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College Football Championship Week Preview

Come for the title games, stay for the chaos

NCAA Football: Iowa at Penn State Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

It’s championship week in college football, which means we could be on the verge of everyone freaking out. A mid-major title game could have huge implications for teams that aren’t even playing this week. The playoff committee is looking like they’ll put in a team that didn’t win its conference in the playoffs, possibly over a team that did win its conference and beat that team. There’s a non-conference title game that is actually a conference title game. College football certainly is intriguing. There’s a lot at stake with this weekend’s conference championship games.

First up: an undefeated team and another that needs to win to get into the playoffs. No, not Alabama and Penn State.

Friday

MAC: Ohio vs #17 Western Michigan, 7pm ESPN2.

Western Michigan is one of just two undefeated teams this season. A MAC title would see them to 13-0, which won’t get them a playoff spot but should get them a good bowl game. WR Corey Davis is electric and head coach PJ Fleck is uh, energetic.

Pac-12: #8 Colorado vs #4 Washington, 9pm, FOX

For 11-1 Washington, it’s pretty simple: win and they’re in the playoff. Lose and all hell could break loose. Colorado is no pushover, having beaten #20 Utah and #18 Stanford, along with Washington State.

Saturday

American Athletic Conference: Temple at #19 Navy, noon, ABC. This game is pretty important to a lot of teams. A Navy win could see the selection committee delay their bowl announcements that would leave some teams and fans with just days to prepare and arrange logistics.

"I don't want to be un-American," one bowl official said, "but nearly everyone in the bowl industry, quite frankly, is rooting against Navy."

Conference USA: Louisiana Tech at Western Kentucky, noon, ESPN. Both these teams average 44 points a game, so if you hate low scoring games this one is for you.

De facto Big-12: #10 Oklahoma State at #9 Oklahoma, 12:30pm, FOX. The Big-12 has no official title game this year because they only have 10 teams, but this year’s end of season Bedlam Series game serves as a de facto Big-12 title game because whoever wins it wins the Big-12. A lot of dominoes have to improbably fall but the winner has a (minuscule) chance to be in the playoff with a blowout.

SEC: #15 Florida vs #1 Alabama, 4pm, CBS. A rematch of last year, which Alabama won 29-15. Alabama could probably lose and still be in the playoff, but stranger things have happened.

Mountain West: San Diego State vs Wyoming, 7:45, ESPN. Wyoming has the highest scoring offense in the MWC, but the 2nd worst scoring offense and finished with the third best overall record in their division. So you’d think San Diego State would have the upper hand. But two weeks ago these teams met in Wyoming and Wyoming won 34-33.

ACC: #23 Virginia Tech vs #3 Clemson, 8pm, ABC. Win and Clemson is in, but as Lee Corso would say, not so fast. Both teams have scored 30+ points eight times vs FBS opponents, and VT has scored 40+ four times to Clemson’s five. Shootout?

Big Ten: #6 Wisconsin vs #7 Penn State, 8pm, FOX: Ohio State is ranked 2nd but the 10-2 team that lost to them is ranked ahead of the 10-2 team that beat them? Okay. This game has the most intrigue as it is quite possible that the winner will not get into the playoff. Assuming that Alabama, Washington and Clemson don’t get upset, the playoff committee will have to decide between #2 Ohio State or the winner of the Big Ten. A blowout win might be necessary, for both teams.