Friday, 30 November 2012

NCAA College Football Picks - Championship Week

Sadly I haven’t managed to devote the time I need to follow college football as closely as I’d like this season but even so I still have plenty of opinions! Isn’t that always the way? The first and most important thing going around of course is the Notre Dame Fighting Irish finally making it to the Championship Game after more than 20 years in the cold. How tragic and ironic that they should get there the year that famed Notre Dame homer (I kid) Beano Cook should pass away. I’d certainly have loved to hear his insight as although other parts of his expertise had begun to fade, you could always rely on him for top notch historical value regarding the Irish. Also ironic is that this is the year I managed to enroll one James Macswiney to pick games with me. Of course he dropped off halfway through, too lazy to check his Facebook but I know he would have picked his catholic brothers every single week in any case.

In the Pac-12 I think everyone except Colin Cowherd is happy that Lane Kiffin and the USC Trojans had such a disappointing season. It really couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy, right? He won’t get fired, at least I’d be pretty shocked and I have a fairly bad feeling that once they get through the scholarship issues, they will be bouncing back harder than ever. Also disappointing was Oregon – just one win away from the title game, a los against a team they dominated in the past two years. Our own connections to the team notwithstanding, their dynamic approach to the game has been refreshing all these years. Up in Seattle, I am not on the bandwagon that is looking to oust Steve Sarkisian, even after the debacle of losing to Washington State. Considering where Ty Willingham sunk the Huskies to, I think Sarkisian has done a decent job returning the UW to relevancy.

Several conferences just failed to show up this season. It was the usual suspects too – the Big East was a non-entity once again, the ACC flopped when it came to big time matchups. The suspended Ohio State aside, the Big Ten was fairly anonymous also. I believe the Buckeyes though could stand toe to toe with any team in the nation. Urban Meyer was surely a canny hire there. The Big 12 on the other has had more ups and downs than Ted Mosby’s love life. I don’t think any of those teams, even the surprising Kansas State could have handled the title game anyway. As for the SEC… well, they are just the SEC, business as usual. I hope they are not too smug over there.

Picks after the jump.

Championship Week
Home Team listed second in CAPS
vs = Neutral Site game
(*) = Line Differential
[*] = National Ranking
(*) = Title Game

[17] Kent State (+6.5) vs [21] Northern Illinois - MAC Championship
[16] UCLA (+8) at [8] STANFORD - Pac-12 Championship
[11] Oklahoma (-6.5) at TCU
[23] Oklahoma State (-4.5) at BAYLOR
Central Florida (+2) at TULSA - C-USA Championship
Middle Tennessee State (+10) at Arkansas State
[2] Alabama (-7) vs [3] Georgia - SEC Championship
[13] Florida State (-14) vs Georgia Tech - ACC Championship
[12] Nebraska (-3) vs Wisconsin - Big Ten Championship
[18] Texas (+11.5) at [6] KANSAS STATE

I don't know anything about the MAC other than the fact that Northern Illinois is pretty good. but i think Kent State was unbeaten for quite a while this season, right? So in that case I'd go for Kent State to cover the 6.5 but Northern Illinois to win. Perhaps Jim Mora Jr (Sorry Jim, you'll always be Jr to me) is not such a useless coach after all, having guided UCLA back to the Pac-12 Championship game, this time in much more convincing fashion. The Oklahoma Sooners are so damn unreliable, I don't know what to make of them at all. Some weeks they are world beaters, other weeks they struggle to get out of the blocks. Picking TCU has worked out on a couple of occasions for me this year. At home I like them to cover +6.5 and make it a tough road win.

After their early season struggles, the Oklahoma State Cowboys have finally started to string together some nice performances. Baylor had a fluky upset of Kansas State a couple weeks back, but I don't think they will have the same lucky charms working for them this time, even at home. Middle Tennessee and Arkansas State are another two teams I know next to nothing about but those ten points look juicy enough to ride. I don't think these random Sun Belt teams can be that far apart, am I right? The SEC title is the big one that we've all been waiting for. I've been picking Alabama in every game all year, even when the spread got up to thirty points, but something about this game scares me a little. Even though Georgia's schedule has been full of cake, there's an explosiveness there with Aaron Murray and those big guns that I'm not sure Bama have seen this year. I am picking Georgia to come close, perhaps even upset the Crimson Tide.

The ACC Championship game looks like a mismatch from here. Georgia Tech have been consistently crappy all year and backed into this game on the basis of every other halfway decent team in their division being ineligible. I think the Seminoles rock these guys without any problems. The Big Ten Championship is a match-up of two also-rans. Ultimately I like Nebraska, there is something about Wisconsin that just screams soft when it counts, I have no faith in them. In our final game, I like Kansas State to cover the spread against the inconsistent Texas Longhorns. Bill Snyder is that good. It's funny how no one much cares that he replaced the terrible Ron Prince as coach with all the furore this week about John Embree's firing over at Colorado. Sometimes it's not about the color of the skin, it's about the... Joes and the Jims?

Season results to this point:
Me: 72-60-1
Chris: 68-64-1

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