Championship weekend is here! It's also Championship weekend for us at Golden Blogs. We determine the winner of our Pick-em league after Saturday (It will be announced in the comments, not a separate article... unless we do a Bowl pick-em!)
Right now it looks like PerryScope is going to run away with the thing, but to give those behind him some hope... I included EVERY conference championship game in the mix...
It really didn't help that four favorites won but failed to cover, so we have this odd tally where some of us were right... yet were wrong. This led to some awful scores. Poor Ruey got an 0 for 8, and he was the best threat to Perry's lead. Ruey, Berkelium are down 17, Nam down 18. So there's about 30 points or so up for grabs... let's see if there's any way there could be a surprise comeback here...
Usually I do these games in order of when their kickoff time is... but since most of you are not really big on conferences like the MAC and Conference USA (no offense to those guys...) I'm going to start with the ones that will get your eyeballs... like the Pac-12 Championship! We're all excited about that one right?
Based on Tuesday morning's lines, I will include any movements in parentheses.
For all games, assume Neutral Site unless I list the game as "_____" @ "_____" in which case the team after the "@" is hosting the game.
PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP: #7 STANFORD vs. #20 USC (SATURDAY, 4:45PM ESPN)
Stanford is a 4.5 point favorite. Over/Under is 60 (Now 58.5)
Evil vs evil. We have a split between Furd and SC... the slight edge goes to Stanford. We can't even agree on the Over/Under! I made commenting on this one mandatory, here's our reasonings...
Nik Jam: I really want USC to shut Furd fans up (Yes, sadly, they exist.) but Stanford's rolling and always find ways to get the breaks/calls to go their way.
Andrew G Miller: When I become commissioner of the Pac-12 I'm putting Stanford and USC in the same division so this can never happen again.
Nam Le: 4.5 feels too high for a very gettable Stanford defense this year.
Ruey Yen: Can they just cancel this game and declare both teams loser? Furds are the better team here.
KWBears: Furd will dominate from beginning to end, much to my disappointment as a Cal fan....
PerryScope: USC dominated the line of scrimmage and that will be crucial against Stanford's big trenches.
Berkelium97: Clay Helton's first official game as SC's head coach is going to be ugly.
Okay... which one to do next? There's three other Power 5 conference championship games... let's go by order of start time!
SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: #2 ALABAMA vs. #18 FLORIDA (SATURDAY, 1:00PM CBS)
Alabama is a 17 point favorite (18 today). Over/Under is 39.5
Everyone has Alabama winning but Ruey says Florida will keep it close... Most see this game NOT being the low scoring affair Vegas sees.
Nik Jam: Honestly? I just want Stanford to avoid the playoffs, so please make a statement Bama.
Andrew G Miller: The winner of the SEC championship game has scored 40+ points four of the last five years. That's not really a predictive stat but I will definitely be taking the over.
Ruey Yen: Bama wins but don't cover in another "classic" SEC snore-fest.
KWBears: Alabama wants to leave no doubt that it deserves a spot in the CFB Playoffs.
PerryScope: Alabama has looked like the best team in the country and Florida's offense didn't score against FSU last week.
Berkelium97: I'm still laughing at that 2-point disaster Florida laid last week.
ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP: #1 CLEMSON vs. #10 NORTH CAROLINA (SATURDAY, 5PM ABC)
Clemson is a 5 point favorite. Over/Under is 67.5 (Both the same today)
Perry going against the flow and picking North Carolina, perhaps a chance for everyone else to catch up to him, or maybe what will further add to his blowout lead? But the most have Clemson ending the regular season undefeated.
Nik Jam: See Bama answer.
Ruey Yen: For the No.1 team in the country, I'm surprised that Clemson isn't favored by more.
KWBears: UNC will make it a close game, but Clemson is oh so close to tasting perfection. The Tigers won't give this one away.
PerryScope: UNC has an explosive offense and Clemson hasn't been playing too well.
BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP: #5 MICHIGAN STATE vs. #4 IOWA (SATURDAY, 5PM FOX)
Michigan State is a 3.5 point favorite. Over/Under is 52.5 (51 today)
Iowa getting some disrespect from Vegas, but turns out even the slight majority of the staff thinks Michigan St will win. Seems like the winner of this game is getting in regardless, so Furd isn't helped by either result right?
Nik Jam: I have a lot of faith that Iowa is for real and will get it done.
Andrew G Miller: Just can't pick against Connor Cook.
Ruey Yen: Michigan State has had a few close escape wins. Iowa is undefeated against mediocre schedule...Don't think the Spartans are that lucky this year.
KWBears: It'll be a high scoring game, with the Hawkeyes pulling off the upset and securing it's CFB Playoff spot.
