Conference Championship Week Predictions and Best Bets

ATS Best Bets

Week One: 3-1 (100 dollar bet on each would’ve won 200$)
Week Two: 8-1 (100 dollar bet on each would’ve won 700$)
Week Three: 6-1 (100 dollar bet on each would’ve won 500$)
Week Four: 3-5 (100 dollar bet on each would’ve lost 200$)
Week Five: 4-3 (100 dollar bet on each would’ve won 100$)
Week Six: 3-2 (100 dollar bet on each would’ve won 100$)
Week Seven: 4-2 (100 dollar bet on each would’ve won 200$)
Week Eight: 2-4 (100 dollar bet on each would’ve lost 200$)
Week Nine: 4-1 (100 dollar bet on each would’ve won 300$)
Week Ten: 1-1 (100 dollar bet on each would’ve canceled out)
Week Eleven: 2-2-1 (100 dollar bet on each would’ve canceled out)
Week Twelve: 2-4 (100 dollar bet on each would’ve lost 200$)
Week Thirteen: 2-2 (100 dollar bet on each would’ve canceled out)
Season: 43-28-1 (100 dollar bet on each would’ve won 1,500$)

Note: Normally we have five tier one games, ten tier two games, and twenty tier three games, but there are not 35 games this week, so everything is going to change a little bit. This week, we’ve got eleven games. The nine conference title games, a semi-conference title game in the Sun Belt, and one extra game between FIU and UMass, a makeup game from the hurricanes, that I put on because of the tight spread (1.5).

Tier One (The Must-Watches)

#12  Stanford (9-3) vs #10  USC (10-2) – 8PM ET, ESPN (Friday) – Pac-12 Championship Game

This is probably the least hyped of the six conference title matchups,  even less than the AAC, but similar to that game, the winner of this one is going to a New Year’s Six Bowl, and the loser most certainly is not. Also similar to that game, these two did meet in August where the winner won in decisive fashion, in this case, a 42-24 USC victory that is by far the best game that the Trojans have played this year. USC may have won the earlier battle, but Stanford is catching fire late into the year, the Cardinal knocked off two then-NY6 candidates in Washington and Notre Dame recently, and while I’m not crazy enough to call for the Cardinal to win outright after being embarrassed back in week two, it should be much, much closer.

Prediction: USC 31, Stanford 24

#20  Memphis (10-1) @ #14  UCF (11-0) – 12PM ET, ABC – American Athletic Conference Championship Game

UCF and Memphis played earlier this year, and UCF won, by a lot. 40-13 to be exact, but that was in September, and now its December, things have changed. It’s no secret I share the growing sentiment that the committee is severely biased against group of five teams, in fact, I have each of these two about five spots above their current rankings of 14th and 20th. Either way, this is a must watch game, the winner will make a New Year’s Six bowl, and the loser, while still will have had a great season, will be headed somewhere like Birmingham or St. Petersburg. Last week’s USF-UCF game is a game of the year candidate, and this could be the same, coming down to whoever has the ball last, I just can’t bet against the 11-0 Golden Knights.

Prediction: UCF 48, Memphis 44

#11  TCU (10-2) vs #3  Oklahoma (11-1) – 12:30PM ET, FOX – Big 12 Championship Game

There is a chance that TCU could get into a New Year’s Six Bowl even with a loss to Oklahoma this week, but I would expect that the Horned Frogs would get left out for a Pac-12 team if they drop to 10-3, as for Oklahoma, the Sooners are in a similar situation, just a step up. A loss would assuredly send the Sooners out of the playoff picture, but with a win they could climb as high as #1 depending on what goes on elsewhere. The first time these two teams met, it was total domination for Oklahoma, TCU just couldn’t stop Baker Mayfield and the offense, and fell behind 38-14 at the end of the first half. It’s hard to beat a team twice, especially one of the best teams in the nation, but I’ve got Oklahoma locking up a playoff spot.

Prediction: Oklahoma 37, TCU 31

#6 Georgia (11-1) vs #2  Auburn (10-2) – 4PM ET, CBS – SEC Championship Game

Ah, it was all going so well, if all the favorites won out, I would have gone 4/4 on my preseason playoff picks (Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Oklahoma), but then… Auburn happened. The Tigers dominated Alabama from start to finish, and to be honest, I would say the game was even less close than the 26-14 score indicated. Georgia has been more under the radar, the Bulldogs rank third in ESPN’s strength of record metric, basically an evaluation of a given team’s resume. The first time these two played, Auburn dominated, but that was at Jordan-Hare, and I really want to pick Georgia here in a let down spot for the Tigers, but there is just no way I can bet against Auburn right now.

Prediction: Auburn 30, Georgia 28

#8  Ohio State (10-2) vs #4  Wisconsin (12-0) – 8PM ET, FOX – Big Ten Championship Game

Alright Wisconsin, you’ve felt disrespected all year… now is your chance, you win, and you make the playoff. Lose, and have some fun in the New Year’s Six. Of the winningest programs of the past ten years, Wisconsin is the only one to never really have a shot at a national championship, and now, with a 12-0 start, they take on Ohio State. In my preseason preview, I said “The Badgers are better than last year with an easier schedule,” but I also picked Ohio State to make the national championship game. The JT Barrett injury does scare me, as does Wisconsin’s defense, but Ohio State has came to play since the Iowa loss, and they have looked fantastic in their last two games vs AP ranked teams (Michigan State & Michigan). Give me Ohio State to knock the Badgers out of the top four the same week they make it there.

Prediction: Ohio State 35, Wisconsin 28

#7  Miami (10-1) vs #1  Clemson (11-1) – 8PM ET, ABC – ACC Championship Game

Miami is the most overrated team in the country, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. The ‘Canes are ten point dogs this week against Clemson, and in ESPN’s Football Power Index, Miami is #14, a severe displacement from their #7 spot. Miami is a big game team, as we’ve seen in the U’s games against Virginia Tech and Notre Dame, so while the ‘Canes may start fast, the combination of the Clemson defense, an injury to star receiver Ahmmon Richards, and the game’s location in Charlotte will lead to a Clemson victory, even if Miami plays the lights out, and that will propel Kelly Bryant and the Tigers to a playoff spot.

Prediction: Clemson 31, Miami 20

Tier Two (The Should-Watches)

#25  Fresno State (9-3) @  Boise State (9-3) – 7:45 PM ET, ESPN – Mountain West Football Championship Game

Prediction: Boise State 28, Fresno State 21

Tier Three (For the Die Hards)

Massachusetts (4-7) @  Florida International (7-4) – 12PM ET, CUSAtv

Prediction: Massachusetts 30, Florida International 24 (Massachusetts +1.5 is a BEST BET for Week 14)

 Akron (7-5) vs   Toledo (10-2) – 12PM ET, ESPN – MAC Football Championship

Prediction: Toledo 44, Akron 17

 North Texas (9-3) @  Florida Atlantic (9-3) – 12PM ET, ESPN2 – Conference USA Football Championship

Prediction: Florida Atlantic 48. North Texas 28 (Florida Atlantic -11.5 is a BEST BET for Week 14)

 Troy (9-2) @  Arkansas State (7-3) – 7:45PM ET, ESPN2

While this is not a true championship game, the winner will take a share of the Sun Belt crown, or the full championship if Appalachian State loses earlier in the day.

Prediction: Arkansas State 31, Troy 27

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