Friday, November 30, 2012

Boomer's Urban Renewal: Championships handed out in Week 14

In the 2012 SEC Championship Game, Coaches Saban ('Bama)
& Richt (UGA) go head-to-head for a spot in the BCS Championship Game.
Six major Conference Championship Games in the next two days, will put a wrap on the 2012 version of the college football regular season (but, don't forget the Army-Navy Game, December 8th). Here's a preview of what to expect, including some predictions.

In the final Thursday Night Game of the Week this season, tt was basically a Big East Championship Game, when the Louisville Cardinals & the Rutgers Scarlet Knights clashed in New Jersey. In the end, after falling behind 14-3 at halftime, Louisville prevailed with a come-from-behind road victory over Rutgers, 20-17. It was a thrilling ending to the game, in which the Cardinals earned a share of the Big East Championship with the win, along with the conferences BCS bid. While U of L, waits to see which BCS game they will go to (either Orange or Sugar), a number of teams this weekend will try to do the same thing. A win this week, could be the difference in a school getting a few million dollars for going to a bowl game or receiving multi-million dollars, clinching a berth to one of the BCS Bowl games in January. 

Six major conferences are having their Conference Championship Games this week, including the MAC & PAC-12 Championship Games this evening, while Conference USA, ACC, SEC, Big Ten Conference Championship Games will be played out all day on Saturday. In the Big XII (no conference game) Kansas State with a home win over Texas, can clinch the conference, and earn themselves a BCS bid (Go Wildcats), while the Oklahoma Sooners could earn themselves a share of the Big XII title and BCS at-large berth with a win over the TCU Horn Fogs (Go TCU!). A K-State loss, and a OU win, would give the Sooners the Big XII Championship outright and the automatic BCS bid for the conference. Ironically, the Sun Belt Conference will be determined with a head-to-head meeting, when Middle Tennessee State goes on the road to take on Arkansas State. Boise State can earn a share of the MWC Championship, with Fresno State & San Diego State with a win over Nevada on Saturday. Finally, congrats to Utah State in winning the WAC and finishing with a 10-2 record, including a perfect 6-0 mark in conference play. I believe that summarizes up all the conference action, as a number of teams wait around to jump to new conferences in the next couple of years.

Conference Championship Games to keep an eye on this week: (Week 14 Complete Schedule)

Friday Night's Conference Championship Games:

#21 Northern Illinois vs. #17 Kent State (7:00, ESPN2) *MAC Championship* in Detroit, MI
  • The Motor City has itself a good one for tonight's MAC Championship. Two 11-1 teams, with the winner possibly earning themselves an at-large BCS bid at the end of the weekend. NIU Huskies have an outstanding QB in Jordan Lynch (363.4 total offense, 3rd in FBS), are looking to win the MAC Championship for the second consecutive season, are making their third-straight appearance in Detroit. The Golden Flashes will lean on two 1,000 yard rushers, Dri Archer & Trayion Durham to generate some difference making plays against NIU's defense. NIU has won five-straight in this series, including a 40-10 win last season (Oct. 8, 2011), when they held Kent State to just 64 total yards.
#16 UCLA at #8 Stanford (8:00, FOX) *PAC-12 Championship* in Stanford, CA
  • Deja Vu? Well, if you are feeling that way, it's because these two non-divisonal PAC-12 teams, played each other this past Saturday, the final game of the regular season for both teams (Stanford winning 35-17 in LA). Fast forward six days later and these two teams will meet once again in a rematch this time in Stanford. The winner earns a berth in the Rose Bowl. Stanford overwhelmed UCLA with their running game & stout D last Saturday, look to seal their first trip to the Rose Bowl Game since 2000. If the Bruins want to make it to the Rose Bowl (which is where they play their home games), for the 1st time since 1999, they have to find ways to make some plays both in the passing & running game against an outstanding Stanford front-seven. The Bruins, making their 2nd-straight appearance in the PAC-12 Championship Game, lost last seasons contest to Oregon up in Eugene, 49-31.

