We’re still treading water at 32-29 for the season. Conference championship weekend brings great intrigue and rematches. Let’s go 5-0 or 4-1 and finish strong before the bowls. See if you can spot a theme in the picks.
OKLAHOMA (-7) vs. TCU: The Sooners, in my opinion, should be No. 1 in the rankings. Baker Mayfield will moonwalk to the Heisman and the defense has been somewhat unfairly maligned. In the first meeting, it was running back Rodney Anderson who starred, amassing 290 yards from scrimmage. The Horned Frogs may have an imposing defense but they didn’t suddenly figure out the key to stopping this incredible steamrolling offense this week. Oklahoma 35, TCU 24.
USC (-3.5) vs. Stanford: The Trojans hung 623 total yards on the Cardinal earlier this year and would have eclipsed the 50-point mark had Sam Darnold been more judicious with the football. Stanford has been a Jekyll & Hyde team this year: almost losing to woeful Oregon State and manhandling Washington. USC’s offense has been consistent and more than capable of outscoring Bryce Love & Co. Here’s hoping attendance isn’t as embarrassing as predicted. USC 29, Stanford 23.
AUBURN (-2.5) vs. Georgia: OK, so are you catching on yet? I like the winning team in all the rematches, especially Auburn. The Tigers had their way with the Bulldogs on the ground earlier this month (237 yards vs. 46). Even if Georgia can turn this into a quarterback-centric affair, I prefer Jarrett Stidham to Jake Fromm. There is some cause for concern. Kerryon Johnson's health is a question mark and the game is being played in Atlanta. Auburn’s offensive line is good enough to overcome both of these issues. Auburn 20, Georgia 16.
WISCONSIN (+6.5) vs. Ohio State: It’s perfectly natural to have some healthy doubts about the Badgers. There are doubts about that defense, which ranks first or second in several meaningful categories. J.T. Barrett’s health is an uncertainty and we’ve seen the Buckeyes go too conservative in big games before. Wisconsin’s vaunted rushing attack should help in time of possession and turn this into a grind-it-out affair. The Big Ten title game has been very friendly to underdogs in recent history and that trend will continue. Wisconsin 20, Ohio State 17.
MIAMI (+10) vs. Clemson: The Hurricanes looked awful last week. The Tigers looked like a side rounding into championship form. This is a George Costanza opposite pick. Something tells me the march to the playoff won’t be as easy as some Clemson fans expect. Clemson 30, Miami 24.