College football viewers guide: Championship weekend
Need some help deciding which college football games to watch? Look no further. Each Friday, Times contributor Chuck Schilken handicaps what’s worth watching, and skipping, on the weekend’s menu of games:
No. 12 Stanford (9-3) vs. No. 10 USC (10-2) at Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara
5 p.m., ESPN (PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP)
The winner likely will be invited to a New Year’s Six bowl game. Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold had six passes intercepted in the first three weeks — including two during a 42-24 victory over Stanford on Sept. 9 — but only six total in the final nine games.
No. 20 Memphis (10-1) at No. 14 Central Florida (11-0)
9 a.m., Channel 7 (AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP)
These are the nation’s highest-scoring offenses. UCF has scored more than 30 points in every game; the only time Memphis failed to reach that mark was a 40-13 loss to the Knights on Sept. 30. A spot in a New Year’s Six bowl game could be at stake.
9 a.m., ESPN (MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP)
Toledo won the Oct. 21 meeting between the teams, but Akron has since made a change at quarterback. Freshman Kato Nelson has six touchdown passes and one interception in three games as the Zips’ starter. Toledo’s Logan Woodside has thrown for 3,451 yards with 24 touchdowns.
North Texas (9-3) at Florida Atlantic (9-3)
9 a.m., ESPN2 (CONFERENCE USA CHAMPIONSHIP)
FAU’s Devin Singletary leads the nation in rushing touchdowns (26) and set a team single-season rushing record (1,632). The Owls have won eight straight, including a 69-31 victory over North Texas on Oct. 21; the Mean Green hasn’t lost since that game.
No. 11 Texas Christian (10-2) vs. No. 3 Oklahoma (11-1) at AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
9:30 a.m., Channel 11 (BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP)
A win should put Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff. A strong performance could seal the Heisman Trophy for Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield. Earlier this week, TCU coach Gary Patterson implied that Mayfield intentionally hit a Horned Frogs player in the head with a warmup pass in November.
No. 6 Georgia (11-1) vs. No. 2 Auburn (10-2) at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta
1 p.m., Channel 2 (SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP)
One of two games this weekend in which the winning team almost certainly advances to the playoffs. Auburn has wins over two No. 1 teams in the past three weeks, including a 40-17 blowout of the Bulldogs. Georgia averages 265.7 rushing yards per game but got only 46 against the Tigers.
4:30 p.m., ESPN2
A year before the Sun Belt Conference gets an official championship game, two of the three teams tied for first place meet in the season finale with at least a share of the title on the line. It’s a clash between the Sun Belt’s top offense (Arkansas State) and defense (Troy).
No. 25 Fresno State (9-3) at Boise State (9-3)
4:45 p.m., ESPN (MOUNTAIN WEST CHAMPIONSHIP)
After beating Boise State at home last week, Fresno State needs to beat the Broncos on the road to add a conference title to its list of accomplishments just one season removed from a 1-11 finish. Bulldogs quarterback Marcus McMaryion had 332 yards and two touchdowns last week.
No. 7 Miami (10-1) vs. No. 1 Clemson (11-1) at Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C.
5 p.m., Channel 7 (ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP)
The winner should land a playoff spot. Defending national champion Clemson has won the conference title and at least one CFP game in each of the last two years. Playing in the ACC championship game for the first time, Miami needs to shake off last week’s stunning loss to Pittsburgh.
No. 8 Ohio State (10-2) vs. No. 4 Wisconsin (12-0) at Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
5 p.m., Channel 11 (BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP)
The nation’s top defense (Wisconsin) takes on its No. 4 offense (Ohio State). Wisconsin should hold on to a playoff spot with a win. Ohio State requires a huge victory — like the 59-0 thumping they gave to the Badgers in the 2014 Big Ten title game — and help from others to make the cut.
Go beyond the scoreboard
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