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Because this is Championship Week and a special time of year, the picks format is going to be a little different. In addition to giving you my picks for the upcoming conference championship games, I’m also going to predict what I think is going to happen come Selection Sunday. But before I do that, I want to brag a little bit. After all, we are the Brag House; it’s what we do, baby. Last week, I gave you my picks as I do every week but this time it was different: I friggin’ crushed it.
Ya boy went 13-1 overall, hitting the spread 11 out of 14 times and hitting all three of my Game(s) of the Week, including Auburn over Alabama. As a matter of fact, I haven’t missed a Game of the Week since I started doing picks and I’ve gone 101-25 overall and 71-52 ATS. Bottom line is I’m shelling out winners, you guys! If you went to Vegas last weekend or found your local bookie hanging around a laundromat (people do that), you’re welcome. As a little present for the holidays, I’m going to be picking each bowl game and playoff game, giving you more wins to ring in the new year. First though, we gotta see who’s going to make it to the postseason — so let’s pick some winners!
Pac 12 Championship:
What a great way to kick off championship week! While it is a little upsetting that Oregon blew that game to Arizona State a couple weeks ago — robbing us of a win or go home matchup — this game still holds a lot of playoff stakes. Utah can find a way to sneak in if they take care of business on Friday night, beating a pretty good Oregon team by a handy margin. They have the formula to do it, too; the Utes have the best defense in the nation against the run (56 yards per game) and have a balanced offensive attack behind Zack Moss (1256 yards, 15 TD) and 210 rush yards per game.
The Ducks have shown flashes of potential on the defensive side of the ball this year, at one point holding teams to less than 10 points per game for most of the year. The QB Justin Herbert (3140 yards, 31 TDs) is a potential first round draft pick who is capable of leading this team to a victory on Friday. However, the offense has struggled recently against lesser opponents and Utah is hell bent on getting in the playoffs. The Ducks might struggle to get the ball rolling on the ground and that could be the deciding factor here. I think the Utes get it done and will make Selection Sunday pretty interesting.
Big 12 Championship:
The first big rematch of the day is kind of like that disappointing kid you knew growing up, the one that had potential and kind of squandered it — but still, somewhere, deep down, there was a winner in there. Does that make sense? Probably not, you’re right. What also doesn’t make sense is how Oklahoma and Baylor are going to find a way to get in, but yet it’s possible. If Georgia and Utah both lose, the winner of this game has a chance to sneak in. The last time these two faced was an utter disaster for both teams.
Oklahoma was getting pounded throughout the first half and looked as if they might not be worthy of a playoff spot. Then, Baylor said hold my beer and gave up 25 points to lose the game. It was a baffling performance, and I was ready to give up on the Big 12. Then, somehow, Baylor managed to look like a complete team last week after thrashing Kansas 61-6 and have now made this game very interesting from a playoff perspective. Like I said, both of these teams have a shot if other games go their way and nothing would shock me more than Baylor having a chance to be in the final four. That’s why I’m going with the Sooners, because it makes sense.
The juiciest of the championship matchups will be cookin’ in Atlanta, and the Bulldogs are hoping that playing near their own backyard will give them some home field advantage. They’re gong to need it if they play on shutting down the Tigers super-efficient offense, which has been on a roll averaging over 50 a game in their last four contests. It should be noted that the only time LSU has been held to under 35 all year was against Auburn, arguably the best defense they’ve played all year. For their credit, Georgia has one of the best defenses in the country, especially at stopping the run.
At the end of the day, it’s going to come down to quarterbacks: Heisman candidate Joe Burrow and the inconsistent yet reliable Jake Fromm, the latter of which already has a conference title under his belt from 2017. If he can tap into some of that old magic on Saturday and lead the Dawgs to an upset win, they’ll be guaranteed a spot in the playoffs. However… I think Burrow and LSU have proven they aren’t fazed by any defense and will keep running that well oiled machine to an SEC Championship win — and a likely top playoff spot.
