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Will Championship Saturday make that much of a difference when it comes to the College Football Playoff field?

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Yes, there are myriad things at stake on Championship Saturday, especially for those conferences (I see you, Group of Five) that have no shot whatsoever (again) of earning one of the four spots in the College Football Playoff. Yes, conference championships, even for those with the larger postseason prize in their collective sights, still mean something. It still means something to proclaim yourself as the champion of your conference. Bragging rights and all.

It also still means something for whichever Group of Five school claims the New Year’s Six berth, which will be earned on the field Saturday by either Memphis, Cincinnati or Boise State — or even Appalachian State.

That said, how much of a difference will it all really make when it comes to the playoffs?

Sitting at the desk in my mom’s basement (she’s dead but it’s still hers when it comes to my job description), the following alert from ESPN came across my phone sometime Thursday afternoon: “Ranking the conference championship games by CFP impact.” That got me thinking, which is dangerous in and of itself: Should I upgrade my iPhone to one of the new 11 models or just keep my current XS?

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A short time later, I actually started thinking about the question posed to me by the World Wide Leader. So, I figured I’d sketch something out in my own head — again, a frightening proposition — and this is how it started, ranking the conference championship games when it comes to playoff importance, from most to least.

PAC-12
No. 5 Utah (11-1) vs. No. 13 Oregon (10-2)
Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif.
In the five-year history of the CFP, the Pac-12 has qualified exactly twice — the inaugural year in 2014 with Oregon and in 2016 with Washington. That’s the fewest number of appearances among the Power Five conferences. Coincidentally or not, the reputation of the Pac-12, at least when it comes to football, is significantly lower than the other P5s, even as the Big Ten (three) and Big 12 (three) only have one more CFP appearance than the Left Coast league.

That’s why the Pac-12 is desperate for three things to go down this weekend, one Friday night and two the next day. One, Utah beats Oregon, and beats them impressively. Two, LSU beats Georgia in some form or fashion, regardless of how impressive. Three, Baylor beats Oklahoma.

To paraphrase the great Adrian Cronauer, the Pac-12 is in more desperate need of a playoff appearance than any white man in history.

BIG 12
No. 7 Baylor (11-1) vs. No. 6 Oklahoma (11-1)
AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Tex.
By the time Baylor and Oklahoma take the field at Jerry’s World early Saturday afternoon, both schools will have a better idea where they fit in the playoff picture. If Utah beats Oregon the night before, they both know they’ll need to be impressive in a win (to go along with an LSU win over Georgia later on in the afternoon) to get in. If Oregon beats Utah, both teams will know that they merely need a win by any means necessary (to go along with an LSU win over Georgia later on in the afternoon) to earn a spot.

One potential fly in the ointment: The committee hasn’t thought much of Baylor for most of the season. There are some who believe that a 12-1 Baylor could lose a playoff berth to an 11-2 Oregon; I can’t see that, but it’s something to keep in mind.

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Then I got to thinking some more and, after taking a couple of Aleves because the process of thinking ofttimes hurts, dove further down the postseason rabbit hole and came up with exactly how to arrange the next tier of conference championship games as they pertain to playoff relevance:

  • AAC
    No. 20 Cincinnati (10-2) at No. 17 Memphis (11-1)
    Liberty Bowl Stadium, Memphis, Tenn.
  • MWC
    Hawaii (9-4) at No. 19 Boise State (11-1)
    Albertsons Stadium, Boise, Idaho
  • Conference USA
    UAB (9-3) at Florida Atlantic (9-3)
    FAU Football Stadium, Boca Raton, Fla.
  • MAC
    Miami (OH) (7-5) vs. Central Michigan (8-4)
    Ford Field, Detroit, Mich.
  • Sun Belt
    Louisiana (10-2) at No. 21 Appalachian State (11-1)
    Kid Brewer Stadium, Boone, NC
  • ACC
    No. 23 Virginia (9-3) vs. No. 3 Clemson (12-0)
    Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
  • SEC
    No. 4 Georgia (11-1) vs. No. 2 LSU (12-0)
    Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
  • Big Ten
    No. 1 Ohio State (12-0) vs. No. 8 Wisconsin (10-2)
    Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Ind.

Get the point?

A loss — close or near-blowout — in their respective games Saturday will not knock either Ohio State or LSU out of the playoffs. An absolute evisceration?  Potentially.  The selection committee has made it clear that those two teams are head and shoulders above everybody else in the field except for Clemson, and they’re probably still only a half-head or so above the defending national champions, who will ride a 27-game winning streak into the weekend.

A close loss will not knock Clemson out, either. A blowout? Possibly, but, still, you put a 12-1 Clemson’s résumé up against a 12-1 conference champion Oklahoma/Baylor or a 12-1 conference champion Utah, and my guess is the committee opts for the non-conference champion Tigers — especially if the Big 12 and/or Pac-12 title games are close and/or sloppy affairs.

Such a gridiron Armageddon as laid out above, though, seems highly unlikely, at least when it comes to the oddsmakers.  Clemson and Ohio State are both significant double-digit favorites — the Tigers are currently at -28½, the Buckeyes at -15½ — while LSU is a solid touchdown favorite.

So, getting back to the original premise: Yes, Championship Saturday still matters greatly — except, by and large, when it comes to the playoffs. And you know what? There’s nothing wrong that. At all.

