As we enter college football’s Championship Week, remember one crucial thing… it’s all about the polls. We jump into this week knowing who will vie for each league title. But, as of penning this week’s column, we anxiously await Tuesday night’s CFP rankings.
Michigan will fall after getting routed by Ohio State. Washington State will drop too after a rivalry loss to Washington. Georgia will most likely move into the top-four, making the showdown with Alabama this Saturday more significant.
And the Buckeyes must climb with their win over the Wolverines. So, in this guy’s poll, Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Georgia round out the top-four, while Oklahoma, Ohio State, and Central Florida follow. One thing for sure, all eyes will be peeled on each of the conference title games.
Here are this week’s best bets for three of the conference title games:
Utah (+5.5) vs. Washington (Friday): Washington looked like the pre-season, forecasted, Pac 12 powerhouse last week, putting an end to both the Washington State seven-game win streak and their conference title hopes. Just like the mid-September meeting, the Huskies are laying under a TD here. They did best the Utes 21-7 back then, even before Utah’s starting QB and RB (Tyler Huntley and Zack Moss) suffered season-ending injuries.
On paper, U-Dub looks like the play, but after looking closely, we find that the Huskies haven’t covered back-to-back games all season. Grab a magnifying glass because we are probing further. Utah’s backups have filled in quite nicely. Jason Shelley and Armand Shyne are solid and also give Washington no advantage, having not seen this offense before. Washington QB Jake Browning is shaky at best, therefore the Huskies rely upon RB Myles Gaskin. But the nation’s sixth-ranked rush defense and the 17th overall stop unit (19.2 PPG), will get to him. I honestly feel that the overrated Washington squad played their best football last week. Utah keeps this game close. UTAH
UAB (+2.5) at Middle Tennessee (Saturday): Once again, you put pen to paper, this C-USA Championship game appears too good to be true. But maybe, it’s too truthful to be good.
These two teams played just a week ago, with the Blue Raiders prevailing, 27-3. They also have five straight covers, while the Blazers, after seven consecutive covers, have failed to get the bettors paid over their last three outings. The Blazers knew they would slide into this title game with the Blue Raiders. I’m not saying they were playing possum, but outside of the Texas A&M match-up two weeks ago, this team has only allowed 7.2 PPG their previous seven games. Expect Blazers head coach Bill Clark to have his troops ready for battle. UAB
Alabama (-12.5) vs. Georgia (Saturday): Yes, this is a huge number. Yes, the game is being played in Georgia. Yes, last year’s National Championship meeting was separated by just three points. And, yes, even if Alabama loses, they will “most-likely,” still be in the CFP.
The Bulldogs, who are a running team, struggled against the only defense that comes near the Crimson Tide “D,” (LSU, which they ran for just 134 yards,). Tracking from last year’s championship, there is no way ‘Bama head coach, Nick Saban is either going to take any chances, or going to allow Georgia to gain any confidence.
Just think of this… last year’s starting QB is now a backup for the Tide. Alabama ranks second offensively (49.0 PPG), and third defensively (13.8 PPG). Saban is 15-0 vs. former assistants as the team is crushing opponents, having won every game this year, by at least 22.0 PPG (overall 35.2 PPG). Alabama is 5-0 ATS their last five vs. conference opponents, 4-1 ATS their last five games played in December, and 5-1 ATS their last six games played overall. ALABAMA
Last week: 2-4-1