Tony's Tip Sheet—Championship Week Edition
By Tony Gerdeman
Welcome to the first Tip Sheet of the Urban Meyer Era. If you'll notice, it reads much faster than past Tip Sheets. Also, it won't take any more of your guff, you got that?!
We really only have selfish rooting purposes for the rest of the season, as opposed to our normal selfless rooting that we are known for around here.
We have finally reached Championship Week, which brings with it the first ever Big Ten Championship Game, which will determine the team who will get beaten by Oregon.
Along with the Big Ten, the ACC, the SEC, the Pac Twelve, C-USA and the MAC will all determine champions this year.
Meanwhile, Alabama will be home after failing to win their division, as they wait for America to crown them the second-best team in the nation, even though they're not one of the two teams playing for their conference championship.
I'm not saying that I know who should be playing LSU for the championship, but I do know that it shouldn't be—by conference decree—the third-best team in their own conference.
Thursday December 1
Teams: #23 West Virginia (8-3) at USF (5-6)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (ESPN)
Cheer For: West Virginia
If West Virginia is going to get to the BCS they need to win this game, and then they need Cincinnati to defeat Connecticut in order to force a three-way tie with Louisville. The Cardinals already own the tie-breaker over the Mountaineers, but a three-way tie goes to the highest-ranked team in the BCS, which is West Virginia. I'm not sure why everybody is fighting to get to a bowl game that they're going to lose, though maybe I could talk to some Michigan fans to get some perspective. South Florida is 1-5 in conference play this year. West Virginia should waltz, but as all Buckeye fans know, the Mountaineers have a way of choking waltzes away this week of the season. I can't see that happening here. Oh, and the reason we're cheering for West Virginia is because they pose they most interesting matchup with whomever they'll end up facing in the BCS. West Virginia 37 – USF 31
Editor's Note: Inasmuch as this game was played yesterday, we'll assume you cheered for the right teams. Just consider this a test to find out if you have learned to cheer for the right team even if Tony hasn't already told you what team actually is the right team.
Friday December 2
MAC Championship Game (Detroit, MI)
Teams: Ohio (9-3) vs. Northern Illinois (9-3)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (ESPN2)
Cheer For: Ohio
For those of you expecting a game in the 50s, you will be disappointed because this game may only get into the high 30s. Both teams can score, and neither team will be able to do much to stop the other. This game will come down to the quarterbacks. Northern Illinois' Chandler Harnish has rushed for 1,351 yards and thrown for 2,692 more. He is as close to unstoppable as the conference has. But don't sleep on Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton, who himself has run for 576 yards and thrown for 2,868. The Bobcats always have a way of making teams play down to them, and this game will likely be no different. But I'm not going against Harnish in a shootout. Northern Illinois 37 – Ohio 31
Pac Twelve Championship Game
Teams: UCLA (6-6) at #9 Oregon (10-2)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (FOX)
Cheer For: UCLA
We're cheering for UCLA because we'd like to see the Big Ten win the Rose Bowl this year. Yes, even if it's Wisconsin. Maybe. Anyway, Rick Neuheisel has been fired, despite his team's “enormous” success in making it to the conference championship game. You may think this is going to be a blowout, but I have a feeling that Neuheisel's players will put everything on the line for their coach on the first two possessions before realizing that everything is hopeless and leave for home sometime in the middle of the second quarter. Oregon 41 – UCLA 17
Saturday December 3
Conference USA Championship Game
Teams: #24 Southern Miss (10-2) at #6 Houston (12-0)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ABC)
Cheer For: Houston
You want to know why you're rooting for Houston, which is scoring 52.7 points per game and throwing for 460 yards per game? Because they just might get matched up against Michigan in the BCS. It's a no-win situation for the Wolverines (as most situations are for those people). Heck, Michigan can't even beat Ohio State and bask in it for any significant measure of time before Buckeye fans have moved on and are happier than they've been since January of 2003. For the second year in a row, it's like The Game never even happened. Getting back to this game for a moment, Southern Miss is nine points away from making this a game against a pair of 12-0 teams. That would have been pretty sweet. Southern Miss actually has the 12th-ranked pass efficiency defense in the nation, so I don't think Houston is going to have as easy a time of things as many people think. Houston is favored by fourteen points, and I would not be surprised at all if they don't cover. Houston 45 – Southern Miss 34
Teams: Connecticut (5-6) at Cincinnati (8-3)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ESPN)
Cheer For: Cincinnati
The funny thing about Cincinnati is that they really have no shot at the BCS because voters and computers don't respect them, their university or their city. And they know it. It's like they wrote a letter to everybody in the state of Ohio and asked them their opinions on living in the Queen City or attending the University of Cincinnati, and then read all of the responses in a quiet room by themselves. Some of the responses would no doubt resemble the following:
“I'd rather have my sensitive regions rubbed with hot coals daily—by an inebriated Chris Berman.”
