The Six Pack: LSU vs. Georgia, Oklahoma vs. Baylor among best Championship Week picks
It's time to #TrustTheProcess and finish strong
It's Championship Week, and that means that the season is nearly over. After this, we've got the Army-Navy Game and then nothing but bowls before the darkness that is the offseason. It also means I don't have much time left to get out of the red, because after going 5-1 two weeks ago, I was only 3-3 last week. That leaves me at a perfectly mediocre 42-42 on the year.
Of course, in the world of gambling, breaking even isn't breaking even. Assuming standard juice, at 42-42, I'm down 4.2 units on the season. If we're going to finish strong, there's no better time to do so now.
It's time to pad the resume.
Games of the Week
No. 4 Georgia (+7) at No. 2 LSU: I've made no secret of the fact I don't believe Georgia is as good as the top three teams. Some have confused this for me believing Georgia isn't good. That's not the case. The Bulldogs are very good; my concern with them has been that they aren't dangerous enough on offense to pose a severe threat to the elite teams. I do think they can compete with LSU, however, because this is a terrific matchup for football fans.
On the one hand, we have an LSU offense that is one of the most explosive in the country. My explosiveness metric (rate of chunk plays divided by total plays run) has LSU the 10th most explosive offense in the country. The Georgia defense ranks No. 1 in limiting explosive plays by the same metric. This will be a battle of an offense built on striking fast through big plays against a defense built to make you put together long drives. It's a football nerd's dream to watch, and based on what we've seen in previous games, I think Georgia's defense can be successful.
Auburn was able to hold LSU to 23 points, and like Georgia, the Auburn defense doesn't rely on getting to the QB as much as it does disrupting what you want to do. Unlike Auburn, Georgia has an offense I find more trustworthy. Now, if D'Andre Swift is unable to play in this game, I'd stay away from the Dawgs, but if he does, I think the Georgia offense can limit the time LSU's offense spends on the field. Its defense can limit LSU's offensive explosiveness. I still don't believe Georgia can stop it altogether, however, and in the end, I think LSU wins. It just doesn't score enough points to pull away entirely. LSU 27, Georgia 21
No. 6 Oklahoma (-8) vs. No. 7 Baylor: Oklahoma needed a furious comeback to edge by Baylor 34-31 in the first meeting. I do not expect this game to follow the same script, though I do believe Oklahoma wins again, and this time it wins by quite a bit more. The final score of the first game is a bit misleading. Baylor took a 31-10 lead on Oklahoma in the first half thanks in large part to a couple of Oklahoma turnovers. Baylor had four touchdown drives in the first half. One of them was a 10-play, 78-yard drive. Another was a 5-play, 54-yard drive. The other two covered a total of 36 yards in three plays following Oklahoma turnovers.
Once Oklahoma cleaned up its act and held onto the ball, the course of the game changed drastically. All four of Oklahoma's touchdown drives covered at least 74 yards. It outgained the Bears 525 yards to 307. The Sooners also had seven penalties for 66 yards compared to one penalty for 10 yards on Baylor. This Baylor team has been one of the best stories of the 2019 season, but I didn't expect it to cover against the Sooners the first time, and I don't expect it to happen this time either. Oklahoma 42, Baylor 28
Lock of the Week
No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 8 Wisconsin (Under 56.5): I'm nervous about taking Ohio State against the spread here, though I do expect Ohio State to win handily. My concern is with Justin Fields. Fields aggravated an MCL injury to his left knee against Michigan last week, saying he initially injured the knee against Penn State. That revelation went a long way toward explaining why Fields didn't play much of a role in Ohio State's run game against the Wolverines. He spoke this week about the brace he's wearing and how it limits his mobility. That leads me to believe he won't be a significant part of Ohio State's rushing attack this week, either.
