It's been a great season of college football, and in Week 14 ESPN's College GameDay crew will embark on their Saturday morning journey for the final time in 2012.
Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, Desmond Howard and the rest of the team will break down all of Saturday's matchups and storylines from Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, according to Fowler via Twitter:
With several huge matchups set to kick off this Championship Weekend, here are my predictions for how the marquee showdowns will play out.
When: Saturday, December 1, 2012
Coverage: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. ET
Week 14 Predictions
Tide Will Roll
Nick Saban's Alabama Crimson Tide rarely need a second chance, but Kansas State and Oregon have given them one and I don't anticipate they'll squander it inside the Georgia Dome on Saturday.
No. 2 Alabama will be every bit as hungry to claim the SEC title as No. 3 Georgia this weekend. The Tide haven't won the conference crown since 2009, when it beat Florida. Therefore, you can expect the nation's top-ranked defense to be buzzing around the field like hornets against the Bulldogs.
Another key factor in this December's SEC Championship Game will be Alabama's running game. And although many people don't realize, the Tide's ground attack, led by Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon, is pound-for-pound just as talented (if not more) than the Bulldogs'.
Both Lacy and Yeldon are averaging more than six yards per carry this season, and Alabama is averaging 24 more rushing yards per game than Georgia coming into Saturday's showdown.
It will be close early, but I believe Alabama will pull away late to clinch its first SEC title in three years and a berth in the BCS National Championship Game this January.
Wildcats Win Big 12
Although No. 6 Kansas State will be wondering "What if?" after its blowout loss at Baylor two weeks back, which ultimately cost the Wildcats a shot to play for the national title, Bill Snyder's men can still wrap up the Big 12 conference championship for the first time since 2003 with a win over No. 18 Texas on Senior Night.
Expect a rested Kansas State team to take the field in Manhattan on Saturday night, energized from two weeks off and the thrill of Senior Night.
Don't expect to see a lot of strong defense played in this game, as both teams are suspect on that side of the ball, having given up countless big plays and plenty of points. I look for this game to quickly turn into a shootout with Collin Klein eventually making the game-changing play for Kansas State.
The Wildcats are still the country's 12th highest scoring team, and with Case McCoy starting at quarterback for Texas in place of David Ash, I can't see any way that the Longhorns win this game and prevent Kansas State from bringing the Big 12 crown back to Manhattan.
Florida State Bound for Orange Bowl
The No. 13-ranked Florida State Seminoles can punch their ticket to the Orange Bowl this January with a win over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on Saturday night.
Sure, the Seminoles are coming off a tough loss to rival Florida last week, but Georgia Tech is just 6-6 this season and only playing for the ACC title because Miami imposed a bowl ban for the second straight season, making the Hurricanes ineligible to play for the conference championship this Saturday.
Not only are both teams on two different levels, but the Seminoles' defensive strength perfectly counteracts against the Yellow Jackets' offensive strength. Georgia Tech boasts the nation's third-best running game, averaging over 323 yards per game on the ground, while Florida State's rush defense ranks third best in the country, giving up just 85 yards per game.
The Seminoles have surrendered just nine rushing touchdowns all year and allow a shade over 2.6 yards per carry in 2012.
Given how both squads match up and based on what they've each done all year, look for Jimbo Fisher's 'Noles to outlast Paul Johnson's Ramblin' Wreck on Saturday night in Charlotte.
Saturday's Week 14 Schedule
|Matchup||Start Time (ET)||Network|
|No. Alabama vs. No. 3 Georgia||4:00 p.m.||CBS|
|No. 18 Texas vs. No. 6 Kansas State||8:00 p.m.||ABC|
|No. 11 Oklahoma vs. TCU||12:00 p.m.||ESPN|
|No. 12 Nebraska vs. Wisconsin||8:17 p.m.|
|No. 13 Florida State vs. Georgia Tech||8:00 p.m.||ESPN|
|Nicholls State vs. No. 15 Oregon State||2:30 p.m.||Pac-12 Network|
|No. 20 Boise State vs. Nevada||3:30 p.m.||ABC|
|No. 23 Oklahoma State vs. Baylor||12:00 p.m.||FX|
|UCF vs. Tulsa||12:00 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Cincinnati vs. Connecticut||3:30 p.m.||ABC|
|Pittsburgh vs. South Florida||7:00 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Kansas vs. West Virginia||2:30 p.m.||N/A|
|New Mexico State vs. Texas State||4:00 p.m.||N/A|
|Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Florida Atlantic||3:00 p.m.||N/A|
|South Alabama vs. Hawaii||11:00 p.m.||N/A|
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