It’s Championship Time. Time for the best of the best to prove themselves and finally clinch a beloved spot in a BCS Bowl or the College Football Playoff. It’s a time and place where the elites try to assert themselves and make the world afraid of their power. But, like always, there are questions to be asked. Here are the answers to critical questions about each game.

Big 10 Championship – Iowa vs. Michigan State, Saturday 8:17pm ET

Question: Is Connor Cook good enough to take down the Hawkeyes? 

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Connor Cook is a durable quarterback. He endured a series of games in which the Spartans barely won during the middle of the season, exposing his weaknesses to effectively finish a football game, which ended up being exploited in the lone loss this season to Nebraska. Cook has used these tight-knit experiences to fuel him towards a successful season. But, Iowa’s defense is a different animal. They do not possess the star players or the prestige of a top defense, but they are overall just good. They line up in a base scheme and get off the field quickly, so it will be important for Cook to use each possession wisely. If he can get something going in Indy, the Hawkeyes might be denied a Playoff spot.

ACC Championship – Clemson vs. North Carolina, Saturday 8pm ET

Question: Is North Carolina a legitimate contender against Clemson? 

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The North Carolina Tar Heels are undefeated since a Week 1 blunder to South Carolina, and seem to be firing on all cylinders. On offense, they like to come out and put up points early, which will be hard to do against a staunch Clemson defense, but is not out of reach. If they run the football effectively early, they can get off to a better finish against the Tigers. Defensively, they need to create penetration. Clogging a run game will force Tigers quarterback DeShawn Watson to throw the football, and although he is dangerous in the air the Tar Heels are one of the top defenses in the country in takeaways. Specifically, M.J. Stewart needs to step up on defense to complement the Marquise Williams-led offense. If they play lights-out, a win is not out of reach, but anything less results in a Tigers Playoff trip.

SEC Championship – Florida vs. Alabama, Saturday 4pm ET in Atlanta, GA

Question: How good is the Alabama defense? 

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Really, really good. D.J. Pettway, Cyrus Jones, Ryan Anderson, O.J. Smith, and more comprise the nation’s #1 defense and a powerful unit that has drawn attention from NFL scouts, college coaches, and more. Alabama’s defense will shut down Florida without a doubt. Treon Harris has no idea what he is getting himself into when rushing against this defense, as the giants of the Crimson Tide will swallow him. This game will not be a question, and will easily fall to the Tide for another Playoff appearance.

PAC 12 Championship – Stanford vs. USC, Saturday 7:45pm ET

Question: How will the USC Defense respond to Stanford’s offense? 

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his past weekend was electric here in Los Angeles, as the Trojan faithful celebrated their first win over UCLA in three years. But, the daunting task of Stanford awaits in the Pac 12 championship. Kevin Hogan leads an offense that is simply put, really good. Hogan accurately completes passes and poses a deep threat quarterback who is not only mobile but also has a cannon of an arm. Despite all of this, Hogan is not even the biggest threat of the offense. Christian McCaffrey had 249 yards against USC in September and has only pushed off a campaign for Heisman since. McCaffrey is the single biggest asset to the Cardinal on the field. For USC to pull something off, Cameron Smith is going to have to show up on defense and Adoree’ Jackson will need to create a key turnover either on defense or electrify a special teams unit like he did last week against UCLA. Stopping McCaffrey and Hogan will not be easy, but it can be done, as evident by the Cardinal’s two losses to Northwestern and Oregon.


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