Hard to believe that Alabama’s championship aspirations evaporated just one week ago. And. since most of us have come to terms with the underlying injuries, bad luck, youth, and the Jordan Hare Cursed Indian Burial Ground that derailed the season, we can again return to watching the foosball.
Today, we are guaranteed schadenfreude — at least 50% of these teams will walk away unhappy, their fans in tears, Facebook and Twitter a bastion of grammatical errors, gratuitous exclamation points, and demands to #FireCoach.
And that should make you smile at least. If we can’t be happy, no one should be. Indeed, if you are pulling for the pettiness, last night the Ducks kneecapped the Utes, and that was equal parts hilarious and glorious. Today may give us much of the same.
Here’s today’s truncated schedule, and all times are God’s Right and Proper Central Standard.
And, if you need point spread picks, we got ya’ covered — we did call Oregon last night, BTW.
CCG CFB Schedule
|#7 Baylor vs. #6 Oklahoma||11:00 AM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|Louisiana at #21 Appalachian State||11:00 AM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|Miami (OH) vs. Central Michigan||11:00 AM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|UAB at Florida Atlantic||12:30 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|#20 Cincinnati at #17 Memphis||2:30 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|#4 Georgia vs. #2 LSU||3:00 PM||CBS||CBSSports.com|
|Hawai'i at #19 Boise State||3:00 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|#23 Virginia vs. #3 Clemson||6:30 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|#1 Ohio State vs. #8 Wisconsin||7:00 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
Big 12 Championship (Dallas): No. 7 Baylor (+9.5) vs. No. 6 Oklahoma — Seemingly, the winner of this game has a clear path to the 4th spot in the playoffs. With Mario Cristobal doing the lord’s work against the Utes last night, the winner of this one just needs to...well, win: that, and hope that the favored LSU Tigers take care of business in Atlanta. Why anyone would suspect that the Committee would be internally consistent is anyone’s guess. But, that’s what they’re hoping anyway. The loser gets a trip to the Sugar Bowl, which is not exactly a crappy consolation prize. As for the game itself: Would you believe me if I told you that Oklahoma improbably has one of the B12’s best defenses? They do — 1st in yards against, 3rd in PPG allowed. Baylor is up there too, of course: 3rd in YPG allowed, 1st in PPG allowed. And, the two teams are 1 and 2 in PPG scored. Their first meeting a month ago was a really fun game, as each side dared the other to choke worse...and the Bears eventually obliged. Today should be more of the same, or at least should be a close game. This may be the most closely-matched of the P5 conference title tilts.
Sun Belt Championship Game (Boone, NC): No. 23 App. State (-7) vs. ULL — Ole Miss has seemingly decided on Lane Kiffin, but Billy Napier (ULL) and Eli Drinkwitz (App. State) are both in the running for the SEC’s other two vacancies. And, FWIW, I suspect one or both of these men will be in the conference next year, so it’s worth tuning in for that aspect alone. So, who can overcome all of these understandable distractions will tell us a lot about what kind of staffs these Sun Belt powers actually have and what kind of coaches these dudes really are. And we need those data points, because their resumes are quite thin, and they both inherited great situations — the two most talented teams in the conference.
The game itself should be outstanding. First and second in scoring offense; first and second in YPG; first and second in PPG scored; first and second in YPG allowed. You get it. If you thought that Baylor-OU was close, this one is razor-thin. Earlier this season, App. State won a brutal 17-7 road game in Lafayette. They reprise that matchup in Boone today, and you get the feeling it may be a little more wide open, particularly for the home team. App State is still very much alive for that New Year’s Six berth in the Cotton Bowl. Forget “best G5 game.” This may be the best game of the day for a disinterested observer.
AAC Championship (Memphis, TN) No. 20 Cincinnati (+9.5) at No. 17 Memphis — Don’t let the point spread fool you. Memphis’ defense, though atop the the conference in most categories with Cincy, has this maddening habit of letting their boot off the throats of defeated enemies, and turning comfy wins into close games. They’ve been able to rebound at home from this — see Cincy-Memphis I and Memphis-SMU, but it’s a dangerous game. Also like some of the other names on this list, UM’s Mike Norvell is almost certainly headed to greener pastures before Christmas (rumored to be FSU). So, what kind of fire are the Tigers going to have? How can they overcome that distraction...particularly when Norvell’s presser this week was less-than-reassuring about his long-term future in the Bluff City?
Cincinnati is in a similar spot. Luke Fickell isn’t quite as young, but his pedigree under Tressell and Meyer, and his program-(re)building following Tuberville’s disastrous UC tenure, marks him for a Power 5 job very soon. He’ll be in the mix for Penn State, Michigan State etc. very soon. And, that stability and lack of may very well be the difference in a game where the athletes favor the hometown Tigers. The history of the AACCG has been one of close games and wild endings. With the clearly two best teams rematching 11 days after a prior meeting, sporting the two best staffs, I would expect nothing different from the nation’s most exciting conference.
