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I'm from Houston, a graduate of the University of Texas, a fan of the Houston Astros and Houston Texans. But this blog will be about the "greater sports", whatever that means.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

College Football Picks - 2017 Conference Championship Week

I might just have to pull for TCU this week!
It's officially time for playoff talk.  Much talk before Thanksgiving is really just a waste of time.  Not that debating football or anything is a waste, it's just too many what if scenarios.  Well, the what if scenarios are down to a manageable lot.  It's do or die time with probably 6 teams controlling their own fate to make the playoffs.

So now our weekly take on last week and this week, in five bullets:

1) Alabama got exposed. If you looked at their schedule, their biggest wins were over LSU (which also lost to Troy) and Mississippi State (which also lost to Ole Miss).  They didn't look that good. Even their offense was pretty much just throw it up to Calvin Ridley and hope he comes down with it.  I'd be hard pressed to include them in a playoff at one loss.
2) Like Jason with an axe through their mask, Ohio State also won't go away.  Solid win on the road at Michigan has them in the playoff conversation.  One thing they are good at is playing their best football at the end of the year.  They seem to catch breaks!
3) Last week I threw out seven favored road teams at risk of losing (Alabama, Clemson, Miami, Georgia, Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Notre Dame).  Three did.
4) To me, the SEC Champion is the only certainty in the College Football Playoff.  Oklahoma, Clemson, and Wisconsin are in if they win.  If Miami beats Clemson, watch out for politicking for the more recently power schools like Ohio State and Alabama.  If TCU wins too, it could be SEC winner, Alabama, Ohio State, and Miami barely.
5) Still not sure why Georgia is out of the Top 4.  Better losses than Oklahoma and Clemson.  Fewer losses than Auburn.  If it were up to me, it would be Wisconsin, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Clemson in that order.  Followed by Auburn.  I know Auburn beat Georgia, but they also lost twice.

It's revenge time on Auburn. We're taking the SEC, baby!
This blog will typically pick five games, including the Texas Longhorns and Georgia Bulldogs by default (unless bad matchups).  We try and go for one game in each of the Power 5 conferences, sometimes skipping one that might not have a marquee.  The Longhorns are done until bowl season so no game there.  For each week's games, we give you final scores, so you can do your own ATS and S/U comparison. This week's slate is easy.  All the Power Five title games.  The largest point spread is still single digits.  Three of the five are rematches (note that the Big 12 Championship Game will always be a rematch).

Our two analysts are J.R. Ewing, Texas Longhorns fan and general loud mouth.  And we feature big time Georgia Bulldog fan "Bulldog Babe" (BDB) (@bulldogbabexo).  Don't let her innocent cute look fool you.  She's quite the handicapper.  Just look at the ATS she's featuring below!

Last week
JR: 3-2 S/U, 3-2 ATS
BDB: 3-2 S/U, 3-2 ATS

Season to date:
JR: 40-24 S/U, 35-27 ATS
BDB: 48-17 S/U, 43-21 ATS

BDB and JR both plodded through a winning week.  Neither had the Auburn or Texas upsets for straight up losses.  Although both had the Auburn cover and JR had the Texas Tech cover.  BDB had Georgia and Washington covers, JR had Michigan for his third.  Not a bad effort by our two experts.  BDB definitely wins the crown for this season!

Spreads are from a great pick site, Capped Sports

Game 1: #12 Stanford (+4) vs. #10 Southern California
FRIDAY 8:00 p.m. EST, Santa Clara, California

JR Ewing:
Somewhat the forgotten game of the weekend because it doesn't have playoff implications, but these two could beat any playoff team on a given day.  They met earlier in the year and USC rolled.  But that was barely September.  I like the way Stanford as been improving and they have won 8 of 9 games.  Meanwhile USC hasn't been good away from home against good teams.  I think Stanford is the better all around team and wins easily.
Stanford 31, Southern California 21

Bulldog Babe: 
SC is another sleeper team. They have done very well all season and I think they’re strong enough to come into their game this weekend and completely show out. Stanford I think just won’t be able to keep up, so I have USC in this one. 34-20.
Southern California 34, Stanford 20

