It’s Championship Weekend, friends. There are a couple of super-interesting games, starting with the Conference USA Championship, featuring two of the most explosive offenses in all of college football. I am super-excited about it. I mean, I get that a lot of casual fans are all, “Power 5 or Bust,” but I’m telling you, WKU at UTSA is gonna be the game of the weekend.
We usually do this post as a Patreon exclusive. However, we’re publishing the top portion, “Games of the Week,” on the website this week because it’s the Championship Weekend, and because we wanted to give you fine folks something to read this afternoon.
Note: We’ve listed the lines below against their direction of movement. For example, Army at Georgia State opened at Army (+4) but slid to Army (+2). We therefore listed it on the other side, i.e. against the movement, “Georgia State (-2)”. Because Georgia State (-2) is obviously a better bet than Georgia State (-4).
Championship Weekend Schedule
Friday, December 3
Conference USA Championship: W. Kentucky vs. UTSA (+1.5) (CBS Sports)
Pac-12 Championship: #14 Utah vs. #10 Oregon (+3) (ABC)
So yeah. I am WAY more invested in the C-USA Championship than I am in the Pac-12. Simple reality is that we’ve seen the C-USA teams play against Army much more recently than we’ve seen teams from the Pac-12 play in a game that actually matters to the Black Knights. Add in the fact that you’ve got arguably the best pocket passer in all of college football in QB Bailey Zappe vs. one of CFB’s best backs in RB Sincere McCormick, and it makes for quite an interesting match-up. Oh by the way, UTSA QB Frank Harris can also run quite a bit, and as we know, WKU’s defense struggles a lot against misdirection and option rushing concepts.
Friends, the Roadrunners ought to have a day.
Which is why I think the Roadrunners are arguably the best bet on the board this week, especially since they are suddenly getting points. I may also play the Over, though last I looked, it was set all the way up at 72. It’s worth noting, too, that while these defenses are statistically close in yards/play allowed, WKU’s offense is putting up a full yards/play more than UTSA’s.
- Hilltoppers: 7.0 yards/play on offense
- Roadrunners: 6.0 yards/play on offense
- Both defenses: 5.4 yards/play
But I still think UTSA is gonna run all over those guys.
The Conference USA Championship starts at 7:30 pm. Pac-12 kicks at 8.
Saturday, December 4 – Noon
Big 12 Championship: #5 Oklahoma State (-5.5) vs. #9 Baylor (ABC)
MAC Championship: Kent State vs. Northern Illinois (+3) (ESPN)
There are teams I like in both the MAC and the Big 12, but none of those teams made it into either of these championship games. Oklahoma State is odious in particular because of their noxious attempt at stealing Army’s 1945 National Championship.
I blame Lincoln Riley for this fiasco.
At any rate, the MAC Championship should at least feature some ludicrous offense. Kent State moves the ball like it’s a 1977 Disco Night out at Studio 54.
Big Money Window – 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Mountain West Championship: Utah State (+6) vs. #19 San Diego State (FOX)
Sun Belt Championship: App. State vs. #20 Louisiana (+3) (ESPN)
SEC Championship: #4 Alabama (+6.5) vs. #1 Georgia (CBS)
AAC Championship: #16 Houston (+10.5) vs. #3 Cincinnati (ABC)
This, friends, is a much better slate of games. Any of these could be truly great, but alas, I only have space in my basement and overall streaming capacity for three separate TVs.
For what it’s worth, OddsShark really likes the Aztecs to beat Utah State, mostly on the basis of their defense. That’s probably a fair bet, especially considering that the Aggies give up nearly 6.0 yards/play on defense and 164 yards/game rushing. However, SDSU has been a lot more vulnerable to the pass than to the run, and Utah State can really put up points through the air.
I don’t have a feel for the Sun Belt game, but I think it’ll be a close, entertaining contest between two really good football teams. Granted, the Ragin’ Cajuns are probably wishing they still had their coach. Still, it wouldn’t surprise me if this was the game of the day, especially if you like to watch teams run the ball.
Finally, we have to wonder if either Cincy or Georgia will stub their toe heading into the Playoff. I have a lot of faith in Georgia, for what it’s worth. ‘Bama just waged a war in the Iron Bowl while the Bulldogs hit a layup against Georgia Tech. That kind of thing tends to tell on a week-to-week basis.
I also like Cincy to take care of business, though they might not cover. But who cares? As we said on Twitter earlier this week, a betting line is nothing more than a statistical expectation. If anything, the games you win when you don’t have your best stuff are actually the most impressive. The line on the AAC Championship might be 10.5 points, but the standard deviation on the outcome is probably around 7.5 points, meaning that an awful lot of outcomes are possible, while only a very small percentage of them send Houston out on a winning note.
Thankfully, crazy shit happens all the time in football. That’s why we play the games.
Primetime – 8:00 pm
ACC Championship: #17 Pittsburgh (-3) vs. #18 Wake Forest (ABC)
Big 10 Championship: #15 Iowa (+10.5) vs. #2 Michigan (FOX)
Despite the fact that one of my very good friends from high school swam at Pitt on a full ride, I’m still rooting for the Demon Deacons. I kind of think they’ll win, too, just because I don’t have a lot of faith in Pitt to finish strong. OddsShark likes Pitt, but I personally would have more faith in them if they were a stronger rushing team. As it is, they’re passing for more than twice as many yards as they’re rushing per game, and they’re allowing 241 yards/game through the air.
The Deacons ought to be able to make that work. But we’ll see.
Meanwhile, Michigan ought to beat the Hell out of Iowa. Again, crazy shit happens in football all the time, but if the Wisconsin Badgers can beat the scunion out of the Hawkeyes, the Wolverines can for damn sure do the same thing. Michigan this year is what Wisconsin was trying to be, and that’s going to work just fine in this particular title game.
Late – 11:00 pm
USC (+4.5) at California (Fox Sports 1)
It’s hilarious that this game is still on the schedule, but gimme Cal on the basis of USC’s coaching wackiness. Lincoln Riley was a good hire long-term, but this particular week, we’ve got a game between two teams who don’t even want to be there played in an empty stadium on a channel half of America doesn’t get.
Oh Pac-12. What are you doing?
That’s all, folks.
Enjoy the weekend. We’ll see you at Army-Navy!