It’s the final week of the regular season in college football: Championship Saturday. Who will win their conference titles and head to the College Football Playoff?
Before we go into the week 13 games worth watching further, below is how I did last week in my predictions against the point spread and just picking the outright winners. Keep in mind that I’m only making these picks against the spread for fun based on the games I actually plan on watching rather than which games I think will win for actual betting purposes. I plan on watching these games (or as much of these games as I can) so why not take a shot at what I think will happen in them, right?
Week 12 Point Spread Picks:
Correct: Texas (not covering 1), Stanford (not covering 3.5)
Incorrect: TCU (not covering 1), Ohio State (covering 1), Oklahoma (covering 7)
Season Point Spread Picks:
Picking the winners for the Week 13 games of interest:
Season Picks (just picking the winners):
Here are the games to keep an eye on for week 14 of the 2015 college football season:
- Texas at Baylor: (11 am Central on ESPN). Both teams are coming off losses last week (Texas at home against Texas Tech while Baylor lost in a monsoon at TCU). Baylor’s chances at the College Football Playoff are over but they can still make into the Sugar Bowl with a win on Senior Day. Texas is decimated with injuries (Jerrod Heard, D’Onta Foreman, Jonathan Gray, Malik Jefferson, Peter Jinkens, Dylan Haines, etc). Freshman running back Chris Warren had a record day rushing the ball versus Tech’s defense but can he have the same success against Baylor’s run defense? Third-string Chris Johnson struggled mightily at TCU last week. How will he respond at home against a defensive staff that should show him multiple looks to try and confuse him? Odds: Baylor favored by 21.5 Prediction: Baylor is clearly the more talented team but what will Baylor’s mindset be knowing their playoff chances are over? Will they come out flat or get back in sync and just steamroll the Longhorns with the nation’s #1 offense? I think there will be at least a little bit of letdown for the Bears knowing there’s not much to play for. Baylor wins at home but doesn’t cover because the Longhorns don’t have enough offensive firepower to keep up.
- SEC Championship: Florida vs Alabama (neutral site – Atlanta): (3 pm Central on CBS). Alabama gave the ball to Derrick Henry over 40 times last week in the Iron Bowl victory over Auburn. The Tide will face a much better defense in the Georgia Dome. I expect the Gators’ athletic defenders to stack the box and force Alabama QB Jake Coker to find his wide receivers. Coker hasn’t been been able to do that consistently throughout the season. On the other side of the ball, Florida will have to get much better quarterback play from Treon Harris. The Gators have been awful offensively in the last few weeks. So unless turnovers are created by the defense or special teams comes up with a few big plays, I’m not sure how Florida attacks this Alabama defense. Odds: Alabama by 17.5 Prediction: These championship games in the SEC are rarely blowouts. With the Gators superb defense, I don’t see this game getting out of hand. Florida doesn’t have the offensive weapons to move the ball down the field enough times. Alabama wins but they will not cover the spread.
- Pac-12 Championship: USC vs Stanford (neutral site – Santa Clara, CA): (6:45 pm Central on ESPN). USC has really rebounded after its slow start and firing of head coach Steve Sarkisian. After defeating their city rival UCLA last week, interim head coach Clay Helton was given the head coaching job on a full-time basis. USC should be able to run the ball with Stanford’s leading tackler Blake Martinez doubtful to play. Cody Kessler’s accuracy has been excellent this year but he needs to show it again in this game. Stanford is coming off a great, last second win at home against Notre Dame. QB Kevin Hogan and kicker Conrad Ukropina were the heros in that game and will be counted upon again in this one. But running back Christian McCaffrey will be the difference maker; he can do it all and if USC can contain him, the Trojans likely win it. Odds: Stanford favored by 5 Prediction: The Martinez injury is huge for Stanford’s defense. The first time these two teams met it was a Stanford win by 10 on the road early in the season. I think McCaffrey has a huge game in primetime and the Cardinal win a close one (don’t cover).
- ACC Championship: North Carolina vs Clemson (neutral site – Charlotte): (7 pm Central on ABC). North Carolina has flown under the radar most of the season. Their weak schedule has hurt them in terms of consideration for the College Football Playoff. But no one can argue with how effective their offense is. Marquise Williams and Elijah Hood will face the best defense they’ve gone against all season in Shaq Lawson and the Tigers. What tricks will Larry Fedora have up his sleeve? For Clemson offensively, Deshaun Watson has been great leading this team all season long. He is so steady in the big moments and should be a legit Heisman candidate. Odds: Clemson favored by 6 Prediction: Clemson has been the #1 team in the nation for several weeks and the pressure has to be mounting to make sure they end up in the College Football Playoff. I think the Tigers defense gets pressure on Williams and is able to control the game. Clemson wins the game and covers the spread.
- Big Ten Championship: Iowa vs Michigan State (neutral site – Indianapolis): (7 pm Central on Fox). Iowa is the surprise of the college football season. No one expected them to be undefeated at this point in the season. Granted their schedule hasn’t been very tough but 12-0 in a Power Five conference still means Iowa is legit. Quarterback C.J. Beathard is a gutsy quarterback who will throw his body on the line for the Hawkeyes. Beathard along with Jordan Canzeri running the ball will test the Spartans defense. Michigan State has a solid resume with wins against Oregon, Michigan, and Ohio State. Quarterback Connor Cook returned last week against Penn State and was impressive. With a win in this game, the Spartans should be in the College Football Playoff. Odds: Michigan State favored by 3 Prediction: The Spartans defense has been the difference in winning all of its big games this year. I expect Mark D’Antonio’s crew to slow down former Texas OC Greg Davis and the Iowa offense. Michigan State wins and covers.
Give me your thoughts on Championship Saturday. What will you be watching?