College Football Picks: Championship Week Picks

College Football Picks: Championship Week Picks

This article is part of our College Football Picks series.

CHRIS' PICKS

Another winning, yet mediocre week, which at this point in the season, I'm happy to take. Limited choices in Championship Week have me going a bit out of my comfort zone. And while there will certainly be an upset or two, the slate looks like straight chalk.

Buffalo –3.5
vs. Northern Illinois (Friday)

A great offense versus defense matchup, but I'm siding with the offense. NIU has by far the best defense in the MAC, but it has an incredibly limited offense. The Huskies rank 122nd in scoring, averaging a mere 19.9 points, four times being held to single digits. The Bulls, meanwhile, have been held to less than 24 points only twice, and can play some defense too, ranking 41st in points allowed. I believe NIU can muck this game up for 50 minutes, but Buffalo will hit a few big plays in the passing game and put pressure on the Huskies to score to stay close. And they aren't capable of doing so.

Washington –5.5
vs. Utah (Friday)

Lets not overthink this. Washington beat Utah 21-7 earlier in the year, holding QB Tyler Huntley to 138 yards and RB Zack Moss to 67 yards. Neither of those Utes' stars will suit up Friday, so how can we expect a better showing offensively? Utah's defense remains a staple, but the Huskies have allowed 15 points or less in three of their last five. They are dialed in on both sides, and it won't take a huge

CHRIS' PICKS

Another winning, yet mediocre week, which at this point in the season, I'm happy to take. Limited choices in Championship Week have me going a bit out of my comfort zone. And while there will certainly be an upset or two, the slate looks like straight chalk.

Buffalo –3.5
vs. Northern Illinois (Friday)

A great offense versus defense matchup, but I'm siding with the offense. NIU has by far the best defense in the MAC, but it has an incredibly limited offense. The Huskies rank 122nd in scoring, averaging a mere 19.9 points, four times being held to single digits. The Bulls, meanwhile, have been held to less than 24 points only twice, and can play some defense too, ranking 41st in points allowed. I believe NIU can muck this game up for 50 minutes, but Buffalo will hit a few big plays in the passing game and put pressure on the Huskies to score to stay close. And they aren't capable of doing so.

Washington –5.5
vs. Utah (Friday)

Lets not overthink this. Washington beat Utah 21-7 earlier in the year, holding QB Tyler Huntley to 138 yards and RB Zack Moss to 67 yards. Neither of those Utes' stars will suit up Friday, so how can we expect a better showing offensively? Utah's defense remains a staple, but the Huskies have allowed 15 points or less in three of their last five. They are dialed in on both sides, and it won't take a huge offensive showing from Jake Browning and Myles Gaskin to earn a hard-fought cover.

Clemson –27.5
vs. Pittsburgh

The overwhelming trend of how does the underdog score continues. Anyone who watched Miami's defense dominate Pittsburgh last week knows what's in store for the Panthers Saturday in Charlotte. You can argue Miami has a better defense than the Tigers, but they ranks first and second in tackles for loss, and 25th and second in rushing defense (Miami, Clemson). The difference is Clemson can and will score. The Tigers put up at least 38 in three consecutive ACC Championship games, and it's truthfully hard to find a path to 10 points for Pitt. Even if it gets there, Clemson should forge its way to a cover while coasting in the final quarter.

Under 58.5
UL-Lafayette at Appalachian State

I don't do totals well, so tread lightly. Weather looks to be unseasonably warm in Boone for December, with a high near 50 expected, but rain is forecasted. The Mountaineers haven't been great offensively since RB Jalin Moore went down, scoring 27 or less in four of six, including an earlier victory over the Cajuns (27-17). Defensively, they're superb, allowing only 15.4 points per game. Both sides will look to establish the run, bleeding clock in the process, and neither offense looks poised for an explosion. I think ULL can keep this within the +17 margin, but an implied final of 38-20 doesn't seem possible on either side.

Texas +8.5
vs. Oklahoma

I've wavered between Texas and Fresno State, which plays Boise State for the Mountain West title, as an underdog to get behind. There's little doubt Oklahoma is out for payback from an earlier season loss, and as such, there's potential it runs Texas off the field. But we haven't seen a lick of defense from the Sooners all year. Texas put up 48 on them earlier, and OU has allowed at least 40 in four straight. With a total of 78, Vegas is giving us an implied final of 43-35. I like Texas to score far more than 35 while Oklahoma just slightly surpasses 43.

Last week: 3-2; Season: 37-27-1


GREG'S PICKS

Another college football regular season comes to an end this week, and for the second consecutive year, I managed to end it with a winning record. Things haven't always been so positive. For a few seasons, it was tough sledding, but one thing I learned during those seasons is, and this should be pretty obvious to even the novice bettor, limiting the number of games is key. Experts at many sites pick games each week, but when they are picking all the big games, they are bound to lose more than they win. That's what happens when you are forced to pick a side. With that in mind, we don't have a full slate this week, which means I only have four selections.

Buffalo -3.5
vs. Northern Illinois (Friday)

If you are a believer in momentum, then Buffalo should have no problem covering this number. While it's never that easy, I would be a little uneasy if I were a Northern Illinois fan as the Huskies have looked awful the last two weeks. Buffalo has its warts, no doubt, but the Bulls have one thing that the Huskies don't have – balance on offense.

Texas +8.5
vs. Oklahoma



Oklahoma has the inside track to the College Football Playoff, but nothing is guaranteed. It would be in the Sooners' best interest to win and win impressively, but to do that, they need an opponent to essentially sit back and take it. Unfortunately for them, the Longhorns aren't that team. The Longhorns handed the Sooners their only loss of the season, and although I expect Oklahoma to come out on top this weekend, I can't imagine a margin higher than seven with that defense.


Under 64.5 Memphis vs. UCF

I'm headed back to the well with the Memphis under. Even though it didn't work out last week, I feel much better this time around as the Tiger's opponent this week can play some defense. UCF is not the power house without McKenzie Milton, and as such, the Knights will have to adjust their game. Instead of the lightning-fast tempo we are used to, I expect a them to slow down just a bit to keep the clock moving. As was the case last week, the total is set awfully high, which means this game will have to turn into a track meet to go over, and I don't think UCF will let that happen.

Virginia Tech -3.5
vs. Marshall



Through all the chaos that was last weekend, one thing was clear – when bowl eligibility is on the line, that team fights like hell. Virginia Tech was two games away from bowl eligibility last weekend and played probably its best game of the season. The Hokies have not played well for much of this season, but the carrot of a bowl game should be enough to again bring their best effort, like last week. Marshall is no push over, but its 8-3 record is a bit misleading as the Thundering Herd play in a weak conference. 


Last Week: 2-3, Season: 36-29

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Bennett
Bennett covers baseball, college football and college basketball for RotoWire. Before turning to fantasy writing, he worked in scouting/player development for the Atlanta Braves and Montreal Expos. He's also a fan of the ACC.
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