A day so big Congress can't let it fail
Cold, Hard Football Facts for Dec 04, 2008
By Mark Sandritter
Cold, Hard Football Facts rush party chairman
Championship Saturday is a huge part of the Pigskin High Holidays for those of us who love all forms of football - a day that's so big that Congress can't let it fail.
So here's what will probably be our final college pigskin primer for the year: a look at four games that will have us strapped up to the Buffalo wing machine for a solid 12 hours Saturday, a day that will decide major conference titles and who plays in the national title game and that kicks off with a tasty little appetizer of all-American pomp and pageantry.
Who: No. 1 Alabama (12-0) vs. No. 4 Florida (11-1)
Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta
When: 4 p.m. (EST)
At stake for Florida: The Gators were shocked 31-30 by Ole Miss back in September, but they've steamrolled everybody since then and some argue that they're the best team in the country today. Currently ranked No. 2 by the AP but No. 4 in the all-important BCS, a win would vault Florida into the top two and give the Gators a chance to play for their second national title in three seasons.
At stake for Alabama: The Tide started the year as the No. 24 team in the AP poll. But after a series of impressive wins, they vaulted into the No. 1 spot, where they've stood for several weeks. They're now a win over the Gators away from capping an undefeated regular season and going on to play in the BCS championship game. The Tide last
The matchup: The stakes for these teams couldn't be any higher as the SEC title and a berth in the national title game are both be on the line in Atlanta. Alabama's bruising defense will have the task of stopping Tim Tebow, who could win his second consecutive Heisman Trophy with a great showing against the Tide. But it won't be easy: Alabama boasts the nation's No. 3 scoring defense, allowing 11.5 PPG, with Florida just one spot behind at 12.3 PPG. These teams last met in 2006 with Florida netting a 28-13 win over the pre-Nick Saban coached Crimson Tide. They have some history here, too: Alabama beat Floriday in the very first SEC title game in 1992 and went on to upset Miami in the Sugar Bowl for their last national title.
Big 12 Championship
Who: No. 20 Missouri (9-3) vs. No. 2 Oklahoma (11-1)
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City
When: 8 p.m. (EST)
At stake for Oklahoma: The Sooners are playing for a potential berth in the national title game. If they win they are most likely in, but their lead over Texas in the BCS is razor thin so a so-called ugly victory could cost Oklahoma a shot at the title.
At stake for Missouri: The Tigers don't have national championship aspirations, but a win would give them their first Big 12 championship in school history. The Tigers could also exact revenge against an Oklahoma team which ended Missouri's run for a BCS title in last year's Big 12 title tilt.
The matchup: Both teams feature prolific quarterbacks and offenses running on jet fuel. Oklahoma leads the nation in scoring at 53.3 PPG while Missouri is fourth at 45.0 PPG. Missouri QB Chase Daniel and Oklahoma's amazing sophomore QB Sam Bradford have combined to throw for 7,960 yards and 80 touchdowns.
Who: No. 17 Boston College (9-3) at No. 25 Virginia Tech (8-4)
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
When: 1 p.m. (EST)
At stake for Virginia Tech: Despite losing four games or more for the first time since 2003, Virginia Tech still has a shot at its second consecutive ACC championship and another trip to the Orange Bowl. It would also mark Virginia Tech's third conference title in five seasons since joining the ACC in 2004.
At stake for Boston College: Boston College has been in the ACC just four years, but returns to the conference championship game for the second consecutive season, a year after losing QB stud Matt Ryan to the NFL. If they win this year, it will be the first conference championship in school history (BC was an independent team until joining the Big East in 1991) and BC's first trip to the Orange Bowl since losing to Alabama in 1943.
The matchup: While this game will take a distant back seat to the SEC and Big 12 championships, there is still a BCS bowl berth on the line. Virginia Tech and Boston College battled for the ACC title last year, with the Hokies winning 30-16. The winning team will face Big East champ Cincinnati in the Orange Bowl.
This game will likely be a defensive battle. Neither club is very good offensively – Virginia Tech scores 21.6 PPG (96th) and Boston college scores 26.7 PPG (61st). But both are stellar defensively. BC is 14th in the country (17.6 PPG) and Tech is 16th (17.9 PPG).
The Army-Navy Game
Who: Navy (7-4) at Army (3-8)
Where: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia
When: Noon (EST)
At stake for Army: A 3-8 record means the Black Knights won't be bowl bound this season, but a win over rival Navy would make the season a success in West Point.
At stake for Navy: Navy leads the all-time series 52-49-7 thanks to a series-record six consecutive wins over Army, in what's traditionally been an incredibly even battle. A win this year would leave the Midshipmen at 8-4 and momentum as get set to play in the inaugural EagleBank bowl.
The matchup: This game is truly one of the classic contests every year and CBS does an awesome job producing the broadcast, complete with flyovers, rowdy cheers from soldiers and sailors on every corner of the planet (and sometimes from astronauts in space) and enough pomp and pageantry to make for a great afternoon of football.
The teams don't compete for national championships nowadays but the pride on the field is more evident than ever. Almost everyone on the field will be playing their last downs of competitive football, before going off to serve in the U.S. military, and none of them are concerned with impressing NFL scouts. Don't expect to see very many passes at the two teams are last and second to last in passing yards per game. Instead, the game will be played in the trenches – Navy is No. 1 in the nation, with 292.0 YPG on the ground, while Army is No. 9 at 254.1 YPG – and the victor will claim the Commander in Chief Trophy.
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