Now, with that decided, let’s move on to the matter of getting rid of the conference championship games — and divisions in every league — altogether and use this weekend as the opening round of a 16-team playoff…

Miami’s QB revolving door sees Miami QB Jarren Williams reportedly entering transfer portal

Miami QB Jarren Williams could be entering the transfer portal.
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As we are quickly learning with the new day and age of college football, the minute a new quarterback arrives on the scene by way of a transfer, another may soon be on the move. Case in point, the current situation at Miami. Quarterback Jarren Williams will be entering the transfer portal, according to a report from Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated (via Twitter).

This news is hardly shocking given the attention given to the arrival by D’Eriq King from Houston earlier this week. King, a graduate transfer with immediate eligibility for this fall, is widely expected to step in and be Miami’s starting quarterback in 2020. Naturally, that would reduce the playing time Williams or any other Miami quarterback would be likely to see in the fall.

As a redshirt freshman in 2019, Williams was Miami’s leading passer with 2,187 yards and 19 touchdowns with seven interceptions. Williams is the only Miami quarterback who played in as many as 12 games last fall. If not for the addition of King, Williams may have been Miami’s most likely starter this season.

If Williams, a former four-star recruit in the Class of 2018, does indeed enter the transfer portal and ultimately decides to leave the Hurricanes for a new school, he will have to sit out the 2020 season. He would then have two years of eligibility left to use beginning in 2021.

Appalachian State and Liberty schedule future home-and-home series

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Appalachian State and Liberty have agreed to a future home-and-home series beginning in 2024. The schools announced future games to be played at Appalachian State in 2024 and at Liberty in 2025.

Appalachian State will host the Flames on Sept. 28, 2024. Liberty will host the Mountaineers the following fall on Oct. 11, 2025. Although this will not be the first time the two programs have played each other, it will mark the first time the two schools have faced each other with both being full FBS members.

Appalachian State and Liberty have faced off 10 times before. The most recent meeting in the series took place on Oct. 11, 2014, when Appalachian State was in its first season transitioning to from the FCS to the FBS. Liberty won an overtime shootout, 55-48. Liberty made the move from FCS to FBS in 2018 and is coming off its first bowl appearance, and victory, this past season against an Appalachian State rival, Georgia Southern.

“One of our goals in football scheduling is to play regional opponents to which our fan base can easily travel, and we’ve been able to do that with series like this one,” Appalachian State Director of Athletics Doug Gillin said in a released statement.

The addition of Liberty to Appalachian State’s future schedules fills the non-conference portion of the 2024 schedule for the reigning Sun Belt Conference champions. Appalachian State will also host East Tennessee State and play road games at Clemson and East Carolina in 2024. Appalachian State has two openings on its 2025 schedule, as of now. A home game against South Carolina is also booked for 2025 in addition to the road game at Liberty.

Liberty now has seven games booked for the 2024 season. The independent program will also host Coastal Carolina and Marshall and play road games at North Carolina, Eastern Michigan, Ball State, and UMass in 2024. Liberty still needs three more games to fill up the 2025 schedule, which is highlighted by road games at Army and Duke and a home game against Wake Forest.

Second Oklahoma State WR this week enters transfer portal

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Thanks to the portal, the ranks of the Oklahoma State football receiving corps has been thinned a bit over the past couple of days.  Again.

On Twitter TuesdayTyrell Alexander announced that he has decided to transfer from the Oklahoma State football team and “reopen my recruitment process.” The wide receiver would be leaving Stillwater as a graduate transfer for his final season of eligibility.

Thursday, it’s now being reported that teammate and fellow receiver LC Greenwood has entered the portal as well.  On his personal Twitter account late Thursday morning, Greenwood confirmed his impending departure.

“I have built relationships and bonds that will last me a lifetime,” Greenwood wrote. ” My time here has been amazing and I enjoyed every minute of being a [C]owboy.”

A four-star member of the Oklahoma State football Class of 2017, Greenwood was rated as the No. 35 receiver in the country and the No. 42 player regardless of position in the state of Texas.

After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, however, Greenwood never lived up to the four-star rating.  Greenwood played in three games in 2018 but didn’t record any statistics.  This past season, he caught three passes for 12 yards.

Greenwood and Alexander were actually the second and third wide receivers to leave the Oklahoma State football team this cycle, joining Patrick McKaufman. All told, 11 Cowboys have left the program.

Tight end Grayson Boomer was another of those transfers.

Boston College’s leading receiver reverses course, pulls out of portal

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Like Stanford, the Boston College football program is on the receiving end of a positive portal flip.

Earlier this month, Kobay White entered his name into the NCAA transfer database, signaling his intent to move on from the Boston College football team.  As we continuously note, players are permitted to pull their name from the portal at any point and remain with their original school.

Apparently, that will be the case with White as it’s now being reported that the wide receiver has withdrawn his name from the database.  Such a move is an indication that White will return to the Eagles, although that hasn’t yet been confirmed.

White came to the Boston College football team as a three-star 2016 signee.  Only one offensive player in the Eagles’ class that year, quarterback Anthony Brown, was rated higher than White.  Brown, incidentally, entered the portal last month.

This past season, White led Boston College with 29 receptions and five receiving touchdowns.  His 460 receiving yards were second on the team as well.  In 2018, he was the Eagles’ leader in both catches and yards.

For his career, the Pennsylvania native has totaled 1,409 yards and 10 touchdowns on 96 receptions.