Take Em' To the Bank: Spankin' New College Football Predictions
Jim Grobe might lose sleep trying to plot a way to stop the triple option.
Last week, I presented to readers the world over my new article, titled "Take Em' To The Bank," in which I picked winners against the spread for five of the biggest college football games of the weekend.
If you missed it, or just need a refresher, check it out here.
So, how'd I do in my first week?
I'm glad you asked, because it was a solid overall effort last go-round': 5-0 straight up, 3-2 against the spread.
While not the absolute perfection I predicted, it's a good start.
But can you really blame me for thinking Okie State would keep it respectable? Sheesh.
And honestly, I expected a much better effort (and better unis) from UGA, especially coming off a bye week.
Oh well, no reason to cry over my metaphorical spilt milk, so let's move on to something new and fresh, shall we?
LSU at Alabama
So there's no playoff system in college football, you say?
Well, on November 7th, a National Quarterfinal game is set to be played.
That's right, LSU at Bama' might as well be a playoff game, because the winner is going to control their own destiny in the National Championship race.
Dont't get it? Let me explain.
If LSU wins, they (likely) win the SEC west, and will play UF in the SEC championship, with the winner (almost certainly) going to the National Championship.
If Bama' wins, well, the exact same scenario is in place: The Tide will play the Gators in the SEC championship game. Win in Atlanta, and the sky's the limit.
As for the game itself, it should be a barn-burner.
It's a match up of two top-15 defenses, with neither team allowing more than 12.1 points per game.
Offensively, Louisiana State struggled mightily to start the season, scoring only 23 points combined against Florida (a loss) and Georgia (a win). However, since their bye weekend in October, LSU has absolutely shelled Auburn and Tulane, racking up 831 yards and 73 points in the two wins.
Bama, on the other hand, has only really struggled on offense in one game, two weeks ago against a resurgent Tennessee, when they only scored 12 points and were very nearly upset. A finally healthy Julio Jones should help prevent a repeat this Saturday.
Honestly, I think Bama just has too much momentum to lose this football game. Playing at home, in front of a sold out Bryant-Denny, will be too much for LSU to overcome. Sure, Jordan Jefferson has looked better lately, but he was not playing the Tide's ferocious defense.
Stone Cold Lock : LSU keeps it close early, but the Tide wins and covers -7.5.
Ohio State at Penn State
There will probably be whiteout conditions Saturday at Beaver Stadium, and I'm not talking about the weather.
The Big Beave' has become (unless you're Iowa!?) one of the most difficult places in the United States to win if you don't call University Park home.
The Buckeyes are playing for their Big 10 lives and a Rose Bowl berth Saturday; win out and they're in, lose out and Iowa probably earns the privilege of being tattooed by the Pac 10 champ.
However, the Buckeyes really haven't found their identity on offense, and Terrelle Pryor spraying interceptions and fumbles everywhere has not helped one bit.
Unfortunately, Penn State allows only 9.3 points per game, tops in the nation.
I smell a Buckeye Barbecue, with Daryll Clark throwing at least three touchdowns against an OSU team that will struggle to move the ball all day.
Stone Cold Lock : I'll take PSU, both to win and cover that -3.5 point spread.
Oregon at Stanford
While this is an absolutely huge game for Oregon and their Pac-10 title hopes, it might be an even bigger game for Jim Harbaugh and his Stanford program.
For a Cardinal program seeking to regain its former national prominence, Saturday's home game against the 7-1 Ducks is an opportunity that cannot be missed. At 5-3, and with only two losses in conference, Stanford is not completely out of the Pac-10 title race, either.
For Stanford to capitalize, they will have to continue to lean heavily on RB Toby Gerhart, who has racked up almost 1000 yards this season in only eight games. No turnovers from solid QB Andrew Luck would be a boon for the offense, as well.
Oregon, on the other hand, hopes to avoid a letdown after the biggest win in Eugene in at least five years, over then—No. 4 USC. The Pac-10 lead is also on the line, with the Ducks holding a slim one game lead over Arizona. I see their defense struggling to contain a powerful Cardinal running attack that will eat up clock and pound the Oregon defense at the same time.
Stone Cold Lock : Stanford with the upset, winning a close one late in the 4th.
Florida State at Clemson
Why is this a huge game?
Because the Atlantic Division of the ACC pretty much rides on it.
If Clemson wins, they probably represent their side of the conference in Tampa for the ACC Championship game.
The Seminoles need to win just to keep their bowl hopes alive.
The Noles' go into Clemson as 8.5 point underdogs, a fairly large spread considering the offensive firepower Jimbo Fisher has at his disposal. On the flip side, FSU's defense has been very suspect this season, allowing almost 430 yards a game and ranking dead last in the ACC.
Clemson, on the other hand, has one of the best defenses in the country, allowing only 16.5 points and 278 yards per game. However, stud DE Da'Quan Bowers will not be taking the field for the Tigers Saturday, having been ruled out with a strained MCL.
The Clemson offense has also sputtered at times this year, but look for RB C.J. Spiller to have a big game against the hapless FSU defense.
Even though Bobby Bowdon's Noles' are struggling just to reach the six win mark, I expect them to win Saturday on the road. The loss of the Tigers' primary pass rush threat will prove devastating, and Christian Ponder will light up the Clemson secondary if given plenty of time to throw.
Stone Cold Lock : FSU wins at Clemson going away, a high point in the season for a beleaguered Bobby Bowdon.
Wake Forest at Georgia Tech
Well, boys and girls, this is it. Tech has destiny in their grasp, and must only defeat Wake Forest and Duke to reach the ACC Championship game for the second time in four years.
Defensively, Tech was shredded last week against a Vanderbilt team that had struggled all season to simply move the ball. Dave Wommack said Tech's tackling was horrific, and Paul Johnson said the coaching staff would work to simplify the defense even more before this week's game. Tech really needs a defensive rebound, because Wake Forest is capable of lighting up the scoreboard through the passing game.
Across the field, Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe has seen the Yellow Jacket's offense three times in the last two years, all matchups with Paul Johnson's former team, Navy. Will this give Wake the advantage? Or will Tech benefit more from knowing the Deacon's defensive tendencies?
I'm going to go with the latter.
Paul Johnson's offense has been next to unstoppable lately, and even though Wake held Navy to 13 points in their last meeting, the Midshipmen were still able to pile up almost 350 yards rushing. That's not a good sign when Wake Forest must now go on the road and face a Georgia Tech team that has, well, a lot more talent than Navy.
Stone Cold Lock : Tech's defense wakes up, and covers the -16 point spread.
Disagree anywhere? Want me to pick a different game? Think I'm brilliant? Talk back and let me know!
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