2021 Week 14 Preview

It’s here. Conference championship games galore are spread across the docket this weekend, as hardcore fans will be clamoring to watch as much action as possible. Seasons are on the line, so let’s get right into the madness by previewing all ten championship games.

Conference USA Championship (Boca Raton, FL) – North Texas @ Florida Atlantic

Scott- The two teams battling for Conference USA rolled through a majority of their season, before both hitting some speed bumps last week. FAU overcame a 1-3 start in non-conference play before winning 7 in a row in C-USA play. They then were tripped up by MTSU last weekend. North Texas has been perhaps the most pleasant surprise of 2021. With a 9-3 record, they’ve earned impressive wins over Mizzou, Marshall, and Liberty among others. UTSA defeated the Mean Green handily, last week, ruining UNT’s chance at home field in this spot. Instead, we have a rematch of 2017’s C-USA title game. Seth Littrell is still the head man in Denton, but Lane Kiffin is on to bigger and better things. FAU and Willie Taggart will try to make it a perfect 3-3 in C-USA Championships for the Owls, making it their third in six years. The Mean Green seem to be a team of destiny, and are looking for their first Conference USA title. I think the Owls’ defense will prove to be too stiff. Florida Atlantic 28, North Texas 20

Gavin- Florida Atlantic 35, North Texas 17

Pac-12 Championship (Las Vegas, NV) – #23 USC vs. #6 Washington

Scott- USC is back where they feel they belong, playing for championships. It might not be what they exactly want, but it may be a step in the right direction. SC has now won the South in back-to-back years, although 2021’s was much more impressive than the 2020 shortened campaign. They’ll head up to Vegas in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship in brand-new Allegiant Stadium. The Huskies will be playing in their third Pac-12 title game, winning the prior two in 2016 and 2018. The Huskies are red hot, winning 10 in a row, and are looking for an impressive win, along with some help, to perhaps get the Pac-12 back into the CFP, for the first time since this same Washington team made the top four in 2016. Give me the Huskies to keep on rolling. Washington 34, USC 27

Gavin- Washington 42, USC 21

Big XII Championship (Arlington, TX) – #7 Oklahoma vs. #4 Oklahoma State

Scott- We have a crazy circumstance in the Big XII title game this year. Just last week, the Cowboys defeated the hated Sooners in Stillwater to play themselves into the Big XII Championship, and also perhaps a real shot at making the CFP. OU will attempt to right the ship and maybe, just maybe get back into the playoff conversation. OK State has never, ever made it to the championship game in its conference, and not just the modern version. Even from the first version from 1996-2010, the Pokes could never break through. It’s more of the same for the Sooners, who have won the conference seven straight times. Also, in two versions of this title game, OU is 11-1. That speaks for itself. I think the moment might be a bit too big for Gundy’s team. Also, as an old adage says, it sure is hard to beat a good team twice. Oklahoma 41, Oklahoma State 24

Gavin- Oklahoma State 38, Oklahoma 35

MAC Championship (Detroit, MI) – Buffalo vs. Ball State

Scott- Similar to the game above, we have another rematch from just last week in the MAC. Buffalo has overcome a 1-2 start tremendously, ratting off nine straight victories, including last week’s 5-point win in Muncie. Speaking of rematches, Ball State beat the Bulls in the title game just last season. UB is looking for their first MAC title since 2008, when they played… you guessed it. Ball State. Whenever these teams make it to Motown, they play each other. I like Buffalo to enact revenge from last year, and keep Ball State from getting their own revenge. Buffalo 36, Ball State 23

Gavin- Buffalo 24, Ball State 14

Mountain West Championship (Air Force Academy, CO) – Fresno State @ #22 Air Force

Scott- Air Force is one of a select few 11-win teams in college football, and they’ve looked pretty strong as of late. This has been a dream season for the Falcons, as they’ve reached the MW Championship for just the second time. Fresno has been a regular in this spot to say the least. The Bulldogs are 2-2 in this game, with this being the 5th appearance in the 9-year history of the MW title game. The Dogs had a bit of a tough start, but won three in a row, and then found their way into the title game with some help. I think FSU can give this Air Force team a test, but I think the Falcons and the home field will be just a bit too much. Air Force 39, Fresno State 36

