The conference championship weekend is here and it’s time to put together a picture of College Football for the 28th Century December semifinals.
Of course, there are plenty of arguments left at the table to get into these matchups of the league. There is talk in the Playoff that these five games will solve – or at least try to solve. With that in mind, here are five predictions for the weekend.
BENDER: 6 scenarios for final CFP rankings, from chalk to chaos
Utah vs. Oklahoma turns ‘American Idol’
On Wednesday, ESPN’s “Get Up” version of Paul Finebaum put it out there.
“Let’s be honest, the country doesn’t want to see Utah at the Academy Football Playoff. It’s Utah!” he said.
If Utah and Oklahoma win, the Academy’s football players committee will face this dilemma. Is this a popular contest? If so, the Sooners could get that point with Heisman’s likely Jalen Hurts quarterback. If it’s based on what the committee is thinking now – and perhaps in the best interest of a four-team Playoff team – then the Utes should take that point.
Utah takes the stage Friday night Oklahoma will have it a little over 12 hours later. Bias and recent bias are also in play. SN took Oregon to beat Utah in the Pac-12 Championship. But if that doesn’t happen, you expect the campaign between the Big 12 and the Pac-12 – two conferences that don’t want to be left behind – is tough.
LSU wins SEC championship, finishing No. 2
Of course, Georgia can spark this debate by winning LSU in the SEC championship game.
Don’t worry, Bump and Utes. It won’t happen. LSU’s Joe Burrow will put the final touches on a Heisman Trophy season leading the Tigers to the College Football Playoff for the first time.
Will it be enough to take back the top spot from the state of Ohio? Again, perception is at play. The Tigers should have thrown Georgia and hoped that the state of Ohio looks ordinary against Wisconsin in the big game of the championship.
Both groups have comparable biographies and high-level offenses. The Tigers, however, will be left behind by the fact that the committee prefers the Buckeyes’ defense a little more.
LSU will finish No. 2 as a result.
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Justin Fields, Heisman finalist
It was announced that Burrow would win the Heisman Trophy and Hurts would be a finalist.
Which players of the State of Ohio will play in these two in New York? Chase Young, Justin Fields and J.K. Dobbins has taken turns dominating this season for the Buckeyes undefeated, but at the end of the vote there will be a known trend.
The general will go to New York.
Young is the nation’s top contender, leading the FBS with 16.5 sacks, and could still get there with another dominant performance against the Badgers. A cross-section of voters will still hold this suspension of two games against him, however. J.K. Dobbins is fourth on the FBS with 1,657 yards and could upgrade Jonathan Taylor of Wisconsin for a second time this season.
In the end, however, Fields has averaged 47 TDs (37 passing, 10 rushing) and only one interception. Fields will become Ohio’s second general in so many seasons to go to New York. The only question is whether there is room for a fourth finalist so that either Young or Dobbins can go with him.
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Dabo will cry after Clemson’s outburst
This is the easiest prediction of the weekend. Clemson will win a fifth ACC European Championship and make a fifth Playoff appearance. We’re just not sure which Tigers coach Dabo Swinney will be targeting this week’s press conference.
Will it be the CAP committee? Heisman Electors? Finebaum; All the above?
It won’t matter. Clemson will win 28 victories in the Football Playoff and be able to claim its victory in 30 games.
This is an elite team that includes the following schools (the USC’s 34-game win streak from 2003-05 was eliminated by the NCAA).
Miami, FL (2000-02)
Florida State, a Clemson team compared to earlier this season, had a series of 29 games since 2012-14 broke into the first CFP semifinal against Oregon in the Rose Bowl.
If Swinney leads the Tigers to another three wins, then they should say nothing. They will enter 2020 with the triple peat opportunity.
What are the last four teams?
The CAP selection demonstration won’t have much hindrance to the drama other than that talk in Utah-Oklahoma, but we’ve already said we chose the ducks. This will be the highlight of this weekend’s debate. If the Utes win, then we think they’ll get the nod over the Sooners.
But you asked for an answer. We will go with Ohio State against Oklahoma in the Peach Cup, a decision that will be much easier if Utah gets that last point. LSU and Clemson are heading west for the Fiesta Bowl, even if this game would be much better in Atlanta.
These are the final answers, at least for the next 24 hours.
We will not complain if a gap is blocked.