Week 14 College Football Preview
Week 14 College Football Preview
By Steve Lissansky @slissansky
It is with sadness in my heart that I write the final preview of the season. Conference championship week brings us some very interesting matchups and a pseudo playoff game. Most experts agree that two of the four playoff spots are set with Oklahoma and the winner of the Big Ten Championship. If Clemson and Alabama lose then we could see some real chaos. Last week we saw Oklahoma steamroll Oklahoma State, Stanford win at the buzzer over Notre Dame. In my opinion Derrick Henry put his name on the Heisman Trophy with is a great effort against Auburn.
All Times are Eastern Standard Time and lines provided by Bovada.lv
MAC Championship Game
Bowling Green (9-3) vs Northern Illinois (8-4) in Detroit 8:00PM ESPN2 Line BGSU -12.5 O/U 69.5
This is a rematch of the last two MAC Championship games. Bowling Green is coming in on a roll, they are 7-1 in conference play and outscoring teams by an average of 25 PPG. BGSU has a strong passing attack led by QB Matt Johnson who has 4465 Yards and 41 TD’s this season. The Falcons have had to deal with rumors that coach Dino Babers is leaving for a bigger school, so far that has not happened and Babers has denied all rumors. Northern Illinois is reeling coming off a loss last week to Ohio at home. In the game they lost their QB and will be starting a true Freshman at QB. Bowling Green will be too much on offense for Northern Illinois to handle.
My Pick: BGSU 48-28
AAC Championship Game
#22 Temple (10-2) at #19 Houston (11-1) 12:00PM ABC Line Hou -7 O/U 54.5
Houston is flying high after a 52-31 win over Navy in a De Facto Division Championship game last week. Houston QB Greg Ward Jr. showed no problems with his ankle, which caused him to miss most of the last game. Ward threw for 308 Yards and 3 TD’s, he also ran for 83 yards and a TD. The defense played its best game holding Navy to 147 yards rushing, which is 200 yards less than their average. Temple is coming off a workmanlike effort against UCONN winning 27-3. Temple has a very stout defense led by AAC defensive POY LB Tyler Matakevich. It will up to the defense to slow down the proficient Houston offense.
My Pick: Hou 31-24
SEC Championship Game
#18 Florida (10-2) at #2 Alabama (11-1) in Atlanta 4:00PM CBS Line Bama -18 O/U 40
Alabama has been on roll since their lone loss. Last week they played a hard fought game against Auburn. The Tide were carried by RB Derrick Henry had whopping 46 carries last week. For the season Henry has 1797 Yards and 22 TD’s. Alabama has the best front seven in college football and will use it to suffocate the Gators offense. Florida has struggled since their starting QB Will Grier was suspended. In the last four games they have average 13.8 PPG and a measly 294 YPG. Florida was soundly beaten by Florida State last week losing 27-2. This will be a struggle for Florida and would take a near perfect game for them to win.
My Pick: Bama 30-6
PAC-12 Championship Game
#20 USC (8-4) vs #7 Stanford (10-2) at Santa Clara 7:45PM ESPN Line Stan -4.5 O/U 58.5
USC beat UCLA last week 40-21 winning the division. They named Interim Head Coach Clay Helton permanent Head Coach this week, to the delight of the team. USC has some real firepower on offense with QB Cody Kessler and WR JuJu Smith-Schuster. Stanford won the game of the week last week beating Notre Dame 38-36 on a field goal at the buzzer. Stanford has a true star in do everything RB Christian McCaffrey, McCaffrey has over 3000 all-purpose yards and can score on any play. This is a rematch of an earlier game where Stanford won 41-31. Stanford would need some real chaos at the top of the polls to receive a bid for the playoff.
My Pick: Stanford 35-31
BIG Ten Championship Game
#5 Michigan State (11-1) vs #4 Iowa (12-0) in Indianapolis 8:00PM Fox Line MSU -3.5 O/U 51
This is basically a playoff game. The winner is almost assured a spot in the playoff. Iowa might be the most unknown power conference undefeated team of all-time. Most people feel that Iowa is unproven and untested. That will change this week. Michigan State is coming off a 55-16 drubbing of Penn State. QB Connor Cook came back and looked healthy after missing the last game. Iowa beat their rival Nebraska 28-20 last week, they were out-gained 433-250. Michigan State has the advantage as this is their third trip Indianapolis, while this will be the first time for Iowa.
My Pick: MSU 31-27
ACC Championship Game
#10 North Carolina (11-1) vs #1 Clemson (12-0) in Charlotte 8:00PM ABC Line Clem -4.5 O/U 67.5
Clemson is one of the quietist number one team. They have a star in QB Deshaun Watson, he is equally adept at making plays with his arm and legs. Clemson was really tested last week, beating in-state rival South Carolina 37-32. Clemson has outscored conference opponents by 19 PPG and 272 YPG. North Carolina is a very intriguing team. They lost their opener to South Carolina, it was a game they blew with two turnovers in the end zone. They have won eleven straight games after that. The Tar Heels have an electric offense led by QB Marquise Williams. UNC would be higher rated but that loss to South Carolina and extremely soft non-conference schedule leave a bad taste in the playoff committee’s mouth. This will be a very tough test for Clemson and could be the most entertaining game of the day.
My Pick: UNC 38-34