Tag Archives: Ohio State

NCAAF Conference Championships 2018

It is defacto quarterfinals weekend for many teams – its time for the Conference Championships in College Football!  With CFP spots still on the line, there is a lot up for grabs going into this weekend.  With that, let’s go into all of the Conference Championship games this weekend:

MAC Championship – Northern Illinois v Buffalo (Friday, 7:00pm, ESPN2)

A loss two weeks ago against Ohio stopped the Bulls chances of being ranked in the final CFP poll dead in their tracks, but they do get a matchup with perennial top MAC foe Northern Illinois, who is coming out of a very weak Western division.  Buffalo has been outscoring opponents big time this year, scoring over 30 points nine times this season and gets an NIU team that has been allowing more points than they’ve scored on average (19.9 to 20.9).  Quarterback Tyree Jackson has been leading the offense for the Bulls this season and doesn’t look to be stopping anytime soon.
MY PICK: Buffalo over Northern Illinois, 34 – 14

Pac-12 Championship – Utah v Washington (Friday, 8:00pm, FOX)

Two great offenses face off in Santa Clara as a Rose Bowl bid is on the line.  The Huskies won in this spot two years ago while Utah looks for its first Pac-12 title.  These two teams played in Salt Lake City back in September, with Washington getting the best of the Utes.  But that was before Kyle Whittingham’s team got it going on all cylinders.  Jake Browning and Miles Gaskin came alive last week against Washington State, but the Huskies have looked like a different team when they leave their home state.  This should be thrilling and a close one.
MY PICK: Washington over Utah, 27 – 24

Big 12 Championship – Texas v Oklahoma (Saturday, 12:00pm, ABC)

The first Red River Shootout this year was one of the best games of the year, so why not do it again.  Revenge is on the line in Jerry-World, as the Sooners look to win round two against hated rival Texas.  The savior of the Longhorns program, Sam Ehlinger, and Heisman hopeful Kyler Murray look to duel it out.  A month ago, Texas looked as if all hope was lost in getting here, with back to back losses at Oklahoma State and against West Virginia, but the pieces fell in place.  Meanwhile, the Oklahoma offense has gotten the best of the rest of its foes – outscoring each since that fated day at the Cotton Bowl – although allowing monster points and yards in doing so.  Offensives will be on display in a true shootout.
MY PICK: Oklahoma over Texas, 52 – 46

Sun Belt Championship – Louisiana v Appalachian State (Saturday, 12:00pm, ESPN)

One of the most well put together and veteran teams of the Group of Five, Appalachian State, tries to go 6-0 against Louisiana in the first ever Sun Belt Championship game.  In their now five years in the Sun Belt, App State has had a share of the Sun Belt title in the last two, but looks for their first outright this year.  Louisiana gets here with first year head coach Billy Napier and off of great offensive play, with a 2000 yard passer in Andre Nunez and a 1000 yard rusher in Trey Ragas.  The Ragin’ Cajun’s have had one of the best scoring offenses in the Sun Belt this year and looks to avenge the loss they had right on this field just over a month ago; that win for the Mountaineers gave them their first AP Top 25 ranking.  A strong rushing game by Darrynton Evans will be the key for App State here.
MY PICK: Appalachian State over Louisiana, 38-21

C-USA Championship – UAB v Mid Tennessee (Saturday, 1:30pm, CBSSN)

This isn’t de-ja-vu, UAB and MTSU will be at it again in Murfreesboro for the second straight weekend.  The Blue Raiders stifled the Blazers offense last week, holding them to 3 points and 89 total yards.  I highly doubt we will see that type of game again this week, but UAB is going to need to improve greatly to be even in this game.  The Blazers offense has to run through receiver Xavier Ubosi, who has been having a great senior season.  In just its second year back from the football program being shutdown, UAB has really bounced back and no matter what the outcome is on Saturday, should be proud of making it to this point.
MY PICK: Mid Tennessee over UAB, 33-27

