By JOHN P. WISE
One Great Season
PITTSBURGH -- I haven't had many noon starts on the OGS tour, but I'm not complaining.
After I shoot the Cincinnati-Pittsburgh game, I'll hustle back to the hotel for the Florida-Alabama tilt and then of course Texas-Nebraska. Those poor kids from Georgia Tech and Clemson; not many people will be watching that ACC Championship game when it kicks off at 8 p.m. ET.
Here are my picks for today's huge matchups:
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh -- The Bearcats surprised many in the season's first half with a defense that hardly resembled one that was starting 10 new players. But the last few games, UC is giving up big plays and many points, so Dion Lewis and the Panthers will definitely make it interesting. But Cincinnati's offense hasn't missed a beat despite the musical quarterbacks, and I don't even think the noise surrounding Brian Kelly's future will be a problem. Cincinnati wins a shootout, 45-37.
Florida vs. Alabama -- Two great teams with great defenses tangle for the right to call themselves SEC champions and play for the national title. I see this one looking a lot like the Florida-LSU game in October. Points and big plays will be at a premium. And in such a game that will probably be close after halftime, would you put your crunch-time money on Tim Tebow or the other guy? Florida ends Alabama's dream season ... again, 16-12.
Texas vs. Nebraska -- Many think Nebraska has a chance here, and while I don't totally disagree, the chance is not a good one. Texas hasn't faced a defense like the one it will face today, but the Huskers have little to be excited about on the other side of the ball. They'll certainly slow the Longhorns down, but not enough to beat them. Colt McCoy and Texas have too much firepower. A slowed-down UT offense is better than most at full power. The Longhorns are focused on one of those shiny BCS invitations, and they'll get it with an impressive win, 31-10.
Georgia Tech vs. Clemson -- Each team suffered a disappointing rivalry loss to an almighty SEC team last week, so tonight's game will tell us who can respond better to adversity. Clemson has C.J. Spiller, who can rejoin the list of Heisman candidates with another stellar performance. But Georgia Tech has its impossible-to-stop rushing attack that gives everyone trouble. I have to think preparing for a difficult team will be slightly easier the second time around for the Tigers, who only lost by a field goal at Georgia Tech in Week Two. Clemson wins, 27-23, in an exciting finish that many will turn to after Texas puts the Big 12 title game out of reach in the second half.