Championship weekend is here in college football. Teams will be playing what will amount to quarterfinals in the college football playoff, while other teams fight to claim their conference titles. Myself, Matt Boeding and Andrew Rogers have put our heads together in an intense debate about the winners and losers of this weekend. While there may be some teams that come out losers, college football fans are no doubt the real winners this weekend. Check out our predictions and let us know what you think!
Pac 12 Championship: Standford vs. USC
I think most would be surprised to hear that the USC Trojans have never won the Pac 12 Championship game. This could be the year. USC is coming off a bye week while Stanford was victorious over a very tough Notre Dame team. Stanford star running back Bryce Love is nursing a sore ankle but should be good to go for the Cardinal on Friday. This game takes place on Friday night which will give Stanford one less day to heal – could be a factor in a game between two teams that know each other well. This will be a game that features two of the nations most efficient offenses. The Pac 12 is the least likely of the power five conferences to notch a team in the Playoff, but this should still be a fun game to start the championship weekend.
Matt Boeding: USC James Caldwell: USC
AAC Championship: Memphis vs. University of Central Florida (UCF)
No doubt the most underrated game on the conference championship schedule. Memphis and UCF play on Saturday for a chance to potentially make it to a new-years-six bowl game. UCF is looking to complete a perfect season, but Memphis mounts an interesting challenge. UCF is dealing with the potential loss of Head Coach Scott Frost – will this factor into the teams focus? These two teams are scoring at a ridiculous rate, which to me, will show on Saturday. The key matchup will be Memphis QB Riley Ferguson (possibly the best QB in the nation no one is talking about) against UCF speed LB Shaquem Griffin. That matchup could determine the final score.
Matt Boeding: UCF James Caldwell: Memphis
MAC Championship: Akron vs. Toledo
I am not wasting much time on this one, Toledo (10-2) taking on Akron (7-5). Logan Woodside of Toledo is a stud. Watch just for him. Otherwise just take a break and watch college basketball or make a beer run.
Matt Boeding: Toledo James Caldwell: Toledo
Big 12 Championship: TCU vs. Oklahoma
Baker Mayfield has a chance to make yet another huge statement in the Heisman race with this game. The TCU defense is as real as it comes in college football. The Horned Frogs are most likely out of the conversation for CFP so most of the pressure on this game will be on the Sooners. While most will be paying attention to Baker Mayfield, don’t look past TCU QB Kenny Hill. He is one of the best QB’s in the nation on 3rd down. Hill’s ability to convert on 3rd downs has a chance to keep Baker off the field. This one will be intense with a lot on the line…especially for Oklahoma.
Matt Boeding: Oklahoma James Caldwell: Oklahoma
SEC Championship: Georgia vs. Auburn
Your Co-Main Event of the evening. The ultimate play-in-game is going down in Atlanta. The SEC championship game will no doubt be one of the most anticipated games of the weekend. It is almost unthinkable to have an SEC Championship and not be talking about Alabama, but hell has frozen over. Auburn has serious issues right now as RB Kerryon Johnson is listed as day-to-day with a shoulder injury. His performance alone nearly carried the Tigers to victory in their first matchup with the Bulldogs. Georgia has been given second life to make the playoff. They will need Freshman QB Jake Fromm to make some plays as Auburn will surely look to stack the box against the monster that is the Georgia run game. Win and you’re in.
Matt Boeding: Georgia James Caldwell: Auburn
ACC Championship: Miami vs. Clemson
Miami was a sweetheart of college football for most of the 2017 season. Fans were excited about the possibility of the “U” coming back to prominence. Pittsburgh pretty much ended those aspirations, exposing a Miami team that seems limited on offense. Facts are though, a victory over defending ACC Champion Clemson and the Hurricanes can earn a spot in the final four. Malik Rozier will have to show more then just grit against a legit Clemson defense which features a legit run-stopper in Junior Christian Wilkins. Repetitive, I know…but win and you’re in.
Matt Boeding: Clemson James Caldwell: Clemson
Big Ten Championship: Ohio State vs. Wisconsin
Alabama’s loss has cracked the door for the Buckeyes. However, Wisconsin will try to shut that door Saturday night. Badger’s RB Jonathon Taylor will play the biggest role in the contest. If Wisconsin can control the tempo with the run game and wear down the Ohio State defense, they have a chance. Wisconsin remembers the 59-0 drubbing at the hands of Ohio State in 2014, no doubt helping fuel this clash. If Ohio State can stop the run does anyone believe in Alex Hornibrook? Suppose we will find out
Matt Boeding: Wisconsin James Caldwell: Ohio State
Conference USA: Florida Atlantic
Mountain West: Boise State