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

Alabama continues to block grad transfer Brandon Kennedy

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Continued kudos, Alabama.

Earlier this month, Brandon Kennedy opted to leave Alabama as a graduate transfer.  The offensive lineman, as it turns out, is interested in a transfer to Alabama rivals Auburn and Tennessee; as has been the case in the pastor not — Kennedy has been barred by UA from transferring to any other school in the conference despite the fact that he’s a graduate transfer.

Kennedy, a graduate transfer, appealed the initial decision that blocked him from an intra-conference move.  In a stunning turn of events, that initial appeal has been denied by the university.

Al.com writes that “[t]he next step for Kennedy, who graduated in December, is an in-person hearing with Alabama’s appeal board.” As noted by the website, Kennedy graduated from the university in December, which makes him a graduate transfer.

When that in-person hearing in front of Alabama’s appeals board will take place for the student-athlete who has already graduated is unclear.

Kennedy, prior to becoming a graduate transfer, served as the Crimson’s Tide backup center in 2017, his redshirt sophomore season.  After graduating in December, Kennedy exited spring practice this year as the defending national champion’s likely No. 2 center.

As a graduate transfer, Kennedy would have a two-year eligibility clock that begins immediately with the 2018 season even if he stays in the FBS.

On a completely related note…

Since last summer, at least two players have transferred within the SEC. In June of 2017, running back David Williams moved from South Carolina to Arkansas. Earlier this month, defensive back Nick Harvey left Texas A&M and chose South Carolina over, among others, Auburn and Tennessee.

Both Williams and Harvey left their former schools as graduate transfers.

Kudos, Alabama.  Still.

Former four-star Miami signee transferring from Rutgers to FIU

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Kiy Hester‘s winding college football journey is set to take him to yet another destination.

On his personal Twitter account over the weekend, Hester announced that he will be transferring to Florida International and spending his final season of collegiate eligibility playing for Butch Davis‘ squad. The defensive back will be leaving Rutgers as a graduate transfer.

Hester had also considered Pitt before opting for the Conference USA school.

Hester, once committed to RU as a high school prospect, was originally a four-star member of Miami’s 2014 recruiting class. In September of that year, he received a release from his UM scholarship and transferred to Rutgers that same month.

The past three seasons, Hester started 19 of the 29 games in which he played. Eight of those starts and 11 of the appearances came during a 2017 regular season that saw him earn honorable mention All-Big Ten honors after finishing fourth in the conference with 1.2 passes defensed per game.

In December of last year, Hester opted to transfer from the Scarlet Knights.

Vanderbilt transfer originally committed to Tulane reverses course, heads to UCF instead

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Welp, so much for that.

In mid-December, Bailey Granier (pictured, No. 75) announced on Twitter that he would be transferring from Vanderbilt to Tulane after graduating. However, on the same social media site this month, Granier revealed that, instead of Tulane, he would instead be transferring to UCF to finish out his collegiate playing career.

The offensive lineman, who attended the Green Wave’s spring game this year, gave no specific reason for the about-face.

Granier played in 27 games during his time with the Commodores, starting five of those contest during that time. All of those starts came at right tackle — two this past season, three in 2015.

Bowling Green loses part-time starting corner to transfer

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As you’re likely well aware already, it’s not just Power Five programs who see a roster reshuffling this time of the year.

The latest Group of Five school to experience that personnel phenomenon is Bowling Green, with Cam Jefferies announcing on his personal Twitter account that, “[a]fter a countless amount of prayer and conversation with those closest to me,” he will be transferring from that Falcons. The cornerback gave no specific reason for the decision to move on from the MAC school.

According to his tweet, Jefferies is set to graduate from the university in August. He will have two years of eligibility remaining.

A two-star recruit coming out of high school in Ohio, Jefferies took a redshirt as a true freshman in 2015. The past two seasons, the defensive back started 12 of the 21 games in which he played. Seven of those starts came this past season.