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CBSSports.com Senior College Football Columnist

Weekend Watch List: So much for late drama in conference title games


The season is ending quietly. Too quietly.

Two contenders -- Alabama and Stanford -- are finished with their regular seasons. No. 1 LSU could lose and still make it to New Orleans. Oklahoma State and Oklahoma could have been playing for so much more. The first Pac-12 title game features a 6-6 team and a fired coach. Arguably, the conference's best team is in NCAA jail.

The Big Ten championship debuts with a repeat of a game played six weeks ago.

It's Week 14 -- the end of the regular season -- and where is the juice, the drama? Even Mike Gundy seemingly has given his blessing to The Rematch.

"Alabama lost to what would be the No. 1 team in the country and Oklahoma State lost to Iowa State," Gundy said. "If I was doing it fair, I don't know how I could put us in front of [Alabama] right now."

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So much for BCS Bedlam. So much for every week being a playoff. Please, give us something to vent about.

Read on ...

SEC championship game: The absolute best thing that can happen is Georgia beating LSU by a field goal at the gun.

Well, best thing for the SEC.

A close LSU loss likely leads to an unprecedented three schools from one conference in the BCS. Georgia would be automatic as the SEC champion. So would LSU and Alabama. The SEC would be assured a sixth consecutive national championship before the BCS title game kicked off. That would make for a heck of a Christmas office party for the SEC staff in Birmingham. Maybe you've thought about this. Maybe you don't want to think about it. It's one of the unintended consequences of the BCS. It didn't account for one league being so good for so long. Score: LSU 27, Georgia 20. Pregame: Georgia-LSU

So, you're telling me there's a chance?: In the immortal words of Jim Carrey, "Yeaaah!"

Forget, for a moment, everything you've read in the previous item. Go ahead and write off No. 3 Oklahoma State's national championship chances no matter what the outcome. Jerry Palm has a radical thought. He says that any sort of Georgia win over LSU puts some doubt in the minds of the voters. It doesn't necessarily have to be a pair five-touchdown wins by Georgia and Oklahoma State to LSU to fall out of the top two.

"I don't think it matters how they [LSU] lose," Palm said. "[If Georgia wins] voters have to accept the idea that Alabama might not be the second-best team ... If Georgia wins is there evidence that Alabama is anything more than the third-place team in the SEC? If Alabama is the third-best team in the SEC, how can they play for the national championship?"

Palm has a point. Georgia will have done something that Alabama couldn't –- beat No. 1. The Bulldogs will have won their 11th in a row. Their only losses would be to a pair of top 12 BCS teams -- Boise State (currently 10-1) and South Carolina (10-2). Georgia would have played as many ranked teams as Alabama (four).

For argument's sake, we're going with Oklahoma State as the team most likely to get to No. 2 if LSU loses. Stanford is done. Virginia Tech is significantly behind in the BCS playing two-loss Clemson in the ACC title game.

"If LSU wins I don't have a problem," Palm said. "If Georgia wins you have to rethink that."

"I'm the only one saying there is a chance [for Oklahoma State to move up]. I'm the only one out in the wilderness." Inside College Football: Breaking down Bedlam

The Nick Lobby: So much for taking it one game at a time. Nick Saban is looking ahead more than a month.

Alabama's coach took to the stump this week reminding voters (and any computers that were listening) that it should be about the best teams. (Funny how that never comes up when Boise State is involved.) That's what you do when your season is over and you've lost the Game of the Century at home while missing four field goals.

"The whole thing should be based on who's the best two teams," Saban said. "Isn't that what it's supposed to be?"

There is a large faction of folks who believe a national championship -– or those playing for it -– should have to win its conference. I know, crazy idea. It has merit just not enough in this system which claims to match only 1 vs. 2 no matter what their conference achievement.

Why is Nick lobbying? Ask Palm. Alabama would be the first team in the BCS era to not even win its own division to win a national championship. Danielson on problems in BCS

Bedlam: It's fourth-grade soccer in the Big 12. Orange slices at halftime. Mommies in vans. Participation awards for everyone.

The question is, who won't get a trophy if there is a three-way tie atop the Big 12? That's what will happen if Oklahoma beats Oklahoma State and Kansas State beats Iowa State. The Wildcats, Sooners and Cowboys will all be 7-2. In that scenario, all three would get Big 12 championship trophies. Oklahoma would get the BCS bid for being 2-0 against the other two.

We've come a long way in the Big 12. In 2008, the three-way tie was broken by the BCS (Oklahoma won) even though it lost to Texas. That beats the climate a year ago when the late, great Dan Beebe didn't travel to Lincoln, Neb., because of personal safety issues.

Thank goodness, the Cowboys make it simple. Score: Oklahoma State 31, Oklahoma 27. Pregame: Oklahoma-Oklahoma State

Big Ten championship game: Neither of the participants are ranked in the BCS top 10. The biggest upshot for Big Ten might be the loser making room for Michigan in the BCS.

Revenge wears red, obviously. Wisconsin will be trying to even things after losing at Michigan State on that Oct. 22 Hail Mary. The Spartans have to be hungrier, especially the 11 Michigan State players who were born the year their school last got to the Rose Bowl -– 1988. Score: Wisconsin 38, Michigan State 17. Pregame: Wisconsin-Michigan State

Pac-12 championship game: Divisional play has invented paper heroes. On paper, UCLA "won" the Pac-12 South. In reality, it is a body double for Southern California.

This is not what Larry Scott was thinking when he expanded the league, signed a lucrative new TV deal and started a network: The Ducks by 31 ½ over a lame duck. The only thing that could save this game is if Chris Petersen took the UCLA job at halftime. Score: Oregon 47, UCLA 10. Pregame: UCLA-Oregon

ACC championship game: If this was Ohio State, Virginia Tech tailback David Wilson would have a torso-full of free tattoos.

We're assuming the ACC's player of the year isn't getting hundred-dollar handshakes. The question is, where is the ACC player of the year getting all this money?

Expect the most under-exposed offensive player in the country to run wild against Clemson. Score: Virginia Tech 30, Clemson 18. Pregame: Virginia Tech-Clemson

Conference USA championship game: This game is on the map this year only because a Houston win probably puts it in the Sugar Bowl. Defense? Actually, Houston's got a bit of it. The Cougars have allowed less than 20 points each of the last four games. Expect both coaches (Houston's Kevin Sumlin, Southern Mississippi's Larry Fedora) to have new jobs soon. Score: Houston 45, Southern Miss 23. Pregame: Southern Mississippi-Houston

BCS game picks going into the final weekend:

BCS title game: LSU vs. Alabama. Florida played FSU twice in '96, Oklahoma-Nebraska met again in '78. Why not?

Sugar Bowl: Michigan vs. Houston. WWL is predicting the Wolverines get an at-large bid after moving up from No. 16 in BCS. (The top 14 get at-large consideration.) Two of three teams above Michigan going into the weekend could lose -– Wisconsin, Georgia, Michigan State.

Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Stanford. The Fiesta is praying for the Cowboys to win Bedlam. Oklahoma has been to the desert three of the last five years. Not a bad matchup with a possible Heisman Trophy winner participating.

Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. Big East champion (TBD because of tiebreaker). Enjoy that automatic BCS berth while you can, Big East.

Anyone in need of a credential from all the BCS title games? Dennis Dodd has them. In three decades in the business, he's covered everything from the Olympics to Stanley Cup to conference realignment. Just get him on campus in a press box in the fall. His heart lies with college football.

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