College Football Week 14 is finally here. By Sunday afternoon, we’ll know which 4 teams have made it to the College Football Playoffs. We’ll also know which teams have garnered berths in the most important bowl games in 2018.
It’s all about this week’s college football conference championships. Check out a preview of the most important games this week in College Football!
2017 College Football Week 14 Preview
Friday, Dec. 1
Pac 12 Championship – 15 Stanford +3.5 vs 9 USC -3.5
Can the Stanford Cardinal turn around a 24 to 42 loss to the USC Trojans that happened during the regular season? They should be able to. That game happened way back on Sep. 9. Stanford in no way resembles the team that lost to USC. This Stanford team is much, much better.
Stanford went a fantastic 8 and 2 straight up in the Pac 12 Conference. The only 2 teams that beat Stanford were USC and Washington State. But, that’s not the real reason to love Stanford in the Pac 12 Championship on Friday night.
The real reason to love Stanford is because they held Notre Dame to 20 points in a 38 to 20 win as a +3 home dog on Nov. 25. Stanford is just better than USC at this point of the season. I think Stanford wins straight up.
Best Pick: Stanford +3.5
Saturday, Dec. 2
UL-Monroe +27 at Florida State -27
Florida State has won 3 of their last 4 games. No win was as impressive as FSU’s 38 to 22 win over the Florida Gators in the Swamp in Week 13. I get that Florida State is on a roll. What I don’t get is why they’re such huge favorites over UL-Monroe.
The Seminoles are a terrible 2-7-2 against the spread. UL-Monroe is 6 and 5 against the spread. The Warhawks are also 6 and 2 against the spread in their last 8 road games. Florida State might take a breather after dominating Florida in Week 13.
I’m taking the points.
Pick: UL-Monroe +27
AAC Championship – 14 Memphis +7 at 11 Central Florida -7
The American Athletic Conference Championship takes place this Saturday when the Memphis Tigers travel to Orlando, FL to battle the Central Florida Knights. Central Florida and Memphis battled way back on Sep. 30. In that game, UCF had the upperhand. The Knights dominated Memphis 40 to 17.
Central Florida hasn’t lost a game this season. However, there’s a problem backing the Knights in this matchup. UCF has gone 1-4-1 against the spread in their last 6 games. The Knights are only 3 and 3 against the spread in home games this season.
Memphis is 7-3-1 against the spread overall this season. The Tigers haven’t lost since adding the “L” on Sep. 30. What I love about Memphis is that they’re hot. The Tigers have gone a fantastic 5 and 0 against the spread in their last 5 games.
I’m taking the points.
Conference USA Championship – North Texas +10.5 at Florida Atlantic -10.5
Florida Atlantic has been the best team in Conference USA this season. The Owls lost 14 to 31 to undefeated Wisconsin on Sep. 9. FAU lost 31 to 34 to Buffalo on Sep. 23. Other than those two losses, the Owls have won all their other games.
One of the wins was a 69 to 31 beat down of North Texas on Oct. 21. Although North Texas racked up 420 yards versus Florida Atlantic, it wasn’t close to being enough. Florida Atlantic ended up going for over 800 yards in the game.
It’s tough to see North Texas doing much of anything to keep pace with the Owls in the Conference USA Championship. Florida Atlantic should roll.
Best Pick: Florida Atlantic -10.5
MAC Championship – Akron +21.5 at Toledo -21.5
At first glance, 21.5 points seems like a lot to give up to an opponent in a championship game. The fact that Akron and Toledo play in the MAC Championship means that Toledo is a big favorite over Akron. On one hand, it makes sense. Akron won the East Division with a 7 and 5 record. On the other hand, it makes no sense. Toledo beat Akron 48 to 21 on Oct. 21.
The problem with Akron is that their offense only averages 23.2 points per game. The Zips average less than 325 yards per game. Toledo averages 507 yards and close to 38 points per. It’s going to be difficult for the Zips to keep up with Toledo’s offense.
