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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Around the Country: Championship Week

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Photo by Jaime Rowe

The Texas A&M football team sways to the war hymn after their last game of the season against ACU on Nov. 18, 2023 at Kyle Field.

Boise State @ UNLV
Saturday, Dec. 2 — Allegiant Stadium — Las Vegas
12 p.m. on Fox
After San Jose State’s upset of UNLV forced a three-way logjam on top of the Mountain West standings between the Trojans, Rebels and Boise State, the conference was forced to resort to computer rankings to determine the teams vying for the conference championship on Saturday, Dec. 2.
An anxious night for many fans ended on Sunday morning when the conference announced the computer formulas had named UNLV hosts of the game and Boise State as the challenger looking to send the Rebels packing.
This wasn’t an expected matchup for anyone following the conference throughout most of the year. Both Fresno State and Air Force were ranked in the AP Poll at points, with Wyoming receiving votes as well.
Instead, it’ll be a matchup of a UNLV team that sits at 9-3 — its best record since 1984 — in Barry Odom’s first season in the desert and a Boise State squad that fired its head coach on Nov. 12.
There’s not much to separate these two teams statistically. Both rank second and third in total offense, and are fairly balanced between the run and the pass. But the Broncos have the worst passing defense in the conference, and UNLV has junior wide receiver Ricky White, whose 1,300 receiving yards led the Mountain West and currently rank sixth in the country.
But more than that, UNLV is experiencing its best year on the gridiron since the Reagan administration, while Boise State is still looking for a coach who can lead them back to their glory days — and the emotion will be the difference.
Prediction: UNLV 31, Boise State 28
No. 5 Oregon vs. No. 3 Washington
Friday, Dec. 1 — Allegiant Stadium — Las Vegas
7 p.m. on ABC
The final weeks of Conference play in the Pac-12 finished as many analysts predicted, with Washington remaining undefeated facing a hungry Oregon team on a six-game winning streak after its one loss to the Huskies in Week 6.
The Ducks’ sole loss to Washington ended after Oregon senior kicker Camden Lewis missed a game-tying field goal in the final drive, which would have pushed the game into overtime.
Both starting quarterbacks of the high-powered offenses are finalists for the Heisman honors, with Oregon senior Bo Nix leading most of the predictions. In contrast, Washington senior Michael Penix Jr. has fallen to third in the rankings after LSU senior quarterback Jayden Daniels went off for four touchdown passes last week against Texas A&M.
This week could be Nix’s last opportunity to prove to the voters that he is the top candidate for the honor, but Penix can still steal the spotlight with a dominant performance in Las Vegas against the Ducks.
The quarterback has proven himself more than capable of pulling off wins against AP-Top 25 teams, with four wins against top-ranked opponents this season. Penix has also now led the Huskies to an undefeated regular season for the first time since 1991.
Prediction: Washington 41, Oregon 38
No. 18 Oklahoma State vs. No. 7 Texas
Saturday, Dec. 2 — AT&T Stadium — Arlington
11 a.m. on ABC
After Texas’ beatdown of Texas Tech on Nov. 24, it’s safe to say that not everything runs through Lubbock and on Dec. 2, Texas’ last Big 12 game will feature Oklahoma State.
In its last season before moving to the top-heavy Southeastern Conference, the Longhorns have made a memorable impression with the best season record since the Colt McCoy-led 2009 team.
Hoping to make it into the playoffs, Texas has a case with the team being so well-rounded. Offensively, though sophomore quarterback Quinn Ewers hasn’t been the star-studded player he was in high school, he’s been doing more than enough to help Texas to its 11-1 record.
Though they lost Bijan Robinson, sophomore running back Jonathon Brooks has stepped up comfortably with multiple 100-plus rushing yard games. Junior wide receiver Xavier Worthy continues to be a safe target for Ewers, hauling in 67 receptions for 883 yards.
While the Longhorns are riding a hot streak, the same can’t be said for the Cowboys. They’ve had meaningful statement wins over Kansas State, Kansas and Oklahoma but dropped the ball against smaller teams in South Alabama and UCF.
Overall, all the odds will be in the Longhorns’ favor in their last game in the Big 12 and if everything goes right, they’ll also have a good argument for making the playoffs.
Prediction: Texas 42, Oklahoma State 21
SEC Championship: No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 8 Alabama
Saturday, Dec. 2 — Mercedes-Benz Stadium — Atlanta
3 p.m. on CBS
In the final SEC game on CBS, fans are treated to a championship game featuring two teams who consistently find themselves in Atlanta at the end of the season. The last time neither Alabama or Georgia made it to the SEC championship game was 2013, and for the fourth time in that span they will find themselves against each other.
The stakes are highest in this one with both sides continuing to fight for a spot in the College Football Playoff. The SEC champion has never been left out of a four-team playoff and that is likely to be the case this week as well.
Alabama kept its hopes alive last week in the Iron Bowl with a game-winning touchdown pass on fourth-and-goal from the 31-yard line, as junior quarterback Jalen Milroe found sophomore wide receiver Isaiah Bond in the back of the endzone in a play the Tide refers to as ‘gravedigger.’
However, the Tide will have a tougher time staying alive this weekend as they face the two-time national champions who come into the game with the No. 6 offense and the No. 8 defense in the nation.
Georgia has fallen in all three SEC Championship games against Alabama since 2013, however, the tide is shifting in the landscape of college football and the Bulldogs will finally get past Nick Saban in Atlanta.
Prediction: Georgia 31, Alabama 28

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About the Contributor
Ian Curtis
Ian Curtis, Sports Reporter
Ian Curtis is a journalism freshman from College Station, Texas. Ian has written about football, men's basketball, women's basketball, baseball, hockey, gymnastics, volleyball and more for The Battalion. Ian's work has also appeared in The Bryan-College Station Eagle and over the airwaves on WTAW and BCSball.com. 
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