And here we are, with our final regular-season installment of FEPO. We'll of course return after the bowls are announced to pick all of those (including K-State's bowl game, assuming they're in one -- the one time we break our protocol and don't skip picking the Cats).
Today, we cover the three conference championship games Luke didn't, one Big 12 game, and we leap forward a week because covering next week's MURICA game is more interesting than any of the three Sun Belt offerings on the schedule. There are currently three Sun Belt teams bowl-eligible. Arkansas State hosts Texas State, and should win handily to capture the Sun Belt title at 8-0. Georgia Southern and Appalachian State are the other two; they visit Georgia State and South Alabama respectively. The latter two are both 5-6 and trying to become bowl-eligible. Don't count on either achieving their dream.
|MAC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Fri, Dec 4, 7 p.m.
Ford Field, Detroit MI
JM: If the MAC did their championship game the same way CUSA does, we would have two conference championship games being played in Bowling Green, somewhere. Ah, well. The team from Bowling Green actually named Bowling Green has been inconsistent, and against even remotely decent competition they have struggled a bit, Ohio excepted. Then again, they destroyed that Ohio team, which the Huskies just lost to. And NIU's only wins against decent teams have been narrow escapes, Toledo included. Still... I think Bowling Green wins, but 12 points is a lot. Huskies cover.
LT: Sure, 12.5 points is a lot, but it's not as much when you play as fast as Bowling Green does and average 44.2 points per game. The Falcons won six of their last seven games by at least 14 points. The other was a loss to Toledo in which they only scored 28 points, making it their lowest-scoring game of the year. However, Northern Illinois has the MAC's best pass efficiency defense and its best rushing offense. That's the recipe for beating a Dino Babers team. Huskies cover and might even win.
|Sat, Dec 5, 11 a.m.
McLane Stadium, Waco TX
JM: This is what you've been reduced to, Texas. Only a mere half a point separates you from being three-touchdown underdogs to a team you had to be forced to allow to tag along with you when you joined the Big 12. Has it occurred to you yet that at this point, we only keep you around for the money?
West Virginia beat you by 18, Longhorns. Art Briles is going to destroy you. Baylor covers. Glad we had this chat. See you in January.
LT: The Longhorns couldn't get within 21 at Ames. No way in hell they do it on Senior Day at McLane Stadium. Bears cover.
|MOUNTAIN WEST CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Sat, Dec 5, 3 p.m.
Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego CA
|San Diego State|
JM: The Aztecs were 1-3 when September ended. Since then, all they've done is run the table in an admittedly weak MWC West. The thing is, they did so by winning every single game by at least 14 points. Air Force actually has the better resume, as they'd be 10-2 if they'd played patsies instead of Navy and Michigan State. But ultimately, I think the Aztecs are going to cover here.
LT: I'm not so sure. SDSU won all those games by shutting down a bunch of bad offensive teams. Air Force is actually a pretty good offensive team, and it's been scoring a lot of points lately. Falcons cover.
|BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Sat, Dec 5, 6:45 p.m.
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis IN
JM: Yes, Michigan State is favored. Duh? Iowa is finally going to undergo the experience of playing an actual top 15-team, Northwestern's ludicrous overvaluation in the CFP rankings notwithstanding. Spartans cover. God, please, let the Spartans cover. Sanity requires it.
LT: Alternatively, wouldn't it be better to have Iowa get blown out in the playoff than to have Michigan State possibly win a game or two? Sadly, since the Spartans are good (and lucky) enough to do that, Iowa has very little realistic chance of winning this one, the way I see it. This is where the magic ends. MSU covers.
|Sat, Dec 12, 2 p.m.
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia PA
JM: There's not actually a Vegas line on this game yet, so we have to go with alternative methods. Massey has this game projected to be a 40-10 Navy win. I think that's probably high, because Army-Navy is always quite a bit tougher than a normal game, so I'll say Army covers.
LT: That's a very large spread. The last time this game was decided by 30 points was 2008, when Navy won 34-0. I'm not sure if this Midshipmen team is good enough to do that, and Army has only lost by 30+ once all year, to Duke at home. However, Navy is going to be wearing these incredible helmets. Therefore, Midshipmen cover.