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Don't Bet On It: Championship Games of Interest

After posting a 3-2 record in S.E.C. picks to drop my season-long conference ledger to 72-12 and going 3-4 in national games of interest to fall to 76-29 in non-Southeastern Conference contests this autumn, I had no choice but to put my overall 148-41 forecasting record to the test in this special championship edition of my weekly prognostications.

This is me when it comes to forecasting the outcomes of football games. (By that, I mean that I stink, not that I am romantically attracted to members of the opposite sex outside of my own species who happen to have white paint stripes down their backs.)

Each of the following games will be played on Saturday, December 2, unless otherwise indicated. I trust that my dismal performance in last week's predictions makes it unnecessary for me to reiterate my usual exhortation . . . Don't Bet On It!

M.A.C. Championship Game: Ohio (Ohio) v. Central Michigan (Thursday, November 30)---No, seriously . . . tomorrow night, at Ford Field in Detroit, the Bobcats and the Chippewas will square off to decide the championship of the Mid-American Conference. If you don't believe me, you can look it up for yourself. This season, Central Michigan claimed the crown in the West Division by riding a . . . um . . . stifling defense? power running game? wide-open passing attack? Ohio (Ohio), on the other hand, rose to the top in the East Division on the strength of . . . er . . . senior leadership? a midseason turnaround? a juco transfer? All right, you've got me; I am not an aficionado of Mid-American Conference nuances, so I'm going with the Bobcats just because I like referring to their school as "Ohio (Ohio)" and I can name their head coach.

Tomorrow night's winner in Detroit will earn the right to be referred to for the next nine months as the "M.A.C. Daddy."

Conference U.S.A. Championship Game: Southern Miss at Houston (Friday, December 1)---Because they have the higher regular-season conference winning percentage, the Cougars have home field advantage (literally, not just figuratively) in the title tilt. The C.-U.S.A. showdown is sponsored by Aeropostale, but I'm not sure how an Italian air mail delivery company expects to profit from pouring advertising lira into the airing of a Southern football game. Although Houston came within an eyelash of being ranked by me on a recent BlogPoll ballot, I'm not going to mess with Sunday Morning Quarterback, a self-confessed Southern Miss homer who openly eschews directing disrespect in my direction and who has earned a similar consideration in return. Consequently, I'm going with the Golden Eagles to register the road win and claim Conference U.S.A.'s automatic B.C.S. berth. I'm sorry, what? Conference U.S.A. doesn't get an automatic B.C.S. berth? Oh, for crying out loud, you've got to be kidding me! C.-U.S.A. doesn't get to go to the big dance, but the winner of this next game does?!?! There's no justice. . . .

A.C.C. Championship Game: Wake Forest v. Georgia Tech---The Demon Deacons ended their title run on a high note, thumping Maryland to claim the championship of the more competitive division of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Yellow Jackets, by contrast, saw their stellar season soured by yet another loss to the 'Dawgs in a game that will not soon be forgotten at the Flats. If Wake Forest's head coach is smart, he's been spending this week in Jacksonville spelling "Grobe" with an oval "G" in order to get inside Reggie Ball's head. I like the team on the upswing to Wake up the echoes against the team that can't see the Forest for the trees.

Regardless of whether Wake Forest or Georgia Tech wins the A.C.C. championship, both teams deserve high seeds in the N.C.A.A. tournament. (Photograph from The Winston-Salem Journal.)

Big 12 Championship Game: Oklahoma v. Nebraska---It's like the 1971 Game of the Century, except with five losses between them! For once, it seems like the Big 12 South representative backed into this game while the Big 12 North champion earned its way to a title shot, instead of the other way around, but do not be deceived; the Sooners have faced adversity at every turn and come through it with flying colors. In short, to paraphrase the musical for which the team is named, Oklahoma will be up for its date in Kansas City and the 'Huskers have gone about as far as they can go.

S.E.C. Championship Game: Florida v. Arkansas---I asked for feedback on my MaxwellPundit ballot and, boy, did I ever get it! After L.D. took me to task for minimizing the highly touted achievements of Darren McFadden, I gained a new appreciation for the Razorback tailback, who had impressed me already in last year's homecoming game. Since I ranked the Gators ahead of the Hogs, it may be cognitive dissonance for me to pick the lower-ranked team to win in Atlanta, although I don't think it is; instead, it's just a practical recognition of the fact that a team whose mascot went on a swine killing spree in which he slew a coyote, a 450-pound domestic pig, and seven rattlesnakes ought to have it in 'em to chow down on one measly alligator. Arkansas gets the upset in the Georgia Dome to avenge its two previous disasters in the S.E.C. championship game.

Planning on stopping Darren McFadden? You'd best be bringing some kryptonite. . . .

Those are my predictions for this week's conference championship games and my forecasts of this Saturday's other college football contests of significance will be forthcoming shortly. In the meantime, though, it behooves you to heed my usual warning as you consider my latest round of prognostications: Don't Bet On It!

Go 'Dawgs!