We have made it to the end of the regular season of NCAA Football. All that remains are the Conference Title games, the bowl games and the Playoffs.
Last week’s games cleared up some of the “picture” for the Playoff teams, essentially through the elimination of competing teams. The biggest of the teams eliminated was Alabama, losing to Auburn in the Iron Bowl.
Minnesota’s dream season also found its playoff chances ended, with a humbling loss to Wisconsin. Wisconsin, even if they were to defeat Ohio State this week, would not be a part of the playoffs with two losses.
The Top Three teams at 12-0, LSU, Ohio State and Clemson are all in, even if each loses. Georgia, the #4 team, must defeat LSU to be a team in the Playoffs. With a loss to LSU, Georgia is out.
Utah, Oklahoma and Baylor are the three remaining contenders if Georgia loses. OU plays Baylor, which means one of these teams will be out, and therefore competing against Utah. Utah plays Oregon for the Pac 12 title, and a loss to Oregon essentially gives the Baylor/Oklahoma winner the final team in.
If Utah and Baylor win, strength of schedule should decide who goes to the Playoff. Utah will have had only one signature win, Oregon, but the loss to USC degrades that win, as well as Oregon’s two losses.
Baylor will have had only one loss, to Oklahoma, whom they will have defeated for the Conference title. Add in signature wins against Iowa State and Texas, Baylor gets the nod. The same applies to Oklahoma.
Essentially, the outcome of the Georgia/LSU game determines whether it will be Utah or Oklahoma as the #4 Playoff team.
- LSU (12-0)
- Ohio State (12-0)
- Clemson (12-0)
- Georgia (11-1)
- Utah (11-1)
- Oklahoma (11-1)
- Florida (10-2)
- Baylor (11-1)
- Alabama (10-2)
- Wisconsin (10-2)
No. 1 LSU (-7.5) vs. No. 4 Georgia
This is the most interesting game on tap for the weekend. Both Georgia and LSU are powerhouses meeting for the SEC title..
LSU has the second best scoring offense in the country, averaging 48.7 points per game. They will be tested by Georgia’s second best scoring defense at 10.4 points per game.
Quarterbacks will be Heisman likely winner Joe Burrow versus a more than adequate Jake Fromm. Whoever plays better will lead his team to victory.
LSU wins and COVERS the spread.
No. 2 Ohio State (-16) vs. No. 10 Wisconsin
The Buckeye/Badger game is a return match up of a game played on Oct 26. In that game, the Badgers were blown out 38-7 in the second half of the game, after a tight first half.
Expect a repeat of the previous game, but played a little bit tighter this time.
Ohio State wins but DOES NOT COVER the spread.
No. 3 Clemson (-29) vs. No. 22 Virginia
Here is a conference championship game that offers little in suspense. Clemson has won four ACC titles in a row and is roundly expected to make it six.
Virginia goes into the game with a boost of confidence after beating hated rival Virginia Tech. But that will not be enough to keep this game close, nor even an outside chance of winning.
Clemson wins but DOES NOT COVER the spread.
No. 5 Utah (-6.5) vs. No. 13 Oregon
Utah goes into this game as a legitimate contender for a Playoff spot, if Georgia loses to LSU as expected. They have only one loss, to USC eight weeks previously.
Oregon has lost two games now, and is out of the running for a Playoff spot, so they play for the Roses and to spoil the Utes chances for a Playoff spot.
Utah really has no quality wins, so their true ability is unknown. Oregon has lost to Auburn in the last seconds, so they do have a quality win over a top ranked team. Expect the Ducks to come out firing on all eight cylinders and take it to the Utes.
Oregon wins 34 in an UPSET.
No. 6 Oklahoma (-8) vs. No. 8 Baylor
If Georgia loses to LSU, the Oklahoma/Baylor game should decide who will be the fourth team in the Playoffs.
In their previous game, Baylor led 28-3 at half time and then Oklahoma came roaring back in the second half to win. It now lies upon Baylor to prove that they belong on the big stage and can only do so by winning.
Oklahoma’s Jaylen Hurts has one last chance to impress the Heisman Committee before it is awarded. He must put together a very strong game to have any chance of winning the Heisman.
Oklahoma wins and COVERS the spread.
No. 16 Memphis (-10) vs. No. 21 Cincinnati
Memphis and Cincinnati met last week on Black Friday for a regular season conference game. Memphis won that game thanks in large part to three costly turnovers given up by the Bearcats.
Cincinnati will be better prepared this time and will keep the game closer, but the outcome will still be the same as last week.
Memphis wins but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 19 Boise State (-13.5) vs. Hawaii
This game is a repeat of an October 12 matchup which saw the Bronco’s win 59-37. Since then, Hawaii has improved their play, but so have the Bronc’s. Expect a repeat of the previous game, but closer this time.
Boise State wins but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 20 Appalachian State (-6.5) vs. Louisiana
This is a rematch of last year’s Sun Belt championship game, and the Mountaineers still have some New Year’s Day 6 bowl hope. Zac Thomas is coming off his best game of the season against Troy, and the App State quarterback keeps that rolling against Louisiana.
Appalachian State wins 36-21 and COVERS the spread.
Central Michigan (-7) vs. Miami (Ohio)
Here is a nothing burger game, Central Michigan v Miami. These are both third class teams who have played the Big Boys and gotten beat badly each time. So they are left to battle it out and hope for any bowl game offer.
Frankly, it is almost embarrassing to even look at this game, but guess I must say something.
Central Michigan wins and COVERS the spread.
UAB vs. FAU (-7)
This is the other nothing burger game to be played. At least the game tells us where Lane Kiffin ended up, as coach of FAU, after stints at USC, the Oakland Raiders and Tennessee. Is FAU the graveyard for failed coaches? Or will Kiffin get another better offer if he wins a second conference title for FAU? Arkansas maybe?
FAU wins and COVERS the spread.
Well fans, this is the end of the season except for the bowl games. Still trying to decide if PU will put his predictive powers on the line for a few of the bigger bowl games. Let me know your thoughts.
If PU does nothing for the bowl games, will see you all next July with a pre-season look at the 2020 campaign.
Enjoy the games until the next time we meet.