Pick: Toledo -21.5
Big 12 Championship – 12 Texas Christian +7 at 2 Oklahoma -7
Texas Christian gets another crack at the Oklahoma Sooners in the Big 12 Championship. Oklahoma hasn’t lost since Oct. 7 when Iowa State shocked the Sooners 31 to 38. Losing early, and not losing again is the best way to get back into the National Championship conversation.
Oklahoma, no doubt, should be in the CFP Top 4 this week. If Oklahoma were to beat TCU, they’d stamp their ticket to the College Football Playoff. Not bad for first year head coach Lincoln Riley. But, what, exactly, are Oklahoma’s chances versus Texas Christian?
Pretty good, I think. The Sooners dumped on the Horned Frogs 38 to 20 on Nov. 11. Oklahoma racked up 533 total yards versus TCU’s defense. Unless TCU’s D somehow got incredibly better versus Oklahoma’s offense since Nov. 11, it’s hard to see the Horned Frogs keeping this game within 7 points.
Pick: Oklahoma -7
SEC Championship – 6 Georgia +2.5 vs 4 Auburn -2.5
The Georgia Bulldogs get a chance to make amends this Saturday when they battle the Auburn Tigers in the SEC Championship. In the first game between these 2, Auburn dominated the Bulldogs 40 to 17. The Tigers put a beat down on Georgia that the Bulldogs haven’t forgotten.
That’s the issue with backing Georgia in this. The Bulldogs faced a single Top 10 team this season. That team, the Auburn Tigers, dominated them. Even Georgia’s 20 to 19 win over Notre Dame in Week 2 isn’t all that impressive after the Irish dropped games to Miami and Stanford.
Auburn is just better than Georgia. The Tigers should roll.
Best Pick: Auburn -2.5
Troy +1.5 at Arkansas State -1.5
Arkansas State battles Troy in an important Sun Belt game on Saturday. Troy famously beat LSU earlier this season. Based on stats, it’s difficult to back the Arkansas State Red Wolves. The Red Wolves allow 24 points per game. Troy allows 16.8 points per.
Troy is only 4 and 7 against the spread, though. Luckily for Troy, one of their against the spread victories was versus LSU. Troy has also outscored their last 2 opponents by a combined 66 to 38. I think Troy gets the straight up win.
Pick: Troy +1.5
Mountain West Championship – Fresno State +9.5 at Boise State -9.5
It’s interesting how Boise State is a 9.5-point favorite via a simple venue change. The Broncos battle Fresno State in their building on their blue carpet. Because of that, Boise State is a close to -10 favorite. Just this past Saturday, Fresno State beat Boise State 28 to 17. It sure looks as if the 10 points are going to be meaningful in the MWC Championship.
I’ll take those 10 points.
Pick: Fresno State +9.5
7 Miami +9.5 at 1 Clemson -9.5
The defending National Championship Clemson Tigers are ranked first in every single poll. Clemson is also ranked first on the College Football Playoff Rankings. The Tigers appear to be peaking at the right moment because they’ve gone a fantastic 3 and 0 both straight up and against the spread in their last 3 games.
The Tigers’ defense allows less than 14 points per game. That easily makes Clemson the team to back in this matchup. Miami is only 5 and 6 against the spread this season. The Hurricanes have gone 2 and 5 ATS in their last 7 games.
I think Clemson romps.
Best Pick: Clemson
Big Ten Championship – 7 Ohio State -6.5 at 3 Wisconsin +6.5
It’s put up or shut up time for the Wisconsin Badgers in their Big Ten Championship battle against the Ohio State Buckeyes. Wisconsin has gone 8 and 4 against the spread while the Buckeyes are 1 and 4 against the spread in their last 5 games.
Wisconsin is now ranked 4th on the CFP. If Wisconsin beats Ohio State, they get into the College Football Playoff. That’s it. Will Wisconsin do that? I’m not sure. But, this figures to be a close game. I must take the points.
Pick: Wisconsin +6.5