As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.
8:00: Oregon vs. Utah (Pac-12 Conference Championship @ Santa Clara, CA; ABC): Well, it’s not quite the matchup of 1-loss teams the Pac-12 was so desperately hoping for. Instead, the Pac-12 needs the Utes to pull through to have any shot of getting anyone into the playoff, and even then it’s not obvious they’d get in over, say, Oklahoma. Utah appears to be a better team, but I also think Oregon will stress their (very good) defense the most since they played (and lost to) USC. So it’s not a walk for the Utes at all, who could definitely use an impressive victory.
- Baylor vs. Oklahoma (Big 12 Conference Championship @ Arlington, TX; ABC): Oklahoma’s defense will probably keep this interesting, but I like the Sooners here in the neutral-site rematch.
- Louisiana-Lafayette @ Appalachian State (Sun Belt Conference Championship; ESPN): The Cajuns are sure to be Ragin’, but I think App State is just as good and they’re at home.
- Miami vs. Central Michigan (Mid-American Conference Championship @ Detroit, MI; ESPN2): CMU should win this one easily, but given the history of MAC championship games that means this could go either way.
1:30: Alabama-Birmingham @ Florida Atlantic (Conference USA Championship; CBSS): Go Blazers!
3:30: Cincinnati @ Memphis (American Athletic Conference Championship; ABC): It’s one thing when you’ve got a Baylor-Oklahoma situation, where the first game was over a month ago. Things have changed since then. Meanwhile, these two met last week, and Memphis won easily at home. I think they’ll be able to pull that off again.
- Georgia vs. Louisiana State (Southeastern Conference Championship @ Atlanta, GA; CBS): At no point in UGA’s 52-7 drubbing of us last week did I think to myself “you know, Jake Fromm looks like a competent, poised passer”. Georgia’s best bet is that their defense shuts LSU down and that they can keep it close and win like 17-3. Otherwise I think LSU enters the half with a slim lead and then expands it in the second half.
- Hawaii @ Boise State (Mountain West Conference Championship; ESPN): This game is either going to be close, fun, and pointsy (with a Boise win), or Boise will win easily since it figures to be cold and wet for this one.
7:30: Clemson vs. Virginia (Atlantic Coast Conference Championship @ Charlotte, NC; ABC): Clemson’s going to be able to name their own score in this one.
8:00: Ohio State vs. Wisconsin (Big Ten Conference Championship @ Indianapolis, IN; FOX): Wisky figure to offer Ohio State slightly more resistance than Virginia will to Clemson, but not much. Yeah, on this day the interesting games are early, y’all.