College Football 2016 Championship Week Preview

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It’s the best of times, and the worst of times. The 2016 college football season has reached December. The first week of the final month is “Championship Week.” All the conferences with a championship game pit the winners of both divisions against each other and let them battle for conference superiority. Some play for conference titles while for others a win places them in prime position to reach one of the four coveted playoff spots. The coaching changes are coming fast. During the season LSU’s Les Miles was the lone prominent big name firing. Ed Ogeron took over on an interim basis, and LSU removed the tag and hired him over the weekend after a dominate performance against Texas A&M. Texas fired Charlie Strong, who lost more games in a three-year span than any previous coach at the school. Houston coach Tom Herman is Strong’s replacement. Did you watch “The Game?” Michigan and Ohio State played a 30-27 double overtime thriller in “The Horseshoe.” If you didn’t, you missed what could be the game of the year. There’s a few other games of note. Colorado sealed a PAC-12 South championship with a 27-22 home crowd sell-out victory over Utah. Two interesting upsets saw Louisville fall to Kentucky 41-38 on a last second field goal, and Tennessee lost to Vanderbilt 45-34. Yet again, the playoff committee got everything wrong. According to the committee, wins and losses don’t matter. Teams aren’t moving up or down accordingly. Depending on what happens this weekend, chaos could reign supreme.

*All times United States Eastern Standard.

Friday, December 2

#17 Western Michigan Broncos (12-0) vs. Ohio Bobcats (8-4)

7:00 PM on ESPN2 from Ford Field in Detroit, MI

Marathon MAC (Mid-American Conference) Football Championship

Western Michigan can’t catch a break. They can only play the teams on their schedule, and they’ve beaten every one. It’s an insult to the players, coaches, and small universities throughout the country. They should be a top 10 team. The only thing a win gets them is a bid to a New Year’s Six bowl, but not the College Football Playoffs. No disrespect to Ohio, but look for an angry Western Michigan team with something to prove.

#8 Colorado Buffaloes (10-2) vs. #4 Washington Huskies (11-1)

9:00 PM on Fox from Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, CA

PAC-12 Championship Game presented by Dr. Pepper

A win and Washington remains a top 4 team and makes the playoffs. A win and Colorado makes a strong case as a conference champion, one of a possible 3 conference champions with two loses. There will be chaos if Washington wins, but the committee has screwed everything up so bad. A Colorado win turns everything on its head, and no one knows what the outcome will be.

Saturday, December 3

Temple Owls (9-3) @ #19 Navy Midshipmen (9-2)

12:00 PM on ABC from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, MD

American Athletic Conference Championship

A championship game, but it’s only important if Western Michigan loses. If they do and Navy wins, Navy will get the automatic New Year’s Six bowl bid. Both these schools deserve a watch, but going against “Bedlam” the ratings won’t be good.

#10 Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-2) @ #9 Oklahoma Sooners (9-2) “Bedlam”

12:30 PM on Fox from Memorial Stadium in Norman, OK

Defacto BIG XII Conference Championship

The BIG XII doesn’t have a championship, the only Power 5 conference without one. This acts as the defacto game. If Oklahoma State wins, both teams split the conference championship and Oklahoma falls from playoff contention. If Oklahoma wins, they win the conference title outright, and keep their playoffs hopes alive. The game’s nickname is “Bedlam,” and this year the title rings true.

#1 Alabama Crimson Tide (12-0) vs. #15 Florida Gators (8-3)

4:00 PM on CBS from Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA

SEC (Southeastern Conference) Championship Game

Oh, those Gators. I don’t think they’ll win, but if they do look out friends. Alabama could stumble any time. It doesn’t look likely against Florida, but if they lose what will the committee do then? Florida has no case to make a playoff spot with a win, and Alabama might still get in with a loss, but there is a case that The Tide and Ohio State shouldn’t make the cut. Chaos reigns.

#3 Clemson Tigers (11-1) vs. #23 Virginia Tech Hokies (9-3)

8:00 PM on ABC from Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL

Dr. Pepper ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) Championship Game

I want the Camping World Stadium to flood with the tears of Dabo. It could happen. Virginia Tech is a tough, hard-hitting, blue collar team. Clemson isn’t as strong as they were a year ago. Clemson should have more than one loss and one can make a strong case they aren’t a top four team.

#6 Wisconsin Badgers (10-2) vs. #7 Penn State Nittany Lions (10-2)

8:00 PM on Fox from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN

B1G Championship Game

I’m looking forward to this one. Here is where chaos swirls around with Ohio State above both teams and not playing for the conference title. Penn State beat Ohio State, so what happens if Penn State wins? The conference champion will be a two loss team, and there could be a few more. The committee said conference championship played a big role in selection. They haven’t gotten anything right yet, so I wonder what will happen. The final rankings are due on December 4, and things could get very interesting in the next few days.

My Heisman Hopefuls
Lamar Jackson QB Louisville Cardinals
Baker Mayfield QB Oklahoma Sooners
Donnel Pumphrey RB San Diego State Aztecs

My Top Four Playoff Teams

  1. Alabama Crimson Tide
  2. Washington Huskies
  3. Wisconsin Badgers
  4. Oklahoma Sooners

College Football Playoff Rankings

  1. Pittsburgh Panthers
  2. Houston Cougars
  3. Virginia Tech Hokies
  4. Tennessee Volunteers
  5. LSU Tigers
  6. Utah Utes
  7. Navy Midshipmen
  8. Stanford Cardinal
  9. Western Michigan Broncos
  10. West Virginia Mountaineers
  11. Florida Gators
  12. Auburn Tigers
  13. Louisville Cardinals
  14. Florida State Seminoles
  15. USC Trojans
  16. Oklahoma State Cowboys
  17. Oklahoma Sooners
  18. Colorado Buffaloes
  19. Penn State Nittany Lions
  20. Wisconsin Badgers
  21. Michigan Wolverines
  22. Washington Huskies
  23. Clemson Tigers
  24. Ohio State Buckeyes
  25. Alabama Crimson Tide

Copyright © Drew Martin 2016

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