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NCAA Conference Championships, A Preview

The time is now for multiple teams if they even want a shot at hoisting that National Championship trophy. Let’s take a closer look at the Championships that we all get to enjoy this Championship Saturday.

SEC Championship- #1 Alabama (10-0) vs #7 Florida (8-2)

Who saw this coming? The Alabama Crimson Tide are right back in the thick of the College Football Playoff race with another undefeated season and look to hoist that trophy once more but a familiar team stands in the way in the Florida Gators. The Gators have been mediocre for as long as I can remember and this feels very overdue. They have taken down former SEC East powerhouse when they defeated the Georgia Bulldogs in a very lopsided game 44-28. Their only two losses were shocking ones to say the least, losing to the Texas A&M Aggies 41-38 and the LSU Tigers 38-37. The common theme in those two games was that they were very close, only losing by three points and one point. 

This game is poised to be a good one with both teams having much success offensively and defensively. Alabama has been averaging 49.5 points a game offensively while only giving up an average of 16.8 points a game, a huge reason as to why they are ranked number one right now. Florida has averaged 41.2 points a game while letting up 26.3 points per game. 

Key things to look for in this matchup is going to be who is more disciplined. Florida has to be more disciplined and not give up yardage over mental mistakes like they did in the loss to LSU.

My pick- Alabama over Florida 45-31

Big Ten Championship- #4 Ohio State (5-0) vs #14 Northwestern (6-1)

This game has upset written all over it. The Northwestern Wildcats are in the perfect position to play the role of spoiler for the Ohio State Buckeyes. Ohio State is back in the Playoff hunt ranking at #4 and are looking for their 9th national title in school history. Look for this game to be very close, possibly down to the final play.. Ohio State has averaged 46.6 points per game and has allowed an average 23.2 points per game. This is where things get very interesting. Northwestern has averaged 25.3 points per game while only allowing 14.6 points per game. This is poised to wind up being game of the year with a high powered offense going up a strong defense. Northwestern has a strong chance to pull off the upset of the year with that strong defense. They just have to keep the pedal to the metal and not let up. 

Key things to look for is a huge air raid attack by both teams. Whoever limits the mental mistakes takes the victory.

My pick- Northwestern over Ohio State 28-24 

Big 12 Championship- #10 Oklahoma (7-2) vs #6 Iowa State (8-2)

Starting to notice a trend here when it comes to how these games will go. Once again we will see two high powered offenses go at it for bragging rights next season. Oklahoma comes into this game averaging 43.4 points per game offensively and 22 points allowed per game defensively. Iowa State has averaged 34 points offensively while allowing 21.3 points defensively. This could turn into a classic back and forth game that could honestly go either way. Both teams are out of the Playoff hunt for the moment but with this game, Iowa State could make their way into the College Football Playoff hunt.

Key things to note are that the run game will be nonexistent with Iowa State allowing only 103.1 yards rushing and Oklahoma allowing 88.1 yards rushing. Not the best but I expect both teams to attempt to run the ball and establish a solid ground game. The passing game will be in full effect here with Iowa State allowing 235 yards on average and Oklahoma allowing 234.2 yards passing on average. Almost identical when it comes down to the passing game.

My pick- Iowa State over Oklahoma 35-28

ACC Championship- #2 Notre Dame (10-0) vs #3 Clemson (9-1)

The rematch we’ve all been waiting for. Clemson is looking to avenge their loss to solidify themselves in the hunt for the National Championship. Lose, and Clemson will not see the postseason. Notre Dame beat this Clemson team with a score of 47-40 in a double overtime thriller just two weeks ago. The only key factor, Clemson Quarterback and projected number one overall pick in the NFL draft Trevor Lawrence did not play. A lot of people are counting Notre Dame out for that reason alone but I don’t think so. Notre Dame has their play maker as well, Quarterback Ian Book. Notre Dame has one of the best rushing attacks in College Football right now with an offensive line that is just spectacular. Hard to not imagine that when guys like Cowboys Offensive Guard Zack Martin and Colts Offensive Guard Quenton Nelson came from Notre Dame. Notre Dame has averaged 37.7 points offensively while their defense has allowed 17.1 points per game. Clemson has averaged 46 points per game offensively and has allowed 18.3 points on average. 

Key things to look for in this game is the run game by Notre Dame. Clemson has struggled to stop the run allowing 105.4 yards rushing per game while Notre Dame has averaged 235 yards rushing per game. Clemson could use their elite air attack with them passing for 346 yards per game on average with Notre Dame allowing 214 yards passing per game on average.

My pick- Notre Dame over Clemson 48-43

Mountain West Championship- #24 San Jose State (6-0) vs Boise State (5-1)

Who walks away with bragging rights in this one? This one is gonna be all about who starts off the fastest. Boise State has scored 30.3 points per game while allowing only 17.5 points per game. San Jose has scored 36.2 points per game while allowing 26 points per game. The passing game is how this game goes. Boise State has allowed 169 yards passing while San Jose has allowed a whopping 228.2 passing yards per game on average. Expect this game to showcase the arm of Boise State Quarterback Hank Bachmeier heavily here. Watch for San Jose to establish the ground game early. San Jose averages 157.7 yards rushing per game while Boise State allows an average of 183.5 rushing yards per game.

My pick- San Jose over Boise State 24-17

American Athletic Conference Championship- #23 Tulsa Golden Hurricanes (6-1) vs #9 Cincinnati Bearcats (8-0)

One of the few games that will likely lead to a blowout. There isn’t much to say other than that Cincinnati has averaged 40.9 points per game while allowing 15 points per game. Tulsa has averaged 27.7 points per game offensively and has allowed 19.9 points per game defensively. I think that this one is clear cut and dry as to what is going to happen. 

Some key things to watch for in this game is the air attack. Both teams have averaged over 200 yards passing this year with Cincinnati having 238.9 yards passing and Tulsa 251.7 yards passing on average this year. 

My pick- Cincinnati over Tulsa 30-17

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