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No national title implications, not meaningless

College picks

POSTED November 30, 2011 8:52 p.m.

The Southeastern Conference championship game between No. 1 LSU and No. 12 Georgia is not meaningless.
Whether it has national title implications is at best debatable, but there is no denying that the winning an SEC championship represents far more than a step on the road to bigger goals for the Tigers, who could very well lose to Georgia and still play in the BCS championship game.
“There will be no review of what’s next,” LSU coach Les Miles said this week, referring to what comes after the SEC showcase in Atlanta on Saturday. “Nothing will come from my mouth about that. Our team is so looking forward to play Georgia. This is what the team has set its sights upon. This is the conference where we compete week in and week out.
“It’s one game for a championship,” he said.
Simply put, Honey Badger doesn’t care about the BCS title game this week.
“Winning the SEC is extremely important,” said LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, aka Honey Badger. “We really want to go undefeated and Georgia is in our way.”
There will be meaningful football games going on all over the country this weekend, from Tampa, Fla., where No. 22 West Virginia will face South Florida on Thursday with a chance to all but clinch the Big East title to Eugene, Ore., where No. 8 Oregon hosts UCLA in the first pac-12 championship game on Friday night.
To the teams and the fans of those teams, and college football fans in general, Championship Weekend is still must-see TV.
But because of the Bowl Championship Series, the national title race is all but a done deal.
Alabama would much rather be in LSU’s position, playing for an SEC title than home watching. (Is Nick Saban even allowing the Crimson Tide to watch this week’s games?) But the Tide’s second-place spot in the BCS standings seems safe, regardless.
Only a blowout victory by Oklahoma State against Oklahoma in the Bedlam rivalry and voter rebellion in the Harris and coaches’ polls can keep Alabama out of the final game of the season.
As for LSU, it seems only a stunning rout by Georgia could derail the Tigers’ championship run.
So, no, realistic national title hopes are not on the line in Atlanta or Stillwater, Okla.
But don’t dare call those games meaningless.

The picks:

TODAY
No. 22 West Virginia (pick) at USF —
Mountaineers need a victory and Cincinnati win against UConn to earn BCS bid ... WEST VIRGINIA 28-24.

FRIDAY
Pac-12 Championship
UCLA at No. 8 Oregon (minus 31 1-2) —
Having a 6-6 team with a lame duck coach in the title game was not exactly what Larry Scott had in mind ... OREGON 55-14.
MAC Championship
Northern Illinois (minus 3 1-2) vs. Ohio at Detroit —
Huskies were upset in last year’s MAC title game. Finish the job this time ... NORTHERN ILLINOIS 38-28.

SATURDAY
SEC Championship
No. 1 LSU (minus 13 1-2) vs. No. 12 Georgia at Atlanta —
Tigers leave no doubt ... LSU 38-14.
No. 13 Oklahoma (plus 3 1-2) at No. 3 Oklahoma State — Cowboys trying to lock up first BCS bid ... OKLAHOMA STATE 42-28.
ACC Championship
No. 5 Virginia Tech (minus 7) vs. No. 21 Clemson at Charlotte, N.C. —
Hokies might be able to claim dual-residency in Miami soon ... VIRGINIA TECH 28-23.
Big Ten Championship
No. 11 Michigan State (plus 9 1-2) vs. No. 15 Wisconsin at Indianapolis —
No miracles this time for Sparty. ... WISCONSIN 42-21.
C-USA Championship
No. 24 Southern Miss (plus 13) at No. 7 Houston —
Cougars can lock up first BCS bid for a C-USA team ... HOUSTON 49-35.
New Mexico (plus 49) at No. 9 Boise State — Consider the Lobos a goodbye present to Kellen Moore in his last home game ... BOISE STATE 52-7.
Iowa State (plus 11) at No. 16 Kansas State — Bill Snyder, coach of the year ... KANSAS STATE 39-24.
UNLV (plus 39 1-2) at No. 18 TCU — Horned Frogs bid farewell to the Mountain West ... TCU 48-7.
Texas (plus 2) at No. 19 Baylor — Robert Griffin III makes one last Heisman push ... BAYLOR 35-31.

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