The Swami

CFT Predicts: Conference Championship Weekend

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Well, it’s finally here.

Outside of the Army-Navy game next Saturday, Week 15 serves as the final weekend of the 2013 “regular” season.  Despite the fact that 14 weeks are already in the books, though, there are still several critical questions that remain unanswered.

Can Ohio State run its winning streak to 25 straight and claim a spot in its first BCS title game since after the 2007 season?  Would a one-loss and SEC champion Auburn do the unprecedented and leapfrog an unbeaten AQ team into the championship game?  Will Missouri and/or Michigan State make the argument that dominated the week leading into Championship Saturday a moot point?  Can Florida State avoid tripping up against Du… sorry, couldn’t finish typing that with a straight face.

The ACC, Big Ten and SEC championship games aren’t the only ones of import this weekend, though, as the Big 12 and Pac-12 will also send a team apiece into the BCS with automatic bids:

  • If Oklahoma State can defend its home Stillwater turf and beat Oklahoma in Bedlam, the Cowboys claim the Big 12 championship and the automatic BCS berth.  If not, the winner of the Texas-Baylor game — in Waco — will earn the conference’s postseason honors.
  • The Pac-12, as it relates to the BCS, is simple and straightforward: the winner of the Stanford-Arizona State conference championship game in the desert will play in the Rose Bowl against either the Big Ten champion or an at-large team.

Of course, a handful of other games litter the Week 15 schedule — MWC (Utah State-Fresno State) and Conference USA (Marshall at Rice) league championship games as well as regular-season finales in the AAC and Sun Belt — although most eyes will be on the games mentioned above.

So, how will the weekend play out?  How will the questions posed earlier be answered?  Allow the CFT staff to peer into their respective, sometimes cloudy crystal balls and take a stab at just that.

AUBURN (11-1, No. 3 BCS) vs.MISSOURI (11-1, No. 5 BCS)
SEC Championship game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga. 4 p.m. ET kickoff

Chris Huston: Auburn 42, Missouri 35
Kevin McGuire: Auburn 34, Missouri 32
JJ Stankevitz: Missouri 38, Auburn 34
John Taylor: Missouri 41, Auburn 34

Auburn/Missouri, 2-2

OHIO STATE (12-0, No. 2 BCS) vs. MICHIGAN STATE (11-1, No. 10)
Big Ten Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. 8:17 p.m. ET kickoff

Chris Huston: Ohio State 27, Michigan State 10
Kevin McGuire: Ohio State 24, Michigan State 20
JJ Stankevitz: Michigan State 27, Ohio State 24
John Taylor: Ohio State 37, Michigan State 24

Ohio State, 3-1

FLORIDA STATE (12-0, No. 1) vs DUKE (10-2, No. 20)
ACC Championship game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC. 8 p.m. ET kickoff

Chris Huston: Florida State 51, Duke 24
Kevin McGuire: Florida State 42, Duke 17
JJ Stankevitz: Florida State 59, Duke 10
John Taylor: Florida State 54, Duke 10

Florida State, 4-0

STANFORD (10-2, No. 7) vs. ARIZONA STATE (10-2, No. 11)
Pac-12 Championship game at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. 7:45 p.m. ET kickoff

Chris Huston: Arizona State 31, Stanford 28
Kevin McGuire: Arizona State 30, Stanford 26
JJ Stankevitz: Stanford 30, Arizona State 21
John Taylor: Stanford 34, Arizona State 31

Arizona State/Stanford, 2-2

OKLAHOMA (9-2, No. 17) vs. OKLAHOMA STATE (10-1, No. 6)

Chris Huston: Oklahoma 38, Oklahoma State 35
Kevin McGuire: Oklahoma State 38, Oklahoma 28
JJ Stankevitz: Oklahoma State 41, Oklahoma 27
John Taylor: Oklahoma State 34, Oklahoma 17

Oklahoma State, 3-1

TEXAS (8-3, No. 25) vs. BAYLOR (10-1, No. 9)

Chris Huston: Baylor 48, Texas 41
Kevin McGuire: Baylor 43, Texas 27
JJ Stankevitz: Baylor 56, Texas 38
John Taylor: Baylor 52, Texas 24

Baylor, 4-0

Reports: Jake Spavital headed to Cal as offensive coordinator

COLLEGE STATION, TX - NOVEMBER 09:  Johnny Manziel #2 of the Texas A&M Aggies chats with his quarterback coach Jake Spavital before the game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Kyle Field on November 9, 2013 in College Station, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
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It appears Jake Spavital won’t be out of a job for long.

