Championship Week Optimism Index + The CFB December to Remember Event

This weekend is college football’s annual December to Remember event. Will a season mostly void of mass chaos deliver on the last weekend before bowls and playoff matchups are set?

In today’s college football newsletter:

  • The Championship Week Optimism Index

  • Your Championship Week schedule

  • 3 things you missed from this week

  • Leaving no doubt on Stefani Saturday

-Ty Hildenbrandt & Bradley Hohulin


Championship Weekend Optimism Index

Photo by Brandon Sloter/Image Of Sport/Getty Images

Just like that, another college football regular season is behind us. I spent most of it watching the teams I like find seemingly inconceivable ways to lose on Saturday, getting angry and/or sad, and spending Sunday through Friday psyching myself up to do it all over again. God, I miss it already.

But the season isn’t quite over. With Championship Weekend upon us, let’s examine how different fan bases are feeling, whether they’re competing for a conference title, a major bowl game, or simply a chance to feel a flicker of joy once again.

😬 Nervous: Texas

They beat Alabama. They survived the Big 12 schedule with quarterback Quinn Ewers out for multiple games. Their lone loss was by four points to 10-2 Oklahoma.

And yet, Michigan, Georgia, the Pac-12 champ and possibly undefeated Florida State stand between Texas and the Playoff. It’s going to be tough to leapfrog any of them. Texas has to hope FSU eats it in the ACC Championship, which isn’t unrealistic given the Seminoles might be starting a regional Publix manager at quarterback Saturday.

Still, the  ‘Horns might not get the benefit of the doubt despite doing virtually everything right. It’s basically the antithesis of Texas football.

🥱 Apathetic: Ohio State

As someone whose former college town would probably look like Pompeii during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius if the team got to nine wins, I can only pity Buckeyes fans so much. Still, a third straight loss to Michigan, this time without its head coach, has to sting.

It’s time for another long walk into the barren, unforgiving wilderness that is a New Year’s 6 Bowl, boatloads of booster money, a storied history almost exclusively defined by success, a top-5 recruiting class and another frankly insane string of nicknames for Gus Johnson to bestow on your next crop of All-American receivers.

Please, show the Buckeyes in your life some charity. It’s basically all they have to live for.

🤩 Excited: Oregon

For the first time since the inaugural Playoff, the Ducks actually made it through the regular season without hilariously screwing their chances. Now, the mission is simple: beat a Washington squad running on fumes, and you’re in.

Oregon is humming on both sides of the ball, and quarterback Bo Nix will probably win the Heisman. The only thing I could see derailing the Ducks is whatever dark magic Washington QB Michael Penix has been using to play football without half of his major ligaments. Well, that or Dan Lanning having to make a crucial fourth down call.

🥳 Elated: Terrible Big Ten teams

You know you’re in a rough spot when Rutgers is penciling you in as a conference win. Fortunately, both Michigan State and Indiana appear to have made savvy hires within the last week.

Jonathan Smith looks like a perfect fit for the perpetually #disrespekted Spartans as a coach who punched well above his weight at Oregon State. Curt Cignetti looks like a perfect fit for the historically elite losers at Indiana as a man who is, for reasons that elude me, willing to coach at Indiana.

Will either succeed in a grueling Big Ten? Who knows. As an IU alum, I’m lighting up with reckless abandon — you hire Coach Cig for a good time, not a long one. 

 -Bradley Hohulin


There is just ONE WEEK LEFT to play our awesome Run The Board pick’em game. This week, the winner gets a $100 credit to our friends over at Pristine Auction as well as a $200 Amazon gift card.

It could not be easier to play. Simply sign up for any Patreon tier and follow the directions to submit your picks. And, while you’re at it, reap the benefits of our other Patreon perks, including ad-free episodes, bonus content, unfettered access to our great Discord community, scheme breakdown videos and much more! All Patreon tiers instantly get access to our great games and prizes!


The December to Remember CFB Event

Here’s your full Week 14 college football schedule:

🏆 Conference USA Championship

(Friday, 7pm ET, CBSN)

New Mexico State (10-3) vs. Liberty (12-0)

Quick take: Liberty’s offense is incredible, particularly on the ground. The New Mexico State story is even more incredible, after being ranked as one of the ten worst teams in the preseason, losing to UMass in Week 0 and rallying to beat Auburn by 21 on the road and qualify for the CUSA title game. Dammmmmn

🏆 Pac-12 Championship

(Friday, 8pm ET, ABC)

Oregon (11-1) vs. Washington (12-0)

Quick take: Look, we’ve been waiting for this one since the end of the last one back in mid-October. There’s a strong case to be made that Oregon is the better team at this point in the season; however, Washington has shown superior survival skills in winning its last 8 games by 10 points or less. Whoever wins is making the College Football Playoff.

🏆 Big 12 Championship

(Saturday, 12:00 pm ET, ABC)

Oklahoma State (9-3) vs. Texas (11-1)

Quick take: Texas got the short end of the College Football Playoff stick when Tuesday’s rankings dropped and the Longhorns were ranked 7th. Steve Sarkisian is rooting for an emphatic win and a TON of chaos in the other championship games. Meanwhile, Mike Gundy is 7-3 straight up against Texas over the last 10 years, and the last 6 meetings have exclusively been close, one-score affairs.

