It’s conference championship week in the NCAA. A couple of the games are virtually meaningless, a couple will decide who plays in a BCS bowl and who plays in a far less interesting (and less lucrative) bowl, and a couple of them will actually determine who plays for the national title. Not a bad weekend…although it’ll be hard to exceed the level of excitement of last week’s games. Speaking of which, I went 5-2, while Zach went 4-3. I’m so glad I rolled the dice on Auburn, although I certainly couldn’t have known it’d play out as it did. Kudos to Zach for picking UCLA and Missouri. Johnny Football really let me down. So for the season we stand thusly:
Myself = 35-33
Zach = 31-37
It’s the last ride for college football…after this everything will be NFL. We might do a bowl pick ‘em kind of deal, but for a variety of reasons it’ll be a simple win/lose thing with no point spreads and I won’t count the results toward the season record. Enjoy this final week feeding frenzy…I know I will.
Oklahoma at Oklahoma St. (-10)
As a WVU Mountaineer fan it blows my mind that our inept team is the one that singlehandedly eliminated Oklahoma State from national title consideration. Had the Cowboys came into this game undefeated it seems likely that they could have conceivably been ranked ahead of Ohio State and Auburn. They have to be kicking themselves for not taking the lowly Eers seriously (I have an inside scoop that that was the case). Meanwhile the Sooners are likely locked into the Alamo Bowl win or lose. However, all the extracurriculars can be tossed out the window when it comes to these in-state rivalries. They call this one Bedlam and it’s actually grown into an entire series encompassing all the sports played by these two schools. There’s a point system and everything. At any rate this feels like the Cowboys year to dominate their more…decorated…counterparts, and I think they’ll cover the spread. Conversely, Zach…although he can’t quite go so far as to predict the outright upset…believes that the Sooners will raise the bar and make this a close game.
Texas at Baylor (-15)
The Big 12 doesn’t have a championship game (neither do they have 12 teams) so these two games will decide the title. If Oklahoma St. wins their game they win the conference, but should they fall then the winner of this game would secure the BCS berth in the Fiesta Bowl. Just a few weeks ago I thought the Bears looked like a legitimate national championship contender, but after Oklahoma St. spanked them and then they barely defeated TCU I must admit I was wrong. That’s not to say that they aren’t a very very good team…but they can be beaten. Can the Longhorns achieve that goal?? It would certainly put a nice exclamation point on an odd season in which many thought head coach Mack Brown was about to be canned before winning 7 of the last 8 games. To me this looks like a point spread situation in which Baylor is likely to win but unlikely to cover the points. Zach concurs.
Utah St. at Fresno St. (-3.5)
I’ll be the first to admit that I know next to nothing about the Mountain West Conference. I didn’t even know they had a title game. I do remember that Utah State won some bowl game last year that I had given them no chance to win. However, one thing I do know is that I picked the Bulldogs 18th in my pre-season Top 25 and they’ll need to win to secure their spot in the final poll. I can’t abandon them now!! Zach agrees.
Bowling Green vs. Northern Illinois (-3)
I really enjoy watching MAC football. I wish my Marshall Thundering Herd had never left the MAC. Sure their teams may not be as sexy as teams in the SEC or Pac 12, but it’s just like hitting on a fat gal…give ‘em a whirl because what they lack in natural skill they’ll make up for in effort. This game is being played in Detroit so I hope the conference doesn’t go bankrupt by association. Northern Illinois has a legitimate Heisman candidate in QB Jordan Lynch, who has amassed nearly 2500 yards passing, almost 1800 yards rushing, & 42 touchdowns this season. Compare that with Johnny Manziel’s 3500 passing yards, 650 rushing yards, & 40 touchdowns. Lynch won’t win the award but if he doesn’t atleast get invited to New York for the ceremony it’ll be a darn shame. Proper credit should be given to Bowling Green’s 9-3 record, but I just don’t see any way that the Falcons get the win here, especially since the Huskies have a decent shot at a BCS berth with a victory, likely in the Fiesta Bowl against the Big 12 champion. Zach isn’t as enamored with the MAC as I am but he is also picking Northern Illinois.
