This article is part of our College Football Best Bets series.
As we said last week, we will keep FTE going through the bowl games, and despite coming short of our goal (60%), we continue to outpace many of our sports journalism colleagues who are making similar wager attempts. We have a much smaller offering of games for championship week.
Week 13 Results: 29-28-1
Results through Week 13: 407-356-11
Win Pct: 52.6%
WKU -3.5, UTA -2.5, KNT-3.5, OKST -5.5, USU +6, APP -3, UGA -6.5, CIN -10.5, HOU +10.5, PITT -3, MICH -10.5, CAL -4.5
Week 13 Results: 2-3
Results through Week 13: 35-31
Win Pct: 53.1%
UTAH (-2) vs. Oregon
After the 38-7 bashing of the Ducks two weeks ago, one would think that the spread here would be a little wider. The narrow line is one big reason why I have no problem placing a wager on the Utes. Their shutdown defense limited Oregon to only 85 rushing yards, restricting Travis Dye almost completely. The Ducks also had no answers for Tavion Thomas and TJ Pledger, who wore down Oregon's front four. Anthony Brown represents the only chance the Ducks have in winning here. He'll need to air it out successfully to get close.
GEORGIA (-6.5) vs. Alabama
Clemson is the only team that's come close to beating the Bulldogs this season, and it's primarily due to Georgia's stalwart defense. The Crimson Tide will need their best offensive effort of the season Saturday, and while there's no doubt Nick Saban and company will come in primely motivated, they are going to have a tough time moving the ball. Stetson Bennett has transformed the offense and balanced out the team's strengths. I think a turnover-heavy night from the Bulldogs will be their only obstacle, as whoever wins that battle may prevail.
CALIFORNIA (-4.5) vs. USC
The announcers for this game will spend more time talking about Lincoln Riley than they will about the actual contest. The Trojans showed some grit against BYU, but the news of the week probably hurts the Trojans. With several jobs eliminated or at risk, you might see Jaxson Dart try to prove he's a better option than any of Riley's top recruits, but a strong Cal defense will likely force several mistakes. The Bears are much better than their record might indicate, as their margin of loss has been only 9.14 points, and that number falls to an even lower 6.0 points if you eliminate their blowout loss to UCLA.
MICHIGAN (-10.5) vs. Iowa
The Wolverines face the antithesis of Ohio State with Iowa, which lives and dies by the run and its defense. I know there are a lot of Harbaugh nay-sayers out there, but it's time to admit it - this is Harbaugh's best chance to win a title since arriving in Ann Arbor, and they seem almost destined to get into the playoff if they can pull off a win here. Oklahoma State and Notre Dame are praying that Iowa can come through, but Michigan's offense is firing on all cylinders. They have a healthy Blake Corum back, sharing carries with Hassan Haskins. Both will attempt to find holes against the Hawkeyes. Iowa will also lean on the run, but as Michigan demonstrated against Ohio State, breaking down their defense will be a tall order.
OKLAHOMA STATE (-5.5) vs. Baylor
This weekend, the Bears may be without Gerry Bohanon, but freshman Blake Shapen looked pretty good in the season finale. Either way, the Cowboys' defense should have an easy time against Baylor, whose offense tends to endure fits and starts. Oklahoma State beat Baylor 24-14 in their first matchup back in October, and since then, the Cowboys' balanced attack has only gotten better on both sides of the ball. They would be a shoo-in for the CFP if not for a heartbreaking loss to Iowa State. They'll strive to make their best possible case for CFP consideration here.