Five Intriguing Games This Weekend – From the Bird’s Nest
Conference championship games are the highlight this week as everyone other than the Big 12 or the Sun Belt are having championship games. Obviously the SEC, ACC are ultra important. The Big Ten title will probably have no bearing on the College Football Playoff...unless something happens in the Pac 12. And, the Group of Five bid to the Cotton Bowl could screw up the entire bowl process. Read on.
OHIO (8-4) vs #17. WESTERN MICHIGAN (12-0 (-19)--Friday, 6:00pm ESPN2--P. J. Fleck's squad could wrap up a perfect season with a win here in the MAC title game against the Bobcats, who have come a long way since losing to Texas State...yes, THAT Texas State in the season's first game and could be bound for Mobile or Montgomery against a Sun Belt school. The crazy thing is a win here doesn't necessarily guarantee the Broncos a trip to the Cotton Bowl. (see below). Don't worry about the weather. This one is indoors at Ford Field. The two teams did not meet during the regular season.
#8 COLORADO 10-2) vs. #4 WASHINGTON (11-1)(-7') Friday, 8:00pm FOX--Again, a meeting between two teams that did not meet during the regular season. This game could throw the College Football Playoff into chaos. Right now, except for the uninformed who believe you MUST be a conference champion to be in the CFP, most folks agree on the Top four in the latest rankings. But the Huskies have been in the more tenuous position. And, if Colorado wins this things, who moves into the top four? Is it Colorado itself? Michigan? The Big Ten champ? Michigan really has an interest in this one. If the Buffs win, remember who their one OOC loss. It was to Michigan. Game is at a neutral site in Santa Clara.
LOUISIANA TECH (8-4) at WESTERN KENTUCKY (9-3)(-9') Saturday, 11am, ESPN--Louisiana Tech lost a chance to host this game when they were upset by Southern MIss last week. And, that could make a big difference. But at least the weather should be ok, which wouldn't be the case if the game were in Ruston. The home field advantage could matter here. WKU has been pretty good at their house, losing just once, to Vandy by a single point. The two teams squared off earlier this season, with Tech winning at Joe Aillet Stadium 55-52. The over/under is 82. This one will be fun to watch. Oh..one more thing, WKU actually could move into the group of five selection with a win and many other interesting things happening.
TEMPLE (9-3) at #19 NAVY (9-2) (-3) Saturday, 11 AM, ABC--Get your remote ready to flip between this and the CUSA title game. This is the game which really has the bowl folks nervous. Remember, Navy still has to play Army on Dec. 10. If the MIddies win this one, do they move ahead of Western Michigan two spots ahead of them? And, does it matter because they still have another game to play? If Navy wins, it could delay the bowl announcements, because this game could affect the Cotton Bowl, all bowls involving the AAC, the MAC, three Sun Belt bowl tie-in games, and maybe even the Mountain West. Bowl officials are quietly wishing for a Western Michigan win combined with a Navy loss. Anything else could be chaos. It's a home game for Navy. The two teams did not play during the regular season.
SAN DIEGO STATE (9-3) at WYOMING (8-4) (+6') Saturday, 6:45pm ESPN--The Mountain West title game is a rematch of a tense, emotional game in Laramie earlier in the season. To refresh your memory, SDSU hit a Hail Mary at the end of the game but failed on the two point conversion that would have won...and put the title game in San Diego. Instead, it's another trip to Laramie and again, the home team is the underdog. But it will be around 35 degrees and falling at game time. Just like WKU, this winner will hope for some other things to happen, but a Group of Five bowl isn't totally out of the question.