Saturday's Conference Championship Games:

UCF at Tulsa (NOON, ESPN2) *Conference USA Championship* in Tulsa, OK
  • Another regular season rematch, this one for the C-USA Championship and a berth in the Liberty Bowl(?). The regular season contest was a close one, with the Golden Hurricanes of Tulsa winning a two-point game (23-21) over the Knights of UCF. The win gave Tulsa the home-field advantage for the potential rematch in the C-USA Championship, which will be the case come Saturday afternoon. Tulsa has won the past three games in this series, dating back to the 2008 season.
#3 Georgia at #2 Alabama (4:00, CBS) *SEC Championship* in Atlanta, GA
  • Once again, the SEC finds itself in position to keep their BCS Championship winning streak alive (currently 6 years in a row now), as the Bulldogs & Tide play a play-in game to see who will face Notre Dame in the 2013 BCS Championship Game down in Miami. The Bulldogs rebounded nicely after their lone-defeat of the season back in early October (35-7 at South Carolina) to win the SEC East. As for the Crimson Tide, once again lucked out to find themselves in position to play for a second consecutive BCS Titles (their 3rd in the last 4 seasons), after losing to Texas A&M, 29-24 on November 10th. The Bulldogs, who lost this game a season ago to LSU (42-10), with a win will play for the National Championship for the 1st time in the BCS era. This one should be a goodie, with a number of guys, that will be playing on Sunday's in the near future. 
#13 Florida State vs. Georgia Tech (8:00, ESPN) *ACC Championship* in Charlotte, NC
  • Not the greatest of match ups (you could get a ticket for $3), the Seminoles are making their 3rd appearance in the ACC Championship Game (winning in 2005, losing in 2010) since its inaugural game following the 2005 season. The 'Noles with a win would go to the Orange Bowl for the first time since 2006, when they lost to Penn State, 26-23 in triple OT. Due to other programs bowl-bans (UNC & the U), the Yellow Jackets also find themselves in their 3rd ACC Championship Game, and looking for their first Orange Bowl berth since losing to Iowa (24-14) in the 2010 Orange Bowl Game. The last time these two programs played was 2009, when Ga Tech beat FSU on the road, 49-44.
#12 Nebraska vs. Wisconsin (8:17, FOX) *Big Ten Championship* in Indianapolis, IN
  • The third rematch from the regular season, of this Conference Championship weekend, involves a 5-loss Wisconsin Badgers team making their second straight trip to Indy, to face the Nebraska Cornhuskers (just their 2nd season in the Big Ten Conference). The Badgers are in this game, despite Ohio State (bowl ban) & Penn State (bowl ban) having better conference records then them this season. The Badgers are looking to make it back to the Rose Bowl for the third straight season (losing the previous two). As for the Cornhuskers, in just their second season in the Big 10, with a win will punch their 1st ticket to the Rose Bowl since 2002, the BCS Championship Game that season (a 37-14 defeat to the Miami Hurricanes). Nebraska won the regular season meeting back on the final Saturday of September in Lincoln, 30-27, after trailing by 17-points. This marks the "rubber match" between these two programs in the last two seasons, with the Badgers beating the Cornhuskers last season in Madison, 48-17.

Conference Championship Game Picks: Last Week: 4-2, Overall 55-23 Bonus Pick 8-5

Kent State wins a thriller over Northern Illinois

Stanford hammers (again) UCLA

UCF wins on the road against Tulsa

Georgia upsets Alabama

Florida State over Georgia Tech

Nebraska sneaks past Wisconsin

*Bonus Pick*

Monday Night Football (8:30, ESPN): Giants score late, sweep RG3, Redskins in this NFC East contest on MNF.
  • Like the first meeting (Giants 27-23), RG3 makes plays and keeps this one close, but the Giants find a way late to come away with the win, and secure their position on top of the NFC East.