Championship week in college football. Let's get to the picks.
Thursday December 3, 2009
Oregon State +9.5 at Oregon (ESPN 8pm)
Jeremy: Oregon (-9.5)
The Civil War! One of the underrated rivalries in college football. I was a bit surprised this line was so high, but I really do think the Ducks are the far superior team here.
Oregon 34 Oregon St. 24
Dan: Oregon State +9.5
Yes it’s at Autzen and yes Oregon has shown a propensity for blowing teams out this season, particularly at home (ASU by 23, USC by 27, Cal by 39). But this is the Civil War! These teams are playing for a Rose bowl berth! There will be no blow out this year. Jacquizz’s (you can bet that didn’t get through spell check) shiftiness keeps the game close.
Oregon 35 OSU 31
Matt: Oregon -9.5
Oregon 41 Oregon State 28
Mike: Oregon State (+9.5):
I’ve always been a huge fan of the Civil War and this year’s edition is obviously more compelling than usual because it is the de facto Pac 10 Championship game. Although Oregon has more firepower and the game is in Autzen Stadium, I expect a peak effort from Oregon State, which has essentially had two weeks to prepare for this game (I’m counting the Wazzu game as an off week). In a reversal of fortunes from last year, the Beavers will score a huge road win to clinch a Rose Bowl berth.
Oregon State 34 Oregon 33
Doug: Oregon State +9.5
Rivalry game here. I know Oregon is incredibly potent, but I'll take the points. Really looking forward to a possible Oregon-Ohio State Rose Bowl though. Everything about that matchup intrigues me. Two programs that really could not be more different. The quintessential "new school" program with flashy uniforms and a trendy offense and the quintessential "old school" program with a conservative offense and sweatervested coach. Should be a dandy as Brent Musberger would say.
Oregon 31 Oregon State 24
Saturday December 5, 2009
Cincinnati (pick em) at Pitt (ABC Sports 12pm)
Jeremy: Cincinnati (Pick) – LOCK OF THE WEEK
This game is a pick?! Interesting. Maybe Vegas thinks the Kelly offense will sputter a bit with some cold weather in the Steel City. I’m not buying it. Once again, In Brian Kelly I Trust.
Cincy 28 Pitt 24
Dan: Cincinnati (LOCK OF THE WEEK)
A pick em? Forget about it. Pitt isn’t that good, Cincy is legit.
Cincinnati 31 Pitt 17
Pitt 24 UC 20
Mike: Pittsburgh (Pick):
Whether by ground or by air, Pittsburgh should have no trouble moving the ball up and down the field on Cincinnati’s porous defense. The Bearcats should score their share of points as well, but the Pittsburgh front seven is better equipped to slow Tony Pike than any other defense that Cincinnati has faced thus far. As rumors of Brian Kelly’s future at UC continue to fly, look for the host Panthers to end Cincinnati’s undefeated season and score a BCS bowl bid in the process.
Pittsburgh 28 Cincinnati 21
Doug: Cincinnati (pick em)
We've reached the end of the line here for the UC Bearcats. One win away from 12-0. Going to be a tough game for UC, and Pitt will be jacked up for this game.
Could also be the last game of the Brian Kelly if he ends up taking the ND job. I'll be honest, I feel bad for UC people. Every UC fan I know is freaking out about Kelly, and people in the news media in Cincy are literally begging him to stay. I feel bad. I've never really been in the situation of being a fan of a team where the team I root might take a beloved coach from another school. If we take Kelly, UC people will be crushed. He is the entire UC football program. It makes me uncomfortable to some degree.
Every ND fan in America is going to be tuned in to this game studying every detail of Brian Kelly's team. Looking forward to it.
I think UC finds a way to get it done.
Cincy 28 Pitt 20
Florida -5 at Alabama (CBS Sports 4pm)
Jeremy: Alabama (+5)
This was a close second for lock of the week. It was pretty clear in watching the Iron Bowl last week that Bama was looking ahead a bit. Can’t wait for this game. Should be a doozy. Ultimately, I think the Florida defense wins this game for the Gators in a low scoring affair. Maybe a late turnover or a big stop on 4th down.
Florida 17 Alabama 13
Dan: Alabama +5
This game is too tough to call for a winner. Florida has some locker room turmoil (but that isn’t all that new there) with Dunlap getting all slurred and stumbly and driving sideways AK23 style. But Alabama looked pretty beatable last week. In particular, it looked susceptible to the big play. Everyone knows Florida has big playmakers, though the offense is lacking them compared to last year. This is going to come down to either Florida getting 2 or 3 huge game-changing plays or Alabama keeping its containment. I think Florida will get just enough to win a very close and exciting game.
Florida 23 Alabama 20
Matt: Alabama +5 -- Lock of Week
Florida 20 Alabama 17
Mike: Alabama (+5):
Florida has apparently started to hit its stride on offense, but the Gators have not seen anything like the Alabama defense, which is perhaps the nation’s finest. Yards will be at a premium for the Tide as well, given their offensive struggles and the overall strength of the Florida defense, even minus Carlos Dunlap. Although Florida has more firepower, Alabama is battle tested and Nick Saban should be able to manage this game so that the Tide will stay close throughout. Somehow, perhaps with a big play on defense or special teams, Alabama will find a way to win this one in the fourth quarter.
Alabama 16 Florida 13
Doug: Alabama +5 -- LOCK OF THE WEEK
Is Verne Lundquist going to sleep this week?? He's probably going to be pacing the halls on Friday night waiting for this game.
I can't wait. We've been waiting all year for this game.
