League championships are up for grabs starting tonight in Eugene, OR, as UCLA visits heavily-favored Oregon (-31). I don’t see a lot of support for the underdogs this weekend…talking to colleagues around the country, it looks like the favorites will win each of the five games I will highlight. Whether or not they will cover…that’s another story.
Here are the 5 Top College Football Games to Watch This Week:
PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP: UCLA at Oregon (8:00 p.m.) – Seriously…what do I need to say about a team that has dominated nearly every game except for their opener? Oregon has speed and athletes. UCLA has a lame-duck coach, a .500 record, and are lucky enough to be in the Pac-12 South division…a collection of rag-tag teams (except for USC which is on probation) that can’t beat Betty White. 31 points is a lot (4 TD’s and a FG) but unless Chip Kelly decides to rest his starters very early, Oregon wins going away.
SEC CHAMPIONSHIP: LSU VS. Georgia (4:00 p.m.) – One of the hottest teams in the country (the Bulldogs) going up against the nation’s No. 1 team (LSU) in a virtual home game for Georgia. While LSU’s offense is not terrific, their defense is…and that’s how they will win this game. Nothing will deter Les Miles from winning the SEC title, although Georgia will hang tough with the Bayou Bengals for a while. A ten-game win streak and the nation’s number five defense adds to their credibility. However, better athletes win out…and LSU has ’em! 12 of the 13 SEC title games has been decided by 10 or more points. Unless Georgia’s QB Andy Murray becomes Andrew Luck, that trend continues. LSU wins by two touchdowns…late!
BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP: Wisconsin vs. Michigan State (8:00 p.m.) – Indianapolis has been waiting to see some good football since…well, the last time Peyton Manning threw a pass in the dome…but Saturday night should be must-see action for any Hoosier within ticket-buying range. These two teams had a tough game in East Lansing earlier this season. I have been on Wisconsin for two years now, and with the addition of Russell Wilson, predicted they would win the Big Ten title back in August. I don’t see another game like their earlier one, however. In that game, played AT MSU, so many strange things happened…blocked kicks, interceptions, Montee Ball left the game early due to injury…and still, it took a last-second Hail Mary pass for Sparty to win…Not this time. Wisconsin has a huge front line, opening holes for Ball and anyone else who wants to run. Wilson will have a great game indoors where he doesn’t have to worry about the elements. Payback time…Wisconsin (-9-1/2) wins BIG and will play Oregon in what should be an entertaining Rose Bowl on Jan. 2!
ACC CHAMPIONSHIP: Virginia Tech vs. Clemson (8:00 p.m.) – Another rematch…and another game in which a payback will occur. Clemson gained a lot of credibility (at least for me) when they went into Blacksburg earlier this season and hammered Tech…a real beat-down…but then, they reverted to the Same Old Clemson we’ve come to love and enjoy. They enter this game on a down note (1-3 in their last four games) and come off a bad loss to in-state rival, South Carolina. All Va. Tech has done since that 23-3 loss to Clemson is win seven in a row…including a 38-0 victory over Virginia last week in Charlottesville…a game they had to win to get to the championship game Saturday night in Charlotte. If you think they are going to lose to Clemson for a second time, you are mistaken. Take Virginia Tech (-7) and ride this wave to the Orange Bowl.
BEDLAM: Oklahoma at Oklahoma State (8:00 p.m.) – In what could have been one of the best, most-exciting and most important games of the season, these two bitter rivals meet in Stillwater…but unfortunately, due to three combined losses (two on the same weekend just two weeks ago), this game will just determine which team travels out to the Fiesta Bowl. Each team has terrific offenses…and Oklahoma has the better defense. Every time I have picked a team to cover against Oklahoma State (usually by double digits), Brandon Weeden comes out throwing to Justin Blackmon for about 500 yards and they put up 50 points or so. This time, I will pick OSU (-3) to win the game, and I think this will be the best game of the weekend.
I’ll be back next week with my review of the weekend!