Gavin- Air Force 28, Fresno State 21

Sun Belt Championship (Troy, AL) – Arkansas State @ Troy

Scott- For once, we have a SBC title game without App State and Louisiana, although those teams were pretty close to getting here. Arkansas State sits at 5-7, and I have no idea if they’ll go bowling with a loss, so I’d advise them to go out and win. Troy will be huge favorites, coming out on top of a stacked East division, in large part due to an undefeated November and a 10-2 overall record. Having seen these two teams all year, there’s no reason to not pick the Trojans. Troy 37, Arkansas State 20

Gavin- Troy 31, Arkansas State 21

American Championship (Cincinnati, OH) – Tulane @ #14 Cincinnati

Scott- Three years, three straight AAC title berths for Luke Fickell’s Bearcats. Cincinnati was the big dog in the American all year long, and they put together a quality season, going 11-1. It’s no playoff, but this season is not a failure by any means. Should UC win, the New Year’s Six will come calling yet again. If the Bearcats are going to go back-to-back as AAC champs, they’ll have to get by a frisky Tulane team that got hot at the right time to outlast UCF, Memphis, and Houston to get to this title game. Back in late October, Tulane gave UC quite a scare on Halloween weekend, but ultimately falling to the then-undefeated Bearcats by a single point. I think Tulane matches up well with their run-heavy offense, but UC will emerge victorious, in large part to their raucous home crowd. Cincinnati 36, Tulane 30

Gavin- Cincinnati 41, Tulane 31

SEC Championship (Atlanta, GA) – #8 Georgia vs. #1 Texas A&M

Scott- From the moment Jimbo Fisher left Tallahassee for College Station, there have been plenty of critics pointing out his lack of high-end success, given his massive contract. A&M has finally taken that next step in 2021, going undefeated, and running through the SEC gauntlet. Georgia is back in Atlanta after a one-year absence and looking to maybe pull an upset and have a legit shot at becoming the first two-loss playoff team. These two defenses are littered with NFL talent, and they’ve been dominant all season long. While I really thing the Dawgs give the Aggies their toughest test yet, TAMU will outlast Georgia to get to 13-0 and the CFP. Texas A&M 24, Georgia 21

Gavin- Texas A&M 28, Georgia 24

ACC Championship (Charlotte, NC) – #11 North Carolina vs. #2 Clemson

Scott- It’s the same old story for Clemson, as the undefeated Tigers are going for their seventh straight ACC title, already a conference record. The Tigers have been one of the most dominant teams in the nation all season, and have seemed to lose their former label of choking in big games. The Heels, for the most part, have lived up to those lofty preseason expectations given to Mack Brown’s squad. UNC is 10-2, and seems to have recovered well after a brief 2-game blip in early November. Sam Howell leads this prolific UNC offense, which should really test Clemson’s defense, led by Brent Venables. The Heels have nice wins over Miami, Notre Dame, and NC State. However, they haven’t seen anything like Clemson. I’ll take the Tigers to win once again. Clemson 47, North Carolina 34

Gavin- Clemson 45, North Carolina 28

Big Ten Championship (Indianapolis, IN) – #3 Penn State vs. #21 Wisconsin

Scott- While we will see plenty of rematches this weekend, this one is a bit different. These two met in Madison all the way back in Week 1, where the Badgers thoroughly beat the tar out of Penn State, winning 30-5. Since then, this Nittany Lion team has hit a different gear, rattling off 11 straight wins, including victories over Auburn, Michigan, and Ohio State. PSU has played themselves into a great spot playoff-wise. They’re sitting at #3, and a win an in scenario seems very likely. Wisconsin has suffered quite a few setbacks along the way, so I wouldn’t quite say this is a vintage Badger team. However, at 9-3, they’re still playing well, and they’ve been hot as of late, winning four in a row, all by 13 or more points. If the Badgers have Penn State’s number, which I think they do, they will give the Nits fits. But, I think PSU is a completely different team then they were to start off 2021. James Franklin will win his second B1G title, again, over Wisconsin. Penn State 21, Wisconsin 17

Gavin- Penn State 31, Wisconsin 28

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