This has to be the best week in the history of Cincinnati Bearcats football.
The Bearcats have the Big East title and a BCS bid locked up, their hot-commodity coach, Brian Kelly, announced that he plans to stick around for a while and they're headed to Hawaii to play what amounts to a meaningless game Saturday night.
While the Bearcats are frolicking in paradise, the rest of the Bowl Championship Series will be sorted out on the main land.
Alabama and Florida are playing for the Southeastern Conference championship in Atlanta and a spot in the BCS national title game.
Oklahoma can win both a Big 12 title and a spot opposite the SEC champ in Miami on Jan. 8 by beating Missouri for the second straight season in the conference championship at Kansas City, Mo.
Southern California needs a victory against UCLA to earn a spot in the Rose Bowl, and the winner of the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game in Tampa between Boston College and Virginia Tech goes to the Orange Bowl.
.
But it doesn't take a long memory to realize that even big favorites - which USC and Oklahoma are this weekend - don't always come through.
Last year, West Virginia was more than a three-touchdown favorite against rival Pittsburgh, needing just a victory to play for the school's first national title.
The result: Pitt 13, West Virginia 9. That led to LSU becoming the first two-loss team to play in the BCS national championship game and reshuffling of the BCS lineup.
Can Missouri or UCLA be this season's Pitt?
The picks:
Friday
No. 12 Ball St. (minus 15) vs. Buffalo, MAC Championship at Detroit
Win could get Cardinals back to Detroit for Motor City Bowl ... BALL ST. 44-31.
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Saturday
No. 1 Alabama (plus 9 1/2) vs. No. 2 Florida, SEC championship at Atlanta
Gators chomp on Tide's perfect season ... FLORIDA 41-17.
No. 4 Oklahoma (minus 16) vs. No. 19 Missouri, Big 12 championship at Kansas City
Sooners hit 60 again ... OKLAHOMA 63-35.
No. 5 Southern California (minus 33) at UCLA
Over/under on Bruins' first downs: 7 .... USC 42-7.
No. 13 Cincinnati (minus 7 1/2) at Hawaii
Will Bearcats stop party to play? ... CINCINNATI 44-28.
No. 18 Boston College (pick'em) vs. Virginia Tech, ACC Championship at Tampa, Fla.
24-21.
No. 23 Pittsburgh (plus 3) at Connecticut
Panthers playing for trip to Sun Bowl ... PITT 24-17.
Navy (minus 10 1/2) vs. Army at Philadelphia
Middies go for seven straight against Cadets ... NAVY 30-21.
East Carolina (plus 13) at Tulsa, C-USA Championship
Winner goes to Liberty Bowl ... TULSA 55-28.
---
Last week: 10-2 (straight); 6-6 (vs. points).
Season: 194-57 (straight); 123-111-1 (vs. points).

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