Championship week...and Smith's Picks editor Wann Smith previews Championship week.

My, how the worm has turned. This weekend we'll be entertained by a Big 12 Championship game that features neither Oklahoma or Nebraska, two teams which held the deed to the Big 8 (12) for the better part of the past thirty-six years.

But despite the reshuffling of power in the Big 12, the end result promises to be the same as last year which featured the B12S champ, Oklahoma, flailing away at a clueless Colorado team. Barnett has stated that he was so depressed after his team went belly-up against the Huskers that he didn't even watch the Iowa State-Kansas game last weekend – a game that controlled the fate of his Beefaloes. So, instead of sucking it up and moving forward in a positive fashion as an example to his team, Gary sequestered himself in his office much like Hitler in the bunker during the last days of WWII. But unlike Hitler in Berlin, Gary emerged from his bunker with a first-class ticket to Houston's Reliant Stadium to face the Longhorns. Whether that will prove to be a blessing or a curse remains to be seen.

Other anomalies across the board this Saturday will be an ACC contest without Miami and a Conference USA team with Tulsa.

Rod Serling couldn't have conjured up a better plot.

The Picks

Saturday, December 3rd

Navy (-6 ½) vs. Army at Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia
Who will be watching this game? Only gamblers and retired Chief Petty Officers.
Navy by 14

UCLA at USC (-21)
Given Southern Cal's lackadaisical approach to its games this season (an approach which has led them to the brink of defeat on three separate occasions) it doesn't take a wizard to arrive at this formula: USC + a complacent Leinart + the longest winning streak in the nation – a motivated and talented UCLA = …
Trojans by 10

Big 12 Championship Game
Texas (-28) vs. Colorado at Reliant Stadium, Houston
Since this is a championship game, the tendency here is to take the points and run. But there are several reasons why you shouldn't do that. Barnett (as detailed above) is about as optimistic of Colorado's chances to win as a shi'ite prayer rug salesman in Tel Aviv. His inability to coach competently in last year's B12C combined with the current slump the Beefaloes are in could amount to one whale of a Texas stampede this weekend. Only the generosity (or carelessness) of Mack Brown will prevent this one from getting very ugly very fast.
Texas by 35

SEC Championship Game
LSU (- 1 ½) vs. Georgia at Georgia Dome, Atlanta
This will be a dream game for the fans of both schools. Both Georgia and LSU are solid on both sides of the ball, both play well on the road and at home and both are well coached. Down to the wire on this one.
Georgia by 3

Conference USA Championship Game
Tulsa vs. UCF (-2)
O'Leary vs. Kragthorpe…sounds a little like a boxing match in Belfast, doesn't it? Anyway, both coaches have done so well this season that Kragthorpe will soon follow the University of Tulsa head-coaching tradition of hopping on the coach's underground railroad en route to a better job and O'Leary's thinking about adding a Master's Degree in Sports Medicine from Notre Dame to his resume.
UCF by 4

ACC Championship Game
Virginia Tech (-14) vs. Florida State at Alltel Stadium, Jacksonville
It isn't often that we've seen Bowden the Elder with his back to the wall but after three consecutive losses wherein his Cinnamon Roles have been outscored 89-36, that's where he is at the moment. The past three games have been surprising not so much because FSU has lost, but rather the way they've lost; the rock-solid defense has been shanghaied for almost 30 points an outing. Have to think Bowden will shore ‘em up for the championship game.
VT by 13


Wann Smith has served two years as national columnist for the Pigskin Post, contributed to the College Football News (a contributor to Fox Sports and the Sporting News) and is currently the editor of the College Football Gazette. Smith lives in St. Louis with his family.

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College Football Gazette

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