It’s Championship Weekend in college football as the 10 FBS conferences hold their championship games. It all begins Friday night with sixth-ranked Utah taking on No. 14 Oregon at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.
Most college football predictions pegged Alabama as a favorite to get back to the College Football Playoff. That doesn’t look like it will happen after the Crimson Tide’s loss to Auburn in the annual Iron Bowl played last Saturday. Second-ranked LSU will represent the SEC West against No. 4 Georgia in the SEC title game.
An upset by 12th-ranked Wisconsin over No. 1 Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game would send the CFP into a frenzy. Most online sportsbooks, like America’s Bookie, don’t see much of a change in the current top-4, but it could all be different once Saturday comes to an end.
No. 6 Utah vs. No. 14 Oregon (ORE -6.5, O/U: 51) Best Line: America’s Bookie
If sixth-ranked Utah can pull out a victory in Friday’s Pac-12 title game, there is a slight chance the Utes could make the College Football Playoff. The Utes will rely on veteran QB Tyler Huntley (2,773 yds., 16 TDs) and veteran RB Zack Moss (1,246 yds., 15 TDs on offense and the nation’s third-best scoring defense (11.3 ppg). Oregon has QB Justin Herbert (3,140 yds., 31 TDs) and an equally stout defense (15.8 ppg). With those two defenses, the Ducks laying 6.5 just doesn’t seem appetizing but something else does. UNDER 51
No. 9 Baylor vs. No. 7 Oklahoma (BAY +9.0, O/U: 63) Best Line: BetOnline
The Bears led the Sooners 28-3 deep into the second quarter just a few weeks ago, but Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts led a furious comeback. Hurts threw three second-half touchdowns in the 34-31 Sooners win. Hurts has the numbers to win the Heisman – 3,347 yards passing, 1,217 yards rushing, 49 total touchdowns – but the Bears have the best defense in the Big 12. Oklahoma’s defense, on the other hand, is not so good. All but three of Oklahoma’s games this season have totaled fewer than 62 points. OVER 63
Louisiana vs. No. 25 Appalachian State (APP -5.5, O/U: 57.5) Best Line: BetOnline
The Ragin’ Cajuns will try and avenge a loss earlier this season to 25th-ranked Appalachian State in Saturday’s Sun Belt championship game. Louisiana (10-2) lost to the Mountaineers 17-7 as the winners held the Cajuns to just 254 yards of total offense. Louisiana averages over 500 yards per game with 274 of that coming on the ground. If the Cajuns have success running the ball like Georgia Southern did in the Mountaineers only loss of the season, Louisiana could pull the upset. At the very least… Louisiana +5.5
Miami (OH) vs. Central Michigan (CMU: -7.5, O/U: 54) Best Line: MyBookie
Redhawks head coach Chuck Martin is building a winner at Miami. The Redhawks won five straight before a season-ending loss to Ball State to finish 7-5 and win the MAC East. The Chippewas, in head coach Jim McElwain’s first year, won six of their last seven games to win the MAC West. CMU has beaten Miami six of the last seven times the teams have played. The average margin of victory has been 16.6 points. CMU -7.5
No. 19 Cincinnati vs. No. 18 Memphis (CIN +9.5, O/U: 57.5) Best Line: America’s Bookie
It’s Bearcats-Tigers, Part 2. The teams just played a week ago with Memphis winning 34-24. The big surprise will be who lines up at quarterback for the Bearcats. Redshirt freshman Ben Bryant got his first start last week, but sophomore Desmond Ridder could be healthy. Either way, the Cincy defense still has to contend with a Memphis offense that averages 41.5 points per game. The Bearcats were within a field goal late last week. They should hang tough once again. Cincinnati +9.5
No. 4 Georgia vs. No. 2 LSU (LSU -7.5, O/U: 54.5) Best Line: America’s Bookie
Georgia has the second-best scoring defense in the nation (10.4 ppg). Still, it’s hard to see the Bulldogs slowing down the offensive juggernaut that is LSU. Tigers QB Joe Burrow could be the Heisman Trophy winner. The Total has gone Over in 11 of LSU’s last 15 games and seven of the last eight against Georgia. OVER 54.5
Hawaii vs. Boise State (BSU: -13.5, O/U: 64.5) Best Line: BetOnline
The Rainbow Warriors (9-4) get a shot at redemption having lost to Boise State 59-37 earlier this season. Hawaii allowed 518 total yards and turned the ball over four times in the first meeting. Boise State has pummeled five straight opponents since a 28-25 loss to BYU. The Broncos have beaten Hawaii six times in a row by an average of 37.7 points. Boise State -13.5
Don’t forget about Clemson. They have the nation’s best defense. The Tigers allow just 10.1 points per game. They also average of 541 yards of total offense per game. Clemson has won seven straight games by 30 or more points. Clemson -28.5
No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 12 Wisconsin (OSU: -15.5, O/U: 56.5) Best Line: MyBookie
Ohio State has beaten Wisconsin in seven straight dating back to 2010. That includes a 38-7 beatdown in Week 9 of this season. The Buckeyes defense will bottle up Badgers RB Jonathan Taylor and the Ohio State offense will roll. Ohio State -15.5
Army vs. Navy (Lines unavailable)
The game represents what college football is all about. The Cadets have won the past three games in the series, but injuries led to a subpar 5-7 season in which Army dropped five straight at one point. The season would be made with a win over their rival Navy. The Midshipmen are back after a couple of tough seasons. Navy is 9-2 and once again leads the nation in rushing yards per game (360.8). Army is second (311.7). This one will be competitive but in the end… Go Navy, Beat Army!
A native of Western Pennsylvania, Rick, a Generation X-er, who now lives just north of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. A former high school, college, and professional football player, Rick now spends his time as a high school coach and as a personal quarterback trainer. An all-state high school quarterback, he went on to become an Academic All-American at Division II Indiana University of PA. He later coached at his alma mater helping lead the program to the 1990 NCAA Division II national championship game. Rick has also served as a high school head coach and as an assistant in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.
His passion for sports writing started when he was the sports editor for his high school newspaper and continued when he worked as a sportswriter for the Jamestown (New York) Post-Journal in the early 1990s. A true sports fanatic, Rick enjoys all things Pittsburgh: Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. The Immaculate Reception, the 1979 We Are Family Pirates, and the ’91-’92 Penguins are among his favorites. After working as an educator and athletic director for several years, he again took up sports writing and has contributed to several websites and publications, including Coach & Player magazine, X & O Labs, American Football Monthly, and many others.
When not consumed with coaching, watching, thinking about, or writing about football and other seasonal sports, he finds himself working out like he was still in college and reading everything from military history to Brad Thor novels. Rick has also been chasing rock god stardom as a drummer who has played with bands that have opened for the likes of Fuel, Days of the New, and Alien Ant Farm. He continues to play with his church worship group. Most importantly, Rick is married to the love of his life, Lisa, and has two beautiful daughters.