Game 2: #11 Texas Christian (+7) vs #3 Oklahoma (12:30 EST)
12:30 p.m. EST, Arlington, Texas

JR Ewing:
It's hard to beat a team twice.  Especially when the second game is in the defeated teams' backyard.  Oklahoma has cruised lately, but their defense is very soft.  TCU has the much better coach to make adjustments and wants revenge.  What will Oklahoma do when punched in the mouth?  Or if Baker Mayfield has a bad game?  Probably fold.  Frogs in an upset.
Texas Christian 35, Oklahoma 28

Bulldog Babe:
This is another tough matchup to predict. Just like all of the conference matchups this weekend, these teams are more than deserving to be in this position. Oklahoma is a sleeper team in my opinion. If they have a good game this weekend, I believe it’ll solidify their spot in the playoffs. Baker Mayfield has a lot of mojo and he’s my pick for the Heisman this year, and Oklahoma is also my pick to win this weekend.
Oklahoma 31, Texas Christian 28

Game 3: #6 Georgia (+2) vs. #2 Auburn
4:00 p.m. EST, Atlanta, Georgia

JR Ewing:
Again, beating a team twice is difficult.  Plus the Alabama game had to take a lot out of Auburn's emotions.  Georgia suddenly is an underdog for only the second time this year.  The last time they were underdogs, they won a hard fought game.  This game is in Georgia mind you.  They outlast a tired Auburn team and win on revenge and more talent.
Georgia 27, Auburn 20

Bulldog Babe:
The rematch. Georgia had a whipping last time they faced Auburn, but I feel like this time will be different. It’s on a neutral site and the fan turnout will be 50/50. I think Georgia will be able to pay attention to what went wrong three weeks ago and turn it into a playoff spot. They will win against Auburn and win the conference title for the first time since 2005.
Georgia 34, Auburn 20

Game 4: #1 Clemson (-9.5) vs. #7 Miami
8:00 p.m. EST, Charlotte, North Carolina

JR Ewing:
Clemson is hitting their stride.  They've been here so many times the last few years and know how to win.  Miami is just learning to win and coming off a very disappointing performance at Pittsburgh.  While Miami could put it together in their biggest home game, this one away from south Florida will be impossible.  The Tigers roll the Hurricanes.
Clemson 35, Miami 14

Bulldog Babe:
Two of the strongest teams in the ACC, by far. This will be one of the top two best matchups of the weekend. Clemson, the defending national champions looking to go back to back. Miami, the Cinderella story team. Miami may have lost last weekend, but I don’t think that will slow them down. In my honest opinion, I feel like Miami will play their best football and they will upset Clemson but it will be close.
Miami 24, Clemson 20

Game 5: #8 Ohio State (-6) vs. #4 Wisconsin (8:00 p.m. EST)
8:00 p.m. EST, Indianapolis, Indiana

JR Ewing:
Ohio State favored over the higher ranked Wisconsin?  By nearly a touchdown?  It's true.  And deserved.  Ohio State also knows how to win this game.  Wisconsin just hasn't played enough tough competition and lacks the athleticism of the Buckeyes.  I see a relatively easy Ohio State win.
Ohio State 31, Wisconsin 24

Bulldog Babe:
This is one tough matchup. Both teams have their strong points to their teams and they both have been impressive over the course of the regular season, but there can only be one winner and I think it’ll be Wisconsin. They have a very strong case with their team making the CFB Playoff and I think they will play their best game this weekend. Ohio State will keep it close, but Wisconsin will come out on top.
Wisconsin 34, Ohio State 24

So sad that the College Football regular season is over.  I want to thank Bulldog Babe for her partnership in the Blog this season.  Her involvement made it ten times as entertaining as we walked through a magical Georgia season and fun college football season overall.  Look for her expertise here maybe on the College Football playoffs, NFL playoffs, and NASCAR 2018 as her time allows!  And don't forget to check our her outstanding work in the NASCAR blog the Ladies in Black!

- JR and BDB

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