This weekend will officially end the regular season of college football, with conference champions being crowned and the bowl games being announced on Dec. 6.
No. 16 Oregon State vs. No. 10 Oregon
What’s at stake: Rose Bowl berth
With no conference championship, the Pacific-10 Conference comes down to this game. Whoever wins goes to the Rose Bowl to play Ohio State, and whoever loses will be visiting an earlier bowl. Oregon State has the tools to win in Jacquizz Rodgers at running back. Rodgers rushed for 165 yards on 24 carries and scored two touchdowns in the Beavers 42-10 rout of Washington State on Nov. 21. Oregon is led by quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, who kept the Ducks’ hopes of a Pac-10 title alive by throwing a touchdown pass with six seconds left to force overtime against Arizona.
Pick: Last year the stakes were the same as No. 23 Oregon throttled No. 17 Oregon State 65-38. This year, Oregon State will look to steal the show against Oregon, but I don’t think they will have enough offense to keep up with Oregon. Oregon wins by at least 14 points.
No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 1 Florida
What’s at stake: Winner will play in the National Championship game in Pasadena, Cali., on Jan. 7, 2010.
Last week, Florida throttled rival Florida State 37-10, while Alabama scored with 1:24 left to beat Auburn 26-21 in the Iron Bowl. Heisman-hopeful Mark Ingram was held to 30 yards rushing on 16 carries and left with a bruised hip late in the game.
Pick: Alabama will have to have a lot better performance in the Southeastern Conference Championship game to even compete with Florida. Both teams are 12-0, and the stakes are high for the loser. Florida will again beat Alabama and go to its third national title game in four years. Florida wins by 13.
No. 5 Cincinnati vs. No. 14 Pittsburgh
What’s at stake: Big East’s Automatic BCS bowl berth
Pittsburgh, who lost to West Virginia 19-16 on Nov. 28, still has a shot to make it to a BCS bowl game. They just have to beat Cincinnati. This Big East Championship will be determined if Pittsburgh can slow down the offense of Cincinnati. Tony Pike is back at quarterback for Cincinnati, who beat Illinois 49-36 on Nov. 27. Pike passed for six touchdowns against the Illini and has found the end zone 23 times this year as opposed to three interceptions.
Pick: If there is a team in the Big East conference that can beat Cincinnati, it is Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh will be looking to end Cincinnati’s perfect 11-0 start and avoid giving the Bearcats the conference’s automatic BCS bid. I think Cincinnati is just too good this year. Despite a few close games against Connecticut and West Virginia, Cincinnati has looked pretty dominant all year. Bearcats beat the Panthers by 10.