If you read this feature regularly, you know the drill. But just in case you’re new to the area, welcome to the Coastal Courier’s weekly college football pick-em contest, where pickers are competing to win a $2,500 vacation card and bragging rights.
Among the Coastal Courier’s VIPs participating are general manager Kathryn Fox, sponsor Tyler Arnold, advertising operations manager Lori McCampbell and good old absented-minded editor Jeff Whitten.
McCampbell (LM) and Whitten (JW) provide the incisive, engaging and expert commentary again this week.
And with that, here’s LM herself with a public service announcement for all players.
LM: The contest is not over! Regular season play has ended and now we move on to the College Bowl Games Challenge! The 2017 Bowl Games Start in 2½ weeks. Get registered, make your picks for each bowl game to win a Fathead and other great prizes from our affiliate. College Bowl Games Challenge contest starts Dec. 16 and will end Jan. 8. Go to coac.collegefootball.upickem.net to register!
JW: I don’t know what a Fathead is. Is it a motorcycle? My wife won’t let me have one. She thinks I’ll get run over.
LM: It’s conference championship week! There’s a lot at stake with conference championships this year.
Who is still in the mix?
It looks like the cards fell just right for Oklahoma and Wisconsin, but not so much for the Alabama Tide (insert sad face here ’Bama fans). If Ohio State beats Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship, will Alabama get the last CFP spot? Will it be a 10-2 Ohio State? An undefeated Wisconsin? Or an 11-1 Alabama team? It’s not entirely impossible for the Tide so ’Bama fans still have a tiny ounce of hope to cling to. There is no certainty, as we witnessed last Saturday when Auburn took down the number one ranked team for the second week in a row. Auburn seeks another victory in their SEC battle rematch with Georgia. If they dismantle Georgia the way they did the Alabama offensive line there will be mistakes. The question remains what will happen with or without Kerryon Johnson and Kam Martin?
JW: First, count me among those sad to see Alabama lose. Nick Saban’s grouchiness has grown on me, and I’ll always have fond memories of that time he said Georgia Southern ran through his defense like a certain something through a "tin horn."
Those were the days, my friends, we thought they’d never end.
That said, you’re right, LM. The Tide’s loss opens up a world of possibilities for schools outside the SEC. But as you note, Alabama could still find itself among the top four.
Now, I’m going to take a moment to go in a completely different direction here. Remember when Georgia Southern was winning national titles all over the place? I’m talking six, count ‘em, six I-AA national championships back when I-AA was real and not something they call FCS.
Well, the Eagles earned those titles on the field in that 16 team playoff that many of us still remember fondly. So why are only four teams allowed a shot at the College Football Playoffs?
I’ll tell you why. The "haves," namely the greedy, big-time football conferences, don’t want to share the glory or, more importantly, the revenue, with the rest of college football.
But just imagine a16 team playoff with the following teams: Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Clemson, Miami, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, TCU, Southern Cal, Stanford, Washington, Central Florida, Notre Dame and Memphis.
It would be bigger than Elvis.
Now, on to the conference championship picks.
LM: No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 10 TCU — Oklahoma wins. TCU can’t stop Baker Mayfield or the Sooners who are in hot pursuit of their third playoff berth in three years.
JW: TCU wins. My former J-school professor at Georgia Southern is director of student media at TCU now, and he’s a big Bobby Bare fan. You remember Bobby Bare, he sang "Detroit City" and "500 Miles."
Anyway, somehow that’ll add up to a TCU win.
You just wait.
LM: No. 4 Auburn vs. No. 6 Georgia — Auburn wins. Jarrett Stidham and his squad have hit their stride at exactly the right time. There will be pressure on Jake Fromm who lacks the mobility of Jalen Hurts which will force him to have to get rid of the ball quickly.
JW: As much as it pains me to say this, I just don’t see Auburn beating Georgia two times in three weeks. And it does pain me. I’m from South Carolina, and the only folks we want to beat more than Clemson are the Bulldogs. Right now we can’t beat either, but what’s that old saying? The sun doesn’t shine down on the same dog’s butt all the time? That’s the one. And it’s true, like most truisms.
However, the sun will shine down on UGA’s butt this weekend.
LM: No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 7 Miami — Clemson wins. This will be the toughest test for the Hurricanes this season. They are in control of their own destiny. Though it will be close, I don’t think they will have enough to take down the Tigers who seem more than prepared to defend their previous ACC and National Championship titles.
JW: As much as it pains me to say this, I agree. I don’t think Miami has the talent to beat Clemson yet. The Tigers’ have an NFL caliber defensive line, and it all starts up front. I do think the Hurricanes will keep it close, but that won’t matter in the end. Oh, and I’m from the Upstate, my sister went to Clemson and I’ve got cousins who wear orange overalls. Most of them also have orange tires, thanks to all that red mud. They’ll all be happy come Saturday night.
LM: No. 8 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Wisconsin — Wisconsin wins. This will be the most interesting conference championship game of the week as the Badgers first ranked rushing defense looks to shut down J.K. Dobbins putting the pressure on J.T. Barrett once again. A perfect game for Wisconsin means a perfect season. This may catapult them into the CFP spot they desperately seek. I can’t stand the suspense!
JW: In a perfect 2017 college football playoff world (since we don’t have a real playoff), Wisconsin will lose to Auburn in the championship game. That starts with Wisconsin beating the Urban Meyers in the Big 10 championship.
Note: We’re taking a break next week.