The entire college football universe is focused on December 7th. It is on this Sunday that which a small committee of 12 is going to announce their top 4 college football teams and reveal the contestants of the first ever College Football Playoffs (ignore all non-FBS Division I-A college football). This is the final week for Alabama, Florida State, Oregon, and TCU to make their case as to why they are the best teams in the nation. Baylor, Ohio State, Arizona, and Georgia Tech have one chance to try to sneak into the top 4 with convincing victories in their conference finals and championship games. Who will be in and who is going to be left out in the cold?

 

Friday:

7:00 PM – MAC Championship – Northern Illinois (-2.5) vs Bowling Green

After an amazing year in 2013, NIU is at it again. Unfortunately, they aren’t on anyone’s radar and neither team will make an impact on the Playoffs. It seems unlikely that any team in a conference other than the “Power 5” will ever have a shot at making the playoffs. Despite that, NIU is playing for a 5th straight MAC championship, sot they’ve got that going for them, which is nice…

9:00 PM – PAC-12 Championship – Arizona vs #2 Oregon (-13.5)

Arizona is the only team to beat the Ducks year. If Rich Rod’s Wildcats can best the Ducks one more time, they may have an impressive enough resume to vault them to the Playoffs. However, as a 13.5 point favorite, the entire nation expects Oregon to roll past Arizona and into the playoffs.

Saturday:

12:00 PM Iowa State at #3 TCU (-33)

Iowa State is the last possible speed bump for TCU to pass before taking their spot in the playoffs. Despite losing to Baylor, TCU has been so impressive this year, the committee has decided to ignore head-to-head records. All TCU has to do is pile a mountain of points on the Cyclones to further endear themselves to the committee.

12:00 PM Conference USA Championship – Louisiana Tech at Marshall

After losing to Western Kentucky (really Marshall, really?) Conference USA has lost all luster. I don’t think Marshall would have been considered for the playoffs, but at least they would have set themselves up for a big start to 2015 if they could have finished the year undefeated.

3:30 PM Oklahoma State at #20 Oklahoma (-19.5)

At one point this year, everybody knew Oklahoma was going to the playoffs. Since then, Oklahoma has lost playoff hopes to the likes of TCU and K-State. Now all they have to play for is in-state pride against the OK-State Cowboys. The Cowboys are not only riding a 5 game losing streak, but are being spotted 19.5 points by Vegas, which means this games has all the makings for a blow out.

4:00 PM SEC Championship – #1 Alabama (-13) vs #16 Missouri

While many considered this conference championship to be the original college football playoff semi-final, this year it could result leaving the SEC out of the actual playoffs. Comfortably sitting at #1, Alabama has only to win to take their spot in the playoffs, but a bad loss to Mizzou could drop them out of contention. If that were to happen, Mizzou is simply not good enough to jump into the playoffs with a win over the tide and with two loses, and the SEC would be left out of the playoffs.

7:45 PM #9 Kansas State at #6 Baylor

This game is Baylor’s final chance to try to convince the committee to consider head-to-head wins when picking the top 4 teams of college football. Responsible for TCU’s only loss, Baylor has been trying to make up ground after losing to an unranked West Virginia the following week. A convincing win over a top 10 team may be enough to push Baylor ahead of TCU, who is playing an awful 2-9 Iowa State, but that is left to be seen.

8:00 PM ACC Championship – #4 Florida State (-4) vs #11 Georgia Tech

Because of a series of second half come-backs and weak in-conference competition, Florida State’s 28 game win streak isn’t impressing the committee. Despite winning every game this season, FSU has fallen from #1 to #4 in the rankings, passed up for the style and flash of Oregon and TCU, as well as the tradition of Alabama. While still in the playoffs, Florida State is in an interesting position because it seems the country is feeling FSU fatigue. For the Seminoles to cement their place in the playoffs, they’ll have to beat Georgia Tech convincingly on Saturday.

8:17 PM Big Ten Championship #13 Wisconsin (-3.5) vs #5 Ohio State

With the Buckeye quarterback out, the door has opened for the Badgers to win the Big Ten. It won’t lift them into the playoffs, but it will be a nice feather in the cap for Wisconsin. What the Big Ten Championship really should be is a platform, one more prime time stage for Heisman candidate Melvin Gordon to show off his stuff. Neither one of these teams is likely to crack the top 4 without the help of a high power.

10:00 PM Mountain West Championship – Fresno State at #22 Boise State (-17)

The Mountain West Conference has been a source of controversy in years past, with Boise State and TCU both finding their way into BCS bowls, it has no hope of impacting the playoffs this year. Boise State has already beaten Fresno State this season and looks to do it again. With Vegas setting up Fresno as a 17 point underdog, this should be all Broncos from start to finish.

 

If you are wondering why we aren’t talking about the American Academic Conference, it is because they neither have a conference championship nor do they have anyone contending for a top 10 spot in the polls. Sorry AAC, maybe another year.