The conference championship games are here!
Journalists/wannabe college football insiders Mark Bergin and Lara Saavedra try to answer some of the most pressing questions ahead of this weekend's games.
What’s your tweet-length reaction to Week 13 of the college football season?
Mark Bergin: I need to nap more strategically during the day while watching college football. I wanted to keep watching last weekend's two shootouts – Oklahoma-West Virginia on Friday night and Texas A&M-LSU on Saturday night – but I struggled to stay awake.
Lara Saavedra: I always thought Michigan was overrated. The Wolverines lost to a team who BARELY beat Maryland and lost by 29 to 6-6 Purdue. I’m glad the Michigan fairytale is over. I never took much stock in it.
Which conference championship game are you most looking forward to?
Bergin: As much as I think Alabama (12-0, 8-0 SEC) will cruise to yet another victory over Georgia (11-1, 7-1 SEC), at least the SEC title game is the only contest where regardless of which team wins, they likely cement their spot in the College Football Playoff.
Imagine explaining this weekend’s conference championships to someone from another country. It doesn't make much sense.
If Texas, Pittsburgh or Northwestern win this weekend, none of those schools has a prayer of making the College Football Playoff. Even if any of those three teams win, would anyone actually think they’re better than their opponents this weekend?
Our current four-team playoff is broken and seems to exist to appease those who stand to financially benefit this weekend.
With only four teams in the playoff, at least one Power 5 Conference team is left out every year. If all goes according to chalk, there will be a fierce debate between Oklahoma and Ohio State for the final playoff spot.
Instead, imagine doing away with the conference title games and going with an eight-team playoff this year:
No. 1 Alabama hosts No. 8 Central Florida
No. 2 Clemson hosts No. 7 Michigan
No. 3 Notre Dame hosts No. 6 Ohio State
No. 4 Georgia hosts No. 5 Oklahoma
The only fanbase who might upset with this scenario? Maybe the Pac 12!
In the SEC title game, the 14-point spread is the largest line against Georgia in at least the last seven years. However, it is the closest line Alabama has faced this season.
Remember, the Crimson Tide’s lowest margin of victory was 22 points in a 45-23 win over Texas A&M earlier this season.
Also, Nick Saban is 15-0 against his former assistants.
Saavedra: Oklahoma and Texas will play twice in the same season for third time in series history on Saturday in the Big 12 Championship. The last time it happened was 1903.
Texas (9-3, 7-2 Big 12) would love nothing more than beating their rival twice in the same season and end Oklahoma’s playoff dreams.
For Oklahoma (11-1, 8-1 Big 12), it’s all about redemption and to say it beat every team on their schedule this season. Remember, the Sooners' only loss this season was to the Longhorns. With a Sooners’ win, it would be something the CFP committee would have to take into account.
Which Power 5 teams win their conference games?
Bergin: I’m going with all of the favorites: Ohio State over Northwestern, Oklahoma over Texas, Clemson over Pittsburgh, Alabama over Georgia and Washington over Utah.
Northwestern is 1-5 against the spread and 0-6 straight up in its last six games against Ohio State. However, the Wildcats are 13-3 against the spread in their last 16 Big Ten games.
Also, Northwestern (8-4, 8-1 Big Ten) lost to Akron (4-7, 2-6 MAC) earlier this season.
In the ACC title game, Pittsburgh (7-5, 6-2 ACC) enters as a 28-point underdog to Clemson (12-0, 8-0 ACC). I don’ think the Big Ten or ACC title games will be close.
Saavedra: Northwestern over Ohio State, Oklahoma over Texas, Clemson over Pittsburgh, Alabama over Georgia, Washington over Utah.
Which teams will make the College Football Playoff?
Bergin: I’ve had the same four teams since the start of the month: Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Oklahoma
Saavedra: Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Oklahoma
ESPN’s College GameDay heads to Atlanta for the SEC championship game, No. 1 Alabama plays No. 4 Georgia. Which team will Lee Corso pick?
Bergin: Roll Tide.
Saavedra: This week I’m rooting for Alabama since a Crimson Tide win against Georgia would almost solidify Oklahoma grabbing the No. 4 spot if it can beat Texas. Corso picks Bama.
What will Sunday’s headline be?
Bergin: Oklahoma and Ohio State’s fanbases trade Twitter barbs in battle for final CFP spot
Saavedra: CFP playoff field almost set, Oklahoma/Ohio State fight for No. 4 spot
Note: The College Football Playoff rankings are used for the team rankings throughout this story.