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Don't Expect Anything Outrageous From College Football Championship Weekend

Don't Expect Anything Outrageous From College Football Championship Weekend

Don't Expect Anything Outrageous From College Football Championship Weekend

Normally this is the time of the week when I'm combing through the college football schedule, searching for those potential upsets that nobody else sees coming.

This week, my search came up empty.

The only thing that should surprise anyone about this weekend's slate of conference championship games is that there won't be any surprises — none, zippo, zilch.

This is all the result of what was a pretty crazy regular season. Here is what led to the upcoming predictable weekend.

Northwestern won the Big Ten West

Thanks to the wheels falling off Wisconsin and the Iowa coaching staff deciding to limit the use of the best tight end in the country during key moments and games, Northwestern backed its way into the top of the Big Ten West division. This is a team what went 0-3 during non-conference play and needed a miracle to come from behind and beat a bad Nebraska team at home. The Wildcats are slightly above average at best, and they'll face an Ohio State team that looks like it has everything figured out after stumbling through most of the season and dealing with off-field controversy. The Buckeyes are favored by two touchdowns, and that might not be enough.

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Pitt won the ACC Coastal Division

You can thank Miami and Virginia Tech for underperforming and leaving the door wide open for Pitt — the Northwestern of the ACC — to wiggle its way into the ACC Championship Game. The Panthers will meet a Clemson team that has beaten every team it has faced by at least 20 point since surviving a scare against Syracuse in Trevor Lawrence's first start. The Tigers are locked, loaded, favored by nearly four touchdowns and ready to punch their ticket to the College Football Playoff.

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The SEC East was weak

On paper, a Georgia-Alabama SEC title game is pretty tasty. It's a rematch of last year's national title game featuring two of the best teams in what has been the nation's strongest conference. The problem is the Bulldogs are nowhere near as good as they were a year ago. They won a weak division (see Kentucky looking good for much of the season) and got blasted by the only legit championship-caliber team (LSU) they faced. Now they play an Alabama team that many pundits think might be the greatest college football team of all time. The Crimson Tide are favored by nearly two touchdowns. It'll probably be closer to a three-score game.

Texas upset Oklahoma earlier in the year

Let's call it what it was. The Longhorns — a team that lost to Maryland right out of the gate — played their best game of the season to take down the Sooners in one of the biggest upsets of the year. They went on to survive a three-way battle for second place in the conference — thanks to some help from the Sooners — and find themselves in a rematch with their bitter rival. If the Sooners win, they're in the College Football Playoff, and they'll be focused on doing that in a big way. Oklahoma is favored by just over a touchdown. If I were a gambling man, I'd be betting heavily on the Sooners to cover.

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Texas

The result of all of this early-season chaos will yield a weekend that sees Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Oklahoma get into the College Football Playoff. Ohio State's loss to Purdue — like the loss to Iowa a year ago — will ultimately be what keeps the Buckeyes out of the final four. Oklahoma beating Texas will essentially cancel out the Sooners' only loss of the season.

One final twist will be unbeaten Notre Dame dropping to No. 4 in order to guarantee a matchup with Alabama in the semifinals, subsequently drawing ratings that will rival those of the eventual national title matchup.

— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. His work has appeared on SI.com, FoxSports.com, Yahoo! SBNation and Bleacher Report. He is a three-time FWAA writing contest award winner. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.