to-head on everyone involved should they win against Oklahoma. The Sooners cannot win the league according to the scenarios I have run through (but I could be wrong)....Anyway, in this one, I see Oklahoma State winning at home behind an inspired crowd. The biggest thing to me about Oklahoma State this year is the improvement on defense. The guys look big and fast and angry and I think they shut down the visitors allowing the high-potent OSU offense to do its thing. Oklahoma State, 44-17.
#25 Texas (8-3) at #9 Baylor (10-1) - 3:30 - FOX - As noted above, the winner of this game will need help from Oklahoma to bring home a Big-12 crown. If the Sooners pull the upset in Stillwater, the winner here is the league champion (I think). In the first half of the season, Baylor was dropping 70+ points on everybody. But when reality hit mid-season against some tougher teams, the point totals leveled off a bit lower. As for Texas, the fans were ready to run off Mack Brown until a 6-game winning streak silenced the haters. Still, though a nasty home loss to Oklahoma State may see Brown done sooner rather than later....In this game, it is so tough to say what will happen. Texas could step up and play great and pull the upset and - who knows - with some luck represent the Big-12 in the BCS. But much more probable what I see happening Saturday is Oklahoma State pummeling Oklahoma, and Baylor beating Texas at home. Baylor, 38-28.
#3 Auburn (11-1) vs. #5 Missouri (11-1) - SEC Championship Game - 4:00 - CBS - The Tigers of Mizzou have been good in 2013, but I don't know if I am quite ready to call them great. Let's face it, the rest of the SEC East is down (or injured) except for South Carolina, and, sure enough, that is the team who beat 'em...in Missouri. As for Auburn, their slate was tougher and they were still able to come out of it with the same single loss, their's being early in the season at LSU. At this point, with the way things have been going, you cannot help but to go with Auburn in this game. The War Eagle Tigers have senior leadership who have been in this game before and there is no denying that Auburn will take the breaks when they come their way. One must wonder if Auburn's good fortunes will run out at some point and they very well may in this game. But until they do, I am sticking with them for my pick as SEC champs. Auburn, 37-30.
#20 Duke (10-2) vs. #1 Florida State (12-0) - ACC Championship Game - 8:00 - ABC - I have had many conversations with many people about this game, and I assure you that it has been brought to my attention that Duke has better players than they used to have and that Duke has a better gameplan than people want to give hem credit for. That is all good and well, but I still have a very hard time seeing the Blue Devils keep this a good game for four quarters. I think FSU is just a beast of a team who will do what they want, when they want, and how they want to do it in this game. Duke's plan of attach is good against the average ACC team, but against Florida State, the things Duke likes to do to win go out the window. Florida State ins this one big - Jameis or no Jameis - and heads on to play for a crystal football. Florida State, 47-13.
#7 Stanford (10-2) vs. #11 Arizona State (10-2) - Pac-12 Championship Game - 7:45 - ESPN - This game should be easy to predict, right? After all, the two teams played in week three in Palo Alto and Stanford won, 42-28. So the Trees win again, eh? Not so fast. I think these two teams are very evenly matched but I am going to choose ASU to get revenge and to head on to a BCS game. Behind junior QB Taylor Kelly's 35 total TDs (27 passing, eight rushing), the Sun Devils have become a true force in the Pac-12. But Kelly needs to be more protective of the ball as he has eleven turnovers this season. We all know Stanford is a tough opponent and that they play disciplined football, but I am bored with picking the Cardinal and will go with ASU for the win at home. Arizona State, 39-28.
#2 Ohio State (12-0) vs #10 Michigan State (11-1) - Big Ten Championship Game - 8:15 - FOX - Urban Meyer has yet to lose a game as the head coach at Ohio State (24-0) but this will most-likely be his stiffest test to date. The Spartans hunker down and play serious defense (4th in the country at 12 ppg) and that is something OSU hasn't had to deal with much in 2013. The weapons are there for the Buckeyes to deal with this, but it will not be easy and it will be fun to watch. On the flip side of the conversation, Michigan State does not play much offense at all, so this is where Ohio State can break away if they are able to steal a TD or two. MSU really struggles to points up, so my guess is that Ohio State wins close in a low-scoring game. Ohio State, 20-10.
* All times EST, all rankings BCS
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