NCAA Games of the Week: Conference titles, playoff berths on the line

Trevor Smith

Sports Blogger



SEC Championship: Alabama vs Florida

After an abysmal performance against in-state rival Florida State, Florida will look to bounce back against Alabama, arguably the Gators toughest opponent to date. Alabama is coming off a 12-0 regular season behind the arm of true freshman quarterback Jaelen Hurts and its stingy defense. For Florida, the season hasn’t been as easy, as quarterback Austin Appleby has played at a less than stellar rate. The Gators bright spot is the play of their defense, which is the second best defense in the SEC behind Alabama. That being said, the championship game will be close for the first half as both defenses cause trouble for the young quarterbacks but will ultimately go Alabama’s way due to its more consistent offense.

Alabama 28, Florida 13


Pac-12 Championship: Washington vs Colorado

The Pac-12 championship game will see two strong offenses go at each other. Washington is led by sophomore quarterback Jake Browning and junior receiver John Ross. Colorado is fueled by the strong play of senior quarterback Sefo Liufau and junior running back Phillip Lindsay. Washington and Colorado are having its best seasons in awhile with both in the top 10 of the College Football Playoff Rankings. Washington is in key position to end the season playing for a national championship with a win Friday. I expect a shootout for three quarters with Washington ultimately coming up with a few big stops in the fourth quarter.

Washington 49, Colorado 38


Big Ten Championship: Penn State vs Wisconsin

The Big Ten championship will pit the No. 6 Wisconsin and No. 7 Penn State, who have a chance to play for a national championship. Wisconsin is coming off a strong 10-2 regular season with losses to only Ohio State and Michigan. Penn State is also coming off a 10-2 regular season. The Nittany Lions are the surprise team in this game, winning the Big Ten East over pre-season favorites Ohio State and Michigan thanks to a blocked field goal in their 24-21 victory against OSU. Wisconsin will rely on senior running back Corey Clement to carry the load against Penn State’s stingy defense. Penn State will rely on the arm of sophomore quarterback Trace McSorley to come up with big plays. Expect the game to be close to the end, with Wisconsin winning it with a field goal late in the game.

Wisconsin 31-Penn State 28


ACC Championship: Clemson vs Virginia Tech

After dismantling in-state rival South Carolina, Clemson has hopes to continue its dominance against Virginia Tech. Tech, who is a 10-point underdog, is relying on junior dual-threat quarterback Jerod Evans to have the game of his life. Clemson brings its own dual-threat quarterback to the party in junior Deshaun Watson. Both teams will have to deal with two solid defenses. The game should be close for the first quarter, then will be all Clemson the rest of the way behind its potent offense.

Clemson 38-Virginia Tech 14


Oklahoma State vs Oklahoma

(O'Colly File Photo)
(O’Colly File Photo)

Bedlam will be for the Big 12 title for the second straight year. Oklahoma State is looking to avenge last year’s Bedlam defeat, while Oklahoma is seeking the same outcome. Both teams are led by a standout quarterback and wide receiver duo. OU has the duo of junior quarterback Baker Mayfield and senior wide receiver Dede Westbrook. OSU sends out the duo of junior quarterback Mason Rudolph and junior receiver James Washington. Despite star duos, the key matchup may be OSU’s front seven against OU’s run game, which is fueled by sophomore Joe Mixon. Expect the game to be close since it is a rivalry and come down to a few key stops by the OU defense.

OU 28, OSU 24


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