College Football Picks Week 14: Vegas Odds and Predictions for Top 25 GamesNovember 26, 2018
The smallest slate of college football games since August is the most important of the season.
Five conference championship games pit a pair of ranked opponents against each other, with the SEC and Big 12 capturing the majority of the national spotlight.
On the line in the SEC, Big 12 and Big Ten title tilts are spots in the College Football Playoff, with the debate between Oklahoma and Ohio State turning into the most-heated conversation, but it could change if Georgia beats Alabama, as the Crimson Tide would be thrown into the mix for the No. 4 seed if that occurs.
In the other conference championship contests, a pair of teams are attempting to finish off undefeated seasons, while a rare Rose Bowl berth is on the line for both programs participating in the Pac-12 Championship.
Week 14 Schedule and Odds
Predictions against the spread in bold.
Friday, November 30
No. 17 Utah vs. No. 10 Washington (-3.5) (8 p.m., Fox)
Saturday, December 1
No. 9 Texas vs. No. 5 Oklahoma (-6) (Noon, ABC)
Drake at No. 24 Iowa State (No line available) (Noon)
Memphis at No. 7 UCF (-7) (3:30 p.m., ABC)
No. 4 Georgia vs. No. 1 Alabama (-10.5) (3:30 p.m., CBS)
No. 25 Fresno State at No. 19 Boise State (-2.5) (7:45 p.m., ESPN)
No. 2 Clemson (-20) vs. Pittsburgh (8 p.m., ABC)
No. 21 Northwestern vs. No. 6 Ohio State (-13) (8 p.m., Fox)
All Times ET. Odds obtained from OddsShark.
Alabama 33, Georgia 30
The top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide are expected to face their most difficult test of the season in Atlanta Saturday afternoon.
Nick Saban's team won all 12 of its games by double digits, but that trend will come to an end against a Georgia program that's been as dominant as Alabama in the SEC East.
Since meeting in the national championship in January, the Crimson Tide and Bulldogs have combined for 23 victories, all of which have been by double digits.
The smallest margin of victory earned by the SEC powers came in Georgia's 43-29 win over Missouri on September 22.
While it wouldn't surprise anyone to see yet another double-digit victory produced by either team, and the opening line suggests that in Alabama's favor, the SEC Championship will be the closest game in Week 14.
The difference on the scoreboard will be the same as the national championship, but Alabama and Georgia will take a different path to get to that point.
With both teams looking to get out to a fast start, each team will put up points on their opening drives before the game settles down.
In the second half, Alabama's defense will make adjustments to slow down Georgia's running back tandem of D'Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield, but Jake Fromm will respond with a few clutch throws to keep the Bulldogs in the contest.
Just like he was in the second half and overtime back in January, Tua Tagovailoa will be the ultimate difference-maker for Alabama, and he'll lead the Crimson Tide down the field for a game-winning score late in the fourth quarter.
Oklahoma 55, Texas 41
We have a more recent sample size to base our Big 12 Championship prediction off of, as Texas handed Oklahoma its only loss on the first Saturday of October.
The Sooners have a rare opportunity to avenge their defeat to the Longhorns in the same season, as the rivals will meet in the Big 12 Championship for the first time.
Before the last round of conference realignment, Texas and Oklahoma were together in the Big 12 South, and one of the two represented the division in all but two title games from 1996-2010.
As if the Sooners needed any more motivation to defeat their biggest rival, they have a chance to advance to the College Football Playoff for the second straight year with a victory.
While the Kyler Murray-led Sooners will pull away in the second half, the first half won't be easy for the Sooners, as the Longhorns exploit the weaknesses in their defense.
In the last four games, the Sooners conceded at least 40 points to Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Kansas and West Virginia.
Oklahoma's lack of stops on defense will be a welcome sight to the Texas offense that produced 24 points in each of the last two weeks.
Texas' combination of Sam Ehlinger and Lil'Jordan Humphrey will link up for at least two first-half touchdowns, but each of the scores will be answered by Murray.
A second-half turnover will help the Sooners create some separation, just like it did against West Virginia a week ago.
Once the momentum shifts in Oklahoma's favor, Murray will deliver a few standout moments that add to his Heisman Trophy candidacy, and he'll lead the Sooners to the playoff.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90
Statistics obtained from ESPN.com