What a long, strange trip this college football season has been — and it's not over yet. On Saturday, the best of the best from FBS conferences around the country will square of in their annual conference championship games (If a conference indeed has one). These are the last games (no disrespect to Army and Navy) that will shape the College Football Playoff as well as this season's bowl picture.
You and most of the talking heads around the country probably think these conference championship games are pretty cut and dry — along with the results and implications they yield. You are obviously not factoring in the outrageousness that's about to ensue.
Here are the outrageous predictions for conference championship week.
Iowa doesn't let Connor Cook throw a touchdown pass
The Hawkeyes have gotten increasingly better at keeping the passes of opposing quarterbacks out of the end zone as the season has gone on. Iowa allowed six touchdown passes by quarterbacks during their four-game non-conference schedule. During the eight-game Big Ten slate, the Hawkeyes yielded the same number (not counting the halfback pass allowed against Minnesota). Don't be shocked when Michigan State marches up and down the field on Iowa, only to see drives die at the hands of the Hawkeye secondary. When the Spartans score, it'll be off a short run or two — and it won't be enough to win the game.
North Carolina stuns Clemson, clinches a Playoff spot
The Tar Heels have only gotten better since the opening week loss at South Carolina. They rebounded by running the table, winning tough road games at Georgia Tech, Duke and Virginia Tech along the way. Clemson has quietly rode the success of the first eight games of the season and sort of tip-toed through the the last month, struggling with Syracuse and — low-and-behold — South Carolina. Look for North Carolina to control the tempo with a heavy dose of Elijah Hood, who may be running the ball better than anyone in the country right now. The Tar Heels pull of the upset and force the committee to bump them from No. 10 into the top four as a one-loss Power 5 conference champion.
Florida takes down Alabama, creating
The Crimson Tide are the best team in the country at stopping the run. Offensively, running back Derrick Henry is their bread and butter. Seven spots behind Alabama in rushing defense nationally sit the Florida Gators at No. 8. That's even after what Dalvin Cook did to them last week. You know the Gators are going to focus on stopping Henry and making Jake Coker beat them. When Coker airs it out, he'll be tossing it into a secondary that only allows 172.3 yards per game through the air. Florida matches up much better with Alabama than many teams in the overrated SEC West did all season. That'll show on Saturday, when Alabama is dealt its second loss of 2015.
Ohio State slides into the College Football Playoff
Oklahoma is in. North Carolina gets in with the win over Clemson. Iowa gets in with the win over Michigan State. That leaves one spot. Who do you give it to? A two-loss Stanford? No chance. The committee members knows what they are doing, and they'll jump at the opportunity to put Ohio State (currently No. 6 in Playoff rankings) back in the mix as the defending champ. You'll have No. 1 Oklahoma taking on No. 4 North Carolina in one Playoff game, with No. 2 Iowa squaring off with No. 3 Ohio State in the other. The gods of Outrageousness will have spoken and the controversy that drives the sport of college football will continue.