This game might seem like a snooze-fest — like much of the ACC’s season has been — but this actually might be the most intriguing game of the weekend, if it goes a certain way. That is, if Clemson were to lose. For all intents and purposes, Virginia is a pretty decent team. Hell, they’re the first ranked team the Tigers have faced since playing a then #12 Texas A&M. But the Cavaliers are a bit inconsistent at times and while they have played well recently, they have two bad losses to Louisville and Miami. They’re not playing for a spot in the playoffs, but a New Year’s Day bowl could be in the works if a massive upset occurred.
Clemson, meanwhile, has one of the most talented rosters in the nation and get slighted for the fact they play in a bad conference. They have the personnel to hang with LSU and Ohio State — hell, they beat Alabama with practically the same crew last year — but they don’t have the schedule, and if they were to lose this game it will be chaos in that committee room. The idea of leaving out the reigning national champs because of that sounds crazy, and so does the idea of Virginia beating Clemson in this scenario. I’m rollin’ with Dabo and the Tigers. Pick: Clemson
Big 10 Championship:
In our second championship rematch of the day, RB Jonathon Taylor and the Badgers will look to prove they are much better since that loss to Ohio State a month ago. Hopefully they’ll be more competitive, as the Buckeyes demolished them 38-7 and held Taylor to his lowest outing in his college career. Since that game, Taylor has been a monster on the field, recording over 200 yards in 3 of his last 4 games. Much of that 52 yard performance in October came at the hands of DE Chase Young, who is back from suspension and still proving why he’s arguably the most valuable player on this loaded team.
Wisconsin will be motivated to do a better job, sure, but they’re gonna need a lot more than that if they want plan on stopping this juggernaut of a team. I mean, did they see what they did to Michigan last week?!? The Badgers have a pretty good defense but they had no answer for J.K. Dobbins last time out and I don’t see them being able to stop him this time. Even if you do, are you going to count out QB Justin Fields, who has 47 total touchdowns and only one interception? I don’t think so. Buckeyes are punching their ticket in with a win on Saturday. Wisconsin will hopefully have given it a good shot.
Pick: Ohio State
So there you have it… those are the biggest matchups of the week. As you can see, I think Georgia is going to fall and will shore up a spot for a one loss team to get that final spot. If my predictions are correct, I think Utah is going to get that fourth spot over Oklahoma. Sometimes it’s not about how you got your one loss or to who, it’s about when. Utah’s loss to USC was earlier in the season than Oklahoma’s loss to Kansas State, and USC actually got better after that win whereas Kansas State gradually fell out of the top 25.
I will say this, though… if Baylor were to beat Oklahoma in this scenario, I might put Baylor over Utah simply for the fact that their only loss was avenged in the championship game. Now, if Utah were to win big against Oregon all bets are off; but if Baylor were to convincingly beat Oklahoma and Utah were to squeak out a close win against Oregon, that would be very interesting.
Another thing going against Utah is the potential matchup between a #1 LSU and #4 Oklahoma, two high octane offenses led by Heisman candidate QB’s playing in primetime. It’s a sexier matchup, and while that shouldn’t matter on the field it might in the committee room. If they want to put the best possible matchup, both in terms of on the field play and eyeballs on the screen — because we all know how much the NCAA loves making money off these kids — they’re going to go with the Sooners.
With that being said, I do think Utah is going to be the fourth seed. I think LSU beating Georgia would give them the top spot based on wins against schedule — previous wins against Florida, Auburn and Alabama really help their case. Ohio State might be the most dominant team in the country, but a potential matchup with Clemson in the first round might be too good for the committee to pass up. That’s why I’m going LSU, Ohio State, Clemson, Utah as my Final Four. Barring something insane — I’m looking at you, Clemson — that’s what I feel in my gut. My gut was feeling pretty good last week, so let’s see what happens!
I love sports. If you’re reading this then you share that same sentiment. There’s nothing quite like watching your favorite team go up against a rival or compete for a championship. It gets even more fun if you can win cash or prizes because of your knowledge! But, do you know what’s better than winning money? Not losing money. Not even having to risk a dime actually! What a concept!
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