ACC, Big 10, Pac-12 & SEC Title Games With Playoffs On The Line
While the ACC and Big 10 slept, the Florida Gators wept, the USC Trojans kept (their faint playoff hopes alive) and a flying shoe got more attention than the final results.
Florida is no longer a shoe-in for the playoffs even if it wins the SEC because its biggest toss of the year came not from its Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback but a previously unknown defensive back. And you thought Dan Mullenhead showing up to a press conference dressed as Darth Vader was the strangest thing you would see in Gainesville this year. UF is now the University Of Fling. Hey, if the shoe fits…
Meanwhile, the Gus Bus was shown the barn door in Au-Barn, the prickly Kevin Sumlin found himself stuck by the Arizona AD in what was a mistake hire to begin with and Vanderbilt, of all places, may have scored the biggest splash of all these schools by snagging Notre Dame Defensive Coordinator Clarke Lea.
The latter comes on the heels of Sarah Fuller becoming the first female to score in a Power 5 football game after kicking two extra points.
Now onto this week’s games. All times Pacific because the Pigskin Prognosticator lives in San Diego.
Friday, Dec. 18
Oregon at USC, Pac-12 Championship (5 p.m., FOX)
The Ducks step in for the U-Dub Huskies, who had COVID-19 issues, while the Trojans hope to keep munching on their lucky charms. Hot Seat Helton has brought some Auburn-esque good fortune to La La Land but how long this charmed life will continue is a big issue with the Prognosticator. It’s as if the talent suddenly rises to the top, like baked rolls at Christmas dinner, just as the playoff committee is sitting down at the table. This, however, is not a recipe for lasting success. Winner: Oregon
Saturday, Dec. 19
Ohio State vs. Northwestern, Big 10 Championship (9 a.m., FOX)
It’s not news that the Big 10 put the Acorns up on a platter to serve at the Big 10 Championship while the Journalists are there merely to serve as human cardboard cutouts to place on the field, kind of like Christmas decorations on a lawn. Any breaking news headlines of Northwestern winning will be, course, fake news, tho the presses will be standing by to roll just in case Brutis’ D starts to make things interesting in the final quarter. Winner: Ohio State
Texas A&M at Tennessee (9 a.m., ESPN)
With one last chance to prove themselves to the committee, the Cadets come marching into Neyland Stadium looking to add more rubble to a very rocky top. And unless the Vols have been holding out all season, the Jimbos will be kicking up their cowboy boots afterward as they kick back to see what happens the rest of the day. Winner: Texas A&M
Clemson vs. Notre Dame, ACC Championship (1 p.m., ABC)
With their starting quarterback on the field for this matchup, the orange Felines will have no excuses if the Domers repeat their result from the November regular-season meeting. Thanks to the ACC’s policy of “don’t play, still compete” – something the Mullenhead in Florida wishes the SEC had implemented – both teams are as well rested as Santa Clause on New Year’s Day. Should the Felines win, then both of these teams are likely to make it into the College Football Playoffs. And while the Leprechauns can be fighting tough with their defense and a quarterback who scrambles the team into touchdowns, they won’t be able to keep pace with the shaggy-haired Lawrence of Clemson. Winner: Clemson
Minnesota at Wisconsin (1 p.m., Big 10 Network)
The preseason golden glow of the Gophers lost its shine starting with the opening game this season and when the Golden Squirrels enter Camp Bucky they won’t be able to suddenly turn on the lights in this make-up game. It’s not exactly been like sitting around a campfire for the Badgers either, but they will end the season with a W. Winner: Wisconsin
Boise State at San Jose State, Mountain West Championship (1:15 p.m., FOX)
There’s been a spark in the Spartans this year and that’s not normal at the former State Normal School at San Jose. The Broncos hope to buck this trend after they lost their chance to prove themselves when this scheduled game was canceled earlier in the season. Still, they just don’t have the horses of the school’s teams in the past to hang with Sammy Spartan. Winner: San Jose State
Alabama vs Florida, SEC Championship (5 p.m., CBS)
The Pachyderms will have their laces tied up tight with the goal of flinging the Chompers all the way back to the Sunshine State. If there’s any tossing going on here from the Mullenheads it will involve white towels and not cleats. The Trask at hand for the underdogs is to try and make defending the pass the Pitts for the Bama defenders and while that might be the case on occasion, their own defense will be fit to be Tide trying to stop the Mac (and Devonte and Najee) Attack. This title tilt doubles as a Heisman showcase for a trio of Tiders as the team strides into the College Football Playoffs. Winner: Alabama
Tulsa at Cincinnati (5 p.m., ABC)
The Golden Hurricanes barrel into Cincy hoping to blow away the Baehr-cats but could leave behind a storm of playoff controversy if the hosts take the wind of their sails. After all, if the home team wins, some headline-seeking media will be saying and writing that the Binturongs belong, but that’s just blowing smoke. Despite what happens, there will be no winds of change toward putting a non-major conference team into the playoffs this year. Winner: Cincinnati.
Stanford at UCLA (5 p.m., ESPN2)
The Trampolines were all over the place against USC, bouncing into the lead and then back to the bottom, only to pop up into the lead and then winding up on the mat. Things will be more level this week, for the Trees have been shedding leaves – and wins – all season. Winner: UCLA