Legend vs. Icon: Championship Week Picks
The Ultimate Showdown: Legend vs. Icon (Lisa Horne vs. Ron Johnson)
Well, it's come down to this. The biggest name in college football sportswriting, Lisa Horne, takes on the biggest name in professional wrestling sportswriting, Ron Johnson.
Two of the biggest names on The Bleacher Report have finally decided to lock horns, and this weekend, they have their first official showdown for college football supremacy.
Can Horne continue her dominance in the college football ranks? Or will Johnson prove that even the pro wrestling section can deliver a Stone Cold Stunner of their own?
Let’s get to the picks, shall we?
MAC Championship (Buffalo vs. Ball State)
I like both of these teams, but I have been more impressed with Turner Gill's slow improvement of the Bulls. Brady Hoke really hasn't "been there" yet, and although he deserves all the accolades for his undefeated season, I am betting Gill outcoaches him in this MAC Championship.
Taking Buffalo is crazy, I know, but it's a gut feeling. I am betting on Ball State thinking they can just show up and mail in the game against the 7-5 Bulls.
Final score: Buffalo 38, Ball State 36
Buffalo has been under the radar all season long. And because of them being under the radar, they have managed to slide right into the path of an ongoing semi known as Ball State. Buffalo is pretty good, but they want to be better than good...they want to be champions. This weekend, they have a chance to win the big one of the MAC Conference and hand the Cardinals their first loss.
But the Cardinals are tough this season. Ball State has had some close calls, but they have been practically unstoppable this season. Thanks to a play to the end attitude, they have a chance to finish off their perfect season with a MAC Championship under their belt. But to do that, they have to beat a team that is looking for a shootout. This weekend, both teams will do what many of us want them to do: Leave it all out on the field.
In the end, Ball State will stave off the intensity of Buffalo and win the MAC. It may not lead to a BCS Championship Game appearance, but for the Cardinals, it will finally silence those yahoos in Bristol who refuse to give them any credit. Watch closely, ESPN. You might enjoy what you see.
Final Score: Ball State 37, Buffalo 30
Battle For the Victory Bell/Pac-10 Championship (USC vs. UCLA)
This is one of those games that is always scary for the Trojans- remember two years ago? Clearly, UCLA is in rebuilding mode, and USC is in BCS Bowl mode.
The Bruins' O-line is not very good- their rushing game stinks (No. 117) and their pass protection is poor (ranked No. 113 in giving up sacks and averaging over 3 per game). Craft will have to pass a lot, and that will play right into the hands of Cushing and Maualuga in the box, and Mays lurking in the secondary.
Blitzing would soften up the O-line even more and help achieve two things; one, the O-line will wear down, and two, it will demoralize them and cause turnovers.
The Trojans offensive plan is also fairly easy: Run the ball often to wear down the D line, and expect Sanchez to pump fake on a few throws to freeze the pass defenders and then go long for a quick score. I would think the Trojans would go for the jugular early, get up big early, then let their defense take over the game as the Bruins try to play catch-up.
The Trojans' D is best in the country and I don't expect the Bruins to find the endzone in the entire game, but they may kick a couple of FGs to erase a shut-out.
Final score: USC 42, UCLA 6 (two FGs)
The Trojans have had a rather interesting season. They were on track to win yet another Pac-10 Championship and possibly an appearance in the BCS Championship Game. But after losing to Oregon State, their hopes went up in smoke.
That is, until Oregon stopped the momentum of the Beavers. Now they have a chance to win the conference outright with a victory over the team that loves to play spoiler in their annual Victory Bell Game.
Now UCLA just plain stinks. The Bruins are 4-7, hanging out in the basement along with the entire state of Washington and quite honestly have nothing to really smile about. But every year, they seem to give their crosstown rivals a severe headache. Is it possible for them to do that to the Trojans all over again?
