Betting wise, you probably know that it was a good Championship Saturday for me. And had you listened to me like you always should, you made money this weekend.
If you don’t gamble, it was an eventful final college football Saturday regardless. The Big Ten Championship was a dog fight as expected and finished with a last-minute touchdown by Michigan State.
The ACC Championship was largely dominated by Clemson, but North Carolina kept it interesting until the final minutes – and would have had the chance to tie the game with less than a minute left if not for brainless officiating.
Overall, it was just a good day of football day and perfect segway into the upcoming bowl season. Thus, I’m dedicating this final edition of Straight Shots, No Chaser (I know, I’m crying too) to the promising season of wonder that’s just around the corner.
We’ll start with the four teams still playing for something meaningful: Clemson, Alabama, Michigan State, and Oklahoma — the esteemed entrants to the second-ever College Football Playoff.
The CFP bracket pins the Tide against the Spartans in the Cotton Bowl and Clemson playing Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. To those with a brain, the committe’s decision to have Michigan State hop Oklahoma should come as no surprise.
Newsflash: Oklahoma and Alabama are the two biggest brands remaining and this opens up the lucrative possibility of having them play for it all. More people are interested in a Nick Saban vs. Bob Stoops title game over anything else. It’s that simple.
As for the games, Bama vs. Michigan State will be fun…until kickoff and Alabama houses them.
Michigan State led Michigan, Ohio State and Iowa for grand total of 7 minutes, 38 seconds . . . Record in those games: 3-0. @FOXSports
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 6, 2015
Michigan State is a very good football team but you can’t keep getting away by the skin of your teeth like this. The Spartans don’t have the ground game Ohio State did last year that opened up the passing game and allowed Cardale Jones to eviscerate the Tide. Saban’s team will be perfectly schemed for Connor Cook and Mark D’Antonio – a member of Saban’s staff at MSU in the mid-90’s.
As for Oklahoma vs. Clemson, this game should actually be fun. Like a whole lot of fun.
It’ll be driven by the two quarterbacks – Heisman hopefuls Baker Mayfield and DeShaun Watson – which is all we can ask for because no one cares about anything else but offensive fireworks.
My picks are Oklahoma and Alabama, giving the committee their Stoops-Saban National Championship.
Best Non-New Year’s Six Bowl
A tie, mostly because I can’t get enough of this North Carolina team.
In the Russell Athletic Bowl on December 29th, the Tar Heels and Baylor Bears will square off in what should be the definition of back-and-forth football.
I know Baylor just lost to Texas and is missing their top two quarterbacks. But they’ll have more than three weeks to prepare; an ample amount of time for Art Briles to put together a successful gameplan. The over/under for this one should push triple digits, and I’m taking the over.
In a matchup I’m dubbing the ‘Zero Fucks Bowl,’ Miami and Washington State is the other Non-New Year’s Six Bowl that I’m jacked for.
Assuming WSU QB Luke Falk is healthy, this should be another shootout between two happy-go-lucky teams. Plus, The U should play inspired knowing their new head man Mark Richt will be watching.
Upset To Root For
I’m not sure how big of an upset this is on the field, but I’ll be damned if Houston doesn’t upend Florida State in the Peach Bowl. At least that’s what I want to see; because:
1) Everyone loves a solid mid-major story.
2) Jimbo Fisher is a dick.
3) Greg Ward, Jr. is a boss.
Dumbest Bowl Name
How about the Cure Bowl?
Literally, that’s its name — “Cure Bowl.” In Orlando, with San Jose State vs. Georgia State. Can you say Vegas degenerate heaven?
In honorable mentions, I always get a kick out of the “San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl” because there are more words in the bowl title than there are people that watch.
Also, somehow Popeyes sponsors a bowl being played in the Bahamas.
Where you at, KFC?
Heisman Performance From A Non-Heisman Candidate
At one point Leonard Fournette was the overwhelming favorite to win the Heisman Trophy; then Alabama happened and Derrick Henry took his spot. Now Fournette isn’t even expected to make the trip to New York, leaving him eligible for this honor.
LSU plays Texas Tech in the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl, (did I say that right?) and the Red Raiders have the third-worst rushing defense in all of college football – giving up an almost-impossible 271.8 yards per game.
Take it to the bank: Fournette is going for 250 and two touchdowns, starting the hype for his Heisman run next season.