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College Football Open Thread: Championship Friday

Kirk Irwin

It's Championship Weekend in the world of college football, and by the end of the evening on Saturday we should pretty much know all of the teams that will be involved in the big-time BCS bowls.

Last night, the Louisville Cardinals punched their tickets by defeating the Rutgers Scarlet Knights to win the Big East Championship, meaning they'll likely be going to either the Sugar Bowl or the Orange Bowl.

Tonight, there are two games with potential BCS bowl implications. The one that everyone has probably heard about is the Pac-12 Championship Game in Stanford, California. That game will feature the 16th-ranked UCLA Bruins taking on the 8th-ranked Stanford Cardinal. The winner of this game will go to the Rose Bowl as the Pac-12 champion, and will match up with the winner of Saturday's Big Ten Championship Game between the Wisconsin Badgers and the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

The Pac-12 Championship Game will be televised on FOX, with kickoff scheduled for 7 PM Central time.

However, there's another game with potential BCS implications as well. . .one that you might not have heard about.

The Mid-American Conference Championship Game will kick off at 6 PM Central time on ESPN2. The game will be contested between the 21st-ranked Northern Illinois Huskies and the 17th-ranked Kent State Golden Flashes. So, how does this have BCS implications, you might ask? Well, here's your answer:

Under BCS rules, if a champion from a conference without an automatic bid, such as the MAC, ranks in the top 16 of the final BCS standings and is ranked higher than a champion from one of the AQ leagues, such as the Big East, the non-AQ champ is guaranteed a spot in the BCS.

Big East-leading Rutgers wasn't ranked in last week's BCS standings. Kent State was 17th and could move up with a victory. UCLA is 16th and has to play Stanford in the Pac-12 title game on Friday night.

Northern Illinois might have a shot at a BCS Bowl if they win the MAC Championship Game. . .but if Kent State wins, they should be almost a lock to move into the Top 16 in the BCS. Always nice to hope for an underdog. . .as well as outright chaos in the BCS. . .so I hope that Kent State gets the victory here.

With that, here are my relatively uneducated BCS Bowl Projections:

BCS National Championship Game - Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Georgia Bulldogs
Rose Bowl - Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Stanford Cardinal
Sugar Bowl - Florida Gators vs. Louisville Cardinals
Fiesta Bowl - Kansas State Wildcats vs. Oregon Ducks
Orange Bowl - Florida State Seminoles vs. Kent State Golden Flashes

What does everyone else have? Feel free to discuss it here!