Conference Championship Picks + My Top Ten

The NWO strikes again.

Somewhere around the time UGA went up 35-7 in the first quarter and Ohio State receivers were running wild on Michigan defenders, I realized that I had royally f***ed up. McKenzie Milton on crutches could of covered better than the Wolverine DBs Saturday. Michigan was completely and utterly exposed for the fraud that they are and I learned a valuable lesson: never bet against a man that’s sold his soul for the sake of winning football games (I’m looking at you Urban).

After an 0-4 ATS Friday, I assured myself there was no way this could get any worse. God was I wrong. Nothing was hitting. And I deserved all of it. Whoever says trends don’t matter in college football needs to take a good long look at this past weekend’s results. Streaks in rivalry series create real pressure and these are just kids after all. Thank goodness some of our despair was alleviated late Saturday night. Our 2-0-1 evening avoided a total disaster and put us at 4-7-1 for the weekend. Hands down our worse performance of the entire year.

However, on a brighter note…

We’re still on pace to meet our season objective. Every year the goal is to hit at least 55 percent and at 72-58-4 (55.38%), we are meeting Money Train base standards. Greatness is never achieved from resting on laurels, so lets bump our percentage, and more importantly our bankrolls, higher this weekend.

Utah vs Washington -5.5 (Friday / Santa Clara)

Last week I said I wanted to fade Jake Browning since he tends to let me down when I back him in big games. My mistake was failing to distinguish that he typically lets me down in big games that are against non-conference opponents. Washington has been the most consistent team in the Pac 12 the past few years and they know what this kind of spot feels like. Utah is new to this.

I realize the Holy War is a sacred game and its typically played close, but the way Utah struggled to get up on BYU was not a good look. They had no business playing that tight with them. The back up quarterback to Huntley has performed well to this point, but the total set for this game suggest a defensive battle, and I don’t know how well he’ll be able to throw against the Huskies talented secondary.

Washington is 3-9 ATS but I still can’t bring myself to go against them. If Utah covers then so be it, but if I took Utah and Washington covered, I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself.

Texas vs Oklahoma -8

The rivalry factor is strong in this one. Its no secret that these teams can’t stand each other. Ehlinger and Murray are throwing shade the others way in press conferences. The Big 12 is already trying to mitigate tensions by vowing to penalize Oklahoma players for throwing up upside down hook em horns signs. We already know from Texas’s game against Oklahoma State that Herman is apt to throw bows with opposing head coaches, so Lincoln Riley better be ready to throw down.

Texas is 6-0 ATS in their most recent matchups with the Sooners. Tom Herman is 13-2 ATS in his last 15 games coaching as an underdog. Those are strong trends…

But I don’t care.

At the end of the day, I’m laying this number cause I just don’t see how Texas is able to keep up with Oklahoma this time around. In their first meeting, everything went right for the Longhorns. The Sooners lost the turnover battle 3-0 and still almost won. Honestly, with Kyler Murray at qb and Antonio Brown’s cousin + Lamb at receiver, do you even need a defense?

Memphis +3 @ UCF

Poor McKenzie Milton. I feel bad for the dude.

Without him, its time for this streak to come to an end. I honestly can’t think of a more fitting team to do the honors than the Memphis Tigers. They’ve been close time and time again to beating the Golden Knights and just haven’t been able to get over the hump. They’re 0-10 against them.

I realize that UCF’s backup quarterback is decent, but this isn’t ECU or USF. Memphis has gotten hot down the stretch. They’ve won four in a row and covered all four as well. Darrel Henderson is one of the leading backs in the country, averaging 8.6 yards per carry. That not good news for a UCF defense that gives up an average of 214 rushing yards per game. UCF is going to have to manufacture a lot of offense to win this one, and I just don’t see that happening without Milton.

Alabama vs Georgia +14 (Atlanta)

This week’s edition of A-Rob’s Conspiracy Corner: featuring Greg Sankey’s league that rivals the corruption level of even Fidel Goodell’s NFL.

Alabama has gotten every effing call from officials all year long. The level of blatant fixing is damn near WWE-like. But, what if this Saturday, suddenly the calls start going the other direction… The talking heads have already begun to circulate propaganda that if Bama were to lose this game, they should still be included in the playoff, so that idea is already solidifying in the public’s mind. LSU is sitting there at 10th place as a safety net for Bama to fall back on as their quality win. If UGA were to win this game then that gives the SEC two teams in the playoff. UGA would likely finish 3rd and face Notre Dame in a rematch from last year and Bama would face number one Clemson in what’s encroaching a Rocky Balboa movie length series. Now the SEC wouldn’t want that would they?…

Alabama hasn’t lost a game by less than 20 points all season. This is the first year that’s happened since 1881. That was a mere 19 years after Stonewall Jackson’s Valley campaign and a time when people literally died from injuries while playing football.

However, I’m finally ready to start giving the Dawgs some credit. I don’t think there’s any question they’re at least the 3rd best team in the country right now. The play of Fromm will be critical in this game, and there’s some plays to be made against this Bama secondary. The revenge factor can’t be underestimated and UGA certainly isn’t scared of the Tide, they know they are capable of playing with them.

Fresno State +2.5 @ Boise State

Swan

I realize what I said about never betting against the Broncos on the blue turf again…

But rules are made to be broken DAMMIT. There’s a lot of things I like about this game. Sure, Boise is a near impossible place to go win and blue jerseys on blue turf is a weird psychological advantage. But Fresno has already made that trip once this year, so they should know what to expect. The Bulldogs are the better team, and the revenge factor is in play. Undoubtedly, the best part of all is we get to fade heavy public action.