Keep An Eye On:
B1G Championship (Indianapolis): No. 1 Ohio State (-16.5) vs. No. 8 Wisconsin — This is another rematch. But, unlike Memphis-Cincy, ULL-App. State, it’s not a rematch of a competitive affair. In the Buckeyes’ 38-7 home demolition of the Badgers, the entire gory disparity of talent, coaching, and speed were on display. Ryan Day is simply a more ruthless dude than Urban Meyer, so you can’t exactly count on the Buckeyes coming up flat in this moment. In OSU’s biggest games (PSU, UM, Wisco), the Bucks outscored three top 15 teams 132-58. Yikes. No, Wisconsin is not the No. 8 team in the country. Yes, OSU is the best team in the country. No, this game won’t be competitive and should only be watched if something really goes wrong for Ohio State. This is strictly style points to see who gets the top seed in three weeks.
CUSA Championship (Boca Raton): UAB (+7.5) at FAU — Wanna’ know something maddening about LMFK — besides bubble screens and forgetting to RTDB? This is the second straight job he has potentially derailed a championship run with simply because he can’t wait 48 hours to take another post. He’s like Dreamy Bobby Petrino. Of course, I’m basing this solely on the mortal-certainty he’s heading to Oxford, though no announcement has been made. That sucks too — these two coaches, Kiffin and Bill Clark, should have better jobs. And a matchup of the conference’s No. 2 and 3 offenses should have been a lot more fun. History does not repeat, but it does very often rhyme. And, if Kiffin’s prep in the 2016-2017 playoffs are any indication, the Owls may not even get off the deck...even at home.
Then again, maybe he’s changed and grown up some? Maybe he can coach through distractions, despite his own personal goals? If he wants the Alabama job in a few years (as he desperately does), then how he handles this transition and this game will be telling, perhaps as telling as his wins and losses at Ole Miss. So, keep an eye on it for that reason alone.
MAC Championship (Detroit): Central Michigan (-7) vs Miami (OH) — Coach Mac is my COTY. No question. He took a 2-10 team and won 9 games with them. He inherited a team that went 0-8 in MAC play, went 7-1, and is now playing for a conference title. I’m not going to be impartial here: I want him to win this game and come (mostly full circle in his redemption story. It ended poorly in Florida, but had 41 players not been suspended or injured in 2016, he’s still coaching in Gainesville. Of that, I have little doubt. He’ll get another major job soon. But first, he must take care of the task at hand this year. And he will (hell, Mizzou or Arkansas could do a lot worse...and probably will. Their loss.) Fire up Chips!
I guess I should probably say something about the Redhawks’ Chuck Martin. He also inherited a left-for-dead team. But, whereas Coach Mac’s turnaround was overnight, MU-OH’s success has been a slow burn, adding one win year-after-year the past five seasons until they finally took home the Eastern title. Not a superstar in the making, but a solid job at the Cradle of Coaches, esp. this season after a slow start.
SEC Championship (Atlanta): No. 4 Georgia (+7) vs. No. 2 LSU — Georgia will (or may) have the home crowd advantage. And, the Dawgs have a better front seven and a better offensive line. There, that’s it. But in terms of skills players, injury situation, coordinators and position coaches, sheer talent, scheme — they’re outmanned here in a big way. Facing Vandy and Kentucky and Florida and Mizzou and Ga. Tech don’t exactly prepare a secondary, that has been great on paper, for what will rain down on their heads today. Look, I WANT the ‘Dawgs to win. But don’t be surprised if this is closer to a 20-point game than a 7-point one. Like the Buckeyes, the LSU Tigers are making their case for that top seed. And a lot of falling dominoes await the outcome of this one. So, it’s important in that respect, but I just don’t see a very good game today. There have been very few upsets in the SECCG. Then again...you never know with Kirby and O. Derp could happen. But, since I am petty I will still bark along with the Athens cretins. GO DWAGS! ARP ARP ARP!
ACC Championship: No. 23 UVA (+28.5) vs. No. 3 Clemson — The Clemson Tigers complete 2019’s grueling schedule, which is worse than Memphis’ BTW, where they beatdown one team of three-stars and mediocre coaches after another with a championship game against a team full of three-stars with mediocre coaching. And, at the end of the day, we get to hear the nation’s biggest goober and worst ex-girlfriend whine about how awesome the ACC is.
It’s not. This team is good. The ACC is not. Your conference is trash, you are cheaters, and your coach is Megachurch Hoover Ed Orgeron — surrounding yourself with a stack of crooked cash and hiring people smarter than you to be the brains of the operation.
Helluva’ conference you have there, Swofford.
Don’t watch this garbage. You only encourage them. Lord knows, no one will be in Charlotte for it.