College Football Playoff: Championship Weekend
After a wild rivalry weekend, it all comes down to this weekend. With Alabama and Miami both losing last weekend, there are eight teams with a legitimate claim for a top-four spot should the dominoes fall their way this weekend. We’ll take a look at all four pivotal championship games here. For the 2017 College Football Playoff: Championship Weekend means everything.
Tuesday’s rankings have been released. We’re also under the assumption, if you lose this weekend, you’re out.
1. Clemson Tigers (11-1)
2. Auburn Tigers (10-2)
3. Oklahoma Sooners (11-1)
4. Wisconsin Badgers (12-0)
5. Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1)
6. Georgia Bulldogs (11-1)
7. Miami Hurricanes (10-1)
8. Ohio State Buckeyes (10-2)
Big 12 Championship Game
#11 TCU Horned Frogs (10-2) vs #3 Oklahoma Sooners (11-1)
Location: AT&T Stadium (Dallas, TX)
Time: Saturday- 12:30
Three weeks ago these two teams met in Norman and the Sooners won rather convincingly 38-20. Looking back, that game was essentially a de facto playoff game. The winner is still alive and the loser is done. The Big 12 Championship is the only conference championship in which both teams have a shot to make the playoff. Simply put, Alabama displaces TCU out of the top 8 for obvious reason. Regardless, Baker Mayfield and the Sooners need to be on full alert and ready for the Horned Frogs best shot. If Mayfield can put up similar numbers (18-27, 333 yards, 3 TD) or better yet Rodney Anderson (23 carries, 151 yards, 2 TD) to the first meeting, Oklahoma should be in good shape to win their third straight Big 12 crown.
Oklahoma wins if Baker Mayfield does Baker Mayfield. The only thing that stands in the way of a Sooner victory is Baker Mayfield. In so many fewer words, he needs to protect the football without compromising his style of play.
TCU wins if they come out fighting early. The Horned Frogs need to take control of the game early and deliver big punches to the gut of Oklahoma if they want to steal the conference title.
Oklahoma makes the CFP: They win
TCU can’t make the CFP
SEC Championship Game
#6 Georgia Bulldogs (11-1) vs #2 Auburn Tigers (10-2)
Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta, GA)
Time: Saturday – 4:00 PM
Without a doubt, the SEC Championship game is the most straightforward. Win and you are in. Three weeks ago these two foes meet at Jordan-Hare Stadium and the Tigers put the beat down on the Bulldogs. Furthermore, Auburn went on to beat Alabama last weekend to set themselves up to be the first two-loss team to ever qualify for the College Football Playoff. Don’t let the November, 11th matchup fool you Georgia won’t go down as easily this time. Especially with the SEC title being decided on Georgia soil. In its inaugural season, Mercedes-Benz Stadium will assume the Georgia Dome’s role as host of the SEC Championship Game so expect the Dawg Pound to be out in full force.
Auburn wins if the defense holds the Georgia running game in check again. During the November 11th matchup, Georgia only tallied 46 rushing yards on 32 carries.
Georgia wins if Jake Fromm plays more efficiently than in the first meeting. The Bulldogs are a running team, but if Fromm can take some pressure off of them, they’ll likely see better running lanes. In the first meeting, Fromm struggled mightily.
Auburn makes the CFP: They Win. Wins over Alabama and Georgia twice will secure the Tigers spot in the Playoff.
Georgia makes the CFP: They Win. This under the assumption that a win over Auburn would leap from Georgia over Alabama based on the magnitude of the victory and the fact that their only loss is to Auburn, to begin with.
ACC Championship Game
#7 Miami Hurricanes (10-1) vs #1 Clemson Tigers (11-1)
Location: Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte, NC)
Time: Saturday – 8:00 PM
Clemson’s chances of making a third straight National Championship game comes down to a date with Miami in Charlotte. The Tigers are currently a nine and a half point favorite, but we know anything is possible when it come’s to The U this season. Unfourtnualy, the Hurricanes loss last weekend keeps this from being the top 3 matchups we dreamed of. Either way, Miami should be amped up for a rebound and you know Dabo Swinney is going to have to Tigers fired up. While the numbers on paper indicate an impending Clemson victory, do not be surprised if Miami makes this a game, there will be a ton of pride and heart put into this battle.
Clemson wins if their offense protects the ball. You can not turn the ball over against Miami. They will make you pay.
Miami wins if they can break Clemson’s defense. The Tigers have one of the best defenses in the country, but if the Canes can slip the defense for a few big plays they will have a shot.
Clemson makes the CFP: They win.
Miami makes the CFP: They win and Oklahoma or Wisconsin lose. They need three (Georgia/Auburn, Clemson) teams ahead of them to fall for the Canes to make the playoffs. Alabama and the SEC winner control priority over Miami based on strength of losses.
Big 10 Championship Game
#8 Ohio State Buckeyes (10-2) vs #4 Wisconsin Badgers (12-0)
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis, IN)
Time: Saturday – 8:00 PM
Even though the Badgers are undefeated, Ohio State enters the game as a six and a half point favorite. Urban Meyer’s team may have stumbled late in the season to Iowa but are still one of the most talented teams in the nation. Wisconsin has wins over Iowa and Michigan, but without a doubt, Ohio State will be the best team the Badgers have faced all season. J.T. Barrett’s status for this game remains unclear after OSU’s star-QB reaggravated a knee injury before last weekends game with Michigan during an incident with a sideline cameraman. If Barrett can’t go, freshman Dwayne Haskins would assume the Buckeye’s signal-calling duties. All to eerily similar to the Cardale Jones situation from 2015.
Wisconsin wins if their defense turns the ball over. If the Badgers can force a few Ohio State turnovers, they will control this game.
Ohio State wins if they use their talent correctly. By most accounts, Ohio State is the more talented team in this game.
Wisconsin makes the CFP: They win. They’re the only undefeated (*cough* UCF *cough*) team the CFP Committee cares about.
Ohio State makes the CFP: They win and (1) Clemson wins and Oklahoma losses.
It’s worth mentioning, aside from the SEC Championship, Alabama would be the first into the CFP if any of the higher ranked teams in the title games lose.