It's the final real weekend of college football before the bowls crank up, and though the schedule is a bit abbreviated relative to previous weeks, the scheduling gods have done a good job distilling: This weekend features championship games that will decide four of the six major conferences, with two other conferences deciding their respective champions via full slates of intraleague games. However, all championship games are not created equal, so you'll still want to display some discerning judgment as you peruse the TV listings. Your time with college football grows short, so unless you're convinced the 2012 Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl is going to make your life complete, you're gonna need to make these last few magic moments count. (All times Eastern, as usual.)
What you'll be watching: Louisville at Rutgers (ESPN, 7:30 p.m.)
The de facto Big East Championship Game, or as the Orange Bowl calls it, "Why We Can't Have Nice Things." And no, Big East, Memphis and Tulane don't qualify as nice things. Then again, at the rate the Big East is expanding, the championship matchup a few years from now will be IUPUI vs. the Skip Barber Racing School, so maybe you want to jump on this game while the participants are still remotely recognizable.
What you should be watching instead: "Moonshiners: Moonshiner vs. Hogzilla" (Discovery, 8 p.m.)
Now THAT'S a matchup! And no, it doesn't refer to this weekend's showdown between Dana Holgorsen and Charlie Weis, but admit it, you're still intrigued just the same.
What you'll be watching: Pac-12 Championship Game, No. 17 UCLA at No. 8 Stanford (Fox, 8 p.m.)
Yep, you literally just saw this exact same game last week, just on a different field and with the teams wearing different unis. Chalk it up to Larry Scott's marketing/programming genius that he's feeding us leftovers and we're still acting like it's amazing.
What you should be watching instead: MAC Championship Game, No. 18 Kent State vs. No. 19 Northern Illinois, Detroit (ESPN2, 7 p.m.)
There are six conference championship games this weekend, with three of them featuring ranked-on-ranked matchups. This, impossibly, is one of them, and with a win the Golden Flashes could potentially break into the top 16 of the BCS rankings, thereby qualifying them for a BCS at-large bid. How can you turn your back on the Mid-American Conference in its finest hour? (Never mind Kent having gotten blown off the field by Kentucky early in the season — man, quit bringin' up old shit.)
What you'll be watching: No. 12 Oklahoma at TCU (ESPN, noon)
What you should be watching instead: No. 24 Oklahoma State at Baylor (FX, noon)
Two Big XII games, each featuring a ranked team from Oklahoma visiting an unranked challenger from Texas. How best to bid the Big XII regular season a fond farewell? A game with an over-under of 86 seems like the only proper way, so we'll take the 'Pokes and Bears, thanks much.
What you'll be watching: SEC Championship Game, No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3 Georgia, Atlanta (CBS, 4 p.m.)
What you should be watching instead: Nothing. You say you wanted a playoff? Well, the SEC title game has basically become the play-in for the national championship game, so if you're not watching that then we can only presume you don't actually like college football. But the SEC gets so much hype, I'm so sick of hearing about seriously, dude, quit whining, pull up your big-boy pants, grab a bag of Fritos and sit your ass down as Gary Danielson fellates the Tide to a four- or five-TD victory. That slurping sound is the sound of FREEDOM, son, and don't you forget it.
What you'll be watching: Big Ten Championship Game, No. 14 Nebraska vs. Wisconsin, Indianapolis (Fox, 8 p.m.)
A team bearing half the responsibility for that 13-7 crime against football in Iowa City, versus the third-place team in the Leaders Division? Nope nope nope no thank you nein nyet nie not even a little bit. Ten bucks says Jim Delany isn't even going to be watching this game. In fact, outside of the 'Huskers' and Badgers' respective fan bases, the only person we can possibly imagine being interested in this game is Urban Meyer, who will just point at the TV screen and glower in the event somebody actually makes a big play.
What you should be watching instead: No. 23 Texas at No. 7 Kansas State (ABC, 8 p.m.)
Unless your cable provider graces you with a channel that's actually going to air South Alabama at Hawaii at 11 p.m., this hour is your penultimate viewing opportunity of the 2012 college football regular season, with the grand finale being Army-Navy in a week's time. So choose wisely.