A lack of intrigue surrounds title games

Originally Published: December 1, 2005
By Rich Podolsky | Special to ESPN Insider
It's hard to believe this is Championship Week with so many games that look one-sided. Northern Illinois has to be shocked that it's facing Akron in the MAC title game and not Miami-Ohio or Bowling Green. Texas looks like it can just throw its uniforms on the field to win the Big 12 championship over Colorado. And in a game that will decide the Pac-10 title, USC is favored by more than three touchdowns against a UCLA team that has managed to out score nine of its 10 opponents despite giving up yards and points by the bucketful.

In what is sure to be a tight defensive battle, we think Georgia will get past LSU and go to the Sugar Bowl, while Tulsa has an edge over Central Florida for the Conference USA title.

Thursday

Northern Illinois -12½ vs. Akron (Detroit): The Akron Zips are the second biggest surprise of the MAC (after Western Michigan) and shockingly the Zips find themselves in this title game after both Bowling Green and Toledo lost home games that would have put either of them here. The Zips finished 5-3 in the conference and picked up big wins over Northern Illinois in September and at Bowling Green in October. Both victories were blessed with good fortune. The latter came when BG quarterback Omar Jacobs was out due to an injured shoulder. In their early season win over NIU, star Huskie running back Garrett Wolfe was still nursing a shoulder injury. He played against Akron but only gained 52 yards rushing. Since Wolfe gained 145 yards on the ground against Michigan and 245 against Northwestern a few weeks earlier, we'll assume that the reason Wolfe had such little success on the ground against the Zips was not because of the Akron defense.

Rich Podolsky

College Football
Since 1989, Chris Fowler has been ESPN's primary college football and men's college basketball studio host. He's anchored College GameDay, the network's award-winning Saturday morning college football preview show, since 1990.