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GBH Viewer's Guide: Conference Championship Week

Apologies for not writing a football sonnet to you last week with the holidays and such. Here is your forget-me-not for the league championships.

Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

Conference title games sound great when you're a couple bloodies deep at the turn on a beautiful Scottsdale golf course in March and you're a conference commissioner.

"Say, John. Whaddya have on Number 9? Yeah, nice bogey save. Say, John. Why don't you just play the game in Charlotte, sell the joint out, and send the winner for a nice league payday in the BCS? Say, John. Whaddya say we go in on a place here in Scottsdale? My buddy Jimmy says it's a great investment. Dry heat and the illegals stick around Tucson. Say, John. Can you have that cart tart give a more liberal pour on the next round? Felt my gut have the yips with my belly putter. Say, John. How's about a Louisville?"

This is basically how the life of a conference commissioner transpires in the offseason with his old, drunk college buddy Archie. Conference title games SOUND great. Money, exposure, and the closest thing to a playoff for the next couple years. Unfortunately, humans run good ideas and organizations and things go to hell. Next thing you know, you have a division called Legends and one called Coastal and a barely-bowl-eligible team is chomping at the bit to represent you in the BCS. Nice! To the games!

All times Central - remember those annoying political ads? Is extended family worse? Discuss amongst yourselves.

Thursday, November 29

Louisville at Rutgers | 6:30 PM | ESPN

These are two sleazy lawyers fighting over the aforementioned foreclosed Scottsdale property. The payout? A trip to the Orange Bowl to represent the very league they are abandoning. Sports! In the span of a week, Rutgers has opted to take the Jersey Shore to the Big 10 and Louisville has packed up the ponies and pizza and gone to the ACC.

I'm serious here - do Big East conference officials even show up to this? What world is this? Oh, and both these incredibly mediocre teams are fighting for a BCS bid that could go to, ya know, A RANKED TEAM.

Friday, November 30

Northern Illinois (21) vs. Kent State (17) (in Detroit) | 6 PM | ESPN2

Oh heeeelllll yeah. The little-engine-that-could might be busting down BCS doors. This game is going to be awesome. This is Cousin Eddie showing up to the BCS party with a sixer of tallboys on his belt in an old Caddy limo with longhorns on the front and ready to get loose.

Great, young coaches. Exciting players. Fun offense. Do NOT miss this game. Tie on a union belt at your favorite bar (shot of Jack and a Bud bowtie tallboy) and settle in.

UCLA (16) at Stanford (8) | 7 PM | FOX

HMMMMMM? Is this the AFC West? This game looks familiar... Oh yeah. They just played on Saturday. This is the corner you paint yourself into with conference title games. So you're telling me that if UCLA wins THIS week then they win the Pac-12 despite the same record overall and splitting the head-to-head?

Saturday, December 1

UCF at Tulsa | 11 AM | ESPN2

I'm betting on whoever the suspended Tulsa AD is betting on. Serious thought - one or both of these teams might go to the Big 12 at some point.

Oklahoma State (23) at Baylor | 11 AM | FX

Oklahoma (11) at TCU | 11 AM | ESPN

I don't know what to tell you here. These are games. Nothing else is on. I'll tell you this - I'm tired of the Big 12 bragging about playing nine conference games. The whole league plays atrocious non-conference teams (save OU) and then they get to slug it out with each other's' horrid defenses. The league is led by a team that got rolled by Baylor. The rest of the teams are like a Little Caesar's $5 Hot-N-Ready when you're drunk. Not bad, but not really good either.

Alabama (2) vs. Georgia (3) (in Atlanta) | 3 PM | CBS

The makeshift playoff for the opportunity to face the Irish in Miami. The Tide is favored by 7, and it feels like most folks think they'll cover. If Aaron Murray can play one of the better games of his life, I think the Dawgs can make this very interesting. Georgia is playing for the chance to compete for a championship for the first time since 1980, which was also coincidentally against the Irish.

There will be many pretty girls at this football game.

Florida State (13) vs. Georgia Tech (in Charlotte) | 7 PM | ESPN

According to StubHub, you can get into this game for $3. Georgia Tech is 6-6. If the ACC referees appear to be rooting for Florida State in this game it is because they are. Realignment has been strange for the ACC, and they really really need Florida State to go to the BCS and hopefully get a win. Noles will win in dramatic fashion in front of dozens.

Texas (18) at Kansas State (6) | 7 PM | ABC

An erratic team that has been brandished with the labels "entitled" and "soft" is going to play a night game in December in rural Kansas against a bunch of junkyard dogs. What could possibly go wrong? Oh, and they're starting a quarterback that probably doesn't belong on a FBS roster but has a familiar last name.

I remember the Horns somehow mocking A&M for ruining the SEC's BCS National Title hopes with their win over Alabama, like we screwed the conference. Well the SEC is going to be represented in Miami, and the Horns are playing for the opportunity to give OU the conference championship. Funny how things shake out in November.

Nebraska (12) at Wisconsin (in Indianapolis) | 7:17 PM | FOX

Speaking of funny, there is this. The NCAA likes having events like this in their headquarter city. Indianapolis is clean, safe, affordable, sterile, boring, and has a lot of hotel rooms. There is just something amusing about the B1G having a championship game in the NCAA headquarter city. The headquarters that are precluding Ohio State and Penn State from playing in this game and thus giving a 7-5 Wisconsin team the opportunity.

The B1G is also very lame for not playing this game in Chicago annually at Soldier. Have you been to Chicago? Saturday's in the fall are just an extended fraternity party for alums from every single member B1G school. The league that prides itself on archaic, cold, stingy football doesn't want sponsors getting cold during the championship game, so we get a dome. For shame, B1G, for shame. Oh, and StubHub has tickets for $20. To get into the Georgia Dome, you'll need a few c-notes.

Do any Huskers fans like Bo Pelini? He seems wildly unpopular with his own fan base despite being 10-2.

Drink of the Week:

Maker's Mark Presbyterian!

Don't let the Baptists hold you down during holiday season. This delightfully simple and delicious sip will keep you loose and refreshed for these conference title games. It sounds pious too!


- 1.5 parts Maker's Mark Bourbon. Be a little more generous here if serving a clergy member.

- 0.5 parts club soda.

- 0.5 parts ginger ale.

- Stir and garnish with a lemon twist.

What did I miss? Enjoy the games, gang. I'm a bit misty this is all coming to an end for the year.