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WAKE UP! Championship Week creates interesting bedfellows: Viewing guide and why-to-watch

As if you needed to be told why today is important. Pffft.

Baylor v TCU
Never thought I’d pull for the Trill Hill, but here we are.
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Let’s start with a poll first:


Today’s crutch is:

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    Brown likker. SEC! It Just Means More!
    (80 votes)
  • 10%
    Crafty beer so hoppy my esophagus revolts
    (33 votes)
  • 5%
    Clear likker. I’m watching my carbs, ya’ know
    (16 votes)
  • 11%
    Polysubstance use and/or leafy medicinals
    (34 votes)
  • 40%
    Sober rage
    (124 votes)
  • 6%
    Other (e.g., I live in Kentucky, so pills for me.)
    (19 votes)
306 votes total Vote Now

And so the first of two stressful days begins for Alabama fans — three, if you were watching the PAC 12 Championship Game last night in the hopes of a Stanford upset. Friday went fairly well for Alabama fans. No, the Cardinal did not pull off the victory, but USC looked sloppy and weak in a 3-point win over a 4-loss team that was only sealed with a late goal line stand. That team is not jumping Alabama. The Committee has hated the P12 all season, and I see no reason for them to fall in love with it on Week 14. Sorry, Herbstreit.

College Gameday is in Charlotte covering the ACC Championship game (I suspect that’s because Miami is the No. 8 media market in the United States, because it’s certainly not the most compelling game.) You may want to strategically tune in anyway, though: Alabama’s Nick Saban will be appearing live, and he will no doubt stump for his team, surely one of the nation’s four best, right?

Below is your schedule from Joe and Bruins Nation (all times EST.) But first, here’s what we’re watching today and why:

No. 20 Memphis at No. 14 UCF (-7.5) 12:00 EST

Enjoy these two while you they’re around: Mike Norvell and Scott Frost are packing their bags after this one and likely on to Power 5 jobs in different conferences. UCF pasted Memphis in their first meeting this season -- the only loss between either team. I suspect Round Two is a lot closer, and a lot more of a shootout, than Round One. Riley Ferguson vs. McKenzie Milton should be one helluva’ duel. No playoff ramifications, but it will be a fun game. The Tide could draw the winner in the Sugar Bowl if it’s left out of the playoffs.

UL-Monroe at Florida State (-24.5) 12:00 EST

Do we really have to watch this crappy game? Well, not really. FSU’s walk-ons should beat the Warhawks. But, we do need to keep an eye on it. An FSU win gives the Tide an 8th game against teams with a .500 or above record, and a 3-0 record in out-of-conference bowl teams (suck it, Big Ten.) Please don’t choke, ‘Noles

No. 10 TCU vs No. 2 Oklahoma (-7) 12:30

Alabama is relying on some help to get in the playoffs this season: simply too much alleged parity between the top 7-8 programs. But, by far the easiest route goes through Dallas and a win by the Horned Frogs. Unfortunately, this may be the least likely one too. In Round One, the Sooners destroyed TCU, 38-20. But, that’s deceptive. The Sooners were up an ungodly 38-0 in the first half and had to beat back some pity touchdowns by the Frogs. Let’s see how good of a coach Gary Patterson is: It’s not often you get a chance for redemption just a month after being embarrassed. Like the PAC 12, the Committee has hated the Big 12 all season; a 2-loss TCU isn’t jumping the Tide. Baker Mayfield has his Heisman, let’s hope he plays like s***. GO FROGS!

No. 6 Georgia vs. No. 2 Auburn (-1) 3:30 EST

It’s hard to run a gauntlet like the one Auburn is attempting in these final three weeks: Knocking off back-to-back No. 1 teams and then beat another one in a de facto road game. That’s the conventional wisdom, at any rate. Your eyeballs tell you that Georgia was a bit overvalued, that Auburn is peaking at the right time, and that this is Kirby’s first real test in building a championship resume. Vegas sees it as practically a tossup. But is it really? The winner is in. We know that. But Alabama’s loss would greatly be benefited by a road defeat to the nation’s hottest team and a 2017 SEC champion Auburn Tigers. If TCU doesn’t win, we begrudgingly need this one to happen. If TCU wins though, feel free to root for a meteor here. #WDE, just in case.

No. 25 Fresno State at Boise State (-8.5) 7:45 EST

The Broncos have been getting a lot of love in Vegas for the home turf advantage. But, just last week the Bulldogs handily beat BSU in the Central Valley. I’m not sure they can do it again on the road. But a very, very close loss would be somewhat helpful — just not as helpful as an outright win and a Mountain West Championship. Damn, Steve Mariucci has done such a great job with this team. GO BULLDOGS

No. 7 Miami vs. No. 1 Clemson (-9.5) 8:00 EST

Everyone seems to think Clemson is No. 1. Some of us may differ on 1 vs. 2, but they’ve got the resume, so let’s play along. We should hope that Clemson stomps the absolute hell out of Miami. That makes Auburn, perforce Alabama, look better. Miami laid an egg in its last road game. And this team ain’t Pitt. Clemson should demolish the ‘Canes along both lines, but Dabo may do enough dumb stuff to make this closer than it should be. Go Tigers, nevertheless.

No. 8 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Wisconsin (+5.5) 8:00 EST

No one really thinks OSU is the No. 8 team in the country, right? No one thinks Wisconsin is the No. 4 team either, right? In a worst case scenario, Alabama needs the Buckeyes to win...but not win too badly or look too good doing so. Alabama has a case either way, but a 2-loss team that sharted all over itself en route to a sloppy win vs. an overrated undefeated team from a terrible division makes a much better story to sell. The good news is that very well could happen. This one is going to pain me, because so many of its fans are truly the very worst outside of Tallahassee, but Go Bucks. O-H...

So, there’s your slate. Feel free to join me in the battle cry: “Today we are all Horned Frogs, but failing that we are all Bulldogs-Tigers-TigersWarEaglePlainsmen-Seminoles-Buckeyes” Really rolls of the tongue, doesn’t it?

We’ll be back later this evening or tonight with other threads as needed. Use this one for the morning/noonish games. Roll Tide and hope for the best.


Matchup Time (PT) TV Streaming
Matchup Time (PT) TV Streaming
#20 Memphis at #14 UCF 12:00 PM ABC
Akron vs. Toledo 12:00 PM ESPN
North Texas at Florida Atlantic 12:00 PM ESPN2
UMass at Florida Intl 12:00 PM None
Louisiana Monroe at Florida State 12:00 PM ACC Network
#11 TCU vs. #3 Oklahoma 12:30 PM FOX
Georgia Southern at Coastal Carolina 1:00 PM None
Idaho at Georgia State 2:00 PM None
Louisiana at Appalachian State 2:30 PM None
#6 Georgia vs. #2 Auburn 4:00 PM CBS
South Alabama at New Mexico State 4:30 PM None
Troy at Arkansas State 7:30 PM ESPN2
#25 Fresno State at Boise State 7:45 PM ESPN
#7 Miami vs. #1 Clemson 8:00 PM ABC
#8 Ohio State vs. #4 Wisconsin 8:00 PM FOX