A month and some change after “mutually parting ways” with Texas A&M, Spavital has reportedly found a new home out west. FootballScoop (where I also work) and Fox Sports reported Friday Spavital had found a new home at California, and on Wednesday Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman added that Spavital will receive a two-year deal in Berkeley.

Cal head coach Sonny Dykes and his new offensive coordinator have never worked together previously, but each hails from the same school of thought. Dykes rose the ranks while working under Mike Leach at both Kentucky and Texas Tech and under Mike Stoops at Arizona, while Spavital spent the past few years working for former Leach assistant Dana Holgorsen at Houston, Oklahoma State and West Virginia and with former Bob Stoops assistant Kevin Sumlin at Texas A&M.

Spavital earned just north of $486,000 in 2015 according to the USA Today salary database while the man he replaces, new Middle Tennessee offensive coordinator Tony Franklin, made $510,000.

Cal finished the 2015 season ranked seventh nationally in yards per play and 17th in scoring, but Spavital will be tasked with re-tooling the attack without future 1st-round pick Jared Goff at quarterback.

SEC commish Greg Sankey insists move to block Michigan spring break trip not a competitive one

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 13:  Greg Sankey the new commissioner of the SEC talks to the media before the quaterfinals of the SEC Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena on March 13, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said Wednesday his move to block Michigan’s spring break practices at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., wasn’t what you thought it was.

Speaking to AL.com, Sankey said:

“That’s the national issue and if I’m the only that is going to speak about it, so be it. But it is one piece of this conversation that we don’t need to further. In addition, we need to understand that it’s really clear when people do things — push the boundaries — others follow and I think it is all in our collective best interests to say out-of-season sports using, in this case, spring break for practice purposes, is not appropriate.

He added: “What’s unfortunate is people try to reduce this to simply a competitive issue, which it is not.”

To which the nation collectively rolls its eyes.

We’ll have to wonder whether or not Sankey would have proposed the same legislation had Jim Harbaugh moved Michigan’s practices to, say, Carson, Calif., but the guess here is he would not. And if the maize-and-blue made their southward trek during a school week, it’s hard to believe Sankey would have sat idly by and let it happen.

No, Sankey would have done what was best for his constituents, while Harbaugh does the best for his.

So while Harbaugh offered his side of the story on Twitter earlier Wednesday….

… Sankey said he would not respond 140 characters at a time. Which is both a smart move (for him) and a shame (for the rest of us) at the same time.

“I’m not going to reduce what is an important conversation to some childhood use of Twitter,” he said. “This is an important issue.”

Delshawn McClellon transferring from Utes for final season

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 20:  Wide receiver Delshawn McClellon #10 of the Utah Utes catches a touchdown pass in the end zone against safety Trent Matthews #16 of the Colorado State Rams during the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium on December 20, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Another day, another senior deciding to use his final season of eligibility elsewhere.

The latest to do as much is Delshawn McClellon, who took to Instagram Tuesday to confirm that he has decided to leave Utah and finish his collegiate career at an undetermined locale. While the wide receiver gave no reason in the post for his decision, it’s likely based in part at seeking a better opportunity for more playing time.

McClellon will be leaving the Utes as a graduate, meaning he could play immediately in 2016 if another FBS school is his next stop.

You have been good to me Utah, met some real people and created great memories over the past four years. Couldn’t be more thankful for them helping me out with my situation years back. Crazy to think I’ll be suiting up with someone else next season but, I got to do what’s best for me.

“You have been good to me Utah, met some real people and created great memories over the past four years,” the receiver wrote on the social media website. “Couldn’t be more thankful for them helping me out with my situation years back. Crazy to think I’ll be suiting up with someone else next season but, I got to do what’s best for me.”

McClellon, who’s listed in his official bio as Utah’s fastest player (4.37 40), played in 31 games the last three years after redshirting as a true freshman.  The California native finishes his Utes career with eight receptions for 110 yards.

USC AD Pat Haden taken to hospital after medical emergency

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 26:  Athletic director Pat Haden of the USC Trojans looks on during the game against the UCLA Bruins at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 26, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  USC won 50-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Health issues played a significant role in Pat Haden‘s decision earlier this month to step down as USC’s athletic director later this year.  Similar issues, unfortunately, have arisen yet again.

According to multiple media outlets, Haden sustained some type of medical event outside of Heritage Hall this morning and was treated by paramedics called to the scene.  He was ultimately transported to a local hospital, but is reportedly doing better physically after feeling lightheaded and being forced to sit to prevent a collapse.

In October of last year, Haden experienced a similar episode prior to USC’s game against Notre Dame.  That prompted the athletic director to step down from his position on the College Football Playoff selection committee.

Haden has served in his capacity at his alma mater since 2010.  He’s scheduled to officially step down from his post June 30 of this year.