It’s Title Time in College Football
It's championship Saturday with four conference titles on the line.
Top-ranked Alabama plays 14th-ranked Missouri in the SEC championship game. Alabama is a win away from making the first College Football Playoffs. The Tide still could be among the top four teams even with a loss but doesn't want to leave that to chance. The Tigers are seeking their first conference title since sharing the Big 8 championship with Nebraska in 1969. The coaches are very familiar with each other: Alabama coach Nick Saban and Missouri's Gary Pinkel were teammates on the 1972 Kent State team that won the Mid-American Conference championship
In other conference championship games today:
— Second-ranked Florida State takes on No. 12 Georgia Tech in the ACC championship. Florida State is trying to win its 29th straight game, but some close calls along the way have caused the Seminoles to be ranked just No. 4 in the College Football Playoff ratings. A loss to the Yellow Jackets could knock them out of playoff consideration. The Seminoles are seeking their third straight ACC Championship win, including their second over Georgia Tech.
— In the Big Ten title game, sixth-ranked Ohio State puts its 11-1 record on the line against 10-2 Wisconsin, which is No. 11 in the AP rankings. The Big Ten's long shot hope of making the College Football Playoff likely rests solely with the one-loss Buckeyes, not the two-loss Badgers. But there's no assurance Ohio State would get one of the coveted four playoff spots even with a win. Wisconsin is chasing its fourth Big Ten title in five years.
— Finally tonight, 22nd-ranked Boise State is a whopping 20-point favorite on its familiar home blue turf against 6-6 Fresno State in the Mountain West championship. Boise State can assure its spot in one of the major bowls with a victory over the Bulldogs — likely a trip to the Fiesta Bowl. Boise State already has beaten Fresno State 37-27 in Boise back in October. Jay Ajayi (uh-JAH'-ee), who ran for 229 yards and five TDs last Saturday against Utah State, rushed for 158 yards and two scores against Fresno State in October.
There are three other games involving ranked teams hoping to crack college football's first playoff:
— Fourth-ranked TCU, which is No. 3 in the College Football Playoff rankings, is a whopping 34-point favorite over 2-9 Iowa State, which has lost five in a row. The Horned Frogs are assured a share of the Big 12 championship with Baylor or Kansas State with a win. TCU has scored at least 30 points in 13 straight games.
— No. 5 Baylor, which is sixth in the College Football Playoff standings, is home against ninth-ranked Kansas State. It's Baylor's nation's best offense averaging 581 yards and 49.8 points a game against K-State's defense, which is ranked No. 1 in the Big 12. The winner is assured a share of the Big 12 championship, with Baylor trying to defend its only title after Kansas State was the 2012 co-champion. Baylor got a boost late yesterday when QB Bryce Petty was medically cleared to play after going through concussion protocol all week after getting knocked out of the last game.
— No. 18 Oklahoma takes on 5-6 Oklahoma State in the annual Bedlam game. The 8-3 Sooners have had a disappointing season based on preseason expectations and can't afford to lose a Bedlam matchup against a reeling Oklahoma State squad. Oklahoma State, which started the season with a close loss to Florida State and was ranked early in the season, needs a win to become bowl eligible for the ninth straight year.