5 best predictions for college football’s biggest regular season weekend – it’s Championship Week. What games appear to be the best bets and the best picks?
Results So Far ATS: 82-60-2
It’s all about the bowl games coming up next – those require an entirely different skillset – but first, we close out with college football’s Championship Week.
There are just 11 games – normally there are 70+ games to pick and choose from – but you don’t care. You just want the magic to happen.
So let’s do this. Be bold. Be brave. Be …
Eh, whatever. I promised five picks, here’s seven, but with a twist.
Thanks so much for being a part of this fun and amazing college football season.
Click on each game for the preview
5. Kent State vs Northern Illinois & Pitt vs Wake Forest point totals
LINE Kent State vs Northern Illinois 74.5, Pitt vs Wake Forest 71.5
Point Total Picks Over
I’m combining these two games together for one simple reason – it goes against everything I believe in.
If you’ve been with this piece all year, hopefully you did alright with the belief system of ALWAYS taking the under on a mid-70s point total, and go crazy if it’s in the high-70s or – if we’ve been good people who deserve something nice – in the 80s.
Too many things have to happen to get to over on a 70+. Bad weather, turnovers, a parachute not opening, it could be anything to keep two offenses from trading haymakers.
That’s why I’ll throw in a polite suggestion of under on the 73 in the Conference USA Championship between UTSA and WKU. Yeah, yeah, yeah they combined for 98 in the first meeting, but that Roadrunner defense will show up just enough to keep Bailey Zappe and friends from going off.
I won’t lie, the MAC Championship scares me because MAC Championships are weird.
They almost NEVER go according to any form or reason, one side always wets the bed and turns it over a gajillion times, and … this should be wild.
Kent State just doesn’t do defense against decent offenses. Forget that these two combined for 99 points in the first meeting, it’s indoors, the Golden Flash offense is going to be even quicker, and one of the two sides should take care of at least 50 of this by itself.
And the ACC Championship? Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but Wake Forest’s Sam Hartman and Pitt’s Kenny Pickett are about to put on a show.
Both defenses are coming off of oddly dominant performances, and Pitt hasn’t allowed more than 30 points in seven of its last nine games, but …
There’s no pressure. There’s no playoff spot on the line. These two are about to let it rip.
I’m doing the combined-pick thing again next, and then come the big calls …
NEXT: College Football Pick Against The Spread No. 4 Georgia vs Alabama, Utah vs Oregon money lines
LINE Georgia -6.5, Utah -3
MONEY LINE PICK Alabama +210, Oregon +115
I don’t care if it’s Alabama vs a pack of shoppers on Black Friday at 7 am with the promise of 10% off something tasteful, if you’re letting me have Saban and points … thank you.
It’s in my DNA at this point. You can’t go wrong picking Alabama.
(BTW, as I explained to a few people on Twitter, yes, the game preview pick is Georgia, but I took Bama in the Experts Picks – we almost always go with the majority on the monster game straight up calls.)
I know Stetson Bennett has improved, and I know he might make me look foolish/ He’s a great story and – as a human; although not a functional one at this point in the season – I’d love to see him carry this team to a national championship, just because.
There’s still a three interception day in there just waiting to come out, and the third-best pass rush in the nation is good enough to make it happen.
Not to go cornball here, but to know this Tide program is to know how much it thrives in this role. Georgia is in the College Football Playoff no matter what. Alabama isn’t.
You want to see a slew of disrespected 5-star, future NFL players now that it’s really on? Just wait until …
Georgia is awesome. Of course it is, but it’s worth Bama at +210 to give this a shot.
Oregon at +115 is the Fits My Narrative pick. I called it from the start that Oregon loses that game to Utah and comes back to win the Pac-12 Championship – although, I originally thought it would be over USC, so take everything I’m saying with a whole shaker of salt.
Sort of like believing in Alabama in an underdog role, give me the embarrassed two-time defending Pac-12 Champion after being pantsed a few weeks ago in Salt Lake City.
Okay, I’ll speed it up, starting with …
NEXT: College Football Pick Against The Spread No. 3 Utah State vs San Diego State
LINE San Diego State -6
ATS PICK San Diego State
San Diego State was put in a position it couldn’t handle just once this season.
