Hello, friends. It's a special week of football, as half of the 14 FBS games are conference championships, and others will play a direct role in determining conference champions. Additionally, they're all televised, so I'm previewing every single one of them.
Thursday and Friday game have been removed from this schedule, for your convenience.
|Noon ET||Louisiana Tech||Marshall||ESPN 2||espn.go.com/watchespn|
|Noon ET||Iowa State||No. 3 TCU||ABC||abc.go.com/watch-live|
|1 p.m. ET||Indiana State||Chattanooga||espn.go.com/watchespn|
|1 p.m. ET||Richmond||Coastal Carolina||espn.go.com/watchespn|
|1 p.m. ET||Fordham||New Hampshire||espn.go.com/watchespn|
|2 p.m. ET||Northern Iowa||Illinois State||espn.go.com/watchespn|
|2 p.m. ET||Sam Houston State||Jacksonville State||espn.go.com/watchespn|
|3:30 p.m. ET||Oklahoma State||No. 20 Oklahoma||FS1||foxsports.com/foxsportsgo|
|3:30 p.m. ET||South Dakota State||North Dakota State||espn.go.com/watchespn|
|4 p.m. ET||No. 1 Alabama||No. 16 Missouri||CBS||cbssports.com|
|4 p.m. ET||Alcorn State||Southern||ESPN U||espn.go.com/watchespn|
|4:30 p.m. ET||Liberty||Villanova||espn.go.com/watchespn|
|4:35 p.m. ET||Montana||Eastern Washington||espn.go.com/watchespn|
|7:30 p.m. ET||Temple||Tulane||ESPN 2||espn.go.com/watchespn|
|7:45 p.m. ET||No. 9 Kansas State||No. 6 Baylor||ESPN||espn.go.com/watchespn|
|7:45 p.m. ET||No. 4 Florida State||No. 11 Georgia Tech||ABC||espn.go.com/watchespn|
|8:17 p.m. ET||No. 13 Wisconsin||No. 5 Ohio State||FOX||foxsports.com/foxsportsgo|
|10 p.m. ET||Fresno State||No. 22 Boise State||CBS||cbssports.com|
Best option: Iowa State at No. 3 TCU
This is the biggest mismatch of the weekend. With Mississippi State going down, TCU might have an avenue into the Playoff, but it's going to need to spank ISU by about as much as Vegas figures (and even then, a loss by Ohio State would be welcome). Nobody's catching Mariota in the Heisman race, but a huge finale performance by Trevone Boykin might get him a spot in New York. As for Iowa State, Paul Rhoads' seat is getting a little toasty, and while a winless Big 12 season looks like an inevitability, some show of competitiveness would help his case for continued employment.
Plan B: Louisiana Tech at Marshall
Marshall was knocked out of the ranks of the unbeaten in Week 14 after a ridiculous, 67-66 overtime loss to Western Kentucky. Now it faces a tough challenge for the C-USA title against fellow fireworks factory Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs just hung 76 points on Rice to clinch the C-USA West, so the message to Marshall is clear: Tech is ready for a shootout.
Keep it in mind: Cincinnati at Houston
Tommy Tuberville continues his solid work at Cincinnati, as the Bearcats are one win away from a share of the AAC title and their second nine-win season in as many years. Houston's no slouch, even as the Cougar offense is operating at a lower level than in years past (Case Keenum's not walking through that door!), and a win gives UH a share of second place in the conference.
In case of emergency: SMU at UConn
Best option: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 16 Missouri at Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
After finding itself out of the CFP top four as recently as Week 12, Bama is one win away from waltzing into the Playoff, likely as the top seed. Missouri was a rather unlikely entrant into this game, even as the defending SEC East champion, but the Tigers took care of business when nobody else in the East would. This isn't a lock for the Tide, and if Missouri pulls off the upset, it'll be absolute chaos as the SEC will be entirely out of the first Playoff.
Plan B: Oklahoma State at No. 20 Oklahoma
Oklahoma's second half of the season has been underwhelming, but Oklahoma State has fallen off a cliff with five straight losses after a 5-1 start. Still, the Bedlam Series usually lives up to its name, and Oklahoma tailback Samaje Perine is coming off an FBS record-breaking performance against Kansas with 427 yards rushing. Both will be eager to salvage something from their seasons.
Best option: No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 11 Georgia Tech at Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte
Fans hoping for FSU's increasingly tenuous winning streak to be broken just may get their wish. Georgia Tech brings its devastating option attack and surprisingly stout defense to the ACC Championship. Jameis Winston has been just above-average as a quarterback most of the year, but when the Seminoles have needed a drive, Winston has been on the money, as has freshman tailback Dalvin Cook, a monster of a runner, especially as the game wears on. Still, the middling performances of weeks past won't cut it with a quality opponent like Tech, and if FSU takes its option prep lightly, the Yellow Jackets just might run the Seminoles right off the field.
Oh, who am I kidding, FSU's going to win by four.
Plan B: No. 6 Ohio State vs. No. 14 Wisconsin at Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
This takes on a different tone after Ohio State lost J.T. Barrett, one of the best quarterbacks in the nation, to a severe ankle injury in the fourth quarter of last week's victory over Michigan. Cardale Jones has the full faith of the OSU coaching staff, and if he shines in the Big Ten Championship, there'll be no reason for the Playoff committee to discount the Buckeyes. Let's also not forget that Wisconsin has hit its stride in the second half of the season, winning seven straight after a bizarre loss to Northwestern and featuring the nation's best running back, Melvin Gordon III. This should be an epic fight, and (sorry, Michigan State) a matchup of the two best programs in the Big Ten.
Keep it in mind: No. 12 Kansas State at No. 7 Baylor
The committee hasn't gone for the "Baylor over TCU based on head-to-head" argument, so unless TCU flops in Fort Worth, this might not be for a whole lot other than a co-championship. Still, at least Baylor and KSU are jockeying for a January 1 bowl, and this is the stage to make the case. Baylor's still waiting on word on Bryce Petty's status; he was knocked out of last week's win over Texas Tech with a mild concussion, and if he can't go, the Bears will be limited.
In case of emergency: Fresno State at No. 25 Boise State
The Mountain West is up for grabs, and fittingly it kicks off late. It'll be weird to see this game take place without Colorado State participating, after the Rams spent part of the season looking like the class of the non-powers, but Air Force's last-second field goal doomed CSU while Boise took care of business Saturday. Bryan Harsin's Broncos are a lot of fun to watch, and if Fresno keeps the game close, we could be in for a treat.
Under no circumstances: Temple at Tulane
Guys, come on. Not tonight. No.