PerryScope: Some power football right here. Spartans get it done with a trick play in the 4th quarter.
Berkelium97: No way Iowa pulls the upset. Right...?
WILD CARD: BIG 12 - WEST VIRGINIA @ KANSAS STATE (SATURDAY, 1:30PM FOX SPORTS 1)
Pick the winner straight up, but if you're wondering WVU is a 6.5 point favorite.
I was hoping the conferences without championship games would pick up the slack... then I learned only the Big 12 and Sun Belt conferences don't have a championship game... so the Wild Card round just has this one game. Not a whole lot of variety in picks... most have the 6.5 point favorite West Virginia squad as the straight up winners... Only I made a comment.
Nik Jam: They're at home, I think the team would rather get to a bowl by being 6-6 than being one of the "lucky" 5-7 teams to get in, which will probably happen anyway. West Virginia doesn't have anything to play for, although as we saw last year with Cal/BYU that doesn't mean a whole lot.
WILD CARD: UPSET OF THE WEEK
Texas is a 20 point underdog to Baylor. Florida is a 18 point underdog to Alabama. Does anyone see a straight up upset here?
...Not really! Ruey sees Texas pulling an upset. Everyone else sees the two favorites pulling it out.
Nik Jam: Not a whole lot of upset choices... Texas is not going to be one of the 5-7 teams to get in. Baylor still wants to be in the conversation and they're at home.
As I said, Bama will make a statement Saturday.
Ruey Yen: Picking against Baylor just because Joe Mixon is playing for them.
Berkelium97: Bama and Baylor are too good to be upset by these opponents, especially this late in the season.
And now for the smaller conferences....
MARATHON MAC FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP: NORTHERN ILLINOIS @ BOWLING GREEN (FRIDAY, 5PM ESPN2)
Bowling Green is an 11.5 point favorite (12.5 today). Over/Under is 70 (69.5 today)
I asked the staff not to comment on games they know nothing about because 35 straight "I don't know anything about these games, just blind guessing" would be bad entertainment... here's the few insights I got.
Andrew G Miller: This is the most MACtion championship game possible. I could only love this game more if it was on a Tuesday night.
Ruey Yen: I remember that Northern Illinois - Ohio State game where Northern Illinois almost tied the score.
Berkelium97: In the CGB top-25 posts I had been singing praises of Bowling Green QB Matt Johnson, who has 41 TDs, 6 interceptions, and 9.0 ypa. Despite those gaudy numbers (and the fact that he'll break 5,000 yards this season), he has underperformed in recent weeks. BGSU will win, but NIU will hold them to a single-digit win.
CONFERENCE USA CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: SOUTHERN MISS vs. WESTERN KENTUCKY (SATURDAY, 9AM ESPN2)
Western Kentucky is a 7.5 point favorite. Over/Under is 72.5 (74 today)
Ruey Yen: Brett Favre got inducted into the Packers HoF. His alma mater wins Conference USA (I actually didn't even know these two schools are in Conference USA).
Berkelium97: Brandon Doughty is another QB I've praised in the CGB top-25 rankings. With 42 TDs, 6 interceptions, and 9.4ypa, he's the best QB who is unknown outside the CUSA.
He'll guide WKU to a spread-covering win over USM.
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP: #25 TEMPLE @ #17 HOUSTON (SATURDAY, 9AM ABC)
Houston is a 6.5 point favorite (6 today). Over/Under is 56.5 (54 today)
(Forgot the spread in the multiple choice list, but I did mention it in the form we all filled out)
Ruey Yen: Does Houston wants Sonny Dykes more or less if they win this game?
KWBears: Houston is an explosive team this year. I expect them to finish off the season strong in this championship game.... and then proceed to lose their coach to a bigger/better school.
Berkelium97: The coaching carousel distracts Herman's team enough for Temple to cover (or possibly win).
MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP: AIR FORCE @ SAN DIEGO STATE (SATURDAY, 4:30PM ESPN2)
SDSU is a 6.5 point favorite (4.5 today). Over/Under is 51 (50 today)
Wait, really? The MWC championship is simultaneous with the Pac-12, Big 10 and ACC championship games? I wonder what the ratings for that will be like... SEC got it right.
Nik Jam: Didn't play well against Cal, but SDSU has really been rolling lately. I wonder if there might be a rematch in Vegas? (Editor's note: That can no longer happen as BYU has been selected to oppose the Pac-12... maybe another bowl?)
Ruey Yen: That Cal win over SDSU felt like quite awhile ago.
KWBears: Predicting the upset here!
I will announce the winner of the Pickem in the comments. I hope you all enjoy Championship Saturday, even if you feel an evil aura watching Furd/SC. At least we know another Cal Football game is coming in a few weeks. Go Bears!