The CFB Wizard Conference Championship Edition

December 10, 2019

The staff of the LLC, Inc. spent most of the weekend watching and evaluating the Power 5 Conference Championship games. We hunkered down in the underground bunker complex to evaluate and pontificate on the games, the results, and what they really meant. Although it was an exhaustive and thankless task, the CFB Wizard kept spirits up with pep talks and delicious, catered meals from the Bamberg House of Pizza in beautiful and historic Bamberg.
So, here we go…. (in order of appearance)

The PAC 12 Championship
We’ve Got Plans for Late December So We’re Really Not That Into the Playoffs
Oregon came to find themselves in this Championship Game by virtue of the fact that they finished regular season play with a 10-2 record but with inexplicable losses to Colorado and Arizona State. Utah, the upstart darling of the pollsters, stood at #5 in the College Football Playoff standings with an 11-1 record, and a chance to get the Pac 12 into the playoffs for the first time in a couple of years.
But, this is the PAC 12 Championship game. You know, the conference where…. “it just means we’re somewhat interested”. Oregon came onto the field dressed smartly in a black pants and jersey combo, accented with some fluorescent yellow numbering and fashionable black cleats. Utah was dressed in visiting whites and accented with red trim. Despite these fashion statements, it was apparent that neither team was particularly thrilled with the prospect of playing LSU, Ohio State, or Clemson. With that in mind, Utah gave up 20 in the first half, and then in true WWE fashion, developed some incredible recuperative powers in staging a bit of a comeback, only to fall as scripted in the end.
The Big 12 Championship
We Might Get Our Asses Handed To Us But At Least We Got An Invitation
A funny thing happened in the Big 12 Championship on Saturday. Two seemingly defensively deprived teams showed up for the big game in Arlington and a Southeastern Conference Slobber-knocker broke out. Yes, boys and girls, this turned into a defensive gem for most of the game. Who in their right mind would have imagined a 13-10 score at the end of the 1st half? What sane person would have predicted a 20-13 score at the end of the 3rd quarter? Tie game at 23 after regulation? Oh, hell no. And a 30-23 score after O.T.? The crack staff here at Bamberg Central would have predicted each team approaching triple digits if this thing went to overtime.
But, Oklahoma won this thing and, despite what Dabo Swinney says from the comfort of his soft and cushy Atlantic Coast Conference digs, the Sooners actually have a little competition in the Big 12. And as long as Jalen Hurts is running the offense, and Oklahoma can find a little defense…. They’re going to be a tough out.
The SEC Championship
“We’ve Got Our Own Network AND We Own the 3:30 Saturday Time Slot”
This was the game that the entire CFB Wizard staff was waiting on. A brother against brother matchup for all the marbles. East vs West. Bayou Bengals vs Red Clay Hounds. This would have been Larry Munson’s finest hour outside of “Run, Lindsay, Run”… Until it wasn’t.
Georgia was already hamstrung with Lawrence Cager, their best receiver, out for the season. And George Pickens out for the first half because of a squabble in the end-zone during the Georgia-Georgia Tech game and suspended for the 1st half, reminiscent of the Mark Richt days. Georgia needed to come out hard and fast, put points on the board, and then let their SEC best defense take over. That didn’t happen.
On their first possession, Georgia took a couple of shots down field early but the inexperience of the receiver corps was glaringly evident as dropped passes killed their initial drive. Georgia punted and 8 plays later LSU punched it in like a knife through hot butter. After trading punts, Georgia had a chance to put points on the board, but all world kicker Rodrigo Blankenship missed a difficult 52 yarder, and that was a portent of things to come. LSU scored on the ensuing drive, and even though it was still a 2 score game at the half, the wheels had already fallen off. And it got worse.
LSU won this game 37-10, but more importantly, secured a place in the College Football Playoffs as the number 1 seed. That’s big. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind seeing Clemson or Ohio State in the 1st round of the playoffs, but, playing Oklahoma might be a little bit less of a daunting task
The ACC Championship
“We’re a Tough Conference… Top to Bottom… Really… We Are!!!”
So, the ACC Conference Championship pitted the undefeated Atlantic Division Champion Clemson Tigers against the 3 loss Coastal Division Champs, Virginia. Seriously. 8 out of the 14 teams in the ACC had a .500 or less record. Seriously. And Dabo Swinney’s sacro-sanct diatribes about “po’ ole Clempsin” and how the College Football Committee “jess wants’ta keep po’ ole Clempsin outta tha playoffs” wasn’t even worthy of a Vince Dooley or Bear Bryant-esque comparison. At least when Dooley and Bryant went into their little diatribes about how an upcoming game played out, they always talked about how Bama or Georgia just didn’t have a chance against Ole Miss or Georgia Tech. Swinney still hasn’t perfected the art of poor mouthing his situation effectively.
And this game went exactly like we here at the CFB Wizard Headquarters anticipated. Clemson jumped out to a lead early, led 31-7 at the half, and cruised to a 62-17 win. Yawn. But here’s the problem with this game. After about a half hour, staff assigned to watch and analyze this game were huddled around the Ohio State-Wisconsin coverage and had to be admonished to complete their assigned task of evaluating and assessing the Clemson-Virginai matchup. Even two of crack reporters from Spartanburg and Greenville had to be reminded that their assigned task was the game on ABC and not Fox.
So, Clemson made the playoffs at the number 3 slot and play #2 Ohio State. We’ll definitely find out if either team is for real come playoff time.
The Big 10 (B1G) Championship
“If The Civil War Were a Football Game, The Capitol of the United States Would Be In Birmingham”
So, much like the ACC, the B1G had a “Championship” game. It was a gala. A fantastical event celebrating the supremacy of Ohio State against their twice beaten opponent, Wisconsin. Unlike their brethren Clemson, Ohio State actually allowed the Badgers to take a 21-7 halftime lead…. Before waking up and subsequently vanquishing their outmanned opponents in the second half of this game. From there the Buckeyes outscored Wisconsin 27-10, crushing any misguided hopes of a Badger entry into the playoffs. But this wasn’t as much a showcase of Ohio State supremacy as a statement of how, like the ACC, unbalanced the two divisions within the B1G really are.
And, it’s an indication of the kind of bias that exists within pundits and pollsters who have rode the Buckeye coattails all season. Calling a win against a ranked Cincinnati from the also ran Group of 5 conferences is a sham. Calling a win against Michigan State, who was #25 at the time and finished out of the rankings at 6-6, is a sham. At least Ohio State played and beat teams that were actually in the final rankings: Wisconsin and Penn State.
And it looks like the Buckeyes get Clemson in the first round of the playoffs. I’d say that almost sounds like they got a bye week. 

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