American Championship – Memphis v UCF (Saturday, 3:30pm, ABC)

Memphis has yet to beat UCF since they’ve been playing regularly in 2005, but they haven’t been playing like they are outmatched.  The last two matchups, here last year in this game and earlier this season, have been thrilling editions of what could be the next American Athletic Conference rivalry.  With Milton going down last week, possibly ending his career, Darriel Mack, Jr. will be leading the Golden Knights when they hit the field in Orlando.  Close friends with Mackenzie Milton, Mack will need his best to outscore a Memphis Tigers offense that has been on fire this season.  If you thought that the Big 12 Championship will be high scoring, this could very well top it.
MY PICK: UCF over Memphis, 58 – 52

SEC Championship – Alabama v Georgia (Saturday, 4:00pm, CBS)

A rematch of last year’s National Championship Game, which was the birth of the Tua era at Alabama, and of the 2012 SEC Championship Game looks to be the best game of the day.  Nick Saban looks to continue what is arguably the best season by a college football team since the 1888 Yale Football Team (who outscored opponents 694-0).  However, this will be the first challenge that Alabama will face this season, and they have not looked in the mindset these past two weeks, being tied 10-10 at halftime to FCS team The Citadel two weeks ago and struggling in the first half against Auburn; they pulled out both games in the second half, but looked far from the team was the first ten games of the season.  The Tide have won four straight in this rivalry, but all guns will be blazing in what could end up being a prelude to a possible rematch in the National Title Game this year if certain things fall in line.  By the way, Saban looks to go 16-0 against former assistants.
MY PICK: Alabama over Georgia, 34 – 24

Mountain West Championship – Fresno State v Boise State (Saturday, 7:45pm, ESPN)

The Broncos have made it (and hosted) three MW Title Games, each time having to duel it out with the Bulldogs.  They’ve won the last two, but this year they go up against the best Fresno State team they’ve faced.  These two teams played on the Smurf Turf in early November, a 24-17 Broncos win, but was one that could have gone either way.  The Bulldogs defense has been solid in their last two while the Broncos offense is firing.  Get ready for a good ole fashion matchup in Idaho.
MY PICK: Fresno State over Boise State, 28 – 27

ACC Championship – Clemson v Pittsburgh (Saturday, 8:00pm, ABC)

Clemson looks to be the first team in over two decades to win, outright, four straight conference titles.  But standing in their way is a Pittsburgh team that has never lost to Clemson, beating the Tigers in 2016 in Death Valley.  This is a much improved Pitt team, although they have been a bit Jekyll and Hyde this season.  One of the major pitfalls of Dabo lead Clemson teams – they struggle against strong running teams.  Pittsburgh loves to power through and run the rock; don’t write off the Panthers – even after they only put up 3 on Miami.
MY PICK: Clemson over Pittsburgh 32 – 21

Big Ten Championship – Northwestern v Ohio State (Saturday, 8:00pm, FOX)

The Buckeyes snuck into this game after upsetting Michigan.  They haven’t looked all that great this season, especially throughout the second half of the year, but they have gotten past these slow, defense first teams, very well, like Minnesota and Michigan (and what Northwestern runs).  Pat Fitzgerald was asked  before the season, after his third 10 win season and being ranked 17, what was next for his program and he said “win the Big Ten.”  Now, he is one step away from that.  This is a huge hurdle, but the Wildcats defense has been stopping potent offenses in their tracks.  Dwayne Haskins has struggled majorly when defenses can get pressure – and this is a defense that can get a hand in your face.
MY PICK: Northwestern over Ohio State, 21 – 18

College Football 2018 Week 8 Bets

Heading into Week 8, we just escaped a week of chaos where ranked teams constantly went down.  What will this week hold?  Here are my 5 upsets to watch (with the spread):

Season: 7-8 (5 Outright)

