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Bracketology/Bowls Expert

Final week of picks: BCS berths to be decided

It's finally championship week. The regular season comes to an end (except for Army and Navy) and all the BCS and other bowl berths are finally sorted out.

Every conference except the WAC is deciding a champion or co-champion, so this week, I'll list the games in conference order, AQs first.

I am 78-46 overall on the season, 63-59-2 against the spread. Not too bad for never having picked against the spread before, I guess.

ACC Championship Game: Florida State (-14, cover) vs. Georgia Tech: Conference championship games are high risk/high reward ventures. The team that wins in AQ leagues goes to the BCS. Sometimes, the win propels them to the BCS title game. The loser almost always is out of the BCS entirely. For the Yellow Jackets, a loss not only means missing the BCS, it means finishing 6-7 and missing a bowl entirely.

Big 12: Texas at Kansas State (-11.5, cover): The Wildcats clinch the Big 12 title and a berth in the Fiesta Bowl with a win over the Longhorns. They might still make the BCS with a loss, either as league champion or as an at-large team. Texas could be an at-large team with a win and an Oklahoma loss.

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Big 12: Oklahoma (-6) at TCU: The Sooners can win the league with a Kansas State loss and a win over the Frogs. They are a solid at-large candidate with a win as well.

Big East: Louisville (+3) at Rutgers: The football version of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Teddy Bridgewater apparently is ready to go, so I like the Cards, although they are slumping. The winner goes to the BCS. Rutgers is the outright champ with a victory. Louisville wins a tiebreaker if it wins.

Big Ten Championship Game: Nebraska (-3, cover) vs. Wisconsin: Typical Big Ten three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-rubber-pellets football. The Big Ten is only putting one team in the BCS this year. The Badgers have a chance to be the first five-loss Rose Bowl participant.

Pac-12 Championship Game: UCLA at Stanford (-8, cover): Many thought this would be Oregon's coronation, but the Cardinal had other ideas. They look to take down the Bruins twice in six days. UCLA wants to make the Rose Bowl a home game.

SEC Championship Game: Alabama (-7) vs. Georgia: The Bulldogs have some weapons to challenge the Alabama defense, and a pretty stout D of their own. In the end though, the Tide's championship experience will come through.

C-USA Championship Game: Central Florida at Tulsa (-2): Another recent rematch, the Golden Hurricane won the first one by two. Bowl assignments will be decided by this game, most importantly the winner goes to the Liberty Bowl.

MAC Championship Game: Northern Illinois (-6.5, cover) vs. Kent State: The Golden Flashes are 17th in the BCS and hoping to win and move up into a BCS game. NIU is 21st, and likely too far away to make that climb. The Huskies' Jordan Lynch is the best player you've never heard of.

Mountain West: Boise State (-10) at Nevada: If NIU wins and a lot of other stuff happens, the Broncos have a very slim shot at making the BCS themselves. They have to win this first, which would give them a share of the MWC title.

Sun Belt: Middle Tennessee State at Arkansas State (-9.5, cover): Winner is outright conference champ. Sun Belt's No. 1 bowl has already taken UL Lafayette.

Upset of the Week: Pittsburgh at South Florida (+6.5): A chance for redemption for USF on senior day. They haven't looked good the past couple weeks, but they did win their last home game vs. UConn.

 
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