Sadly, this will be our last weekly edition of our college football predictions against the spread. Its seemed like just yesterday we were in the sweltering August heat waiting for week 1 to kick off and now, here we are. Enough lamenting, let’s get right into our predictions for the final week of the season at Wannamakeabet.com.
I’m coming off another winning week last week going 2-1-1. Washington State got caught in a blizzard and lost the Apple Cup to Washington. Again. At least my beloved Buckeyes took Michigan behind the woodshed, that’s all that matters.
Let’s put all our focus and attention this week on the conference championship games that matter most. Of course, all of these games are available for wagering at Wannamakeabet.com, where you place imaginary sports bets on games in a league format. Join our November league today, we’re giving away cash to the winner and it’s free to enter.
SEC Championship Game:
Where: Atlanta. When: 4 p.m. ET Saturday.
West Division champion and reigning national champion Alabama (12-0) is all but guaranteed the CFP, win or lose. And East Division champion Georgia (11-1) almost certainly needs to win to get in. Perhaps they could get in with a tight game loss and other scenarios but it’s unlikely. The Bulldogs star defensive back Deandre Baker against the Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy and his fellow playmaking wideouts seem to be a key matchup in this one. Special teams could play a big role and Alabama could fall victim. This will be the first time all year that Bama is challenged for the entire game. Take Georgia and the 13.
Big 12 Championship Game.
Where: Arlington, Texas. When: Noon ET Saturday.
The Sooners (11-1) need a win and a Georgia loss — and maybe even an Ohio State loss — to have a playoff shot. Texas (9-3) can’t realistically make the playoff but can win their first Big 12 title in eight years and win twice and ruin the party for their biggest rival. Oklahoma’s notoriously bad defense has just five interceptions on the season, and only one in the last eight games.
Texas has thrown just five interceptions this season, but two of them were last week against Kansas. Oklahoma’s explosive three-man rushing attack — running backs Kennedy Brooks and Trey Sermon, and quarterback Kyler Murray — against the No. 2 rushing defense in the Big 12. Who will prevail? The Sooners’ three primary backs all average 9.4 yards per carry or better, and the Longhorns were gouged for more than 7 yards per rush by Oklahoma in QB Sam Ehlinger’s throwing arm appears to be fine and coach says he’s 100%. This one looks like it’s going over again and Texas should stay in the game until the bitter end. Take Texas and the points.
Big Ten championship
Where: Indianapolis. When: 8 p.m. ET Saturday.
East Division champion Ohio State (11-1) need a win and a Georgia loss to get in. West champion Northwestern (8-4) is looking to play spoiler and shooting for its first Rose Bowl bid in 23 years. Some may wonder how Northwestern made it this far. The Wildcats’ 4.65 yards per play ranks 126th out of 130 teams nationally, and they’ve been outgained in half of their eight victories.
Northwestern freshman running back Isaiah Bowser will have to go against a revitalized Ohio State run defense that looked all world against Michigan. Bowser has been incredible for the Wildcats’ punchless offense, cranking out 734 yards in the last six games. The Buckeyes were beat badly by Maryland, Purdue, Penn State and TCU on the ground.
If Bowser can allow Northwestern to control the ball and keep Dwayne Haskins off the field, it might have a slim chance. Northwestern is the least-penalized team in the nation, flagged just 2.8 times for 26.7 yards per game. We knew these kids were smart. 🙂 Ohio State is the fourth-most penalized team in the country, averaging 8.2 flags for 76 yards per game. This is a talent mismatch; an Ohio State team that hurts itself with penalties might be the only thing that keeps Northwestern in the game. But we don’t see it happening this week as the mismatch and current trend have the Buckeyes winning big. Like 63-14 big.
Morris Chambers is a senior wannamakeabet.com analyst.