Lucas’ picks came crashing back down to earth last week after a 2-4 week bringing the overall record down to 40-29 on the season. The wins: West Virginia (+13.5), Auburn (+3.5). The losses: Wake Forest (-3.5), Minnesota (+3), Under 44.5 Iowa and Nebraska, Texas A&M (+17). This week, I am hoping to get back in the green column with a smaller slate and, therefore, more research for these individual games – so let’s see if I am more dialed in this week during Conference Championship weekend, shall we?
Spread: Utah (-6.5) vs. Oregon
Utah was one of my Pac-12 favorites coming into the season so I’ve been sorta dialed into them all season long. I’m a big fan of Zach Moss and Tyler Huntley (when they’re both healthy) in that Utah backfield and I think they can make life really difficult for the Oregon defense. I also have not been impressed with Justin Herbert all season long and with a scary good Utah defense on the other side of the line of scrimmage, I like the Utes here to be able to corral Herbert and this Ducks offense. I think Utah is just a better, more complete team and I think they win this game by double digits and make a statement to put themselves firmly in the playoff discussion for that fourth spot.
The Pick: Utah (-6.5)
Spread: Oklahoma (-9) vs. Baylor
If you watched the first matchup between these two teams, you may think this is a crazy pick based on that first half in which Baylor was up big. However; the reason I like the Sooners here is because in that second half, Oklahoma scored 24 unanswered points to win the game while also shutting out Baylor in that second half. I think giving Lincoln Riley another crack at this Baylor defense in a Big Twelve Championship game that the Sooners have played in and won the last four seasons, I think they can win this game rather easily. Give me the Sooners to win by at least 14 points.
The Pick: Oklahoma (-9)
Spread: Memphis (-9) at Cincinnati
Similar to how I have a lot of confidence in a Lincoln Riley rematch scenario, I also have comparable confidence in Mike Norvell at the Group of 5 level. I think with the potential that Norvell is named the new head coach at Florida State, he is going to be plenty motivated to give his possible future Seminole fanbase a lot to be happy about after this game. This Memphis offense is explosive and fast and, while I’m sure Cincinnati will make adjustments based on last week’s game as well, I just think Norvell is a much better coach than what I have seen out of Luke Fickell at Cincinnati. Give me the Memphis Tigers – and more specifically Mike Norvell – to cover this spread here.
The Pick: Memphis (-9)
Spread: Ohio State (-16) at Wisconsin
If you haven’t noticed a trend in my picks yet, now might be the time to start paying attention. I’m taking most of the favorites here during Championship weekend with LSU/Georgia being the only game I believe has a decent chance of resulting in an upset. This is another game that I don’t think will be very close. Coming off Ohio State’s blasting of Michigan, I think this team is the best team in the country and has already beaten Wisconsin earlier this year by 31 points. If you remember that game at all, you probably remember the weather being less than satisfactory and I think the weather actually impacted OSU’s ability to throw the ball more than anything. Nobody on Ohio State’s schedule this season has been able to slow down Justin Fields and those Buckeye wide receivers and I don’t think Wisconsin will be able to do so either. Expect the Buckeyes roll and cover the spread easily once again.
The Pick: Ohio State (-16)
Spread: Over/Under 57 Clemson and Virginia
I am a big fan of this pick simply because I don’t know how Virginia will be able to score. Bryce Perkins had a great game last week against Virginia Tech, but that was not exactly a Clemson-level defense over there in Blacksburg. I think Clemson wins big and blows Virginia out; however, with the spread currently sitting at 28.5, I just can’t take it. Like I said though, I am more confident in the under play here based on Brent Venables and this Clemson defense being able to suffocate almost whichever opposing offenses they want to.
The Pick: Under 57
- Utah (-6.5)
- Oklahoma (-9)
- Memphis (-9)
- Ohio State (-16)
- Under 57 Clemson/Virginia