As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.
8:00: West Virginia @ South Florida (ESPN): The very last edition of Thursday night college football comes to you from “beautiful” Tampa, where “South” Florida will attempt to not lose to the Mountaineers. After starting 4-0, the Bulls have gone 1-6, so I can’t say I really like their odds. Also, if WVU wins, they will probably get the Big East’s BCS bowl bid if Cincinnati also wins.
7:00: Ohio vs. Northern Illinois (MAC Championship @ Detroit, MI; ESPN2): Unlike the other conference title game on this night, these two teams actually are the best teams in their league. Both teams can score, but the Bobcats seem to actually play defense sometimes, so I’ll take them. I will say that I think this game will probably be close, unlike…
8:00: California-Los Angeles @ Oregon (Pac-12 Championship; FOX): This game. The only question is not if Oregon will win, but by how many touchdowns. By the way, UCLA did in fact get a waiver to go a bowl game at 6-7. Bruins fans: get your Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl tickets now!
- Southern Mississippi @ Houston (C-USA Championship; ABC): Southern Miss may arguably be the best team Houston has seen all season, which is one of the reasons why the Cougars haven’t been getting a lot of national attention. A win here does seal a BCS bowl bid for them, though, along with a large payday for the rest of Conference USA. Fortunately for the conscience of everyone involved, I really don’t think they’ll have that many issues, as the game will probably play out a lot like their game against Tulsa: a slow start and then pulling away in the second half.
- Connecticut @ Cincinnati (ESPN): So it turns out the Big East can potentially end in a 3-way tie, among Louisville, Cincinnati, and West Virginia. Louisville is in the clubhouse with a 5-2 league record. If Cincy wins this game and WVU loses tonight, then Cincy wins the league outright due a head-to-head tiebraker. If Cincy loses this game, then Louisville wins the league outright by either having the best record (WVU loss) or due to their head-to-head tiebreaker over WVU. If there is a 3-way tie, then it will go to the BCS, and right now that benefits Cincy. In any case, I think Cincy is going to win this game.
- Syracuse @ Pittsburgh (ESPN2): Do you want to see two 5-6 Big East teams attempt to sneak into a bowl game? Probably not, but in case you do, Pitt should win this game. The Orange have lost 4 straight after a 5-2 start and don’t look to be getting any better.
12:30: Iowa State @ Kansas State (FSN): You what they say, “You don’t just walk in to Bill Synder Family Memorial Stadium and expect to win.” This applies to the Cyclones especially, as no one else has succeeded in beating the Wildcats at home this year expect for Oklahoma.
2:30: Nevada-Las Vegas @ Texas Christian (Versus): UNLV is awful. TCU should clinch the MWC title easily.
3:30: Texas @ Baylor (ABC): Texas basically McGuyver’ed a victory in College Station last week. Texas’s offense hasn’t shown enough ability to score against the other generous defenses of the Big 12, though, and while their defense is competent I don’t think it’ll be enough to prevent Robert Griffin III from doing his thing. If Texas had any offense at all, this would be a shootout, but instead I really like the Bears’ chances.
4:00: Louisiana State vs. Georgia (SEC Championship @ Atlanta, GA; CBS): Georgia’s good and all, but their best win of the year may, technically speaking, be over Georgia Tech. LSU is the best team in the land and should clear this hurdle, and probably easily.
7:30: Brigham Young @ Hawaii (ESPN2): BYU visits Hawaii! Why? Because they can! They should also get a victory for their efforts, though Hawaii does need the win to get bowl eligible.
- Wisconsin vs. Michigan State (Big Ten Championship @ Indianapolis, IN; FOX): Here’s one rematch I can’t say I mind too much. I think even the first time I liked the Badgers, and I’ll stick by that here. Both of these teams are “pretty good” but not “great” and this should be a close, fun game once again.
- Oklahoma @ Oklahoma State (ABC): Oh, what could have been. The mind still reels trying to comprehend how Texas Tech beat Oklahoma in Norman. I mean, at least OSU had the decency to get upset on the road. Anyway, this is still Bedlam and it’s still in Stillwater. I always think “hey, this matchup is always pretty crazy!” but this ignores the historical reality. Anyway, we also know both of these teams can score, but Oklahoma can sort of/kind of actually play defense sometimes. That said, I’ve liked these Cowboys all season to win this game, and I’m not changing my mind now.
- Virginia Tech vs. Clemson (ACC Championship @ Charlotte, NC; ESPN): Clemson has lost of its last four, with, as I’ve grown fond of saying, that one win being a last second FG to beat Wake Forest. This Clemson team shouldn’t have any business needing last second field goals to beat Wake Forest, but here we are. Virginia Tech, meanwhile, easily beat Wake Forest and just finished routing their cross-state rival while Clemson lost to theirs, continuing to look lost on offense. What I’m saying is this: I really like the Hokies to prevail in this rematch.
- Fresno State @ San Diego State (CBSS): SDSU likes to score points, and Fresno State doesn’t like to play defense. Blowout, ahoy!
Check back in starting Saturday night for bowl predictions.