  • MARSHALL (+2.5) v Florida Atlantic
    • Marshall has been scoring very easily this year, although their record may not seem like such.  FAU has been up and down this year, and unable to put together a good contest on the road.  The Herd is tough at home and should be able to win outright in my opinion against the Owls.
  • CHARLOTTE (+16.5) at Mid Tennessee State
    • Hard to see what Vegas sees here.  Can’t fathom this line being this large, but it is.  Charlotte has been playing good football this year and has a good defense; MTSU has been doing much of the same, but allows plenty of points per game.  Can’t see MTSU winning by more than 10.
  • NC STATE (+17.5) at Clemson
    • Although the Textile Bowl has been all Clemson, it hasn’t been a blowout in recent years.  I do not know what Vegas is thinking once again with this line, but two undefeated teams will clash in Death Valley, both looking for ACC supremacy, and I can’t see it being a blow out one way or another.  NC State is a very strong team up front and can exploit the weakness in Clemson’s secondary.  This is Trevor Lawrence’s first test too.
  • OREGON (+3.0) at Washington State
    • For the first time in years, the Ducks get to play Washington State with a healthy quarterback.  For years injuries have plagued Oregon against Washington State, but not this year.  The Cougars do look good, but Oregon has been much better this year and should walk out of Pullman with a win.
  • PURDUE (+12.0) v Ohio State
    • Under the lights in West Lafayette, Ohio State tries to stay undefeated against a Big Ten West foe.  They were in this spot just last year – a heavy favorite on the road in conference… and lost to Iowa.  Purdue is a very solid team, and much better than their record states.  This offense of Purdue should be gunning and should be able to exploit an Ohio State defense that struggles against the pass.  This will be a much closer game than expected.

The CFP – One More Month

It is amazing that we are already a month into the College Football Season.  We have seen thrilling last second victories, comebacks, collapses, and upsets abound.  Already we have seen great games in the forms of LSU-Auburn, Stanford-Oregon, and Ohio State-Penn State, with many more not named and so many more to come.  But, with all of the polls that come out each week, the movement in each is nearly meaningless.  The only thing that matters is what the College Football Playoff Committee decides in just four weeks.  A lot can happen in these next few weeks, from the top teams going down to surprising upstart teams rolling in.  Let’s see how these next four weeks could play out.

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White Out Wonders

White.  Nothing like it.  Pure, clean, loud, busy, random, raucous, 31-10, 4OT, super reliable from inside 40.  Moments that can only be described by two words: White Out.

This Saturday, one team steps into a house where every thought is blocked out by white noise.  Where ever fan is clad in one color, a sea – no an ocean – of white.  A place where the team from Columbus was the first victim to go down under the lights of white at Beaver Stadium in 2005.  A place where they were rocked from No. 2 just two years ago.

The players may be different.  No Saquon Barkley; no J.T. Barrett; no Grant Haley; no Curtis Samuel; no Chris Godwin; no Tyler Durbin.  The stakes may have changed.  What was once seemingly a top team vs a wild underdog has turned into a top ten matchup.  But what hasn’t changed are the teams, the rivalry, the animosity, the hatred, Penn State – Ohio State.  Two teams rooted in history, a rivalry that dates back to trips to Columbus in the 60s, a Fiesta Bowl in the 80s, top ten matchups during the 90s, #324, a blocked punt, and a birth of a tradition.

The White Out Game is one like no other.  An environment ranked at the top of most people lists, called “a scene” by Kirk Herbstreit, the toughest atmosphere to play in by Nick Mangold, and a noise level that Urban Meyer wished “they would save […] for other games.”  In 2013, it played host to one of the most famous games ever to occur on the field of historic Beaver Stadium, a 4OT thriller against No. 18 Michigan, one defined by Allen Robinson’s miracle catch at the one yard line.  In 2016, it gave Penn State the statement win over then No. 2 Ohio State they needed to say “we are back.”  In 2017, it gave Penn State a defining high as they routed Michigan under the lights.  What will 2018 bring, one can wonder?

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