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Bowl Fever: A Look at this Weekend’s Championship Games

Can Michigan State beat Wisconsin for the second time this season? (Photo by Mark Cunningham/Getty Images)

With the regular season coming to a close, little has been decided in college football. Bowl games are announced Sunday night, the Heisman race is shaping up to be one of the closest in recent memory, and the national title picture is murky.

But before any controversy can start after the matchups are announced, conference championship games must be played.

Here is a look at the title games of the BCS conferences:

PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP

UCLA vs. No. 9 Oregon

Friday, 8:00 p.m., FOX

The week’s first major championship pits the UCLA Bruins (6-6, 5-4 Pac-12) against the high-flying Oregon Ducks (10-2, 8-1 Pac-12) at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore.

The Ducks host the league’s inaugural title game after claiming the tiebreaker versus Stanford (53-30 trouncing in November), while UCLA advances to Eugene because of Southern California’s (10-2, 7-2 Pac-12) sanctions.

The contest will be Rick Neuheisel’s final one as head coach of the Bruins (+31.5), while LaMichael James, the nation’s leading rusher, highlights the Ducks’ attack. Oregon won the last matchup between these two squads, trouncing UCLA 60-13 in Oregon on Oct. 21, 2010.

SEC CHAMPIONSHIP

No. 14 Georgia vs. No. 1 LSU

Saturday, 4:00 p.m., CBS

It’s pretty simple for the Tigers, a win versus Georgia (10-2, 7-1 SEC) will send LSU (12-0, 8-0 SEC) to their third BCS title game. A loss against the Bulldogs makes the situation a little interesting, however.

LSU will face another difficult challenge, not only playing a Georgia team on a 10-game winning streak, but into a hostile environment at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, just 90 minutes from UGA’s campus.

Les Miles’ squad has faced a gauntlet of a schedule in beating seven ranked opponents, including three in the top 3. Tyrann Matthieu leads the nation’s second leading defense (both scoring and yardage) against a Georgia offense lead by sophomore gunslinger Aaron Murray (32 TD, 10 INT).

ACC CHAMPIONSHIP

No. 20 Clemson vs. No. 5 Virginia Tech

Saturday, 8:00 p.m., ESPN

With the title game in New Orleans, Virginia Tech (11-1, 7-2 ACC) once again see themselves right in the national title picture. Their one blemish? The Clemson Tigers (9-3, 6-2 ACC).

Clemson bludgeoned the Hokies back in early October 23-3 in Blacksburg, Va., and will look to advance to their first BCS bowl game since its inception in 1998.

Frank Beamer will look to continue Va. Tech’s conference dominance, appearing in the ACC title for the fourth time in five years (three wins). Both teams are led by sophomore QBs; Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas (18 TDs, 7 INTs) and Clemson’s Tajh Boyd (28 TDs, 10 INTs).

The winner is likely to face the Big East Champion in the Orange Bowl.

BIG 10 CHAMPIONSHIP

No. 15 Wisconsin vs. No. 13 Michigan St.

Saturday, 8:17 p.m., ABC

Thanks to wonderful conference realignment, we get another inaugural title game, this time in the “tradition rich” Big 10. A trip to the 98th Rose Bowl is on the line against the winner of Friday’s Pac-12 title.

Should-be Heisman contender Montee Ball (1,622 rush yards, 6.54 ypa, 29 TDs) compliments Badger’s QB Russel Wilson (28 TDs, 3 INTs), leading an effective Wisconsin (10-2, 6-2 Big 10) offense, while Kurt Cousins (21 TDs, 6 INTs) commands the Michigan St. Spartans’ (10-2, 7-1 Big 10) attack.

The Spartans topped Wisconsin in the regular season matchup, connecting on a last-second Hail Mary from Cousins to Keith Nichol to win 37-31.

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