The Football Weekend Review

College Football With just the Conference Championship games left this coming weekend, we will finally find out who will be in the College Football Playoff. I doubt there will be much change in the standings when they come out Tuesday night. #1 Clemson beat arch rival South Carolina, but the game was close and that might have an effect on Clemson staying at #1, but they won’t move out of the top four. The only way they miss out on the playoff is if they lose to North Carolina in the ACC Championship game. North Carolina was ranked #14 last week but they will move into the top 10 based on their easy win over North Carolina State and the fact some teams in the top 10 lost. A Clemson win and they are in the Playoff, if North Carolina pulls the upset, they might get in based on the fact that they will have won 12 games in a row. In the SEC, current #2 Alabama is in if they beat Florida in the SEC Championship game. Florida was ranked #12 but they will drop significantly based on their blowout loss to Florida State. If Florida happens to beat Alabama in the SEC Championship game, the SEC might not have a spot in the dance. The Big Ten Championship game will be between once beaten and current # 5 Michigan State against undefeated and current #4 Iowa. From my vantage point, Michigan State is clearly the better team and they will win the game. Either way, the winner of this game will definitely be in the Playoff. The loser hopes for a top Bowl game. A couple of weeks ago it looked as if the Big 12 might end up like last year and be on the outside looking in. That changed when Oklahoma home ran the table in very convincing fashion. Oklahoma went into the weekend ranked #3 and then blew out #11 Oklahoma State in Stillwater. That will solidify Oklahoma’s place in the dance and they could even move up to #2 in this week’s standings. Even though the Big 12 does not have a Championship game, Oklahoma has played too well lately to be left out. They deserve to be in the Playoff as much as any team. The Pac 12 needs some help to get in the Playoff. Stanford will be the favorite in the Championship game versus USC. Stanford already has two losses so that alone could hurt their chances. They would need Alabama and/or Clemson to lose to even be considered. If USC beats Stanford, there is no chance they get in. The NFL After 12 weeks, there is only one undefeated team left in the NFL and that is the Carolina Panthers. If the voting were held today Ron Rivera would be coach of the year and Dave Gettleman would be the GM of the year. Both have done remarkable jobs this season. Three weeks ago, it looked as if New England was going to be the class of the AFC. With their loss to Denver, that is no longer the case. New England has lost too many front line players, and while they will easily win the AFC East, they may not go as far in the playoffs as we thought. They have had more key injuries than just about any team in the NFL this season. The winner of the NFC East could very well be below .500 at season’s end. Right now, Washington and the New York Giants are tied at the top with 5-6 records. Philadelphia, as bad as they have looked the last few weeks, are still in it if they can possibly get their game together. Surprisingly, there are a few teams that are now in wild card contention that we never would have thought would be in the playoff hunt: the Chicago Bears and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Looking at their future schedules, Chicago has the best chance, but they would have to win at least four of their last five games and more likely all their remaining games. If they won out, they would finish at 10-6. As it stands now, their division and conference record works against them when it comes to tie breakers. Still, it will make for an interesting final month of the NFL season. Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe

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