🏆 MAC Championship

(Saturday, 12:00 pm ET, ESPN)

Miami (OH) (10-2) vs. Toledo (11-1)

Quick take: Toledo beat Miami (OH) back in Week 8 when RedHawks QB Brett Gabbert went down for the season. Since then, Miami (OH) has struggled on offense, but has been absolute nails on defense and special teams. Can the RedHawks slow down Toledo QB DeQuan Finn enough to steal a W?

🏆 Mountain West Championship

(Saturday, 3:00 pm ET, ESPN)

Boise State (7-5) vs. UNLV (9-3)

Quick take: Boise State fired its coach a few weeks ago and still qualified for the Mountain West title game thanks to some help from a computer-assisted tiebreaker. Meanwhile, UNLV is going bowling for the first time since 2013 and won 9 games for the first time since 1984. Oh, and they’re also playing a home game for the conference title.

🏆 American Championship

(Saturday, 4:00 pm ET, ABC)

SMU (10-2) vs. Tulane (11-1)

Quick take: SMU’s quarterback Preston Stone was having a terrific first season as the starter before going down with an injury last week. Tulane is looking to repeat as AAC champs.

🏆 SEC Championship

(Saturday, 4:00 pm ET, CBS)

Alabama (11-1) vs. Georgia (12-0)

Quick take: What. A. Matchup. Georgia’s Carson Beck has been unflappable, but there’s a case to be made that the Alabama defense is a much different animal than he’s seen all season.

🏆 Sun Belt Championship

(Saturday, 4:00 pm ET, ESPN)

App State (8-4) vs. Troy (10-2)

Quick take: App State has come on strong the last month of the season behind a defense that has outperformed projections. But going to Troy will be no picnic to square off against a solid Trojans team that has become a mainstay atop the standings.

🏆 Big Ten Championship

(Saturday, 8:00 pm ET, FOX)

Iowa (10-2) vs. Michigan (12-0)

Quick take: Can the Iowa defense score four touchdowns and knock off Michigan in Jim Harbaugh’s first game back from suspension? That’s probably the only way the Hawkeyes keep this one close.

🏆 ACC Championship

(Saturday, 8:00 pm ET, ABC)

Louisville (10-2) vs. Florida State (12-0)

Quick take: Florida State is much more vulnerable without QB Jordan Travis at the helm and we already know that Louisville is upset-minded. The point spread has plummeted over the last week with a LOT of money coming in on the Cardinals to give the Noles their first loss of the year.


3 things you missed from this week

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

1) Coach hirings! It’s old news at this point, but after a clunky process than seemed to land on Kentucky’s Mark Stoops, the Aggies are bringing back Mike Elko, who ran their defense from 2018-21. Elko did a miraculous job in two seasons with Duke, guiding the Blue Devils to bowl eligibility both years. Meanwhile, Michigan State brought over Jonathan Smith from Oregon State, Mississippi State hired Jeff Lebby away from Oklahoma, Indiana poached Curt Cignetti away from James Madison, and San Diego State hired Sean Lewis. And, though it’s not a head coach hiring, Penn State hired Andy Kotelnicki away from Kansas as it looks to reboot its offense.

2) It’s Portal SZN. In the span of a few short days, over 15 quarterbacks have already entered the Transfer Portal and more are likely on the way. Some of the biggest names looking to switch teams: UCLA’s Dante Moore, Kansas State’s Will Howard, Duke’s Riley Leonard, Miami’s Tyler Van Dyke, and Mississippi State’s Will Rogers. Oh, and DJ Uiagalelei is taking a second trip into the Portal. We’ll be talking a LOT about these moves and those yet to come on the pod, so be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any updated.

3) It’s Podcast Love SZN. We’ve been getting a slew of these over the last couple days. If we’re on your list, tag us and we’ll beam it out to the rest of the Verballerhood!

-Ty Hildenbrandt


Leaving no doubt on Stefani Saturday

I gotta give him credit, my co-host really went for it on our Championship Week Preview episode. He took a hard stance on all 10 games this weekend and naming it Stefani Saturday in hopes of leaving no doubt (get it?) on where his convictions lie.

1️⃣ Listen to our Championship Week preview episode

Washington is an underdog against Oregon. Alabama is an underdog against Georgia. Florida State might be playing a third string QB? Yeah, there’s some potential weirdness this week.

2️⃣ Join our SEC Championship Watch Party on YouTube!

We’ll be going live at 4:00 pm ET out on our YouTube channel and partaking in the joy that is the Georgia vs. Alabama matchup to decide the SEC. Come hang!

(Oh, and if you’re looking for a fun place to hang, we invite you to come lurk on our Discord and see if it’s something you’re into.)

3️⃣ Support the podcast by leaving us a 5-star rating and review on Apple Podcasts

Please consider leaving us a 5-star rating and review if you listen over on Apple Podcasts! We’ve started calling out our favorite reviews on the podcast. Bonus points to anyone that mentions that they’re also a Quick Slants Newsletter subscriber! And, of course, is the spot for you if you’d like ad-free episodes, bonus content and more!

-Ty Hildenbrandt

Thanks for reading. Until next week, stay solid!