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WATCHING COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Championship Week 2019

Not too bad.

I started this column because I had the same problem many of you experience: too much college football, no idea what’ll be worth watching. So every week, I would look at all the games out there and write down my own little personal schedule. Then I thought, “hey, I bet other people have this issue too!”

I hope you’ve enjoyed it this year. I really do.

But the problem facing you this week, intrepid college football viewer, is less “is there anything good on” and more “there’s very little on and ALL OF IT IS GOOD.” I would call this a blessing, but we only have the championships and the bowls yet to play before college football is (again) gone for seven months. Sad face.

Still, we shall soldier on! Below I’ve laid out the best championship games. I’ll briefly touch on the stakes inherent in each one, but if you want a more detailed data-driven analysis of the College Football Playoff race right now, might I suggest this Twitter thread I made.

And hey, while you’re there, please give me a follow! I’ll be tweeting on Saturday as much as I can, updating the Playoff Eliminator until we reach its final prediction. On Monday, in the aftermath of bowl selection, I’ll give the Tier Rankings one last regular-season update. And then it’s on to bowl season, where the format of this column changes eeeeeeeeeever so slightly. Don’t worry, I’ll explain when the time comes.

Two more things: your team goes on the Big Screen if they’re playing, regardless of what I say, and all times are in God’s Time Zone (CST).


FRIDAY

The only big game on is Utah vs. Oregon (7p, ABC), the PAC-12’s championship tilt. The Ducks can play spoiler by knocking off the Utes and securing a Rose Bowl spot, sending trendy Playoff pick Utah tumbling to the (gasp) Alamo Bowl. And given the lackluster schedule Utah’s dealt with, that’s likelier than you think. Expect a close game.

SATURDAY

MORNING

Big Screen: Oklahoma vs. Baylor (11a, ABC) gets way more interesting if Utah falls the night before. At that point, it’s practically a Playoff play-in (unless Georgia beats LSU and Clemson/Ohio State win). Vegas, as usual, is massively undervaluing the Bears. Their defense gave OU fits for about half the game when they met during the regular season, and with a likely more proficient offense, Baylor can certainly challenge the Sooners if they can contain Jalen Hurts.

AFTERNOON

Big Screen: LSU vs. Georgia (3p, CBS) has less stakes than you might think. The Tigers are in the Playoff no matter what they do here. For Georgia, this game is the difference between a shot at the title and a (still excellent) Sugar Bowl berth. Regardless, it should be a showcase. Georgia’s excelled at dragging teams down to their sloggy level all year. Can they do it with Joe Burrow and throw a last-minute wrench in his Heisman campaign?

Second Screen: Memphis vs. Cincinnati (2:30p, ABC) is probably the most fun Group of 5 championship showdown. These American Conference teams met literally last week. So you might say they’re very familiar with each other by now.

Watch the Score: Boise State vs. Hawaii (3p, ESPN)

NIGHT

Big Screen: Ohio State vs. Wisconsin (7p, FOX) may be good! But probably not. Given what the Buckeyes have done to opponents this year, I almost feel sorry that the Badgers have hope they can stop Justin Fields and his merry wrecking crew. But who knows! Maybe their defense holds the line and Jonathan Taylor bowls over the Ohio State front seven. Somehow I doubt it. But maybe! Regardless, Ohio State will make the Playoff.

Second Screen: Clemson vs. Virginia (6:30p, ABC) only gets interesting stakes-wise if the Cavs pull off the near-impossible and challenge the Tigers, who are likely to breeze into the Playoff on their exceptionally lackluster undefeated record. Sure, they’ve beaten who they had to, but the teams they had to beat were invariably blah to bad. Virginia is slightly above blah. Expect carnage.


Thanks for reading! Feel free to follow me here, and happy watching!

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