Could the Bruins play spoiler to the team that could win the Pac-10 title by beating them? It would seriously boost the psyche of the Bruins to pull off a win against the team that is already being dubbed the 2008 Pac-10 Champions and trying to play in the same stadium where the Victory Bell Game will take place this weekend.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that it will happen. But a few years ago, the Bruins cost the Trojans a shot at the BCS Championship (while Florida was winning the SEC and the BCS nod). Is there a chance for deja vu to happen this weekend? Anything is possible on any given day. The Trojans may win this game...but don't be surprised if Mark Sanchez has the same problems with the Bruins as Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart had in the past.
Final Score: USC 30, UCLA 13
ACC Championship (Virginia Tech vs. Boston College)
I'm going to get right to the point here- nobody in the ACC deserves to go to the Orange Bowl, just like the Big East champs don't deserve to go over a team like Texas Tech or Texas to a BCS Bowl. It's nothing personal, it's just these conferences are a step below the Big Ten and Pac-10, which is kind of scary, since both of those conferences under-achieved as well this year.
OK, so the ACC has more parity, and these two teams are still good, but not very good. VA Tech has already lost to B.C. once, and although it's difficult to beat the same team twice in one year, if Oklahoma beat Mizzou twice last year, why can't BC do the same to the Hokies?
The Hokies' issues have not been resolved - QB play and special teams - and that's the reason why I have no faith in them beating BC. I still can't get past them beating Duke 14-3 and Furman 24-7. On the flip side, the Eagles' loss to Clemson is pretty sad too. Both offenses are putrid in scoring offense - BC No. 93, VT No. 103 - so expect a low-scoring game. Wake me when it's over.
Final Score: Boston College 23, Virginia Tech 20
We all know the story of Virginia Tech. A couple of years ago, this school suffered tragedy in the form of a school shooting. That following fall, the Hokies were just going through the motions of the season. After surviving a slugfest with Virginia, Tech now has earned the right to play for the ACC Championship this weekend.
Last season, they wanted to end the tumultuous season on a higher note. But now, they are ready and willing to go through hell to win the ACC and a shot at BCS glory. Now how good would that be for the Hokies? Just ask the school that proved that anyone can overcome adversity.
Standing in their way is the Boston College Eagles. The Eagles are heading to the ACC Championship for the second time, and they're hoping that they earn the right to play in a BCS Bowl. What can be said about the ACC except that it was just as big of a Land of Confusion as the Big XII South. But with two evenly matched teams, who do you pull for in this story? The team on a mission or the team looking for a clean slate?
In fairness, Virginia Tech is a feel good story. But even they know what's coming this weekend. And BC already owns a victory this season over VT. With that said, I believe that lightning will strike twice. The Eagles win this one in a fired up battle. Anyone in the mood for another ACC Slugfest?
Final Score: Boston College 30, Virginia Tech 24
Big XII Championship (Missouri vs. Oklahoma)
This one is a head scratcher. On paper, the Sooners should kill the Tigers. But this is Oklahoma, the Big 12's biggest head case when it somes to winning big games. Moreover, they don't deserve to be here, Texas does. But it is what it is, and now I have to pick a winner.
Mizzou's rushing D is not very good, and come to think of it, neither is their passing D. But then again, Oklahoma's pass D stinks too. (OU is No.99, Mizzou is No. 117) Mizzou is ranked No. 26 against the run, and Oklahoma is ranked No. 19. So far, almost a statistical tie in terms of D- Missouri is ranked No. 58 in total scoring defense, OU is ranked No. 60.
I'm a stats girl- they tell a big story. So if both teams have pretty average D, the offense will be the true unit that separates the men from the boys. It really comes down to Bradford vs. Daniel.
Daniel may have revenge on his mind, and would love a shot at the Fiesta Bowl, while the Sooners always go to a BCS Bowl then tank it on National TV. I'm going with Mizzou in a squeaker. Sometimes, Texas justice has a way of sneaking into a game and spoiling the other team's aspirations.
Final Score: Mizzou 59, Oklahoma 58
The Missouri Tigers have not been the same team they were last season. Last year, they had a chance to play for the BCS National Championship, but they coughed it up to Oklahoma. They let the thought of playing the juggernauts known as the Sooners get into their heads, and because of that, they lost a heartbreaker in last year's Big XII Championship Game. Now they get a second chance to do the unthinkable.
