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Championship Week will help settle college football bowl picture

Missouri v Texas A M

Missouri v Texas A&M

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Updated: December 27, 2012 6:22AM



There is very little suspense left regarding the BCS Championship Game. Notre Dame had its invitation gift-wrapped Saturday, beating a USC team that was without quarterback Matt Barkley. The other invitation will go to the winner of the SEC Championship Game between Alabama and Georgia next Saturday.

But the rest of the bowl picture isn’t even close to being cleared up. Plenty of conference titles will be decided this week. Here’s a look at some of the bigger ones:

SEC

Alabama vs. Georgia: It looked like the Crimson Tide’s title hopes were dead after a loss to Texas A&M a few weeks ago, but guess who’s one victory away from going for the repeat? Don’t sleep on Georgia, but ’Bama’s talent, especially on the offensive line, will be too much. This is basically the real national title game.

Pick: Alabama.

ACC

Florida State vs. Georgia Tech: The Seminoles are an E.J. Manuel sack against North Carolina State and a Manuel turnover against Florida from being unbeaten, but that has been the problem for Manuel in big moments. Still, FSU has too much talent.

Pick: Florida State.

Big Ten

Nebraska vs. Wisconsin: Basically, this is the Asterisk Bowl because Ohio State and Penn State, the top two finishers in the Leaders Division, are ineligible. The Cornhuskers beat the Badgers earlier in the season, and because this game can’t be a tie …

Pick: Nebraska.

Pac-12

UCLA at Stanford: The Cardinal beat UCLA on Saturday, earning the right to beat the Bruins again Friday.

Pick: Stanford.

Big East

Louisville at Rutgers: Further evidence that the conference is taking up dead space in the BCS mix. At least the game will be played Thursday. That way everyone can see how bad Big East football is.

Pick: Rutgers.

Players of the week

QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M: The legend of “Johnny Football’’ grows. He left the game with an injured knee, came back with a brace and ended up throwing for 372 yards and three touchdowns in a rout of Missouri.

DT Jordan Hill, Penn State: The senior defensive lineman put an exclamation point on his season, registering 12 tackles — three for loss — and two sacks in a victory over Wisconsin.

Big number

4,600 The number of total yards for the season put up by freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel, which set a new SEC record for total offense.

Key games
Saturday

Alabama vs. Georgia, 3 p.m., Ch. 2: It’s simple: The winner gets the chance to embarrass Notre Dame in the BCS title game.

Nebraska vs. Wisconsin, 7:17 p.m., Fox-32: An undeserving Big Ten team has to win this game so it can go to a bowl game it shouldn’t be playing in.

Texas vs. Kansas State, 7 p.m., Ch. 7: The Wildcats haven’t played since a loss to Baylor cost them a BCS title shot, but they still can send a message to the rest of the Big 12 that it’s their block now.



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