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Championship Week schedule, viewing guide, and why-to-watch

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Call the ASPCA — someone’s about to abuse the Dawgs.

<p zoompage-fontsize="15" style="">NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Alabama Celebration

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Most eyes on the games today will be for playoff positioning, and particularly that fourth spot. Oklahoma and Ohio State are jockeying for it, but Alabama - Georgia may have a lot more to say about it than most think.

First, the SEC Championship game. Fans of chaos or a dark horse need an Alabama win against Georgia and then a bloodbath everywhere else. A Crimson Tide loss almost certainly assures two teams enter the CFP again. A razor thin game may do it too, especially if OU/OSU/UCF stumble — and no one outside of Athens or Greg Sankey’s wettest dreams want that. Do we get another instant class between these two, as we saw in 2012 and in January of this year? Or, does a superior Tide team take care of business, advance and then rest up for a playoff that will be a television bonanza, populated as it almost certainly will be with CFB’s blue bloods?

Maybe not must-see-tv, but Ohio State not only needs to hold serve in Indianapolis and fend off the Northwestern Wildcats, but it must do so convincingly against the No. 21 Wildcats. Think their closing argument against Wisconsin in 2014 — 56-3 Buckeyes. It will require putting together another outstanding game against a stingy defense. UCF et al need a Northwestern win. Ohio State looking terrible again may be enough too.

Familiar rivals meet in the Big 12 championship as Texas and Oklahoma renew acquaintances. Don’t let this year’s final score fool you, where the Sooners lost by a field goal; the Longhorns dominated that game, physically and otherwise, for 53 minutes. Ehrlinger isn’t the best quarterback, and Herman may not be the best head coach, but they absolute get dialed-in to wreck the Sooners’ season. Ohio State, UCF, and some two-loss teams (even a hypothetical two-loss Georgia) need OU to drop this one for a possible shot at the last playoff spot.

In Orlando, can a McKenzie Milton-less Central Florida team fend off the only squad that has really given them trouble the past two year? The Memphis Tigers are confident for a reason — they still have their best player and the nation’s most productive running back. But, do they have the defense? Recent results suggest not.

If the Tigers can spring the upset against the Knights, and with Milton’s injury, then your Group of Five representative is very probably going to emerge from another epic tilt between Boise State and Fresno State in tonight’s Mountain West Championship Game. The Broncos have regained their physical dominance from earlier in the season and are playing the best they have all year. Jeff Tedford’s Bulldogs are an exceptional team, but he still hasn’t figured out how to get past BSU — and, as last year, this one is on the Smurf Turf.

Here’s your schedule and open thread for today’s games. All Times Eastern. We’ll see you around 3:30 Eastern for the ‘Bama thread and SECCG tilt.

Roll Tide

Untitled

Matchup Time (ET) TV Streaming
Matchup Time (ET) TV Streaming
#14 Texas at #5 Oklahoma 12:00 PM ABC WatchESPN.com
Drake at #23 Iowa State 12:00 PM None Cyclones.tv
Louisiana at Appalachian State 12:00 PM ESPN WatchESPN.com
East Carolina at NC State 12:00 PM ACC Network WatchESPN.com
Akron at South Carolina 12:00 PM SEC Network WatchESPN.com
Marshall at Virginia Tech 12:00 PM ACC Network WatchESPN.com
UAB at Middle Tennessee 1:30 PM CBSSN CBSSports.com
Norfolk State at Liberty 2:00 PM ESPN3 WatchESPN.com
Stanford at California 3:00 PM Pac-12 Networks Pac-12.com
Memphis at #8 UCF 3:30 PM ABC WatchESPN.com
#1 Alabama at #4 Georgia 4:00 PM CBS CBSSports.com
#25 Fresno State at #22 Boise State 7:45 PM ESPN WatchESPN.com
#2 Clemson at Pittsburgh 8:00 PM ABC WatchESPN.com
#21 Northwestern at #6 Ohio State 8:00 PM FOX FoxSportsGo.com

Poll

Aside from the SECCG, which game are you most looking forward to watching?

This poll is closed

  • 76%
    Oklahoma-Texas
    (165 votes)
  • 6%
    Ohio State-Northwestern
    (14 votes)
  • 3%
    Memphis-UCF
    (8 votes)
  • 1%
    Fresno State-Boise State
    (3 votes)
  • 1%
    App. State-ULL
    (3 votes)
  • 2%
    MTSU-UAB
    (6 votes)
  • 5%
    Clemson-Pitt
    (11 votes)
  • 2%
    Other
    (6 votes)
216 votes total Vote Now