“If it's between living in Cincinnati or living in a crack house, you may as well hand me a pipe and help me soil this mattress.”
“It's the only city in America that is the worst part of two different states.”
Cincinnati 34 – Connecticut 14
Teams: #22 Texas (7-4) at #17 Baylor (8-3)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ABC)
Cheer For: Baylor
There's really no need to spend too much time talking about Texas. Sure, they might be able to score a little bit against Baylor's offense, but they won't be able to score enough even if Baylor pulled the goalie for the entire third period. Robert Griffin is still playing for the Heisman, even though everybody turned in their ballots for Andrew Luck and Trent Richardson back in August. Baylor 35 – Texas 17
SEC Championship Game (Atlanta, GA)
Teams: #1 LSU (12-0) vs. #14 Georgia (10-2)
Time (TV): 4:00 pm (CBS)
Cheer For: Georgia
We are cheering for Georgia for several reasons, but we do it at a risk. If Georgia wins, there is a chance that the SEC would get three teams into the BCS, provided that LSU and Alabama remain in the top two. However, there's also a pretty good chance that Alabama would drop out, since their loss to LSU now looks a little worse. If Alabama drops out of the BCS, then that pits them against a Big Ten team in the Capital One Bowl. If Michigan State wins the Big Ten Championship, then it would be Alabama against Wisconsin, which sounds great. However, if Wisconsin wins, then it will probably be Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl, and they might actually score negative points against the Crimson Tide. Why would it be Nebraska? Because the bowl won't want a rematch of last year's Bama – Sparty blowout, nor would they want to bring Penn State to town, though fortunately they can site the desire to avoid a regular season rematch from earlier in the year. But getting back to the SEC Championship Game, Georgia can't run the ball and Aaron Murray will try to do too much. Buckeye fans might want to pay special attention to LSU's offensive playcalling “for some reason”. LSU 34 – Georgia 20
Teams: #10 Oklahoma (9-2) at #3 Oklahoma State (10-1)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (ABC)
Cheer For: Oklahoma State
I have no idea. Oklahoma has won seven straight in this series, but Oklahoma State is at home and they're pretty good. Both teams have blown out teams that the other struggled against, so the transitive property is worth less in this game than any game ever. As a rule, in rivalry games that are evenly contested, I take the home team. Also, as a rule—a rule that I do not approve of—I'm usually wrong about stuff. I want to pick Oklahoma State, because they still have something to play for. I wonder, however, if all of the ESPN talk that the BCS National Championship Game is already settled will take them out of this game mentally. Dang, I was just getting ready to take the Sooners, but then I realized that the Pokes might use this game to show everybody that they belong with LSU. How can I go against that? Oklahoma State 41 – Oklahoma 38
ACC Championship Game (Charlotte, NC)
Teams: #5 Virginia Tech (11-1) vs. #20 Clemson (9-3)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (ESPN)
Cheer For: Virginia Tech
We're cheering for Virginia Tech because a win makes things a little more contentious at the top of the BCS heap. Plus, a Clemson loss might lower the price tag on Tigers offensive coordinator Chad Morris, which should interest Buckeye fans. Hokie quarterback Logan Thomas has been pretty darn good over the second half of the season, and Clemson's defense should allow him to continuing doing so. Except that Clemson has confidence against Virginia Tech, already defeating them 23-3 two months ago. Of course, that was a long time ago and the current Tigers team has lost three of four, and barely beat Wake Forest in that stretch. This looks like an obvious pick for Virginia Tech because of Clemson's standard November, and their Decembers aren't much different. Virginia Tech 34 – Clemson 23
Big Ten Championship Game (Indianapolis, IN)
Teams: #13 Michigan State (10-2) vs. #15 Wisconsin (10-2)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (FOX)
Cheer For: Michigan State
I'm not all that excited about this game. Even though it's a rematch of the game of the year, it's still boring Michigan State. Part of my lack of interest in this game is my irrational rationale that Wisconsin is going to beat the Spartans by about two touchdowns. Wisconsin outgained Michigan State in their first meeting, but lost the turnover battle 2-1. Playing in perfect conditions will help both teams, but it won't keep Kirk Cousin from throwing an errant pass or four. I'll take the better running game and the better quarterback. The Badger offensive line has to assert themselves and blast the Spartan front four early, and then Michigan State will quit. Wisconsin 28 – Michigan State 17
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