The team is all about defense, running game, and control, and it lost all of that for a stretch in the 30-20 defeat to Fresno State. Other than that, the team has found ways to come through time and again.
It held on to shock Utah in a thriller. It had to battle way too hard to get by mediocre San Jose State, UNLV, and Hawaii teams, but it also found the mental toughness to get by Air Force and Nevada in tight fights.
And then came last week against Boise State.
Just when it seemed like the Broncos were going to blow the doors off the game, Brady Hoke and the coaching staff adjusted, the offense started moving with Jordon Brookshire at quarterback, and the defense played like it was insulted as it stopped everything in the second half of a 27-16 win.
Utah State has the offense to make this scary, and the defensive front can get into the backfield, but it doesn’t control the clock and it doesn’t do enough to stop the run.
You’ll have to wait a full four quarters in a low scoring game, but San Diego State got here doing what it does really, really well. It’s not pretty, but it’ll be enough to win a Mountain West title by a touchdown.
NEXT: College Football Pick Against The Spread No. 2 Baylor vs Oklahoma State
LINE Oklahoma State -5.5
ATS PICK Oklahoma State
It’s sort of surprising that this hasn’t gone through the roof to at least 7.5 or higher considering Baylor QB Gerry Bohanon is iffy at best with a hamstring injury.
Oklahoma State won 24-14 the first time around when Bohanon was at quarterback, and now it’s got a spot in the College Football Playoff to play for.
More than that, the defense is about to make amends for the Oklahoma game.
Those guys in the Sooner uniforms were pretty good, too, so there was no shame in giving up 441 yards and 33 points to one of the most dangerous teams in the country. However, that hasn’t been Oklahoma State’s brand this year.
It might not be Georgia or Wisconsin defensively, but it’s certainly not all that far off. It hadn’t allowed more than 375 yards to anyone before dealing with OU, and the one loss came to Iowa State in the only other time the D allowed more than 350.
Baylor’s great running game only came up with 107 yards in the first meeting.
This is a strong Bear team with a tremendous coaching staff – seriously, Dave Aranda should’ve been the new LSU head man – and all the pressure is off.
Oklahoma State won seven of its last nine games by a touchdown or more, and while this will hardly be a blowout, the defense is going to take over as the game goes on.
NEXT: College Football Pick Against The Spread No. 1 Houston at Cincinnati
LINE Cincinnati -10.5
ATS PICK Houston
Yes, I know, I’m a Cincinnati denier.
I know, I’m a Power Five snob, who spent the better part of the season honking at a Bearcat schedule with one great win and a slew of scrimmages.
I know, I picked East Carolina to cover last week, if not win outright – stupid blocked field goal – however, I’ve been consistent in saying for more than a month that Cincinnati will – probably – be in the College Football Playoff.
I know, Houston’s schedule is even worse than Cincinnati’s, but …
This game is way too scary straight up, much less to give away 10.5 points.
If you’ve noticed, there’s a slight theme among most of these championship picks – disrespect.
Whether it’s Alabama as an underdog, Oregon after the first loss to Utah, or the Oklahoma State and San Diego State defenses that weren’t their normal selves for stretches last week, now that they got over their respective humps and are here, look out.
Of course, no one is being disrespected more than Cincinnati from the elitist faction of the college football world – admittedly, hand raised – but it is No. 4 in the College Football Playoff rankings. There’s a decent amount of love out there for the Bearcats.
Houston? Oh it’s ranked, but it’s somewhere in the low-rent 20s district – it’s 21st, by the way.
The team is on a roll of ten straight wins, it has a phenomenal defense that’s the best Cincinnati has seen by far outside of what it dealt with in South Bend, and it knows how to control the clock.
I won’t go so far as to suggest that +350 on the money line is something to think hard about, but …
Yeah, Cincinnati is really, really good.
It’s been able to get through the grind, and it appears to be one of those teams that can rise to the occasion. However, 10.5 is a bit too rich against Dana Holgorsen’s bunch.