Clemson will no longer play on championship weekend for the first time in seven years. Ohio Recount obtained’t suit up for the first time in 5 years. Oklahoma will glance from dwelling for the first time in seven years.
Easiest the SEC makes sense — on the outside.
Georgia and Alabama salvage long been essentially the most dominant forces of their respective divisions, however Saturday will most certainly be felony the second time up to now nine years — and third time ever — that the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide meet in the SEC Championship. Will likely be the first time Slash Saban is an underdog since 2015, when Alabama destroyed Georgia en path to a nationwide championship. Will likely be the first time Saban is an underdog of bigger than three points since 2009, when Alabama hammered defending nationwide champion Florida in the SEC Championship en path to a nationwide championship.
It seems unlikely Saban will construct it as soon as more. The suitable crew in the nation belongs to his protégé, Kirby Neat, whose all-time defense affords up lower than seven points per sport and whose underrated offense puts up over 40 points per sport. Georgia has been essentially the most dominant and consistent crew in the nation, the handiest crew determined to realize this season’s playoff.
It has no holes — on the outside.
Georgia hasn’t but performed a crew currently ranked inner the extinguish 20. It hasn’t faced a quarterback shut to the degree of Heisman favorite Bryce Younger. Its sensible margin of victory is bigger than 32 points, meaning the Bulldogs haven’t been examined in three months. On Sept. 4, Georgia used to be held without an offensive touchdown, desiring a pick-six to salvage past Clemson, 10-3. The 11th-ranked Tigers’ defense is the suitable Neat has seen all season. Until now.
Even if Georgia’s defensive front will beat down a beat-up Alabama offensive line, Stetson Bennett may perhaps possibly well salvage felony as a lot distress moving the ball against Saban’s sixth-ranked defense. With Alabama’s roam defense giving up fewer than 82 yards per sport — virtually the identical as Georgia — Neat will most certainly be forced to flip to the air. And Bennett, a veteran stroll-on, is felony one season removed from throwing three interceptions and finishing 45 p.c of his passes against the Tide.
Georgia likely will aloof attain out on high, however felony twice up to now 10 years has Alabama (+6.5) lost a sport with nationwide-title implications by bigger than a touchdown. Saban — who’s 3-0 against Neat, 6-0 against Georgia (at Alabama) and the winner of his past seven SEC title sport appearances — hasn’t been discounted cherish this in bigger than a decade.
It’s a lawful time to put money into the supreme coach of all time.
Northern Illinois (+3.5) over Kent Recount
There will most certainly be no defense. It’s unclear if either crew even has a coordinator. When the teams met final month, the Golden Flashes pulled out a 52-47 salvage at dwelling. Now, they drag to a honest role for the MAC Championship. With so many points role to hit the scoreboard, it’s nice to salvage a further few sitting in your pocket.
Oklahoma Recount (-5.5) over Baylor
It has been two months for the explanation that Cowboys’ 10-level salvage over the Bears, captured despite Spencer Sanders’ three interceptions. Oklahoma Recount’s third-ranked defense has handiest improved since limiting Baylor to 14 points, most impressively keeping Oklahoma’s offense from scoring in the second half of Bedlam. Gerry Bohanon’s living is inappropriate. If the Cowboys can close Caleb Williams, neither Baylor quarterback will construct a lot misery.
Utah Recount (+6) over SAN DIEGO STATE
Brady Hoke has written a excellent comeback memoir, however I don’t feel lawful laying this many points with a crew averaging 22 points — with a median scoring differential lower than 5 points — in its past seven games. The Aggies are 3-0 as aspect dual carriageway canines this season.
Appalachian Recount (-3) over LOUISIANA
Ruin up level of curiosity obtained’t be Louisiana’s handiest subject in Billy Napier’s final sport before departing for Florida. Appalachian enters with higher motivation — losing a midseason battle, 41-13, after a four-turnover performance — and higher momentum, having obtained its past 5 games by a median of bigger than 30 points.
Houston (+10.5) over CINCINNATI
A salvage — against a balanced opponent riding an 11-sport salvage run — isn’t adequate to ship the Bearcats to the playoff. A loss by Oklahoma Recount and/or Michigan helps, as would Georgia annihilating Alabama, however no outcome can accomplish Cincinnati feel confident this would be the first Community of 5 playoff crew. All the pieces somehow hinges on an elitist and unpredictable balloting physique. It dropped TCU from No. 3 to No. 6 in the final rankings of 2014 after a 52-level salvage. In 2016, two-loss Auburn entered the final weekend at No. 2, before undefeated Wisconsin. In 2018, undefeated UCF used to be ranked eighth, in the support of two-loss Michigan. The committee can drag the goalposts wherever it pleases.
Michigan (-10.5) over Iowa
The letdown doable is clear, felony cherish it used to be after the Miracle on Ice, Duke’s upset of UNLV and Boston’s unheard of comeback against the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS. Michigan’s upset over Ohio Recount marked its first salvage in a decade over its greatest rival, however also its most critical salvage since its 1997 nationwide championship. The Wolverines now salvage an different to amass one other, peaking on offense, proudly owning the trenches and free from the Buckeye-sized weight defining the past decade. After slowing the nation’s easiest-scoring offense, Michigan may perhaps possibly well retain Iowa’s 121st-ranked offense from ever reaching the tip zone.
Wake Wooded subject (+3) over Pittsburgh
Kenny Pickett is the more gifted quarterback in the shootout to realize, however Wake’s Sam Hartman gets the upper matchup, throwing against the 119th-ranked pass defense in the nation. Wake is extremely prone against the roam — Clemson and North Carolina mixed for 663 speeding yards in Wake’s two losses this season — however the Panthers aren’t equipped to milk the Demon Deacon’s greatest weak point, proudly owning the ACC’s 11th-ranked ground sport.
Usc (+4.5) over CAL
Didn’t you hear? Lincoln Riley is going to function USC the “mecca of faculty soccer.” With pride role to be restored to the storied program, the Trojans may perhaps possibly well salvage to aloof enter this postponed affair in higher spirits, attempting to function a sturdy influence on their original coach.
Easiest bets: Alabama, Oklahoma Recount, Appalachian Recount
This season (most attention-grabbing bets): 90-101-4 (22-15-2)
2014-20 file: 904-866-15