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Big Ten Championship: Wisconsin vs Michigan State
The Badgers finished the regular season with only eight turnovers in 12 games. Quarterback Russell Wilson threw three of the team's four interceptions. Two of his picks were thrown in the Michigan State game.
Even with a pair of extra possessions (on which zero points were scored), it took a Kirk Cousins' Hail Mary tipped pass for the Spartans to win the first meeting in East Lansing.
The final score on that late October day was 37-31; far from the defensive affair the stats would suggest.
As it stands then and now, the Badgers and Spartans possess two of the top scoring defenses in the country. Wisconsin finished the regular season fourth in the country at 15.2 points allowed per game and MSU finished sixth at 15.4 points allowed.
The key for the Spartans in the inaugural Big Ten Championship game in Indianapolis will be to contain Montee Ball. The Badgers running back has scored 34 touchdowns (29 rushing, five receiving) and rushed for over 1,600 yards.
He's scored multiple touchdowns in every game this season.
The Badgers must put some pressure on Kirk Cousins, who finished 22-of-31 for 290 yards with three touchdowns in their first meeting. If Wisconsin can force a few turnovers and Wilson can lead the offense a few early scores, the Badgers should roll.
Remember, Wisconsin blew a 14-0 lead the first time around, something coach Brett Bielema can't let happen again if he wants to smell the roses.
Using our college football simulation engine, we simulated the Big Ten Championship 101 times and it's the Badgers winning 67.3 percent of the time by an average score of 33-27.
Pac-12 Championship: Oregon vs UCLA
UCLA should send USC a nice fruit basket this holiday season.
Thanks to NCAA sanctions, the 10-2 Trojans are ineligible for postseason play this year, including the conference title game. This has allowed the 6-6 Bruins—fresh off a 50-0 beatdown at the hands of their rival—to back their way into the inaugural Pac-12 Championship against the Ducks.
Statistically speaking, this matchup is so one-sided it's hard to make a case for the Bruins. Their offense finished the regular season 88th (out of 120) in scoring and 87th in scoring defense. Their rush defense allows 5.0 yards per carry, while Oregon averages 6.5 yards per carry—tops in the country.
UCLA's best shot at competing in this game is to engineer loooooong drives to milk the clock and hand the Ducks as few possessions as possible. If they fail to control the clock, Oregon will run their way into the BCS.
Fun fact: A loss by the Bruins would drop them to 6-7 and ineligible for a bowl bid because of their losing record.
We simulated the Bruins and Ducks 101 times and it's Oregon winning 80.2 percent of the time by an average score of 36-22.
|College Football Week 14|
|Virginia Tech Hokies||57.4||27||Boxscore|
|@ Pittsburgh Panthers||71.3||25|
|@ Cincinnati Bearcats||50.5||25|
|West Virginia Mountaineers||75.2||32||Boxscore|
|@ South Florida Bulls||24.8||23|
|Michigan State Spartans||32.7||27|
|Northern Illinois Huskies||62.4||32|
|@ Oregon Ducks||80.2||36|
|@ Nevada Wolf Pack||83.2||30|
|Utah State Aggies||70.3||30||Boxscore|
|@ New Mexico State Aggies||29.7||23|
|Brigham Young Cougars||76.2||33||Boxscore|
|@ Hawaii Warriors||23.8||21|
|Iowa State Cyclones||30.7||24||Boxscore|
|@ Kansas State Wildcats||69.3||32|
|@ Baylor Bears||58.4||29|
|@ Oklahoma State Cowboys||44.1||30|
|Southern Miss Golden Eagles||35.6||37||Boxscore|
|@ Houston Cougars||64.4||42|
|@ TCU Horned Frogs||95.0||46|
|New Mexico Lobos||5.0||9||Boxscore|
|@ Boise State Broncos||95.0||50|
|Fresno State Bulldogs||29.7||24||Boxscore|
|@ San Diego State Aztecs||70.3||30|
|@ Colorado State Rams||36.6||22|
|@ Arkansas State Red Wolves||55.4||28|
|Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders||54.5||26||Boxscore|
|@ North Texas Mean Green||45.5||25|
|@ Florida Atlantic Owls||19.8||19|