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Sports

Observer Roundtable College Picks: Championship weekend upsets?

| Friday, December 6, 2019

It’s conference championship weekend, and that means we’re back with another edition of Observer Roundtable Predictions.

The SEC, Big 10 and Big 12 title games made our docket for this week, but check out the NFL and upsets piece to check in on some of our bold calls in other championship match-ups. As for how we have fared with our own picks, David Kramer maintains his grip on first place, but after astutely picking Colorado over Washington in his last upset pick, Liam Coolican has narrowed the gap and jumped into second. Enjoy these picks and let them excite you for a Saturday full of spectacular college football games.

 CURRENT STANDINGS

David Kramer    – 54 pts 

Liam Coolican    – 52 pts 

Dominic Gibson – 47 pts

Aidan Thomas   – 45 pts 

Patrick Gallagher – 44 pts

Nate Moller        – 44 pts

MATCHUPS

No. 2 LSU vs.  No. 4 Georgia (+7)

No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 8 Wisconsin (+16.5)

No. 6 Oklahoma vs. No. 7 Baylor (+9) 

David Kramer: LSU looms as an impenetrable powerhouse in the SEC. Granted, Georgia’s defense poses a potential threat to the passing-heavy offense of the Tigers. However, I expect LSU to expose the inconsistencies in Georgia and emerge with a narrow, 7-point victory. LSU wins and covers.

The Badgers come to Indianapolis after an impressive (and heartbreaking) victory over my hometown Golden Gophers. Quarterback Jack Coan seems sharp and laser-focused as of late, but I find it hard to place bets against a team that trounced them earlier this season. Look for a close game for the Big 10 title. Ohio State wins but does not cover. 

Baylor remains the most under-appreciated team in all of college football. Bear in mind (pun intended) Oklahoma’s woes against the Baylor defense, for three quarters, earlier this season; consider the electrifying Texas fan base at AT&T Stadium in support of Baylor this weekend. All signs seem to point upward for a Baylor upset. Baylor wins and makes a case for CFP contention.

Liam CoolicanGeorgia knows how much this game means for them, and they have played very well since their lone loss to South Carolina. Quarterback Jake Fromm and the Georgia running backs will have huge games, and Georgia will win outright and claim a spot in the playoff. 

Ohio State has looked so dominant recently, and it’s hard to imagine them slowing down, especially against a Wisconsin team that was over-matched physically in their regular season matchup. Expect the Buckeye defense to continue to dominate, and Justin Fields will continue showing the nation on a big stage how talented he is. Ohio State wins and covers. 

Baylor will be looking for revenge after their blown lead against Oklahoma two weeks ago, but Lincoln Riley will make the necessary adjustments on defense to ensure that doesn’t happen. Baylor is a good team, but not good enough to hang with Oklahoma a second time. Oklahoma wins and covers. 

Dominic Gibson: LSU, led by Heisman candidate Joe Burrow, has looked dominant in almost all of the games they have played this season. While Georgia will want to secure a statement victory and a spot in the playoff, I think their best will not be enough to top the Tigers. LSU wins and covers. 

Ohio State has looked like one of the most complete teams overall, winning big in almost every game they have played. The talent is there no doubt, and I expect the Buckeyes to show no signs of slowing down in the conference championship game as they look to march forward into the playoffs. Ohio State wins but does not cover.

I have a feeling this will be one of the more entertaining conference championship games with huge playoff implications. I really have to give Baylor head coach Matt Rhule a ton of credit for the turnaround he has led the Bears through and almost beating Oklahoma during the regular season. However, I think that this Sooner roster is too talented to let Baylor into this game, having played them already. Oklahoma wins and covers

Aidan Thomas: I like a nail-biter in this SEC championship game, with Georgia throwing the kitchen sink at LSU and coming up just short as they miss out on the playoffs for a second consecutive year. LSU wins but does not cover. 

If you put together Ohio State’s worst offensive performance (28 points) and their worst defensive performance (27 points) in the same game, they still win. That’s ridiculous. The Badgers are hot, but they lost to the Buckeyes by 31 just a few weeks ago. Ohio State pulls away in the second half – Buckeyes win but do not cover. 

This line is pretty shocking to me, given that Baylor was up 25 points on Oklahoma in the regular season. Their stunning collapse is their only blemish to date, and given that it’s really hard to beat the same team twice in a season, and Oklahoma’s defense is shaky at best, give me Baylor with the upset. 

Patrick Gallagher: While Georgia’s defense continues to impress, I am just not convinced that this Jake Fromm-led offense will be able to defeat LSU. The Bulldogs struggled to dominate offensively against talented opposition, as they were unable to score more than 24 points in games against ranked competition. However, their defense earned two shutouts on the season and should slow down the Tigers’ attack. Expect LSU to win but not cover.  

Ohio State is the clear favorite to end up as the CFP champion. Their lineup is filled with stars at almost every position with Justin Fields, J. K. Dobbins and Chase Young all having impressive seasons. I believe that Wisconsin has still not fully recovered from their soul-crushing 31-point loss to the Buckeyes earlier in the year, and the Badgers will not fare much better in this rematch. Ohio State will earn another huge victory as they easily cover the spread.

Baylor seems to have recovered nicely from their epic collapse against Oklahoma a few weeks ago. The Bears handily beat Texas and Kansas and should carry this momentum into the Big 12 Championship game. On the other hand, the Sooners have not always looked dominant or convincing, but they seem to continually prove that they can perform under high stakes. I believe this ability to stay poised and hungry under immense pressure is Oklahoma’s x-factor and will fuel them into the CFP playoff. The Sooners win but do not cover.  

Nate Moller: Despite an early season loss against South Carolina, Georgia has made their way back into the top four with a chance to make the playoffs if they beat LSU. This will be an interesting matchup, as LSU has the much better offense and Georgia has the better defense. The Georgia offense has stumbled many times this year, however, and I expect Saturday to be no different. Joe Burrow will make some big plays and lead the Tigers to a hard-fought victory. LSU wins but doesn’t cover.

Ohio State continues to dominate its opponents week after week, and I expect the game against Wisconsin to be no different. Ohio State dominated against Wisconsin earlier this year, and Saturday’s matchup will be more of the same. The Wisconsin defense has shown some vulnerabilities over the past few weeks, and Justin Fields will exploit those weaknesses to lead the Buckeyes to a Big Ten title. Buckeyes win and cover.

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