So, here we are, fellow degenerates. It was just 3 months ago we gazed upon this season, with such hope. Now, we're down to our last full weekend of action. I suppose if you're going to go out, a lineup of games like this is a kind of OK way to do it.
Arizona vs. Oregon (-14.5)
I'm typically not a big fan of regular season rematches in conference championship games, but I am of course willing to make an exception in special circumstances. This, I think, qualifies. Of course you remember Arizona's coming out party in Eugene back in early October, when they knocked off the Ducks 31-24. Since that loss the Ducks have regained some health on their offensive line, and the offense has found it's rhythm.
I have no doubt Oregon gets the win here. But they don't call this post "Black Shoe Moneyline Bets". I'm not crazy about it, but if you make me pick (and they do), I'm going to take Arizona and the two touchdowns.
Kansas State at Baylor (-8.5)
The Big 12 is unable to play a title game with just 10 teams in the league, but there is plenty of drama in the final week, with Baylor and TCU tied with just 1 loss each, and playoff spots on the line. The Horned Frogs are 34 point favorites against Iowa State, making an 11-1 finish likely. However, Baylor has more than a little work left with a good Kansas State team coming to Waco.
Baylor goes as Bryce Petty goes, as you saw a week ago when he left the game with a concussion, and the Bears had to hold on for a 2 point win over Texas Tech. This is another game I expect the favorite to win, but with Petty not practicing until Thursday I think it's close. K-State and the points, please.
Missouri vs. Alabama (-14.5)
You probably don't believe me, but this game opened as just a 1.5 point spread on Sunday morning. It was up to two touchdowns by the time I went to bed that night. It's not that surprising, really. Missouri is sharing the SEC East title with Indiana, only advancing to Atlanta by virtue of actually being a member of the SEC. Meanwhile, Alabama has been, ahem, rolling, since dropping their only game of the season to Ole Miss what feels like a lifetime ago.
A year ago, Missouri was not given much of a shot against Auburn, but hung with the Tigers through three quarters, only to fall by 17. I think this one plays out similarly. This is a much better Mizzou team than the one that fell to Indiana in September, but they don't have the horses to hang with Alabama for 60 minutes. I'll give the 14.5.
Florida State (-4) vs. Georgia Tech
It has been far from pretty, but Florida State is right where they thought they would be when the season started. Sure, they're 4th in the playoff standings, but a win against Georgia Tech, and they complete a second consecutive undefeated season, and a shot at back to back national titles. Their opponent was hardly a favorite to face them, but Paul Johnson's triple action attack has quietly gone 10-2, and the chance everyone wants: eliminate the defending champs.
Georgia Tech is the sexy pick to win this one outright. That type of sentiment tends to make me nervous. FSU's rush defense is good, but not great, and they have just the one week to prep for the unique GT offense. But, I have a hard time going against an FSU team that has found a way to win every game this year. I'll give the 4 points, but only to be contrarian.
Wisconsin (-4) vs. Ohio State
The Buckeyes are making their second straight appearance in Indianapolis, while the Badgers return for their 3rd trip in four years. This is probably the matchup most expected going into the season, although, the route each has taken has been a tad interesting. OSU of course has to replace senior Heisman candidate Braxton Miller before the season opener after a shoulder injury, only to see freshman J.T. Barrett step in and not miss a beat. Late in last week's game against Michigan, the Big 10's Quarterback of the Year fractured an ankle, and will miss the season's final two games. The Badgers dropped their season opener to LSU, and a head scratcher to Northwestern, only to ride Melvin Gordon's legs to Indy.
With Cardale Jones getting the start for Ohoi State, it is darn near impossible to know what to expect for what has been a potent offense all season. Urban still has plenty of weapons, but the QB is the driving force of his offense. On the other side, Melvin Gordon gets to face what has been a somewhat porous OSU rush defense. Normally I'd stay away from this game, but I'll take Wisconsin and the points with OSU's big questions.