College Football Conference Championship Picks Against the Spread

Christian McCaffery

Welcome to College Football Conference Championship Picks Against the Spread. The time has finally come and we are heading into the final week of the season. This week we get games that will help us figure out who is in the College Football Playoff. We assume we know who will be the final four teams will be but a Saturday of craziness could put all of that in question.

Last week I went 4-1 in my big 5 picks and 2-2 in my extra picks. It put me close to the .500 mark for the season. Let’s stay hot as we head into Bowl Season.

>Season Total 33-36-0
>Upset Alert 2-11

PAC 12 Championship
Stanford Cardinal -4.5 vs University of Southern California

This is a very tough game to pick. On one side is a Cardinal team that has been impressive all season including a big win on the road against this same Southern California Trojan team. Christian McCaffrey has been incredible as a rusher, pass catcher and in special teams. Kevin Hogan has been the prefect leader under center for this team. He won’t be the big mistake that hurts the team or puts the defense in a short field. They want to hold the ball and control the clock. The Trojans know who their coach will be next season with Clay Helton having the interim tag removed. They have a ton of talent in Adoree Jackson, Juju Smith-Schuster, and Cody Kessler. They will be the reason USC finds a way to stay in this game. Both Oregon and Notre Dame have taken advantage of the poor Stanford secondary. The Trojans defense has problems of their own especially with all the injuries to that side of the ball. The ticket count is favoring the Trojans but the number is giving the Cardinal a bigger number to cover. This means the smart people placing the large bets are on the side of Stanford. That is the side I will be on as well.

Stanford Cardinal vs University of Southern California Over 59

As I mentioned already, both teams are having issues stopping opposing offenses. Stanford has issues against passing attacks like the one USC posses. The Trojans have issues stopping a playmaker like Christian McCaffrey. When these two teams met earlier this year they combined to score 72 points. The Trojan offense has improved under Clay Helton and should have a solid game here. This number is entirely too low. The only way I see this game going under is if Stanford just sits on the ball for 4 quarters Take the over and enjoy the show!

vernon hargraves

(Butch Dill / Associated Press)

SEC Championship
Florida Gators +18 vs Alabama Crimson Tide

The Florida Gators scored a whopping 2 points a week ago so obviously they are the play this week. Florida is offensively challenged and have had issues since Will Grier was suspended for the season. Their defense, on the other hand, has a ton of talent. They have a secondary that can cause problems for Jake Coker. They will have their hands full with Derrick Henry who has been a monster all season. But they should be able to do enough to keep this game somewhat close. Florida’s head coach Jim Mcelwain is a Nick Saban disciple. Often times when coaches faces former pupil they tend to take it easier especially when they are up and the end of the game is approaching. I can’t see Florida finding a way to win this game but covering the 18 points? Absolutely!

ACC Champion
Clemson Tigers -4.5 vs North Carolina Tar Heels

The Clemson Tigers have been really impressive all season including impressive wins against Notre Dame and Florida State. This week they face a North Carolina team that could be and probably should be undefeated. However, those wins came against less than impressive competition. On offense, the Tar Heels can keep up for the most part. Marquise Williams has been really impressive but can be turnover prone especially against strong defenses. Clemson is the best defense he has faced all season. Virginia Tech was the best defense that had seen to that point and it took overtime for North Carolina to win. Clemson on offense will be led by Deshaun Watson who has been a stud all season despite losing his best wide receiver at the start of the season. Clemson’s defense will be far too much for North Carolina and their offense

Big 10 Championship
Michigan State Spartans -3.5 vs Iowa Hawkeyes

This is the most obvious play of the season. Sometimes it can be very easy to jump on something that seems so obvious and then be upset because it doesn’t turn out the way you assumed. If this was Ohio State and not Michigan, the line would have Ohio State favored by over a touchdown. Michigan State is on the same level as the Buckeyes in my opinion. The Spartans have a healthy Connor Cook under center and I expect the Spartans will be able to move the ball on Iowa’s defense. The Hawkeyes will need to move the ball on the ground to stay in this game. Michigan State’s front seven will be too much for Iowa to deal with in this spot. Forcing C.J. Bethard will be forced to keep the offense moving. I expect Michigan State to win this game pretty comfortably and cover the 3.5 with ease.

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