But this year's Sooners just picked up where they left off last season. The only difference now is that they have a chance to win the Big XII and go to the BCS for a showdown with the SEC. But to do that, they have to get past a distraught Missouri Tigers team. Because of the severity of this game, everything has to be said right.
In other words: Oklahoma must have friends in high places to get the chance to play for the Big XII Title over the team that beat them earlier this year.
And even though there are those who are smelling the obvious screwjob (about 95% of America to be exact), Oklahoma will win the Big XII Championship and go on to Miami (even though most of us know they don't deserve it) to play for the BCS Championship against either Alabama or Florida.
I know it sucks and it's sad...but it's true. Unless the Two Colombia Chases can pull off an upset in Kansas City, Sam Bradford is going to get his ultimate chance to shine.
Final Score: Oklahoma 63, Missouri 34
SEC Championship (Alabama vs. Florida)
It's a little concerning regarding Percy Harvin's status, but then again, I don't think it will matter. Alabama is a good team; you don't go 12-0 without having good talent and good coaching. But part of Alabama's problem is that they don't have nearly the quarterback as Florida, and they really don't have the offensive weapons to keep up with the Gators.
Alabama's SOS is No. 73, and when you look at some of the close calls they have had (Kentucky, LSU), it doesn't add up. Yes, Florida slipped up against Ole Miss, but that was a fluke. The Gators laid 61 points on Kentucky, and 51 on LSU. They have been consistently smoking their opponents, while Bama has just done enough to win against some very average teams.
Final Score: Florida 51, Alabama 32
Alabama is #1 in the country because they're undefeated. That's plain and simple. They've had a few bumps on their road to the perfect season and have had a few nailbiters along the way. But they survived the onslaught and anarchy, and now they have a chance to lay claim to the SEC Championship for the first time in over a decade.
But in order for Nick Saban's dream of another BCS Championship and SEC Championship to come true, he has to take down the one team that is out for blood and revenge on him.
How will Bama's dreams of the perfect season come to an end? Two words: Tim Tebow. The Superman of college football has made it his business to take down the best teams in the country. Since the loss to Ole Miss, Florida has scored 40 points or more in every single game. Since the Ole Miss loss, Florida has looked more dangerous than ever.
Since the Ole Miss loss, Florida has been the team to beat in the SEC as well as the country. But now they got a chance to do more this weekend. They have a chance to not only win the SEC Championship, but also clinch a spot in the BCS Championship Game.
Here's what we know about this game: the winner is guaranteed a spot in the BCS Championship Game in Miami. But here is what is not known: Can anyone stop either of these teams? I have the answer: Both can stop each other.
This is a dream matchup of yesteryear with a new school flavor. The Gators remember all the times that Saban shocked them while he was at the helm of the LSU Tigers.
Now the Gators have a chance at sweet redemption by not only shocking the Crimson Tide in Atlanta, but also crushing their hopes of a BCS Appearance all the while securing one for themselves.
Now it's obvious that Lisa and I will disagree on some things, but neither of us disagree on the possibility that Alabama could win this game. But the Gators showed that even without Percy Harvin on the field, they're just as dangerous.
And that spells bad news for Saban's Tide...especially with the SEC & BCS Championships on the line.
Final Score: Florida 49, Alabama 31
Total Cost of Moves: $33.50
Prospects Traded: Fernando Martinez, Brad Holt, Ruben Tejada, Nick Evans, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Jeurys Familia
With the remaining $1.5 million, paint those green seats blue. Although green may be the most important color to the team's owners, the real die hard Mets fans know the team's colors are blue and orange.
No matter which way you look at it, the BCS will have some serious explaining to do when the season is officially over. With several teams feeling the pinch of the BCS (Texas, Boise State, Utah, Ball State) and several teams having a little faith on their side (Alabama, Florida, USC), it's clear that the only team that is benefiting from the aftermath of last week's BCS Standings is the one team that shouldn't even be in the conversation: Oklahoma.
So while Miss Horne is making herself famous by taking a little voyage to Kansas City, Mr. Johnson is heading to Atlanta to watch history be made once again.
Hope you enjoyed this. I'll see all of you in Hot-Lanta.