Week 14 of the 2022 NCAA football season sees the 5 power five conferences in the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac 12, and SEC decide the conference champions and maybe in some instances, a College Football Playoff representative. The question is, who will win their way into the College Football Playoff with a win in their respective title games or lose but still make the cut because of their national ranking? Here are the power 5 title game previews for this weekend.
ACC: Clemson vs. North Carolina, Saturday 12/3, 8 pm on ABC in Charlotte, NC
Besides the Tar Heels having the obvious advantage with a “home” crowd in Charlotte, just a couple of hours west of Chapel Hill, UNC’s reason to win would be their passing game strength. Look for QB Drake Maye and company to crank it back up against a shaky Clemson secondary. Even with losses to lesser squads like Georgia Tech and in-state rival NC State, the Tar Heels are still in prime shape for this tilt. Another factor favoring UNC is Clemson’s run defense woes. In Week 13 against South Carolina, the Tigers gave up 360 yards worth in a stunning 31-30 loss to the Gamecocks.
Even with the problems of the last few games, North Carolina is still No. 1 in the ACC in total offense and scoring, averaging 481 yards and 37 points per game. Clemson, meanwhile, can’t stop messing things up. They virtually have as many things wrong with them as you can. Penalties have been kept to a bare minimum, but the offense has turned it over 15 times in the last five games. Yikes.
Prediction: UNC 42, Clemson 21
Big 10: Purdue vs. Michigan, 12/3, 8 pm on FOX in Indianapolis, IN
Michigan puts its 12-0 season on the line against 9-3 Purdue after easily dispatching arch-rival Ohio State the week before. Purdue also beat rival Indiana to win the Old Oaken Bucket, but it was by a significantly lesser margin. Plus, the Wolverines will have a tough time without star RB Blake Corum, out for the remainder of 2022 with a knee injury. But Michigan has more than enough talent besides him to pull off what is essentially a turkey shoot for the Maize and Blue. Purdue should just feel like they’re lucky to be there.
How will the Wolverines win, you ask? With a steady and effective passing game that’s able to come through in the clutch to minimal turnovers the entire season to a still decent run game even with the absence of Blake Corum, Michigan is firing on all cylinders for this one. Even though Purdue might get a couple of scores on the board, they’ll eventually get completely outclassed by a much better Michigan team.
Prediction: Michigan 35, Purdue 10
Big 12: TCU vs. Kansas State, 12/3, 12 pm on ABC in Arlington, TX
The one big reason K-State may shock the world and knock off undefeated TCU? It’s simple. There’s no real pressure other than the fact that a loss would send them to the Sugar Bowl. This team has the style and detail to pull off a monumental upset. Even though TCU has a laundry list of things it’s done, so does K-State, and maybe even more so. The Wildcats are tops in the Big 12 in scoring defense, 2nd in turnover margin, and only behind Oklahoma in rushing. Deuce Vaughn continues to be a terror, Martinez will step in here, despite being out for quite some time due to injury to add to the mix, and the improved passing game under starting QB Will Howard has made everything more explosive. There’s a reason Kansas State is 4-0 this year when he gets the start.
But the biggest weapon the Wildcats have is the run game. As long as the Wildcats are averaging five yards per carry or more, they’ll be a problem.
Now you may ask why TCU has a shot to win. Also simple. They’ve done it pretty much every time someone thinks they’d lose. Keep doubting the Horned Frogs and you just might be surprised at how far this team can go. They are #3 in the nation, after all. Kansas State, on the other hand, is 13th, but most people won’t even care about that. TCU keeps playing with more and more confidence, it found a great offensive mix that can adapt and adjust on the fly, and it helps to have the most dangerous passing combination in college football outside of Knoxville. Also, starting QB Max Duggan is a Heisman favorite. So there’s that, too.
This is gonna be a potential dogfight in the D. For this Power 5 title game preview, you could write it either way.
Prediction: TCU 34, Kansas State 27
SEC: Georgia vs. LSU, 12/3, 4 pm on CBS in Atlanta, GA
Oh my. This one is DEFINITELY worth your time. Of all the Power 5 title game previews, this one hits home for me.
LSU may be 11th and playing against #1 Georgia with a raucous red and blackout Mercedes-Benz Stadium crowd on Saturday afternoon, but don’t count out LSU. They beat Alabama in thrilling fashion a few weeks back, one of only 2 losses for the Tide in the entire regular season. Plus, star QB Jayden Daniels is as sharp as he is. The Tigers may have lost out on a playoff spot with their blowout loss at Texas A&M last week, but much like Utah vs USC, they could play spoiler. However, they also have to make sure of one thing. Whenever they have the ball, LSU’s gonna have to move it, and fast, or Georgia will capitalize. It’s even more intense on 3rd downs against the nation’s top-ranked defense. The Tigers can manage at least 5 yards a carry for an opportunity to win, but UGA hasn’t allowed any more than that ALL SEASON LONG. The cards are stacked against LSU, and the Dawgs may sic ’em, and sic ’em hard. If LSU can’t get the run game going, they’re already dead.
Georgia? All they need to do is strike fast and don’t take any chances. The Dawgs often busted games open this year with big 1st half stats. If they do that on Saturday in front of what’s essentially their home crowd, they’ll find themselves in the win column. Also, no one plays defense like Georgia plays defense. Daniels will be running for his life if LSU isn’t careful.
And one more thing: Georgia LOST the SEC title game TO ALABAMA the year before. How could they not want this? If anything, they’ll become conference champions in no time flat.
Predicition: Georgia 42, LSU 27
So there you have my Power 5 title game previews. As for who will make college football’s Final Four, that remains to be seen.
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