Championship week is here.
Our top forecasters ran into some problems in week 14. Ramzy and Andy Vance remain at the top of the leaderboard despite hitting on just two of last week's 10 games. Chris, Dan, and David each delivered with 6-4 showings, but overall it wasn't our best performance.
A pair of Big Ten matchups and the biggest SEC game of the week all proved to be problematic. Only two staff members had Nebraska covering the six points at home against the Hawkeyes, The Huskers put together an impressive showing before Iowa kicked a late field goal to pick up a 27-24 road win.
Dan and David were the only staffers to correctly side with Wisconsin over Minnesota. In a game that helped set the stage for this weekend in Indy, Jonathan Taylor and Jack Coan were too much for P.J. Fleck's Gophers. It was close early on before Wisconsin pulled away and left the Twin Cities with a 38-17 win.
The worst beat of the weekend went down in Auburn. All nine of our staff members liked the Tua-less Crimson Tide to win by at least four points in the Iron Bowl. It was a classic battle that saw Alabama miss a 30-yard fourth-quarter field goal that helped to seal Nick Saban's fate. Auburn killed the Tide's playoff hopes with a 48-45 win.
On a more positive note, just about everyone nailed the Ohio State, Clemson, and Florida wins. The Buckeyes had no problems covering the nine points in Ann Arbor. Clemson crushed South Carolina by 35. And the Gators handed the Noles a 40-17 whoopin'.
- Reminder: All of our submissions are against the spread rather than a straight pick'em. The lines are from www.sportsbook.ag and are collected on Mondays of each week. There's always a chance that the lines will move in the days leading up to kickoff.
|#5 Utah (-6.5) vs. #13 Oregon||UTAH||UTAH||OREG||UTAH||OREG||UTAH||OREG||UTAH||UTAH|
|#6 Oklahoma (-8.5) vs. #8 Baylor||OKLA||BAY||BAY||BAY||BAY||OKLA||OKLA||OKLA||BAY|
|#16 Memphis (-9.5) vs. #21 Cincinnati||MEMP||MEMP||CINCY||CINCY||MEMP||CINCY||CINCY||MEMP||MEMP|
|#1 LSU (-7) vs. #4 Georgia||LSU||LSU||UGA||LSU||LSU||LSU||UGA||LSU||UGA|
|#19 Boise State (-13.5) vs. Hawaii||BOISE||BOISE||BOISE||BOISE||BOISE||BOISE||BOISE||BOISE||BOISE|
|#3 Clemson (-28.5) vs. #22 Virginia||CLEM||UVA||UVA||CLEM||CLEM||CLEM||CLEM||CLEM||CLEM|
|#2 Ohio State (-16.5) vs. #10 Wisconsin||OSU||OSU||OSU||OSU||OSU||OSU||WISC||OSU||OSU|
A year ago, we were pulling for a few upsets heading into championship weekend. Ohio State needed a Longhorn upset over the Sooners, but that didn't come to fruition. The Horns are now sitting at 7-5 and Tom Herman is looking for a new coaching staff.
Ultimately both Oklahoma and Georgia edged out Ohio State as the Buckeyes came in at No. 6 in the final playoff rankings. There's not a whole lot of doubt surrounding Ryan Day's playoff hopes this time around, and his seeding within the final four may be the only question heading into Sunday.
Things get kicked off Friday night in the Pac-12 and Utah is the conference's only real threat to take one of the top four slots. The Utes are favored by 6.5 against the 13th-ranked Ducks, and most of our pickers are siding with Utah and its stout defense.
Oklahoma topped Baylor by a field goal a few weeks back in Waco. Now the Sooners are favored by 8.5 in the rematch in Arlington. Lincoln Riley finds himself behind Utah for now, but can he hop into the top four if both teams are victorious this weekend? Our staff is fairly split on this one, but most are backing the Bears.
I have no idea what to expect out of Luke Fickell this weekend. It's rare for teams to play one another twice in the same season. Memphis and Cincinnati will do just that in back-to-back weeks. The Tigers won by 10 last Friday and the rematch is once again on their home field. We're pretty split on what could be another resume booster for Ohio State.
LSU versus Georgia is the game with the greatest playoff implications. A Bulldog win very likely would mean that both teams are in the playoff. If the Tigers pull it out, then that would open a spot for a team like Oklahoma or Utah. LSU has been phenomenal on offense while Georgia has one of the country's top defenses. Our pickers are slightly favoring LSU to cover the touchdown spread.
Does anyone really know anything about Hawaii? I certainly do not, but our team is rolling with Boise State to cover the 13.5 points in this year's installment of the Mountain West Championship. This one will go down in Boise, which seems like reason enough to side with the Broncos.
Clemson's cakewalk of a schedule gets slightly less cake-like this weekend when the Tigers actually face a ranked opponent for the ACC crown. Virginia isn't all that good by any means, but it has snuck into the rankings after taking down the Hokies last week. Just about everyone is liking Dabo to cover by the 28.5.
Our main event goes down at 8 p.m. in Indianapolis as Ohio State makes its annual trip to Lucas Oil Stadium. We're obviously watching Justin Fields' health and he'll be equipped with a knee brace to protect the banged-up leg. Will this one go much as it did in Columbus back in October? Can the Badgers get anything going on the ground? David is liking Paul Chryst to cover the 16.5 in the rematch.
Who are you liking this weekend? Do you see any way LSU jumps Ohio State is both teams are victorious? Assuming Georgia falls, can Oklahoma sneak past Utah to take the No. 4 spot?
The final College Football Playoff rankings will be released this Sunday at noon on ESPN.