Missouri vs. Auburn (-2)
Auburn pulled off one of the biggest upsets in recent memory last weekend on what will likely be remembered as one of the most thrilling plays in college football history. Many folks are saying that they deserve to be #2 over Ohio State. The SEC champion has played in the last 7 national championship games, and it could be 8 if Auburn wins this one and Ohio State loses the Big Ten title game. But let’s not overlook Missouri. They have had a really solid season and would be serious national title contenders if it wasn’t for a double overtime loss to South Carolina. This game is being played on a neutral field at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. One must ponder whether it is a classic trap game for Auburn. Have they spent too much energy basking in the glow of the upset of Alabama while simultaneously arguing the case that they should be ahead of Ohio State?? I think that is entirely plausible and for that reason will predict the mild upset. Zach is still bummed about ‘Bama’s loss and thinks Auburn is more lucky than good. He also believes their luck runs out this week.
Stanford at Arizona St. (-3)
Has the Pac 12 been really cool to watch this season or what?? Out of the 12 teams I think I have enjoyed games involving atleast 7 or 8. The Sun Devils get the requisite 3 point home field advantage, but that’s really not showing them all that much respect. Stanford’s inexplicable loss to Utah and mid-November defeat at the hands of the surging USC Trojans has really come back to bite them. If even just one of those losses hadn’t occurred they might be…well…probably not much higher on the totem pole than they are I suppose. What those losses really did was knock them just far enough off the radar that a red hot Arizona St. has stolen all the thunder. I say Stanford gets their mojo back, heads to the Rose Bowl, and finishes the season as a Top 5 team. Zach went off on such a passionate tangent about Nick Saban and The Tide that he forgot to pick this game.
Florida St. (-29.5) vs. Duke
Look, I respect Duke for turning a perpetually blundering football program at a nationally renowned basketball school into a winner at long last. But if I am being honest I don’t really have that high of a regard for the ACC. The Blue Devils beating Memphis, Troy, Navy, Virginia, & Wake Forest doesn’t impress me, and victories over Virginia Tech, NC State, North Carolina, & Miami barely move the scale. Meanwhile the Seminoles have steamrolled thru their schedule like Kirstie Alley in a donut shop. The only hesitation anyone has about Florida St. is whether or not freshman phenom QB Jameis Winston is actually a rapist. The hammer could fall on that situation in the next few weeks…most certainly ahead of the January 6th National Championship Game. However, there’ll be no legal stuff to impact this contest. Give me Florida State and the points. Shockingly Zach is picking Duke…not because he believes they’ll win but because he doesn’t like the huge point spread. Hey, atleast now I have a reason to pay some attention to this game. I won’t watch it but I’ll pay attention.
Ohio St.(-5.5) vs. Michigan St.
Anyone who watched Ohio State barely defeat the Michigan Wolverines last weekend knows that those who question the validity of the Buckeyes presence in the national title game over Auburn have a reasonable point. Their defensive effort was more than lackluster. And while Braxton Miller has great feet and is undoubtedly an above average running QB his passing is a bit erratic. Michigan State has quietly had a solid 11-1 season with the only blemish being a mid-September loss at Notre Dame. This game is being played on a neutral field in Indianapolis. My vibe is that the Spartans have all the momentum while everyone has been waiting for weeks for the seemingly overrated Buckeyes to stumble. If Ohio State’s defense plays as poorly against the Spartans as they did against the inferior (atleast for this year) Wolverines then their national championship hopes will fade away. I think that is what a lot of folks are expecting. However, I just cannot imagine that a team that has won 24 straight games…even if they were largely against substandard competition…will allow themselves to fall short now when they are so close to the goal. It may not be the smart or popular pick but The Voices are telling me to stick with Ohio State. Zach seems to have some deep disdain for the Buckeyes and states that…and I quote…”Ohio St. doesn’t have a prayer. Michigan St. by 21.” Well okey dokey then.
- Pigskin profit: Mizzou the title contender no one’s watching (nypost.com)
- Picks, Predictions and Prognosis for Every Week 15 Big 12 Football Game (bleacherreport.com)
- 2013 FBS and BCS Bowl Projections: Week 14 (sidelinemob.com)
- Are you ready for Bedlam 2013? (newsok.com)
- Stewart Mandel: Bowl Projections: Get ready for a lot of postseason MACtion – SI.com (sportsillustrated.cnn.com)
- Oklahoma Football: Sooners look to end regular season strong with win at Bedlam (isportsweb.com)
- Fiesta Bowl 2013: Date, Time, TV Info, Predictions and More (bleacherreport.com)
- Chances of Two Big 12 Teams Earning BCS Bowl Bids Are Slim (bleacherreport.com)
- NIU could play Notre Dame in Little Caesars Bowl (rrstar.com)
- Get ready for Fresno State or Northern Illinois in Fiesta Bowl (azcentral.com)