Last week ATS: 10-5 (5-3 National, 5-2 B1G)
Season ATS: 88-89-4 (40-37-2 National, 48-52-2 B1G)
Last weekend was pretty much the perfect weekend. Plenty of Thanksgiving leftovers, a win over Michigan, and plenty of other winners when it comes to the betting line. As MC&J inches closer to .500 hopefully the winners don’t disappear during Championship Weekend.
Championship week games (All games Saturday unless otherwise noted):
No. 12 Stanford v. No. 10 USC (-4) - Friday 12/1 8:00 PM EST - ESPN
After losing an early season contest to USC in Los Angeles, Stanford has rebounded to make the Pac-12 Championship Game. The Cardinal are powered by Bryce Love, and not much else. The running back has battled a gimpy ankle of late, but somehow still ran for 125 yards last week against Notre Dame, giving him 1,848 rushing yards so far this year.
USC is in the same position Ohio State is in right now. The Trojans are one of the most talented teams in the nation, who could win their conference championship, and still likely be on the outside looking in of the College Football Playoff. After a rocky start to the season, Sam Darnold has settled down to throw 24 touchdowns this season, while running back Ronald Jones II has rushed for 1,346 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Stanford is familiar with this game, winning three of the first six Pac-12 Championship Games, but tonight will see the Trojans win. USC is just too talented for Stanford to beat. The Cardinal may give the Trojans some fits at times, but the USC offense is just too dynamic for Stanford to keep up with.
USC 38, Stanford 24
No. 20 Memphis v. No. 14 UCF (-7.5) - 12:00 PM EST - ABC
Even though they’re undefeated, it feels like UCF might have peaked this year. Last week the Golden Knights barely slipped by USF in one of the most exciting college football games of the year. More excitement could be in store in Orlando on Saturday, as Memphis tries to get some revenge for the 40-13 loss UCF pinned on the Tigers earlier this year, the only loss Memphis has suffered so far this season.
Taking the points just seems like the right move here, even though UCF is undefeated and at home, Memphis will give the Golden Knights a game. Not only does UCF have to deal with the pressure of being undefeated, but there are rumors head coach Scott Frost could be on the move, and after awhile, those drain on a team. The Tigers find a way to pull off the upset in Orlando.
Memphis 41, UCF 38
Akron v. Toledo (-21.5) - 12:00 PM EST - ESPN
I’m usually not too keen to lay this many points on Championship Weekend, but Toledo is just so much better than Akron. Quarterback Logan Woodside has thrown for 24 touchdowns and just three interceptions, while running back Terry Swanson has rushed for 1,139 yards and 12 touchdowns.
The Rockets smashed Akron 48-21 in October, and while the Zips have won four in a row since the loss, Akron doesn’t have the horses to keep up with Toledo.
Toledo 44, Akron 21
North Texas v. Florida Atlantic (-11.5) - 12:00 PM EST - ESPN2
I knew Lane Kiffin had turned things around at Florida Atlantic pretty quickly in his first year with the school, but I didn’t realize he was doing this well. After losing three games early in the year, the Owls have rattled off eight wins in a row. Kiffin’s squad is doing most of their work on the ground, with Devin Singletary having rushed for 1,632 yards and 26(!!) touchdowns this year.
After going 5-8 last year in Seth Littrell’s first year with North Texas, the Mean Green have continued their improvement this year, posting a 9-3 record. Unlike Florida Atlantic, who does most of their work on the ground, North Texas likes to throw the football, with Mason Fine passing for 3,393 yards and 27 touchdowns.
I like what North Texas has done this year, but Florida Atlantic will be too strong on Saturday afternoon in Boca Raton. Kiffin will show Tennessee what they’re missing by coaching his new school to a conference title in his first year with the Owls.
Florida Atlantic 48, North Texas 31
No. 11 TCU v. No. 3 Oklahoma (-7.5) - 12:30 PM EST - FOX
I trust Oklahoma and Baker Mayfield to cover in this spot a whole lot more than TCU. I’ve never been all that good at picking TCU games, so maybe I’m hoping if I pick the Sooners then Oklahoma will end up losing and somehow Ohio State will make the playoff.
