We are back with the Viewers Guide and Picks for Week 14 – Championship Week -- of the college season.
Alabama (and QB A.J. McCarron) and Georgia (with QB Aaron Murray) will meet in the SEC title game.
In Week 13, I ended up 20-10 straight-up and 16-14 against-the-spread. For the year, I am now 232-84 SU and 157-155-4 ATS.
In Big Ten games, I was 5-1 straight-up and 5-1 ATS. Through 13 weeks, I am 77-19 straight-up and 48-40 ATS.
This is Championship Week with several conference championship games and titles in the Big East and Big 12 hinging on the remaining conference regular season games.
Here we go with the Viewers Guide and Picks for Week 14 of the college football season:
* Louisville at Rutgers (-3), 7:30 p.m. (ESPN) – Rutgers is 4-1 vs. Louisville in New Brunswick, N.J., although the Cards won there in 2010 (40-13) and also won last year at home (16-14). If Rutgers wins, the Scarlet Knights win the Big East outright and will likely go to the Orange Bowl. If UL wins, it could be a four-way tie for the conference with these two, Syracuse and Cincinnati and the highest rated team in the BCS standings will get the BCS bid. Louisville comes in off two losses. Rutgers 28-21
* MAC Championship Game at Detoit: Kent State vs. Northern Illinois (-6), 7 p.m. (ESPN2) – Kent comes in 17th in the BCS standings and could get an automatic bid with a win and some help to move into the top 16. NIU has won nine of the last 10 meetings with Kent, including the last five. The Huskies won 40-16 last year at home. Kent boasts a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in Dri Archer and Trayion Durham, while NIU is led by QB Jordan Lynch (2,750 yards, 23 TDs). NIU has won 11 straight since its opening loss to Iowa (18-17). Kent has won 10 straight since a Week 2 loss to Kentucky (47-14). Kent State 31-24
* Pac-12 Championship Game at Palo Alto, Calif.: UCLA at Stanford (-8 ½), 8 p.m. (FOX) – Stanford snapped UCLA’s five-game winning streak with last week’s 35-17 win at the Rose Bowl. Now we get a rematch on The Farm for the berth in the Rose Bowl. Stanford has won six in a row. Stanford dominated up front with seven sacks of UCLA QB Kevin Hundley. Stanford 35-28
* Oklahoma (-6 ½) at TCU, noon (ESPN) – Oklahoma has a chance at the Big 12 title with a win and a Kansas State loss. The Sooners can also likely secure at least a BCS at-large berth with a win. Oklahoma has won four consecutive games and seven consecutive Big 12 games with QB Landry Jones throwing for 500 yards the last two weeks. Oklahoma 37-26
* Conference USA Championship Game at Tulsa: Central Florida at Tulsa (-2), noon (ESPN2) – Tulsa handed UCF its only C-USA defeat two weeks ago (23-21) at Tulsa. The teams meet there again with the conference title on the line. Tulsa comes in off a loss at SMU last week (35-27). Central Florida 31-25
* Oklahoma State (-4 ½) at Baylor, noon (FX) – Oklahoma State has won six in a row over Baylor by an average of 32 points per game. But this is the same Baylor that upset then-No. 1 Kansas State (52-24) two weeks ago. Oklahoma State 45-34
* Kansas at West Virginia (-19 ½), 2:30 p.m. (Fox Sports Net) – West Virginia can get to 7-5 with a win over the hapless Jayhawks, who are staring at an 0-9 Big 12 season. West Virginia 51-20
* Cincinnati (-5 ½) at Connecticut, 3:30 p.m. (ABC regional) – UC coach Butch Jones is being mentioned prominently for the Purdue job, especially since UC seems stuck in the lameduck Big East. What impact that could have here, well, we don’t know. UConn needs a win to get to 6-6 and qualify for a bowl. UC still has a shot at a share of the Big East title. Cincinnati 27-24
* Boise State (-9 ½) at Nevada, 3:30 p.m. (ABC regional) – Boise State needs a win for a share of the Mountain West title in its second (and last) year in the league. Boise State has won 11 of the last 12 meetings with Nevada. Boise State 44-33
* SEC Championship Game at Atlanta: Alabama (-7 ½) vs. Georgia, 4 p.m. (CBS) – The winner goes on to Miami to face Notre Dame for the national championship. Alabama leads the all-time series 36-25-4, but the teams have not met since 2008 (41-30 Alabama win at UGa.). Alabama last won the SEC title game in 2009, despite winning the national title last year. Georgia’s last SEC title game win was in 2005. The Bulldogs lost to LSU in that game last year. Georgia has won six straight and pasted Georgia Tech 42-10 last week. But Alabama boasts the nation’s top defense. Alabama 26-20
* Pittsburgh (-6 ½) at South Florida, 7 p.m. (ESPN2) – Pitt is 5-6 and needs a win to reach postseason play. USF is 3-8 and comes in off a road losses at Miami and Cincinnati. Pittsburgh 24-21
