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UCLA Football: Saturday Games- Our Bowl Opponent Will Hopefully Be on TV Today

Championship weekend continues today, with a full slate of games, including the SEC, ACC and Big 10 Championship games. And the Big 12 wraps up its season as well. After last night's blowout by Oregon, the bowl picture is less clear for the Bruins. Maybe today's games will clear things up (the right way).

A surrealistic image of the Playoff Committee chairman, in a surrealistic season where the Bruins could be placed anywhere from a Prestige game (remote) to the Las Vegas Bowl (remote), to points in between
A surrealistic image of the Playoff Committee chairman, in a surrealistic season where the Bruins could be placed anywhere from a Prestige game (remote) to the Las Vegas Bowl (remote), to points in between
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

There is a full slate of college football on the last day before the Bowl pairings are announced. Here is the schedule, courtesy of SB Nation-

Time TV Streaming
Noon ET Houston Cincinnati ESPN
Noon ET SMU Connecticut CBSSN
Noon ET Louisiana Tech Marshall ESPN 2
Noon ET Iowa State No. 3 TCU ABC
1 p.m. ET Indiana State Chattanooga
1 p.m. ET Richmond Coastal Carolina
1 p.m. ET Fordham New Hampshire
2 p.m. ET Northern Iowa Illinois State
2 p.m. ET Sam Houston State Jacksonville State
3:30 p.m. ET Oklahoma State Oklahoma FS1
3:30 p.m. ET South Dakota State North Dakota State
4 p.m. ET No. 1 Alabama No. 16 Missouri CBS
4 p.m. ET Alcorn State Southern ESPN U
4:30 p.m. ET Liberty Villanova
4:35 p.m. ET Montana Eastern Washington
7:30 p.m. ET Temple Tulane ESPN 2
7:45 p.m. ET No. 9 Kansas State No. 6 Baylor ESPN
7:45 p.m. ET No. 4 Florida State No. 11 Georgia Tech ABC
8:17 p.m. ET No. 13 Wisconsin No. 5 Ohio State FOX
10 p.m. ET Fresno State No. 22 Boise State CBS

Oregon has punched its ticket to Pasadena, as a participant in the Rose Bowl, thereby becoming one of four National Semifinal teams.

There is a game in the early slot (9 am Pacific) today which will help determine another possible Semifinal team. TCU, which is currently #3 in the polls, hosts Iowa State, which is winless in conference play. Expect a big blowout to impress the Committee members. Anything less could open the door for the Big 10 or for Baylor.

At 12:30 Pacific, you have a chance to see a possible opponent for UCLA in the Alamo Bowl. Oklahoma, currently #20 in the College Football Playoff rankings, hosts Oklahoma State. The Alamo Bowl pairs the first selection from the Pac 12 after removing teams in the Prestige Bowl games, versus the first selection from the Big 12 after removing teams in the Prestige Bowl games. If Arizona can retain its spot in the Prestige Bowls, despite last night's blowout, then UCLA is a likely participant in the Alamo Bowl, as the top choice from the Pac 12. And if TCU, Baylor and Kansas State all make it into the Prestige Bowls, then Oklahoma could be in line for the Alamo Bowl with a big win over Oklahoma State.

At 1 pm Pacific, the SEC championship game kicks off. With a win, Alabama would preserve its rank as one of the National Semifinalists. If Missouri wins, then all bets are off. It is hard to imagine that the SEC would be shut out of the National Semifinals. ESPN would probably show test patterns or infomercials for the next two weeks. But Missouri is #16 and there is no way they should be able to jump into the top 4. And the highest ranked team in the SEC not named Alabama this week is Mississippi State, at #10. How they could jump into the top 4 without even playing in the conference championship is beyond me. So that could be fun. And as an added bonus, if Alabama did start to lose, we could watch two of my favorite people, Nick Saban and Lane Kiffin, get into a real hissy fit on the sidelines.

At 4:45 pm Pacific, the marquee matchup in the Big 12 this week takes place. #9 Kansas State travels to #6 Baylor. The winner of this game will undoubtedly get a spot in a Prestige bowl. If Baylor wins big, they could jump into the final 4, displacing TCU, even if TCU beats up on Iowa State. If Kansas State wins big, and if TCU wins by a comfortable margin, then TCU would probably stay in the top 4, and K-State would be out of the National Semi's but in a Prestige game. If this is a close game, then both teams could stay in the top 10, and the Big 12 could have three teams in Prestige games. That would have direct implications for UCLA, due to the Big 12 tie-in to the Alamo Bowl.

Also at 4:45 pm Pacific, #4 Florida State and #11 Georgia Tech meet for the ACC championship. Florida State's team was able to cross state lines without violating two or three court orders, so that is a victory for them even before the opening kickoff. If Florida State wins another squeaker, they could lose their spot in the top four to Ohio State (depending on what happens in the Big 10 championship game). If Florida State wins big, then they will be in the National Semifinals, proving that justice does not always prevail. If Georgia Tech wins, we will have a similar situation as Missouri winning the SEC game. Georgia Tech would presumably not be able to leap frog all the way into the top four, and there could be big shifts at the top. If Georgia Tech loses, they would still be in position for the Orange Bowl, as the runner-up in the ACC. But if they get blown out, could Clemson sneak into the Orange Bowl? Stranger things have happened. TIARA got a contract extension after last season, for example. But I digress.

At 5:17 pm Pacific (not 5:18 or 5:16, apparently), #5 Ohio State faces #13 Wisconsin for the Big 10 title. If Ohio State wins and Alabama loses or if TCU scrapes by and Baylor loses, then Ohio State could be in the final four, probably on their way to Pasadena to face Oregon. This would please the Rose Bowl committee for sure, as they could get all the publicity of a Playoff game while preserving the traditional Pac-Big 10 pairing. If Wisconsin wins, then Wisconsin would get an automatic bid to a Prestige game as conference champion. Ohio State would presumably still be in the mix for a Prestige slot. And Michigan State at #8 would also be in line for a Prestige slot. So a Wisconsin win could lead to three slots for Big 10 teams, the most of any conference, but none of them in the National Semifinals. And since the Holiday Bowl matches the Pac 12 and Big 10 now, if UCLA drops down to the Holiday Bowl (which could happen if Arizona gets dropped from the Prestige group), then the number of Big 10 teams in the Prestige bowls will impact the Holiday Bowl pairing.

Finally, the little kids of college football will be glued to their TV's, if it is not past their bed time, when #22 Boise State takes on Fresno State at 7 pm Pacific for the Mountain West Conference championship. There is one slot in the prestige bowls allocated to the top ranked conference champion from the smaller conferences. If Boise State wins, then the slot is theirs. If Boise State loses, then teams like Marshall and Northern Illinois have a shot. And some Pac 12 team (fortunately not UCLA) will drop down to the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl (a Dorrellian fate, to be sure), and their opponent would be impacted by the Mountain West championship, since the RPLVB (really particularly lousy vacant bowl) matches the Pac 12 and the Mountain West.

So there is plenty to keep our attention. Fire away with your thoughts. When the dust has settled after a long day of college football, we will be that much closer to knowing UCLA's destination. Go Bruins !!