Call me crazy, but I'm going with the Alabama Crimson Tide. I LOVE Tim Tebow and Urban and love how the Gators play, but I'm rooting for Bama and would love to see those Bama fans get their first national title since 1992. There is no better tradition in America than the Alabama Crimson Tide, and I want The Nicktator to bring the title back to Tuscaloosa.
So I say this with a heavy heart because I respect the heck out of Tim Tebow, but my heart is with the Tide this weekend.
Alabama 24 Florida 20
Texas -14 vs. Nebraska (Big 12 championship game) (ABC Sports 8pm)
Jeremy: Texas (-14)
There’s a part of me that thinks the Blackshirts might come out and play some inspired ball against Colt and the Horns. But Texas is just too good on both sides of the ball.
Texas 34 Nebraska 17
Dan: Nebraska +14
Seriously? These underdog spreads are just confounding me this week. Texas hasn’t played a decent team in a month. (not that Nebraska has either). I realize everyone is hot to trot over Texas and Colt McCoy heating up at the right moment, but I’m not buying it. I do think Texas will get the win and earn the right to be destroyed by the winner of the SEC title game, but the black shirts will keep it close.
Texas 31 Nebraska 24
Matt: Texas -14
Texas 31 Nebraska 13
Mike: Nebraska (+14):
This game has definite blowout potential if Nebraska falls behind early. The Huskers have been winning without any semblance of a passing game, so the Texas defense could have a field day if Nebraska is forced to take to the air. On the other hand, Nebraska’s defense should present a stern test for the Texas offense, especially if the Longhorns are unable to keep the Huskers honest with the running game. Texas fans will have to sweat out a low scoring affair, but the Longhorns will ultimately punch their ticket to Pasadena.
Texas 20 Nebraska 13
Doug: Nebraska +14
The Big 12 championship has a history of monster upsets that shake up the BCS picture. It seems like we've been in this situation before with a heavily favored national title contender getting upset in the Big 12 championship game and getting knocked out of the race.
Are these conference championship games even worth it? Imagine if Texas loses this game. They went 12-0 in the regular season in the Big 12, and suddenly they're out of it because of this postseason conference championship game. Is the money that good for these conferences that they're willing to risk a title contender's spot every single year?? Do these games still sell out in this economy??
If I was a Texas fan, I'd just be kind of annoyed about having to play this game. You've already gone the distance in the better half of the league (the Big 12 South), and now you have this trap game against a Nebraska team looking to get its signature win.
And how about if Nebraska wins this game?? The BCS dominoes are going to be falling like crazy. Nebraska would knock somebody like Penn State or Iowa out of the the BCS, and then you'd have Cincy and TCU clamoring for space in the title game picture.
I'm rooting like crazy for Nebraska. The only way we're getting BCS chaos is with a Nebraska win. If that happens, there is going to be a meltdown when either Cincy or TCU doesn't get picked. And if Texas still ends up going with 1 loss, we'll probably have congressional hearings scheduled the next days on implementing a college football playoff.
Either way, it's a win-win. Mel Kiper provided a great analogy in his chat on ESPN.com. Imagine if you have Colts-Saints in the Super Bowl this year, and the NFL decided to host games between the other teams that didn't make the Super Bowl in the week leading up to the big game. You had Pats-Vikes, Chargers-Cowboys, Bengals-Packers in these neutral site venues. Would anyone care about those games?? NO!! Of course not. They're exhibitions. If that's the case, why are these college football bowls such a big deal?? If you want to keep the bowls, fine. Use the bowls as the venues in a 4 team playoff format. But make these bowls mean something for godsakes. I'm tired of seeing these Alabama-Utah glorified exhibitions where one team could care less about being there. But if that game was a first round playoff game, you can bet it would mean a whole lot more to Bama.
The whole system is annoying to me.
Texas 31 Nebraska 24
Georgia Tech -1 vs. Clemson (ACC championship game) (ESPN 8pm)
Jeremy: Georgia Tech (-1)
Two teams that laid some serious eggs last week. I’ll go with the superior coach.
GT 27 Clemson 23
Dan: Georgia Tech -1
This game could not interest me much less. ACC title game? In Paul Johnson I trust.
Georgia Tech 28 Clemson 21
Matt: Clemson +1
Clemson 27 Georgia Tech 24
Mike: Georgia Tech (-1):
The first game between this game featured a statistical oddity, as Georgia Tech scored twice on fake field goals: one by Tech and one by Clemson gone awry. Aside from these fluky plays, Clemson outplayed Tech at Bobby Dodd Stadium by controlling the line of scrimmage and slowing the Yellow Jacket offense. Nonetheless, Paul Johnson, as usual, should be able to make the appropriate adjustments to ensure a stronger performance for the Jackets in Tampa. Dabo Swinney has done a nice job for Clemson this year, but I still believe that the coaching matchup will be the difference here.
Georgia Tech 23 Clemson 21
Doug: Georgia Tech -1
Not expecting a very big crowd for this one, but it could be a pretty good game. I'll go with Georgia Tech to bounce back and head to the BCS.
Georgia Tech 24 Clemson 20
Connecticut (-7) over USF: I suspect that a bunch of Floridians aren’t going to put forth their best effort in a meaningless game in chilly Storrs this weekend.
Washington (+6.5) over California: Another game with possible “sleepwalk” potential, as the visiting Bears may not be particularly motivated this week in Seattle.
Hawaii (+11.5) over Wisconsin: Will the Badgers treat this as a business trip? I know I wouldn’t.
Lock of the Week: