As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.
7:00: New Mexico State @ Liberty (Conference USA Championship; CBSSN): I suspect Liberty will win, but that won’t stop me from pulling hard for the Aggies here. And if the Aggies do pull it off, Jerry Kill should merit some serious Coach of the Year consideration.
8:00: Washington vs. Oregon (Pacific 12 Championship @ Las Vegas, NV; ABC): There’s still a chance I may just up and off out to Vegas today because this game is not only the last ever Pac-12 Championship game (at least, as we know it) it should also be an absolute banger of a game. These are two of the best teams in the country in what is functionally a playoff quarterfinal. I am rolling with the conventional wisdom and predicting Oregon to win, but it is impossible to discount the Huskies, who seem to have a knack for getting out of close games.
- Oklahoma State vs. Texas (Big 12 Championship @ Arlington, TX; ABC): This would be a super bad time for the version of Texas that existed before this season to show up. That said, so far Texas hasn’t really Texas’d this season, and there’s not any reason to think they’ll start now.
- Toledo vs. Miami (Mid-American Championship @ Detroit, MI; ESPN): This may secretly be the better game. These are clearly the two best teams in the MAC. Toledo is rightly favored as the Rockets have shaken off their reputation for not being able to win the big game. It should be a good game, though, and may be a refuge if Texas is taking care of business.
- Youngstown State @ Villanova (NCAA Division I Second Round; ESPN+)
- Richmond @ State University of New York at Albany (NCAA Division I Second Round; ESPN+)
1:00: Tennessee-Chattanooga @ Furman (NCAA Division I Second Round; ESPN+)
- Mercer @ South Dakota State (NCAA Division I Second Round; ESPN+)
- Sacramento State @ South Dakota (NCAA Division I Second Round; ESPN+)
3:00: Boise State @ Nevada-Las Vegas (Mountain West Championship; FOX): It’s not often that a team in a conference championship game fired their coach less than a month before said game, but that’s what the Broncos did. It does seem to have some impact, but they’re also here because the computers said they were better than San Jose State, which is the tiebreaker the Mountain West had to go with because none of the the three teams played the other. That said, it’s been a heckuva year for the Runnin’ Rebels and I don’t see it stopping here.
- Southern Methodist @ Tulane (American Championship; ABC): SMU got better as the year went on, but Tulane just figures to still be the class of the conference.
- Georgia vs. Alabama (Southeastern Championship @ Atlanta, GA; CBS): Both of these teams kinda seemed to take it easy in their rivalry games. That put the Tide in real danger that took converting what might become the most famous “4th and goal from the 31” play in history. And while I’m not complaining, the Bulldogs looked pretty one-dimensional against us as they opted to rest McConkey and Bowers. (That said, when you average seven yards per carry, there’s not any reason to stop doing that.) At any rate, unlike the past couple seasons, Bama doesn’t feel like the team most capable of stopping Georgia: I would say both Michigan and Oregon could beat them. This Bama team isn’t perfect either, though they have figured what they can do with their QB the past few weeks. So, in summary, this Georgia team can get got, and while I don’t think it will happen here, I wouldn’t be surprised either.
- Appalachian State @ Troy (Sun Belt Championship; ESPN): While JMU obviously deserves to be here, at least App beat them. Troy, though, continues to be Troy: play (relatively) great defense and run the ball. App is just too inconsistent to make me think they have a chance here.
- Prairie View A&M @ Florida A&M (Southwestern Championship; ESPN2)
6:00: North Dakota State @ Montana State (NCAA Division I Second Round; ESPN+)
- Florida State vs. Louisville (Atlantic Coast Championship @ Charlotte, NC; ABC): You can discount rivalry week or not, but it’s really hard not to think about how those games might carry over to this one. FSU rallied to beat Florida and show that can still work an offense without their best player. Louisville missed a chance to finally show Kentucky who’s boss (indeed, it’s as though Kentucky’s chances of beating the Cardinals is inversely proportional to how good the Cards are that season). Add that to the sort of general “they can’t keep getting away with this!” vibe the Cardinals have been doing all season, and it’s hard to see how FSU doesn’t win this.
- Iowa vs. Michigan (Big Ten Championship @ Indianapolis, IN; FOX): It’s very difficult to see how this will be any different from the 2021 version of this game that the Wolverines won 42-3.
9:00: Delaware @ Montana (NCAA Division I Second Round; ESPN+)
10:00: Southern Illinois @ Idaho (NCAA Division I Second Round; ESPN+)