Kevin C. Cox
It's conference championship week. And after a nice Week 13 (5-3 $170) that included a tough loss with a 5-point underdog that went to overtime, the picks column's record sits at 83-78 (-$270). Visit OddsShark for up-to-date Vegas info, and Football Study Hall for advanced-stats picks.
Dan Rubenstein picks five conference championship games of his own
This week's card doesn't offer as many choices as previous weeks, but there should be some value found.
Alabama -7 at Georgia: Nick Saban in a big game or Georgia in a big game? Georgia has looked better of late, but it is in this game almost solely due to a gift schedule from the SEC that allowed the Bulldogs to dodge Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M from the SEC West. Bama must find a way to block Jarvis Jones, but I like Alabama to be able to force Aaron Murray into mistakes and shut down Georgia's run game.
Nebraska at Wisconsin +3: I believe the wrong team is favored here. Wisconsin's game against Penn State didn't have any division implications, and I look for Wisconsin to win this rematch as the Badgers have improved throughout the season.
Louisville at Rutgers -3 and Under 43.5: Louisville is simply not that good of a football team. Its record is quite hollow, and QB Teddy Bridgewater still has an injured hand. This line implies that these two teams are even on a neutral field, and I do not believe that to be the case. I'd like a final in the 21-14 range.
UCLA at Stanford -7.5: Stanford's run defense is incredibly disciplined, and I believe the Cardinal have the advantage on both sides of the football. UCLA has relied on long runs all season, and Stanford is one of the best in the nation at limiting long run plays. Can UCLA beat Stanford through the air? I'm betting that the Bruins cannot.
Cincinnati at UConn Under 41: Riding this UConn defense under the total yet again this season, as it has already happened seven times on the season. I am also not convinced that Cincinnati will show up in this game, and would wager on UConn if the Huskies had any offense to speak of.
Oklahoma at TCU +7 and Under 60.5: This is a vintage Gary Patterson team featuring a top defense and has come together after the loss of its quarterback. Oklahoma has played back-to-back emotional shootouts, and I do not expect OU's offense to come out firing on all cylinders here.
UCF +2 at Tulsa: I took Tulsa two weeks ago and pushed with the Golden Hurricane, but this time I am riding with the Golden Knights as they are not coming off the same road schedule.
Pitt -6.5 at USF and Over 46: Pitt is a well-coached team that has improved over the course of the season. USF is a poorly coached team that seems to have quit on Skip Holtz. Pitt can run the football and put up points, and I think the loss of B.J. Daniels has been overstated for USF.
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