Final Four
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What is this?
Since NCAA Football desperately needs a playoff, why not create one? Sixteen teams were chosen (11 conference winners and five at-large bids) and placed into brackets. Dan Biggio, Sim Lucien and I will take a look at each game and decide who we think will win the game. The team that moves on to the next round will be the team that gets two votes to win out of the three predictions. The predictions for each game will be posted during the time listed for each contest (i.e. Georgia-West Virginia will be posted 12:00 Friday).






#1E Texas (12-0) vs. #2E Penn State (10-1).
Saturday, Noon ET

Walt's Take:
This is the semi-final matchup that should be taking place in real college football. Instead, we are left with a contest with USC and Texas, a game that will be over by halftime. The Longhorns are no match for the Trojans.

But can Texas beat Penn State? Nope. The Longhorns had trouble stopping Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. How are they going to contain Michael Robinson, four swift freshmen receivers -- Derrick Williams, Justin King, Deon Butler and Jordan Norwood -- and running back Tony Hunt? Texas can't and Texas won't. I expect Penn State to score at least 30 points.

The Longhorns only played one valid defense this year. They would have lost to Ohio State if Troy Smith was under center the whole game. Now, Texas is asked to battle a team that is much better than anything it has faced all season? The Nittany Lions are about 108,000 notches above the likes of Colorado, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Texas Tech. The entire Big XII stinks.

This is going to be an ugly, unexpected blowout.

Penn State 38, Texas 17.

NCAA Dan's Take:
The most intriguing aspect of this game is how a tough, experienced and downright nasty Penn State defense will fare against an explosive Texas offense that is loaded with talent. The Nittany Lions will probably want to play this game in the 20s -- if they can do that then they will have a chance to win. Another key for the Nittany Lions is to limit their turnovers. Michael Robinson needs to take care of the football. If the Nittany Lions play mistake-free football, they are capable of beating any team in the land.

As for the Longhorns, do expect Texas to score -- but do not expect it to average anywhere close to their seasonal offensive numbers in points or yards from scrimmage. This game has nailbiter written all over it -- but I like Joe Paterno's team to pull this one out and advance to the national championship game.

Penn State 31, Texas 27.

Sim's Take:
OK, enough is enough. The Texas-Ohio State game is over. Just because in Week 2 the Buckeyes contained the Longhorns and lost, and a few weeks later, Penn State contained the Buckeyes and almost squandered the lead, doesnít mean Penn State can take Vince Young and Crew behind the woodshed. Games before Week 5 -- except blowouts -- should not be weighted so heavily. Yes, I know Penn State is a very good team with a lot of veteran talent, and great coaching, but they are just coming up in the college football realm again and have a long way to go before they are considered to be a super power again. Texas was doomed to be the post-season No. 5 team forever until they beat Oklahoma this season.

All of this talk about the Big XII is so bad and the Big 10 is so good has to stop. Michigan and Iowa are in down years. Ohio State is a good, not great, GOOD defense with a maturing quarterback, mediocre running game, Santonio Holmes and the walking 40-time, Teddy Ginn Jr. Northwestern, Michigan State, and Purdue are over-hyped pretenders. Wisconsin and Minnesota are one-dimensional running teams, with soft defenses, and Indiana and Illinois donít warrant mentioning.

Texas is the No. 1A most talented team in the country behind No. 1 USC. Mack Brown is a great coach from February-the OU game, then every game after that. Texas Tech is a stat factory, but it wins and wins its bowl games. Oklahoma is having its one bad year since Bob Stoops took the helm. Oklahoma State is suffering growing pains with a young team and will be a legit team again. Kansas is bowl-eligible. Nebraska is in the same returning to glory boat as Penn State. Colorado and Iowa State are powers on the verge. And yes, Missouri, Baylor, Texas A&M, Kansas State are bad, but A&M and K-State can get back to there old winning ways.

In short, the speed Penn State acquired last offseason is good, but Texas has gears not seen north of the Mason-Dixon (except USC). These two defenses are very close. Texas is better up the middle (DTs, MLB, and safeties), Penn State has the edge on the outside (DEs and OLBs). However, the two are dead even at cornerback. Offensively, no question, Texas is the better team.

When all the ammo is spent and the dust settles, I except The Longhorns to end up on top.

Texas 21, Penn State 10.

Winner: #2E Penn State




#1W USC (12-0) vs. #2W Auburn (9-2).
Saturday, 3:30 ET

Walt's Take:
Ever since college football concluded and the final BCS rankings were released, I've maintained that three teams in the country legitimately had a shot at beating USC: Penn State, Ohio State and Auburn.

That said, no one but Penn State can contain USC. There are just so many names. Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, LenDale White, Dwayne Jarrett, Carson Palmer, Mike Williams, Reggie Bush, Keyshawn Johnson, Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush... sorry I got carried away. I expect the Trojans to punt two or three times, but no more than that.

Auburn will be able to score by establishing Kenny Irons. The Trojans' defense is underrated -- it stopped Drew Olson when it played UCLA the final weekend of the season. However, if you expect the Tigers to beat USC, you must think that quarterback Brandon Cox will be able to participate in a shootout with Leinart and Bush. Cox is a decent signal caller, but he is too young and too inexperienced to go toe-to-toe with the best. If he had one more year of playing time under his belt, I might say that Auburn could pull the upset.

I expect the Tigers to stay within shouting distance of USC until near the end of third quarter. The Trojans pull away in the fourth.

USC 41, Auburn 27.

NCAA Dan's Take:
Rematch of the actual two best teams in college football from 2004, in spite of Oklahoma's BCS ranking. The Auburn Tigers, again in 2005, are among the better defenses in all of college football. Auburn is as well equipped as any team to hold the Trojans down in scoring points -- if this is at all possible. This is the equivalent of playing the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL -- the best defense is a ball-control, efficient-type offense to keep USC's weapons off the field. Kenny Irons will help Auburn try to do this. USC is just too good though. Holding Southern Cal to 30 points is a tremendous achievement, and I believe Auburn can do that in this game. But even still, I do not believe the Tigers will outscore USC in this game. USC is heading back to the national championship game.

USC 30, Auburn 20.

Sim's Take:
The Tigers finally get their shot at the Trojans after an early season thrashing in 2003 and a BCS snub in 2004. They have payback and two national title opportunities on their minds. The Trojans have a shot at making history one game away.

Better luck next year, Auburn. USC is bigger, stronger, faster, better-coached, more well-conditioned, and more talented. Auburn's toughness and experience against extremely good teams keeps this team close, but USC has good too far to settle for anything less than an opportunity for a third consecutive national championship.

USC 28, Auburn 21.

Winner: #1W USC



NCAA Football Tournament 2007
Brackets:
Championship / Final Four
Elite Eight - East / Elite Eight - West
Sweet Sixteen - East / Sweet Sixteen - West

NCAA Football Tournament 2006
Brackets:
Championship / Final Four
Elite Eight - East / Elite Eight - West
Sweet Sixteen - East / Sweet Sixteen - West

NCAA Football Tournament 2005
Brackets:
Championship / Final Four
Elite Eight - East / Elite Eight - West
Sweet Sixteen - East / Sweet Sixteen - West

NCAA Football Tournament 2004
Brackets:
Championship / Final Four
Elite Eight - East / Elite Eight - West
Sweet Sixteen - East / Sweet Sixteen - West

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