Clemson -27.5 vs Pitt

Speaking of the public, they are all over Pitt. And I can’t blame them, this is a ton of points. The last time Pitt played Clemson they were 21.5 point dogs and won straight up. Earlier this year, Pitt was 21 point dogs to Notre Dame and lost by only 5, and they had a chance to win that game.

But Pitt is random as hell. You never know what version of them is bound to show up. Frankly, they can’t be trusted. Clemson is on an absolute tear, and laying big numbers with them is a guilty pleasure of mine. I don’t see how Pitt moves the ball on this defense and I’m sure Dabo’s boys won’t lay up. They’ll take full advantage of this tune up game to prepare for the playoff.

Northwestern vs Ohio State -14 (Indianapolis)

If Ohio State somehow lost this game, Urban Meyer would have an aneurysm right there at midfield.

Northwestern has won a remarkable 15 of their last 16 games against other Big Ten schools. However, that stat is slightly less remarkable when you realize they play on the broke ass side of the conference. Still, they’re not an easy out, they managed to play Michigan to within 3 this year and they hung in tough against Notre Dame.

But this…. this. THIS is different. Urban Meyer didn’t achieve the highest win percentage among sitting head coaches on his own power. This man made a deal with the dark lord himself.

In the inaugural year of the 4 team playoff (2014), the Buckeyes lost to a 6-6 Virginia Tech and made it to the Big Ten championship with that lone loss. They played a Wisconsin team that was a hell of a lot better than this Northwestern squad. The Badgers were 10-2 and had stud running back Melvin Gordon. Ohio State won that game 59-0…

Never bet against Urban in situations like this.

Tasty Teasers

Heavy Play: Washington +0.5, Oklahoma -2

Teaser 2 is ugly: Memphis +9, Georgia +20, Fresno State +8.5

A-Rob’s Committee Vote

I applaud the committee for getting the first six teams in the correct order. Oklahoma and Ohio State are fixing to be the main topic of conversation all the way up to Selection Sunday. That is unless UGA pulls off the unthinkable and they leave both out to make room for the Tide. Oklahoma can avenge their lone loss Saturday and hysterically, Ohio State will get left out again for getting destroyed by a middling team in their league .

I understand people’s aversion to Oklahoma on account of their defense. I enjoy great defensive football as much as anyone, but I’m done letting that cloud my view of the Sooners. When you look at the NFL, you’ll see that the Big 12 isn’t too far off of the way the best football teams on the planet are winning games right now. You can’t tell me WVU-Oklahoma didn’t look just like Chiefs-Rams Monday night classic. Just like the Rams, OU found a way to get a couple defensive TDs that led to their victory.

Ultimately, if OU and Ohio State both take care of business, having to choose between two one-loss conference champions is stupid. Both should still be in the running for a natty, and the fact that they won’t be is further proof that this 4-team playoff is a dumb system. College football, the greatest sport on planet earth, deserves better. The good news is now that blue blood programs are getting left out with legitimate gripes, the clamoring for a playoff expansion can begin to make headway.

Other top ten musings:

  • Remember when undefeated USC and Oklahoma got precedence over undefeated Auburn in 2004? My how things have changed. SEC teams gets every benefit of doubt in this era.
  • UCF has a narrow, but legitimate, path to the playoff. If the Golden Knights win and UGA, Oklahoma, and Ohio State all lose, then the committee is forced to choose between a two loss, non-conference champion, or UCF. However, I would still fully expect them to throw in the Dawgs or Sooners depending on who’s loss was least humiliating.
  • The committee throwing Washington State down to 13th behind four 3-loss teams seems a bit uncalled for. The Cougars were screwed when the blizzard began Friday night. Leach’s offense thrives on the pass, and throwing in those conditions, on top of Washington having elite defensive backs, was a recipe for disaster. Gaskins is a hell of a running back and the better rushing team had a huge advantage.
  • The 10 spot was a tough decision for me. After evaluating all the 3 loss teams, I narrowed the choices down to Texas and LSU. Both have quality wins in beating Oklahoma and Georgia. I ultimately went with the Longhorns. I couldn’t bring myself to rank LSU ahead of Florida when they lost to them head to head and I wouldn’t put the Gators over Texas.
  • If the chalk holds on Saturday, Bama – Oklahoma is the matchup I want to see. The Tide have not faired well in the overall series. OU is 3-1-1 against them all time, with the 3 wins coming in a row (2002, 2003, 2014). Kyler Murray is the best dual threat we’ve seen in years, and Saban’s Achilles Heel has proven to be mobile quarterbacks. OU’s receivers vs Bama’s secondary could also be interesting. Bama has recruited a faster type of defender over bulky more recently, and the Sooners defense is obviously suspect, but I still think it’d be intriguing.
  • I realize that the current model calls for ‘The best teams period’, but I truly believe a conference championship caveat, at minimum, needs to be introduced as necessary credentials. Last season Bama had an advantage in getting to rest a week and play with fresh legs, and this year Notre Dame will have that same advantage. Also this ‘best team’ as the main criteria seems too ambiguous. Who’s to say a three loss team isn’t the best team over a one loss team? There needs to be concrete standards in place so everyone understands what’s expected.
  1. Alabama
  2. Clemson
  3. Notre Dame
  4. Georgia
  5. Oklahoma
  6. Ohio State
  7. UCF
  8. Michigan
  9. Washington State
  10. Texas

Follow me on Twitter: @AdamRobertson13

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