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Championship Saturday Open Thread

Plenty of playoff implications today, but can key losses and a big win by Bama move the Vols up the poll enough to get in the Citrus Bowl conversation?

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee has now played three conference champions this year, with Bowling Green rolling to a 34-14 win over Northern Illinois in the MAC title game last night.  The only question with Oklahoma is where they'll be seeded in the College Football Playoff as Big 12 Champions.  And of course, Alabama or Florida is going to take home the SEC title today in Atlanta.  Throw in an Iowa upset tonight and there will be more to feel good about at eight wins than we've had around here in a long time.

In our picks contest, with nine games to go today, we have a tie at the top between dgibbs and Wedflatrock and six players within 11 points of the lead.  Check out the full standings here as we'll crown our 2015 champion today.

The Vols' appearance in the College Football Playoff Top 25 has raised an outside possibility of Tennessee sneaking into the Citrus Bowl, although the Outback Bowl continues to be the overwhelming favorite.  The #25 Vols can also move up in the poll today:  #19 Houston and #22 Temple face each other in the AAC Championship at noon, and #20 Southern Cal could have their fifth loss against #7 Stanford today in the Pac 12 title game.

And then there's the Gators.  Florida is 10-2 and ranked 18th in the poll, but they've got a tall task in front of them in the Georgia Dome.  If Alabama blows out Florida - and I mean really blows them out, like they feel like they've still got an argument to make before the committee like Ohio State did to Wisconsin last year - the Gators could fall behind Tennessee in the poll.  If all of those things happen, we could find the Vols ranked around #22 tomorrow and Florida either behind UT or out of the poll entirely.  And if that happens, the Citrus Bowl would be choosing between LSU at something like #19, Tennessee right behind them at around #22, and Florida further back.  The Vols would at least get in the conversation that way, though a Michigan Man vs Michigan Men scenario might benefit the Tigers.  And if that scenario unfolds, would the Outback Bowl then think about taking Florida over Tennessee?

No one knows what will happen for sure, but I don't think it can hurt Tennessee in either bowl game to have Florida's last three performances be an overtime win over Florida Atlantic, a 27-2 home loss to Florida State, and a salt the earth loss to Alabama today.

We'll get our answers tomorrow, but it should be fun seeing what questions we end up with tonight.  Here's to one last Saturday in front of our televisions, and here's to hoping we've got an SEC Championship preview in this space next year.

Sat, Dec 5, 2015
12:00 PM ET
(22) Temple vs.
(AAC Championship)
(19) Houston
12:00 PM ET
Southern Miss vs.
(CUSA Championship)
Western Kentucky
12:00 PM ET
Texas at (12) Baylor
2:00 PM ET
Georgia State at Georgia Southern
3:00 PM ET
New Mexico State at Louisiana-Monroe
3:00 PM ET
Texas State at Arkansas State
4:00 PM ET
(2) Alabama vs.
(SEC Championship)
(18) Florida
4:30 PM ET
West Virginia at Kansas State
5:00 PM ET
Troy at Louisiana-Lafayette
7:30 PM ET
Appalachian State at South Alabama
7:30 PM ET
Air Force vs.
(MWC Championship)
San Diego State
7:45 PM ET
(7) Stanford vs.
(Pac-12 Championship)
(20) USC
8:00 PM ET
(1) Clemson vs.
(ACC Championship)
(10) North Carolina
8:00 PM ET
(4) Iowa vs.
(Big Ten Championship)
(5) Michigan State