5 bold predictions for other Power 5 championship games
While Alabama and Florida decide the SEC Championship, there are some key games that will decide other Power 5 conference championships and solidify the four spots in the College Football Playoff.
Here’s a look at those “other” games and five bold predictions from them.
1. Washington wins in the key game of the weekend – Colorado could cause the chaos we all seem to pull for. A Buffs victory would kick the door wide open for one of five teams to grab that fourth and final spot in the College Football Playoff. Unfortunately for those of us who seek the controversy, Washington ends the discussion with a victory on Friday.
Everyone knows about Huskies QB Jake Browning (above, 3,162 yards passing, 40 TDs), but it will be the running of Myles Gaskin that ultimately makes the difference. Held to a season-low 50 yards last week at Washington State, Gaskin finishes closer to the 100-yard mark and the Huskies punch their ticket to the Playoff.
2. Wisconsin wins the Big Ten – Should any of the top teams slip up this weekend, the winner of the Big Ten Championship Game has the best chance of filling the void. They’ll have to leapfrog Michigan, but the committee insists that conference championships are meaningful. It would be interesting to see if that proclamation gets tested.
The Badgers will do all they can to broach the subject with a victory over Penn State. This game will be won in the trenches and Wisconsin has the edge on both sides of the football. The Badgers use a solid run game to keep Penn State QB Trace McSorley off the field, and coupled with a stone wall of a defense that stuffs the Nittany Lions’ run game, Wisconsin earns a decided advantage in time of possession and thereby wins the conference title.
3. Oklahoma captures the Big 12 – In the de facto Big 12 championship game, the Sooners escape Bedlam with a victory. The cold and potential for rain could be a factor in the passing game, where each team’s quarterback has excelled. Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield have combined this season for right at 7,000 yards passing and 60 touchdowns.
Bad weather or not, the Sooners win the game with a solid run game that complements Mayfield’s passing. Look for Oklahoma RB Joe Mixon to have a huge game. It won’t be the 263 yards he amassed against Texas Tech, but it’ll be in the ballpark. Don’t be surprised if he runs for two bills.
4. Clemson rolls – Tigers QB Deshaun Watson (above) needs 374 passing yards to reach 4,000 for the season. He just might get it on Saturday night when Clemson rolls past Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game.
Sixth in the nation in passing yards, Watson significantly adds to that total and with his performance ultimately steals the Heisman Trophy from Louisville QB Lamar Jackson.
5. The top 4 will not change – With this weekend’s championship games, the College Football Playoff rankings go unchanged. Bama, Clemson and Washington win — while Ohio State rests — and that’s that.