Now, Ohio State's offense is a juggernaut, and I don't know how many defenses exist at the college level that can stop it. That said, if you take away Fields as a runner, it does make the job simpler. If you don't have to worry about him with the ball as a runner, you can simplify what you want to do and focus on other areas. So I do believe Wisconsin will present the Ohio State offense with more problems than it did in the first meeting. Of course, on the other side of the ball, I have no idea how Wisconsin scores against this Ohio State defense. In his glorious career, Jonathan Taylor has faced Ohio State twice. In those two games, he's rushed for a total of 93 yards on 35 carries with no touchdowns. Chase Young dominated the Wisconsin offensive line in the first meeting. If Wisconsin cracks 17 points, it'll be because of Ohio State mistakes. All of which leads me to believe the under is the safest play in this game. Ohio State 35, Wisconsin 13
Statement of the Week
No. 3 Clemson (-16.5 First Half) vs. No. 23 Virginia: Virginia is about to fall victim to Dabo Swinney trying to make a point. Swinney has been complaining for weeks now that nobody respects his team, and everybody thinks it stinks, nobody wants it in the playoff, blah, blah, blah. So the Tigers will look to make a statement against this Virginia team, even though they don't have to. What concerns me here for the Cavaliers is that their offensive line is not good, which is not good news against this Clemson defense.
Furthermore, while Bryce Perkins can make things happen when his protection breaks down, Clemson has the perfect counter to Perkins in linebacker Isaiah Simmons. Finally, while Virginia's defense overall is fine, it tends to allow big plays in the passing game. No team in the ACC has allowed more passing plays of 30 yards or more than Virginia's defense, and the 24 such plays the Cavs have allowed ranks 117th nationally. That doesn't sound promising against Trevor Lawrence and company.
Still, the full game spread is at 28.5 points, and I don't want to worry about the possibility of a Virginia backdoor should the Tigers pull key players late and move onto the College Football Playoff. That's why I'm sticking to the first half only. Clemson has had an average lead of 26.7-3.8 at halftime this season. No team in the country is allowing fewer points in the first half this season. So lay the points with Clemson in the first half so you can just relax and move on to other games in the second. Clemson 42, Virginia 10
Friday Night Rock Fight of the Week
No. 5 Utah vs. No. 13 Oregon (Under 46): The total for this game opened at 51 and has dropped to 46 for a few reasons. One is that both of these teams have terrific defenses. While both are capable of putting points up, what separates them from the rest of the Pac-12 is their ability to keep you off the scoreboard. The second factor is the weather forecast for Santa Clara on Friday night. At the time of publication, the forecast is calling for light rain and winds of 14+ mph. That will make life difficult for both passing offenses, as well as the special teams. So if both teams are forced to be a little more conservative in the passing game by the weather, it allows both defenses to focus on slowing the run game. Put it all together, and we have what should be a low-scoring affair. Utah 21, Oregon 17
Lane Train of the Week
Florida Atlantic (-7.5) vs. UAB: Am I a little concerned that Lane Kiffin has spent too much of his week talking to Arkansas and his agent and not enough time worrying about UAB? A little, yes, but not enough to scare me off the Owls here. I don't mean any disrespect to UAB here. It's a good team, and it won its division fair and square. All that said, according to my own strength of schedule metrics I use for my ratings, no team has played an easier schedule this season than the Blazers. UAB has nine wins this season, and eight of them have come against FBS opponents. Seven of those FBS teams they've beaten are . The other one -- the most important win -- came against a Louisiana Tech team that had suspended its starting quarterback and leading receiver for the game. Tech's only two C-USA losses this season came in the two games J'mar Smith and Adrian Hardy were suspended. The combined record of the FBS teams UAB has beaten that aren't Louisiana Tech is 15-69. I'm taking the Owls, who should win this game easily on paper. Florida Atlantic 31, UAB 20
Games of the Week
Lock of the Week
Who wins Georgia vs. LSU? And what critical x-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the spread you should jump on Saturday, all from the seasoned expert who has hit 10 consecutive spread picks on the Bulldogs, and find out.
CBS Sports HQ Daily Newsletter
Get the best highlights and stories - yeah, just the good stuff handpicked by our team to start your day.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox for the latest sports news.
There was an error processing your subscription.
'Prime Time' has his sights set on developing football players at the next level
The recently introduced bill is just in its beginning stages in the U.S. House of Representatives
The newly-hired offensive coordinator is now under heavy scrutiny as a result of the quote
Pelini was LSU's defensive coordinator from 2005-07
Murray had 6,718 all-purpose yards during his college playing career in Norman
Defensive end Korey Foreman is the future of the Tigers defensive line
Complete analysis, highlights and coverage of the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship
The Georgia defensive unit held off a strong second-half effort from Baylor in the win in New...
Live scores, highlights and updates from the Miami (OH) vs. Louisiana football game