Championship Weekend should be the most anticipated slate of the pre-bowl season, but this year it is shaping up to be bit of a dud. Or are they? After all, the games aren't played on paper. (But who are we kidding, some of these matchups might really blow). Home teams in CAPS unless the game is at a neutral site.
OREGON (-31) over UCLA (Friday Night)UCLA thought so highly of Rick Neuheisel's work in taking them to the Pac-12 Championship Game that they are letting him coach the game despite his dismissal this week. Yes, that was sarcasm. The truth is that the Bruins don't belong in this game, nor do they even belong on the same field as Oregon. But the rules are the rules, and the Ducks will have a nice chance to run some sprints down the Autzen Stadium sideline with the football in hand before giving way to their second-teamers at some point in the 4th quarter. You can't make this spread too big. You really can't.
LSU (-13.5) over Georgia (neutral site - Georgia Dome)
If this game weren't a quasi-home game for the Bulldogs, LSU would probably be a favorite by 16 or 17. That's no insult to Georgia, who has won 10 in a row and made everyone forget about Mark Richt supposedly being on the hot seat going into this season. LSU is just on another level. Their defense does not stop flying at you and the offense and special teams seem to take advantage of any little mistake their opponent makes. The Tigers have been put through the gauntlet this year and are still standing at 12-0. Expect a close game after two or three quarters (take Georgia for the halftime line, any of you gambling degenerates out there), but like they have against Arkansas and West Virginia, LSU will pull away late.
Virginia Tech (-7) over Clemson (neutral site - Bank of America Stadium)
These are not the same two teams that met on October 1st, which was a 23-3 win for Clemson. The Hokies have gotten stronger at the right time while the Tigers are, well, in the words of Dennis Green, "what we thought they were." Frankly, I don't see why this line is single digits. Another year, another ACC title won in Charlotte for Virginia Tech.
OKLAHOMA STATE (-3) over Oklahoma
Bedlam will most likely be the best game of the weekend, despite being merely a regular season game and not a conference title game. OK State has not beaten Oklahoma since 2002, and if they don't do it this year, then they may never do it. The Cowboys' sloppiness on offense against Iowa State will spell doom against Oklahoma if they repeat it. I don't think, however, that people put enough stock in the fact that Oklahoma State has just suffered the tragedy of another plane crash within its athletic department on the very day that they lost to Iowa State. This should sure be fun to watch however it unfolds, as the winner may very well be the last team to have the ball.
Michigan State (+10) over Wisconsin (neutral site - Lucas Oil Stadium)
Can anyone tell me why, at a neutral site, this line is this high? I know Wisconsin has appeared to return to its early-season form in the past few weeks, but 10 points? To a Michigan State team who is 10-2 themselves and happened to beat Wisconsin (albeit on a Hail Mary) earlier this season? I know that Wisconsin's running game resembles a fleet of bulldozers on the right day, but both of these teams play good enough defense to keep this game relatively low-scoring. I'll take the points all day and all night.
Last Week: 2-3-0