And. Here. We. Go.
This is the weekend we have been waiting for. Georgia and Tennessee square off with the SEC East on the line. Alabama and LSU play an SEC West elimination game. Clemson faces their final big test of the regular season. Texas and Kansas State face off in a game with major Big 12 consequences.
The first CFP rankings have been released and I refuse to get riled up. They are totally meaningless with so many members of the top 15 set to face each other still this season. So instead I just put out my own rankings and I will voice my concerns in a couple weeks if these things don’t shape up:
Just like I didn’t argue with the committee’s rankings, you cannot argue with mine. Now let’s get into these games.
CFB YTD: 97-81-1 (54.5%) +3.37u
Tennessee (+8.5) @ Georgia o/u 66.5
The Game of the Year in college football (so far). The Vawls are ranked #1 in the first playoff poll as they own the best win out of everyone (Bama). The Dawgs’ best win is steamrolling Oregon but that was the first game of the season and I think Oregon is a much different team now than they were when that game happened. Also, when it comes to home-field advantage (Dawgs fans just scroll down) Sanford Stadium is not Neyland. It is not even in the top tier of home-field advantages in the SEC.
Tennessee will be ready for this atmosphere and probably even thrive off of it. I expect this game to play out similarly to the Georgia/Alabama SEC Championship Game last year. I think Hendon Hooker and Co. will be too much and hit explosive plays against this Georgia secondary that has not really been tested against an elite pass offense this season. This is not the 2021 Georgia defense. They gave up 22 to Kent State, 22 to Mizzou, 20 to Florida, and none of those are elite passing attacks by any means.
Stetson Bennett can manage this offense to near perfection but the question mark around him the last two years has been the same, if the game turns into a shootout can he make enough explosive plays and big-time throws to win. I personally still don’t think he can. I think Tennessee is the absolute real deal and they win this game outright.
Picks: 2u Tennessee +8.5, 1u Tennessee ML +290
Texas (-2.5) @ Kansas State o/u 54.5
Longhorn Nation, we’re backkkkkk. I have been a bit of a Texas hater this year and I have been a big Kansas State backer, but it’s time to flip here. Kansas State has had back-to-back matchups against top-15 teams in TCU and OK State. Meanwhile, Texas is coming off of a bye and should be healthy and rested for this game. K State trounced OK State last week and is now in the driver’s seat for a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game. I fear they may be resting on their laurels a bit while Texas has had two weeks to think about how badly they need this game. If Texas loses, they are eliminated from Big 12 Championship contention.
I think Sark will have a great game plan for this game and the balance of Ewers and Bijan will be really hard to defend. K State might just be a bit out of gas here. Horns win.
Pick: 1.5u Texas -2.5
Alabama (-13) @ LSU o/u 56.5
I have bad news. For anyone excited for this game- it’s gonna be a route. It’s gonna be all Bama. All Bryce Young. It’s the “do people forget Bryce Young won the Heisman last year” game. Bryce Young had the bye to get fully healthy and Saban had an extra week to prep. This LSU team has improved a lot but let’s not forget what happened when Tennessee came to town. It was a beatdown and this Bama offense is on the same level.
Fun Fact: the away team has covered six straight in this rivalry and Bama has covered four straight in Death Valley, all as favorites.
Saban and Bryce Young want to prove it here and show the West is still theirs. 45-21 Bama.
Pick: 1.5u Bama -12.5
Clemson (-3.5) @ Notre Dame o/u 44
Clemson is FRAUDULENT. They faced a good, not great, Syracuse team at home and needed to win the 4th quarter 17-0 to win the game and still did not cover. They easily could have lost to Wake Forest if Dave Clawson had not played scared on the final drive of regulation. Now they face their final real test of the regular season with a trip to 5-3 Notre Dame (must be great to be in the ACC folks).
Notre Dame is coming off of a good win against Syracuse where they shut down Sean Tucker. That is a great sign going up against this Clemson rushing attack of DJ and Shipley. The Notre Dame rushing attack also looked great and they should be able to control the tempo and utilize their home field. Michael Mayer will be the best player on the field and I expect him to make the difference-making plays here.
Last time Clemson went to Notre Dame they lost outright with DJU at quarterback in 2020. I think history repeats itself here. Marcus Freeman needs to signature win to really kick off his tenure and when better than right now,
Picks: 1.5u Notre Dame +4.5 (would still play for the same at +3.5), 1u Notre Dame ML +152
1u Florida +3.5 @ Texas A&M- The second half of the Georgia game should give this Florida team some confidence. Their offense has been much better as of late and they need a win desperately. They are still playing hard for their new head coach who is looking to build something. Meanwhile, who knows what is going on in Jimbo land. Take the points with the Gators.
1u Ohio State -37.5 @ Northwestern- NW is 0-4 ATS at home this year. Ohio State won 52-3 last time in Evanston. CJ Stroud should be able to put up 100 here and it’s a good chance for the Ohio State defense to tune up.
1.5u Maryland +5 @ Wisconsin- I like Maryland to win this game outright. They are quietly having a really good year. Their only losses are by 7 at Michigan (who has stomped their other B1G competition) and by 2 against Purdue where they had a 2-point conversion attempt to send the game to OT. Taulia should have a lot of success through the air against this Wisco D that just gave up 320 yards to AOC (not that one) and Purdue.
1.5u Kentucky/Utah MLP (-104)– well, turns out this was a bad bet because the ML on Kentucky shrunk a lot since I bet this. I don’t think this Mizzou hype is real. Kentucky still has the better team and they will go get a win. Utah ML added in will just make it plus money for you now.
1u Southern Miss -2 vs. GA State- Southern Miss is coming off of a big win and had two days of extra rest. GA State’s season is basically over whereas Southern Miss can stay in the Fun Belt fight with a win here.
1.5u UAB +1 vs. UTSA- UAB should bounce back here with their QB back healthy. UTSA is having a nice year but this is a really tough road game. UAB offense is too much here.
2u Tennessee +8.5, 1u Tennessee ML (+290) @ Georgia- see above
1.5u Kansas ML (-110) vs. OK State- Spencer Sanders appears to be out in addition to a few other injuries. Jalon Daniels may be back for Kansas but even if he’s not their offense still looks good. OK State’s loss to Kansas State is one that can just suck the life out of a team. Jayhawks win here.
1.5u Memphis +3.5 vs. UCF- UCF has only been out of the state of Florida once this year and they lost to ECU outright in that game. UCF just played a super emotional game where they beat Cincy in the final minute to keep them in AAC conference championship position. Meanwhile, Memphis had a bye and would love to spoil that.
1.5u Bama -12.5 @ LSU- see above
1.5u Texas -2.5 @ Kansas State- see above
1u Miss State -11.5 vs. Auburn- This is a super square pick but I’m selling Auburn here. Will Rogers should throw for 350 at home and Cowbells will cruise.
1.5u Notre Dame +4.5, Notre Dame ML (+152) vs. Clemson- see above
1.5u JMU +7.5 @ Louisville- The Cards are being overvalued here after Wake just handed them the game last week. JMU has had a great start to FBS play and now they get to play an ACC team. Off a bye, I think they will unbelievably up for this game.
1.5u South Carolina/Wake Forest MLP (+106)– We are getting a good price on South Carolina off of a loss. Vanderbilt is so bad. Cocks win. With no Devin Leary, NC State doesn’t have the offense to keep up with Sam Hartman and Wake.
That’s it folks! And as always…