It’s that time of year again: A handful of college football conferences have their conference title games this week, and the biggest of them all has national championship game implications:
1) South Carolina vs. Auburn: The SEC title game has often been called a “national semifinal” game by SEC fans. While this isn’t exactly true this season, what with the SEC East being horrible and everything, the Tigers are a lock for the championship game if they top the Gamecocks–they might even get in if they lose, but Steve Spurrier’s bunch won’t just roll over for the coronation; they led Auburn 27-21 heading into the fourth quarter when the two teams met in September. An eligible Cam Newton, however, hasn’t been stopped yet, so the Tigers have to be the favorite.
2) Oklahoma vs. Nebraska: The Cornhuskers farewell to the Big 12 hasn’t gone quite as planned; in fact, both teams might be disappointed that they don’t have title aspirations. Oklahoma had been #1 prior to a loss at Missouri and Nebraska had climbed to five before succumbing to Texas, but the winner of this game still gets a lucrative BCS bid, while the loser will likely get a lower tier bowl. Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez is iffy for the game, and his presence is going to go a long way towards determining if his team can hang with the Sooners.
3) Virginia Tech vs. Florida State— 10 years ago, this game would have been epic. Now, it’s only moderately entertaining, but there are questions on both sides. Are the Hokies really legit or is their climb to the top the product of a watered-down ACC? Is a Florida State team that lost by 30 to Oklahoma really going to go to a BCS game?