An outside viewer would think the Big 10 Championship game was incredibly boring this year, but trust me from a first hand experience this was the most exciting football game I have been to. To put this into context, I also had the opportunity to go to the all time classic 2010 BCS National Championship between Oregon and Auburn where Cam Newton broke the heart of all my fellow Duck fans. The excitement surrounding the city of Indianapolis, the the host city for the Big 10 Championship, was unbelievable. Everywhere you went, you would hear “Go Hawks” or “ Go Green, Go White”. As a life long Michigan fan, I have never hated to hear two phrases in a week, except of course “O-H-I-O”. This whole experience was so memorable for me, and that is why I am here to share it with you guys.
To start, my mom and I woke up at the crack of dawn to be in the front row of my favorite show, ESPN College GameDay. As anti-Finebaum and SEC signs filled the mob of the students and fans, the show was ready to go. Coach Corso played to the crowd, while Kirk Herbstreit was a trooper, as all of the Iowa and Sparty fans were not too kind to the former Buckeye. Hearing Tom Rinaldi touch the crowd with his powerful stories, seeing Des show off his dance moves during commercial breaks, and watching Chris Fallica, “The Bear” power down the famous flaming hot shrimp cocktail from St. Elmo Steak House, were all highlights of Gameday. My favorite moment from being at GameDay was when Heisman Trophy Winner, and one of my role models Desmond Howard saluted at me because of my Michigan hat. College Gameday was awesome, and I know someday that I will be at the desk as an analyst.
After Gameday I headed to the Big 10 fan fest, where I met former Michigan State, and current Cincinnati Bengals defensive back, Darqueze Dennard. Dennard was not a fan of my Michigan shirt, as you can see in the picture he put a green sweatshirt to cover the maize and blue. Dennard asked me how old I was, when I told him I was 16, he said there was still time for me change into a Spartan. Although it was cool meeting Darqueze, I still bleed maize, blue and khaki. I wish Darqueze and the Bengals lots of luck as they head to the playoffs.
Fan fest came to an end, and I was off to Lucas Oil Stadium. The Hawkeyes came out to their signature “Back in Black” and the stadium was electric. It was crazy how many more Iowa fans there were, I really think the whole state of Iowa was in the Stadium. The defenses dominated the entire game. It was like watching the steel curtain vs the ‘85 Chicago Bears. I have never heard a stadium get as loud as it did when Trevaun Smith broke free for a long touchdown to put the Hawkeyes on top. Sparty responded with a nine minute game winning drive, it was remarkable to see. This game was one for the ages and I had the time of my life. I’m really hoping that this was the first of many Big 10 Championship games that I will attend and I’m also hoping that I’ll see the streets of Indy flooded with maize and blue as well as hear the phrase “Go Blue”.
Championship Weekend is among us, the final tickets will be punched for the College Football Playoff. This weekend is what makes college football so great. Here’s my preview for the games:
SEC Championship: Florida vs Alabama
Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide are in a familiar place, one win away from their ultimate goal. The Florida Gators have overachieved this year, but ever since the Will Grier suspension their offense has been stagnant. No one is giving the Gators a chance in this game,eventhough their defense has been incredible. I believe Derrick Henry will have trouble throughout the first half, but break free in the second. I have a feeling Florida will keep it close, but the Tide will roll in the second half and pull away.
Prediction: Alabama 27 Florida 13
Pac 12 Championship: USC vs Stanford
It seemed like the Pac 12 was down and out when Vernon Adams and the Ducks shocked Stanford in the Farm. If chaos breaks out the Cardinal will be in the best shape to sneak up the polls and jump into the playoff spot. USC has quietly put a nice season together and their high powered offense will give David Shaw’s defense some troubles. This will be a shootout, but Stanford will once again show that they are the best team in the Golden State.
Prediction: Stanford 38 USC 34
Big Ten Championship: Iowa vs Michigan State
The Big Ten Championship by far has the most stakes, and is a match up of two old school, smash mouth, classic Big 10 football teams. Iowa and Michigan State are both so well coached and they make very little mistakes. The Hawkeyes have had a dream season, the have been the Cinderella of College Football. If Sparty controls the line and gets their run game going, it will be a long day for the Hawkeyes. If Michigan State’s experienced offensive line fails to show up, and gets themselves in third and long, the Spartans are in trouble. I believe Desmond King will have a day, and the Hawkeyes will be on their way to a playoff game. I will be at the game and hope for an incredible matchup.
ACC Championship: North Carolina vs Clemson
This is the best game of the day, and probably the best quarterback matchup this year. Both Marquise Williams and Deshaun Watson have had the best seasons of their careers. UNC is the hottest team in the country, and Clemson has been persistently great this year. This will be a track meet, and I believe will come down to who has the ball last. UNC has put together a great year, but Clemson has too much talent and will somehow find a way to win this game.
Prediction: Clemson 58 North Carolina 55