In all seriousness, Mayfield puts up one more big performance before next week’s Heisman Trophy ceremony. The Sooners have also found a bit of a run game of late with Rodney Anderson. I just don’t think Kenny Hill will be able to keep pace with Mayfield and the Sooners.
Oklahoma 37, TCU 27
No. 6 Georgia v. No. 2 Auburn (-3) - 4:00 PM EST - CBS
So what exactly has changed in the last few weeks that makes you think Georgia is all of the sudden going to be able to beat Auburn? If you know please tell me, because I have no idea. Jarrett Stidham and Kerryon Johnson aren’t hurt, and Auburn’s defense is still in tact. The only difference is this game is being played in Atlanta and not Auburn.
Georgia might keep this matchup a little bit closer than the 40-17 game from a few weeks ago, but I just don’t see the Bulldogs being able to slow the roll Auburn has been on of late. Auburn secures their spot in the College Football Playoff with another strong win.
Auburn 31, Georgia 20
No. 25 Fresno State v. Boise State (-8.5) - 7:45 PM EST - ESPN
Just last week these teams played, with Fresno State earning a 28-17 win in Fresno. Now the Broncos are over a touchdown favorite just because they are playing in Boise? The blue turf is a different animal, but it doesn’t carry the same weight that it used to.
I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Boise State won on Saturday night after losing last week, but if the Broncos do win I don’t think it’ll be by more than a touchdown. Fresno State has put together a strong first season under Jeff Tedford, and even though they won’t win Saturday, they won’t be ashamed of their effort in Tedford’s first season.
Boise State 28, Fresno State 24
No. 7 Miami (FL) v. No. 1 Clemson (-10) - 8:00 PM EST - ABC
Imagine the hype for this game if Miami didn’t lose to Pitt last week. The Hurricanes blew their shot at coming into the ACC Championship Game undefeated, but plenty is still at stake in Charlotte on Saturday night. If Clemson wins, the Tigers are in the College Football Playoff for the third straight year. If Miami wins, then chaos ensues.
Clemson finished their regular season with a strong victory over South Carolina on Saturday night. The loss Clemson suffered to Syracuse earlier in the year seems like a thing of the past, as the Tigers are hitting their stride at just the right time. The Hurricanes might have to give up ownership of the turnover chain to the Tigers, because I see Clemson forcing Malik Rosier and Miami into a few turnovers on Saturday night.
Things have gone from bad to worse for Miami. After losing to Pitt last week, wide receiver Ahmmon Richards was lost for the rest of the season due to an injury suffered in practice. It’s a big game, so it’d be wise to bet against a Mark Richt team with a lot on the line.
Clemson 34, Miami 17
No. 8 Ohio State (-6) v. No. 4 Wisconsin - 8:00 PM EST - FOX
At first this line may seem a little crazy. An undefeated team getting six points against a team with two losses (one of which came by 31 points to Iowa). Now add in the uncertainty at quarterback for Ohio State, and the line is even crazier. J.T. Barrett was somehow injured by a cameraman before last week’s Michigan game, and was only able to play into the third quarter before Dwayne Haskins came in.
The Buckeye offense didn’t miss a beat with Haskins at quarterback, but it sounds like Barrett will get the start for Ohio State on Saturday night. Whether it be Barrett or Haskins, Ohio State would be wise to hand the ball off to J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber plenty on Saturday night. Even though Wisconsin statistically has the best rushing defense in the country, they haven’t had to corral a rushing attack quite like Ohio State’s.
It’s no secret what Wisconsin wants to do on offense. The Badgers want to run the ball down Ohio State’s throats with Jonathan Taylor. The freshman is nearing the 2,000 yard mark this year, and if he doesn’t get it against Ohio State, he’ll get it in Wisconsin’s bowl game. Also, running Taylor successfully takes more off of quarterback Alex Hornibrook’s plate, as the sophomore has thrown 13 interceptions this year.
Four of the last five matchups between Ohio State and Wisconsin have been decided by a touchdown or less, and if this game was in Madison I might be taking the points. The only of those games that was decided by more than a touchdown was the 59-0 Big Ten Championship Game in 2014. While Wisconsin won’t get shutout, the Badgers see their perfect season go down the tubes, as a spirited effort from Ohio State has many Buckeye fans wondering if it’ll be enough for a College Football Playoff spot.
Ohio State 34, Wisconsin 24