It feels like yesterday that I cracked open LSU football dot net for the first time all year and translate the Week Zero games into Excel format. People were excited about a boxing match that week! How crazy is that?
And now all of a sudden, here I am writing the very last How To Football for the year and possible ever. It’s hard to say for sure, really.
The last proper GameDay of the season is being brought to you live at the ACC Championship/Playoff Play-In Game between Miami and Clemson.
This is the last full Saturday until bowl season begins on the other side of the Army/Navy game. Soak it all up.
PAC-12 At A Reasonable Hour Shift
The PAC-12 has officially scared the MAC away from a Friday night championship game, which totally sucks. It sucks even more given that USC and Stanford aren’t really playing for anything, even a Rose Bowl berth since it’s a Playoff bowl this year. Winner goes to the Fiesta, which is a NY6 Bowl, but it’s not the same, y’know?
Also, the two teams are very Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde-y. Stanford got upset by San Diego State and barely escaped Corvallis with a 15-14 over one of the worst Beaver teams in recent history (which is saying something) but they also dropped a 49-7 whipping upon Oregon and rocked Washington after falling to post-fever dream Washington State. Really, their entire schedule has been a coinflip between good and terrible all the way down.
USC has been less wild, but still very erratic: they got thumped by Notre Dame and upset by Washington State, and have had a few close calls down the line.
Oh, and the Trojans palindrome’d the Cardinal in week two with a 42-24 victory. That usually works out well.
The Unfaithfully Departed Shift
Welp, it’s a shame that the American Conference Championship Game won’t be worth anything besides a NY6 Bowl, because Memphis and UCF are a combined 21-1 on the season. It sucks even more that both head coaches are likely bolting for greener pastures after this game is finished. Here’s to hoping we get one final banger out of this game, which is highly possible.
That game lives in the shadow of the revived Big 12 Title Game, which is totally necessary and a pissed off Gary Patterson won’t screw the conference out of a potential national champion at all. Nope, not here. No siree.
The MACtion Finale will be played at noon Saturday, which is so stupid and dumb and pretty much the worst thing ever and the thing I hate the most in the world. The C-USA also has their conference championship game between North Texas and FAU at noon to really crowd the shift.
And that leaves ULM-Florida State as far as notable games in the kickoff portion of the noon shift. For reasons unimaginable, you can get into that game for four (4) US American dollars. If you’re leaving from Louisiana, you can make the trip there and back for exactly 25 dollars. That includes a ticket, food-like substance, and gas. I wonder what circumstances have dictated these low, low, clearance-like prices?
Of note in this shift: Idaho plays their last game as a FBS team when they play Georgia State in Turner Field and the second round of the FCS playoffs start with Kennesaw and their beloved mascot Plank taking on Jacksonville State. The Owls have rattled off 11 straight wins since their week one loss to Samford and now play the three-seed Jacksonville State Gamecocks, who are undefeated in FCS competition and have only played in one (1) one-possession game this season.
Every Game Is A Playoff Shift
The winner of the SEC Championship Game between Auburn and Georgia is in the College Football Playoff, thus making it an extension of the actual playoff. Auburn famously beat the dog cr*p out of Georgia three weeks ago, so this is a revenge match for the Dawgs.
But how little did you know that there are also THREE more playoff games in this shift! It’s true! For some reason every conference not named the SEC wants to play their championship games either at noon or at 7:00, leaving a gulf where the SEC and FCS playoffs can thrive.
Among those FCS games: South Dakota (8-4) at #6 Sam Houston State (10-1), Northern Iowa (8-4) at #5 South Dakota State (9-2), and New Hampshire (8-4) at #4 Central Arkansas, whose only loss was a week one loss to Kansas State.
And if that doesn’t tickle you fancy, Alcorn State and Grambling play in the SWAC Championship to decide who plays in the Celebration Bowl. Spoiler alert! It’s probably the 10-1 Grambling team whose only loss was to Tulane to open the season and not the 7-4 team.
Orange Crush Shift
The SEC Championship is one playoff play-in game, and the other is the ACC Championship Game between Miami and Clemson. Unlike the PAC-12 and SEC Championship Games, this game is not a rematch, which means we can go into this game without a frame of reference and really enjoy it.
Kicking off beside it is Ohio State at Wisconsin, which is a win-and-you’re-in for the Badgers. Also known as “Bama’s backdoor into the playoff”. Funny how that works.
Fresno State and Boise is going to be another great game that lives in the shadow of the B1G Ten and ACC Championship games after it lived in the cover of darkness all year long. If this game was scheduled to kick at 9:00, it would have done gangbusters as a send off for college football going into bowl season. Now it’s going to be third down the line, and that sucks because it will be a game.
The Fun Belt also has their championship game at 7:00 between Troy and Arkansas State. The team that beat LSU is in their conference championship, what are the odds of that happening?
The night instead rounds off at 7:30 when Weber State (10-2) plays #8 Southern Utah (9-2).
And that’s it. We get Army-Navy next week and then the onslaught of BOWL SZN hits us. This is the last full Saturday, and this is the last playsheet of 2017.
Thank you for reading along (or just saving the charts and clicking out. Pageviews are pageviews, man.) Writing 1,000 words on each week of the college football season on the side gets heavy at time, but in the end it’s worth it.
See y’all next year. Or maybe not. Who knows man.