College Football - SEC & Big Ten Championship Weekend

All those weeks of regular season action are in the distance of the rear-view mirror. Conference championships are on the line and more importantly, the College Football Playoffs are still to be decided.

SEC Championship

Georgia (1) vs Alabama (3)

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, 4pm ET, BT Sport ESPN 9pm GMT

Is there a bigger championship game than the SEC? It's certainly the only one that contains two top 3 seeded teams. Georgia has fallen short against Alabama in this game on so many occasions, but this time it just feels different.

Georgia comes in as -6.5 point favorites over their fierce rivals and is the only remaining power 5 team that is undefeated. The Georgia defence has not given up more than 17 points to a team all season, with not 1, 2, but 3 shutouts.

The offence has been more than fine, although, for many, no one is that convinced it's that strong. With the defence being so dominant they haven't faced too many pressure situations. Many feel that the Georgia secondary hasn't really been tested and this could be as tested as they might be all season. Bryce Young is the only real contender at quarterback for the Heisman Trophy with 40 passing touchdowns and throwing just shy of 4000 yards. It's been an impressive year for the new starter at Alabama, even more so when you see the struggles his offensive line has had this year.

Alabama strength is usually in the trenches but after many players moved onto the NFL last season, it's a fairly new-look line that has unusually struggled compared to previous teams. This is where this game could be won or lost. Georgia's defensive line is stacked with big, athletic linemen that have dominated most teams all year. Teams have found success blitzing Alabama a lot over the past month and it has shown with their recent struggles with an overtime win over Auburn last week and late touchdown victory over Arkansas the week before.

It really does feel like Alabama has limped into this championship game and is just hanging in the top 4. Georgia has cruised into this position. Given how both teams have looked and where they are both this season, Georgia should win this and probably win this fairly comfortably. But this Alabama, the team that has denied Georgia in this game so many times.


If Georgia wins, it's not just an SEC Championship they win. They will secure the number 1 seed in the playoffs and also should push Alabama out of the top 4 with them falling to a second defeat. If Alabama wins, Georgia will surely remain in the top 4 and make the playoffs, but expect Alabama to jump up above them into the number 1 spot.

Player Watch

Alabama

Bryce Young - QB - 40 Passing Touchdowns, 3901 Passing Yards

Jameson Williams - WR - 1261 Receiving Yards, 13 Receiving Touchdowns

Will Anderson Jr - Edge - 14.5 Sacks, 86 Tackles


Georgia

Brock Bowers - TE - 652 Receiving Yards - 10 Touchdowns

Anyone on Georgia's defence

Big Ten Championship
Michigan (2) vs Iowa (13)

Lucas Oil Stadium 8pm ET, 1am GMT

Unless you're an Ohio State fan or a fan of any of the teams in the Big Ten, I think you will agree with me that the Michigan story this past 18 months is incredible.

The Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh has had his struggles since taking over the job in 2015. He had early successes but it always fell to disappointing defeats to either Michigan State or Ohio State, if not both, which would result in them not making a Big Ten Championship and ultimately no playoff appearances. After the last couple of seasons not being up to standard with only 11 wins from 19 games, many started to wonder if Michigan would move on from Harbaugh. The former player loves Michigan and he backed himself by reworking his contract. He took a pay cut and backed on himself by turning that guaranteed money into incentives based on performance.


He came out with what is now a famous statement at the start of the season in regards to being unable to beat Ohio State. "We're gonna be Ohio State or die trying". A big statement considering Michigan has lost their previous 10 meetings. This time last week Michigan in the big house did the impossible and beat the number 2 seed Ohio State 42-27.

Now I know what you are thinking, what about Iowa?

Iowa has definitely played above expectation. Many were predicting them being in the mix of the Big Ten West but no one really predicted they would make the Big Ten Championship, especially as the 13th seed with a 10-2 record. At one stage Iowa found themselves 6-0 and very much in the playoff picture before back-to-back defeats to Purdue and Wisconsin ended that dream.

Iowa is a tricky team to play, they always play tough on defence. The biggest problem is their offence really lacks big playability. Ty Goodson offers explosiveness in the running game, but when his running yards nearly outscores your starting quarterback passing yards, it tells you how one-dimensional this offence has been this season.


If I'm being honest Michigan feels head and shoulders above this Iowa team. There is a couple of reasons to not rule out Iowa though. First of all, Iowa as an underdog in a big matchup like this, feels exactly where they like to be. They know they have nothing to lose, not many people believe they can beat Michigan, and even if they win the playoffs are likely out of reach. Michigan on the other hand already has an expectation, this is their first Big 10 Championship game since it was introduced in 2011. They also can't afford to lose if they want to remain in the top 4. All they have to do is win. Easier said than done. The other issue, it must've felt like last week's win against Ohio State was almost their moment, their championship game right there. How will the hangover affect them going into this one?

If Iowa can keep this game tight heading into the 4th quarter, expect the nerves to set in for those Michigan players and coaches.

Michigan's defence is great, Iowa's defence is not far behind at all. Although Michigan's passing game has had its struggles at times, the past few games it feels it's taken a step forward but more importantly their running backs have contributed to 35 touchdowns on the season. Their line dominated Ohio State and will need to do the same again this week. Iowa as mentioned has a good running game in Ty Goodson but it doesn't quite compare to Haskins & Corum. The biggest problem is the passing game. I'm not even sure which quarterback is starting, against this defence it will be a tough ask to put up many points.

Player watch

Michigan

Hassan Haskins - RB - 1232 Rushing Yards - 18 Touchdowns (5 last week vs Ohio State)

Aidan Hutchinson - Edge - 13 Sacks, 1 Forced Fumble (Potential Heisman Trophy Winner and maybe 1st overall NFL draft pick)

David Ojabo - Edge - 11 Sacks, 5 Forced Fumbles (He and Hutchinson are absolute beasts pressuring the opposing quarterback all season.)


Iowa

Ty Goodson - RB - 1101 Rushing Yards, 6 Touchdowns

Dane Belton - DB - 5 Interceptions


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