College Football Championship Weekend Primer

Nick SabanSEC Championship: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Florida, 4:00 PM ET CBS
This is going to be an absolute battle and I for one think that this is going to be extremely close throughout. Ironically, even though ‘Bama is the top team in the nation, many college football purists have been clamoring for weeks that Florida is the true No. 1. It’s hard to argue that point with the way the Gators have destroyed opponents by a 414 to 97 margin since losing to Ole’ Miss on the last Saturday in September. Still, the Crimson Tide have one of the most disruptive defensives lines in the nation and while the Florida offense is incredibly explosive, defense will win this game in the end. If ‘Bama can get to Tim Tebow and disrupt the flow of the Gator offense, the Tide might be able to rely on Glen Coffee and their ground game to grab victory, finish the season undefeated and secure a spot in the national championship. A win won’t be as easy to come by as it was last week against Auburn, however, as the Gators boast one of the fastest defenses in the country. Oddsmakers have made Florida a 9.5-point favorite but ‘Bama has a great shot to win outright. If we’re making predictions, I say the Gators win, but don’t cover.

ACC Championship: No. 17 Boston College vs. No. 25 Virginia Tech, 1:00 PM ET, ABC
Ah the ACC…the red-headed step child of the 2008 Championship Weekend. Ten of the 12 teams in this conference finished with a 5-3 or 4-4 record and arguably the best team in the ACC (Georgia Tech) won’t even play for a title due to a tough loss to Virginia back in September. But despite the allure of the SEC and Big 12 championship games, this matchup pits two of the best defenses in the nation against each other as VA Tech ranks sixth nationally and BC is eighth. The Hokies held opponents to only 268 yards or less in six of their 12 games while offensively, BC has totaled 244 yards or less in four of its last six games. In their first meeting this year, VA Tech returned two interceptions for touchdowns, while BC scored on a punt return to edge the Hokies 28-23. Defense is going to win this game and VA Tech has a small edge in that department, but the Eagles have been very opportunistic this season, forcing a remarkable 16 turnovers in their last five games. Oddsmakers have made this game a pick ’em and while it’s hard to back a struggling Hokies’ offense, defense wins this game and I say VA Tech is your ACC Champion at the end of the day.

Oklahoma SoonersBig 12 Championship: No. 20 Missouri vs. No. 2 Oklahoma, 8:00 PM ET ABC
Regardless of whether or not you think Texas should be playing MIZZOU this weekend, this is the matchup that the BCS produced so live with it. The Tigers essentially have a small edge with the game being played at Arrowhead Stadium, but they better hope for bad weather to slow down Sam Bradford and OU’s explosive offense. While Chase Daniel and the MIZZOU have taken a backseat to OU, Texas and Texas Tech over the past couple weeks, the Tiger offense is still dangerous and posses a threat to Oklahoma and a defense that was absolutely shredded by Oklahoma State last weekend. Still, this game will come down to whether or not MIZZOU has enough defense to slow down Bradford, DeMarco Murray and a host of talented Sooner receivers. No opponent has even come close to containing Bradford. TCU’s and Texas were the only two teams to hold OU to under 40 points this season and the Sooners have scored 60-plus points in their last four contests. Oddsmakers have made OU a 17-point favorite and while it’s tempting to thing Daniel will keep the game close, I wouldn’t bet on it.

Other Notable Games:

No. 5 USC at UCLA, 4:30 PM ET ABC
The last time the Trojans traveled to Pasadena, they were upset 13-9. Ironically that was also the same year Oregon State beat USC in Corvallis. And who beat USC earlier this year in Corvallis? Hmm…

Navy at Army, 12:00 PM ET CBS
The most underrated rivalry in college football will once again be on display this week in Philadelphia.

No. 12 Ball State vs. Buffalo, 8:00 PM ET ESPN2
This game might not get the attention of the other title games, but the MAC has produced some quality NFL-caliber players over the years, including Ben Roethlisberger, Chad Pennington and Randy Moss. And this game features one more: Ball State QB Nate Davis.

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