We have reached the final week of the College Football regular season, and what a journey it has been. Once again the BCS has failed us, and honestly I'm not complaining, it is just one of those things that you come to expect each season like the changing of the leaves. Nonetheless, it is conference Championship week, and there are plenty of BCS games on the line, not to mention a spot in the national title game. So let's get to work on this weeks edition of the College Football Pick'em.
The biggest game of the week is taking place in Atlanta Georgia, and it features the Alabama Crimson Tide taking on the Florida Gators. Some are saying the SEC Championship will determine the BCS Champion as well. While I am not willing to go that far, there is no doubt this is a massive game.
Nick Saban is a great football coach. He may be an asshole of a person and a prolific liar when it comes to his loyalty but he is a great college football coach. He brought Alabama back into the national spotlight in seemingly no time. Alabama has made their turnaround based on a Nick Saban staple, strong defense. The Alabama defense is suffocating; they throttled Auburn last week shutting them out in the Iron Bowl. The defense is the key to an Alabama victory in the SEC Championship game. The defense will need to be quick and aggressive at the point of attack. If they can control the line of scrimmage then they have the opportunity to control Tim Tebow. Getting pressure up the field and staying in their lanes will bottle up the running lanes that Tebow is able to exploit. In addition, Florida could be missing star receiver Percy Harvin. This takes away one of Tebow’s favorite targets. It also takes away one of Florida’s favorite options in their rushing attack. From that standpoint Alabama will have the leg up when game planning for the Gators. On the other side of the ball, the name of the game will be ball control for the Alabama offense. Currently Alabama leads the SEC in drives lasting more than five minutes. Alabama has a crushing rushing attack that can punish any defensive front into submission. If they can engineer a few of those long drives then Alabama will have the advantage. Maintaining long offensive drives means Tim Tebow is off the field and the Florida offense cannot hurt them.
The Florida Gators are on a roll. Right now they are the hottest team in the country their offense seems to be scoring points at will, while their defense has shut down everyone they have come across. The Gators offense rolled against FSU last week, and what was most impressive about the victory was the power of the rushing game. Florida ran the ball for 317 yards against the Seminoles in a game that was played in swampy weather. Tim Tebow seems to have found life during the second half of the season and he may be playing the best ball of his career. Unlike last season, the Florida offense appears to be well balanced in their attack. The one concern for the Gators going into Saturday’s game is the health of stud receiver Percy Havins who was injured jumping for the endzone last weekend. Harvins has amazing speed, and his versatility to come out of the backfield to carry the ball as part of the Gators option attack, adds a great wrinkle to the Florida rushing game. One the defensive side of the ball, the Gators has really stepped up their efforts in recent weeks. Last week against Florida State, the Florida defensive line was able to generate solid pressure on the quarterback and as a result they recorded four sacks. If the Florida defensive line can continue their improved play, then they will be able to get into the Alabama backfield and stop their rushing attack. However, the key to the SEC Championship may come down to special team. The Florida Gators get after teams in their special teams game. Unlike most teams, the Gators team speed is not limited to their offense and defense. They get after punts and they block a lot of balls. During Saturday’s game the Gators will either A) Get their hands on a punt, or B) Florida can return a kick or a punt for a touchdown. Either way that play will prove to be the difference maker in the game.
The spread on the SEC Championship is a massive 10 points. I know the Florida Gators are the hottest team in college football right now, but to favor them by that much seems a bit excessive. This is still a number one versus a number two team, and there has to be something to be said about that. Alabama is a good team with a great defense, and they will show the country that on Saturday. Florida will win the game, but Alabama will cover the spread.
Oklahoma vs. Missouri: The Oklahoma Sooners are on a roll, and they are playing some great football right now. Three games, 60 points a game, now that’s an impressive feat. Hell, the UVA men’s basketball team wishes they could put up 60 a night. Anyways, the Missouri Tigers have given up on the season and seemingly bought into the idea that they belong to the inferior division in the Big 12. The spread has Oklahoma favored by 17 and a half points. With the way the Sooners are playing right now I have no doubt they will be able to score enough points to cover the spread and win the game. While you are at it, bet the over because you know Oklahoma is putting up points.
Boston College vs. Virginia Tech: Once again the ACC Championship is up for grabs and the two teams in the mix are less than stellar to watch. Virginia Tech limped their way through the last half of the season, and happened upon winning their division of the ACC. Boston College has been an up and down team all season, much like every other team in the ACC. It is a shame that Boston College and Georgia Tech cannot play for the ACC Championship because they are arguably the two hottest teams in the country. Nonetheless, the spread favors Boston College by a one point. And after watching Virginia Tech play last week, I have to believe that Boston College can win the game and obviously cover the one point spread.
USC vs. UCLA: Pete Carroll made this game relevant with his whole jersey-gate scandal he stirred up this week. To be completely honest, it’s the dumbest controversy I have ever seen in sports. That being said, the spread on this game has grown to favor USC by 33 points which is a massive spread. However, USC has one of the best defenses I have ever seen in college football. I think the Trojans win the game and cover the massive spread.
Army vs. Navy: This may be the best rivalry in football, and I honestly mean that. I understand that this game has no affect on the BCS, national title scene or anything else. However, the pageantry and the history behind the game make’s it something worth watch. Now that being said, the spread on the game is Navy -11. Navy is once again a bowl eligible program and Army just cannot keep up. Navy wins and covers.
East Carolina vs. Tulsa: Remember back at the beginning of the season when East Carolina was supposed to the BCS buster? Yeah, that feels like a lifetime ago now. Needless to say the Pirates have fallen on some rough times since their quick start out of the gate. Nonetheless, ECU found their way to the Conference USA title game where they will take on an entertaining Tulsa squad. Tulsa has already secured a 10 win season, and their spread attack is impressive to say the very least. The spread has Tulsa favored by 13 points. While that is a lot of points, I really like the Tulsa spread attack and simply think it is too quick and too fast paced for East Carolina to keep up with.