* ACC Championship Game at Charlotte: Florida State (-14) vs. Georgia Tech, 7:45 p.m. (ESPN) – The winner goes to the Orange Bowl. Tech is only here because North Carolina and Miami are ineligible and, as noted, the Yellow Jackets just got drubbed by Georgia. FSU had its pride hurt with a 37-26 whipping at home by rival Florida last week. But the Seminoles can win their first ACC crown since 2005 with a win. Look for FSU to bounce back big. Florida State 43-20
* Texas at Kansas State (-11 ½), 8 p.m. (ABC) – Texas can get to 9-3 with a win, while K-State is playing for an 11-1 year, a Big 12 title and a spot in the Fiesta Bowl. Texas comes in off a deflating home loss to TCU on Thanksgiving night (20-13). Collin Klein can make one more Heisman push with a big night here. Kansas State 38-24
* Big Ten Championship Game at Indianapolis: Nebraska (-3) vs. Wisconsin, 8 p.m. (FOX) – Nebraska had to rally from down 17 to defeat Wisconsin 30-27 in the teams’ first meeting in Lincoln on Sept. 29. Wisconsin, only here because Ohio State and Penn State are ineligible, has lost three of its last four games in overtime. Nebraska won six in a row after its Oct. 6 loss at Ohio State. Wisconsin can make it three Big Ten titles/Rose Bowl berths for first time in school history. Nebraska playing for its first conference title since winning the Big 12 in 1999. Huskers would also go to Rose Bowl for the first time since playing Miami in the 2001 national title game there. It would also be just the third BCS bowl in 15 years for Nebraska. Huskers, with Rex Burkhead coming back, get it done. But UW and Montee Ball will definitely be heard from. Nebraska 35-30
Dec. 8 Game
* Army vs. Navy (no line yet, but we assume Navy by 14 as a guess), at Philadelphia, Pa., 2 p.m. (CBS) – Navy leads this fabled series 56-49-7 and has won the last 10 meetings, including 27-21 last year in Annapolis. Navy is 7-4 and won six of its last seven games, Army is 2-9 with losses in five of its last six. You tell me. Navy 33-14
Quickie Bowl Projections
On Sunday night, we will have the answers to all of our questions.
In the meantime, here goes absolutely nothing:
* National Championship Game (at Miami) – Notre Dame will play the winner of the SEC title game between Alabama and Georgia. Let's say this will be ND-Alabama.
* Rose Bowl – The Nebraska-Wisconsin Big Ten winner will play the winner of the Pac-12 title game between Stanford and UCLA. (Let’s assume the previous results these teams had stand up, so it will be Nebraska vs. Stanford.)
* Fiesta Bowl – Kansas State, with a win over Oklahoma, has the inside track to the Fiesta Bowl berth and Big 12 title. If K-State defeats Texas or if Oklahoma loses to TCU, Kansas State would be headed here. Oregon, 11-1 but not in the Pac-12 title game, would be the obvious opponent.
* Orange Bowl – The Florida State-Georgia Tech winner from the ACC title game will likely play the Big East champion, which should be the Louisville-Rutgers winner. (That would figure to be FSU-Rutgers.)
The fly in the ointment here is Kent State, which plays Northern Illinois in the MAC title game. Kent is ranked 17th and would qualify for a BCS bowl slot if it beats NIU, finishes 16th or higher in the final standings and is rated above the Big East champion (a virtual certainty if Kent is 12-1). If all of that happens, Kent would probably land here against the ACC champion and the Big East champion would likely go to the Sugar Bowl.
* Sugar Bowl – Right now, this looks like Florida vs. Oklahoma. But if Kent ends up in the top 16, Oklahoma could get bumped out and Florida would play the Rutgers-Louisville winner instead.
OK, and for the Big Ten bowl tie-ins:
* Capital One Bowl – Michigan (8-4) would get the nod here over Northwestern (9-3). The Wolverines defeated the Wildcats head-to-head. It looks like Texas A&M will possibly land here from the SEC.
* Outback Bowl – If Nebraska beats Wisconsin, the Outback may have no other choice but to take Northwestern here. The Wildcats would be against South Carolina, quite possibly.
* Gator Bowl – Wisconsin, even with a loss to Nebraska, could land here against Georgia or Mississippi State, perhaps.
* Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl – Michigan State is the most attractive of the three 6-6 teams and would fit in here against TCU or somebody else from the Big 12.
* Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl – I’d put Purdue here ahead of Minnesota, despite their head-to-head loss to the Gophers. Looks like Baylor or Texas Tech could be the opponent.
* Heart of Dallas Bowl – Minnesota vs. Iowa State seems to make sense.
And one other major bowl projection:
* Cotton Bowl – LSU vs. Texas
Enjoy this big weekend of college football and best of luck to your team!
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