This column will give out 4 picks per week: the sport of the week, a favourite, an underdog and a wild card, which might be something (one other favourite or underdog in a recreation that could be flying below the radar or a complete, as an example). Hopefully we’ll all be wealthy by the point the clock hits zero in Inglewood, Calif., on Jan. 9.
All spreads and totals have been taken Wednesday from the consensus odds at VegasInsider.com until famous. All instances Jap.
Pac-12 championship recreation in Las Vegas: No. 4 USC-No. 11 Utah over 67.5, 8 p.m. Friday, Fox
These two groups performed Oct. 15, with the Utes profitable a 43-42 barnburner. It was one in every of 9 overs for the Trojans this season and I believe it occurs once more, as a result of neither group is all that robust defensively.
As famous final week when selecting in opposition to USC, the Trojans have been a defensive sieve, and that didn’t change in final week’s win over Notre Dame. The Combating Irish, who aren’t precisely fearsome offensively, averaged 7.85 yards per play, which was a season excessive and greater than two yards higher than their season common. Notre Dame punted solely as soon as — on its first possession — and had one drive finish on the USC 27 (turnover on downs) and one other finish on the USC 26 (fumble).
USC’s protection ranks 124th nationally in success charge, which is astoundingly dangerous for a group that’s on the cusp of a School Soccer Playoff berth. However the Trojans have pressured 26 turnovers and their offense averages 3.24 factors per drive (eighth nationally) behind quarterback Caleb Williams, who appears to have secured the Heisman Trophy due to 34 landing passes and 10 extra on the bottom (six up to now three video games).
Ohio State wants a loss from TCU or USC to make the Playoff
Utah has struggled to cease the run, rating 86th nationally in success charge, and USC working again Austin Jones has topped 100 yards in two video games because the alternative for injured standout Travis Dye. And whereas the Utes are higher in opposition to the move, Williams averaged 9.1 yards per try and threw 5 landing passes within the first assembly. Utah quarterback Cameron Rising added 415 passing yards and 5 mixed touchdowns (two passing, three dashing) in that first matchup with USC, which has been an over machine. That continues Friday.
Big Ten championship recreation in Indianapolis: No. 2 Michigan (-16.5) vs. Purdue, 8 p.m. Saturday, Fox
The Boilermakers have eight wins this season, however it’s laborious to search out one that really stands out. Amongst their victories:
- They beat Florida Atlantic, a group that ended up firing its coach, by simply two at residence.
- They beat Minnesota, with out its injured standout working again, by 10.
- They beat Maryland by two after surviving a failed last-second two-point conversion try.
- They beat Illinois by seven after the Illini dedicated 12 penalties for 121 yards.
- They beat Northwestern, one of many worst Energy 5 groups within the nation, by simply eight.
- And so they beat Indiana by 14 after trailing at halftime and getting their rating inflated by a late pick-six.
Now Purdue will get Michigan, contemporary off its clobbering of Ohio State, and the one factor that ought to cease the Wolverines is a letdown after the rivalry recreation. However with the possibility to cap its first unbeaten common season in 25 years and safe a playoff berth, that doesn’t appear probably.
School Soccer Playoff rankings: USC as much as No. 4, Ohio State is fifth
School soccer statistical analyst Parker Fleming has developed a measure of productive drives that he calls Eckel. Fleming defines a productive drive as one which includes a first and 10 inside an opponent’s 40-yard line, or a drive that ends on a big-play landing. On either side of the ball, Purdue is substandard in ending such drives: Its offense averages 3.50 factors per Eckel drive (No. 103 nationally) whereas its protection permits 4.37 factors per Eckel drive (97th). Michigan’s protection ranks fourth in factors allowed per Eckel drive (2.56) and its offense ranks thirty second (4.42).
Purdue’s power is its dashing protection, and Michigan runs the ball a ton (solely three Energy 5 groups common extra carries per recreation). However in opposition to Ohio State, the Wolverines scored on landing passes of 69, 75 and 45 yards whereas additionally averaging 7.2 yards per carry in opposition to a protection that’s higher than Purdue’s (the Boilermakers’ protection ranks 122nd in passing explosiveness allowed). This can be a recipe for a rout.
Mountain West championship recreation: Fresno State (+3.5) at Boise State, 4 p.m. Saturday, Fox
These two groups met on Oct. 8, with Boise State scoring a 40-20 residence victory. However Fresno State didn’t have quarterback Jake Haener, who missed an excellent chunk of the season with a high-ankle sprain suffered in opposition to USC on Sept. 17. Haener returned Oct. 29 in opposition to San Diego State, and he’s thrown 13 landing passes and solely two interceptions because the Bulldogs gained their ultimate 5 video games, three of them by at the least 27 factors.
Boise State additionally has turned issues round after changing its quarterback and offensive coordinator and gained 7 of 8 to complete the season, however its latest play is regarding.
Boise State’s 42-23 win over Utah State final weekend final weekend was maybe essentially the most untruthful ultimate rating of the season. Utah State was down 28-23 and on the Broncos’ 14-yard line with 1 minute 33 seconds left when Cooper Legas threw an interception. Two Boise State performs later, Taylen Inexperienced rushed for a 91-yard landing. Legas then threw one other interception on Utah State’s subsequent drive, with this one returned for a landing. It was a horrific dangerous beat for the Aggies, who have been 16.5-point underdogs, and a fraudulently giant win for the Broncos.
The week earlier than, Boise State wanted a fourth-quarter landing to beat Wyoming, which almost outgained the Broncos in yards per play regardless of having one of many worst offenses within the nation. The Cowboys additionally had the ball deep in Boise State territory on their ultimate drive earlier than throwing an interception.
The Broncos’ luck runs out Friday evening.
SEC championship recreation in Atlanta: Georgia-LSU below 50½, 4 p.m. Saturday, CBS
The key to beating a group with Jayden Daniels as its quarterback is fairly easy: Do what you may to restrict his scrambling and make him move the ball. Over his profession at Arizona State and LSU, Daniels’s groups have gone 2-6 when he has at the least 34 passing makes an attempt, and the Tigers are 1-3 in these video games this season. Daniels is averaging solely 7.1 yards per try, which is tenth within the SEC and tied for 61st nationally, and if his first possibility isn’t there, he normally begins working (Daniels leads LSU with 824 dashing yards this season).
Right here’s the factor: Daniels injured his foot or ankle late in final weekend’s loss at Texas A&M — he threw the ball 35 instances and averaged solely 5.4 yards per try — and was in a strolling boot earlier this week. If he’s in any respect hobbled and is pressured to move, it’s robust seeing how LSU goes to maneuver the ball.
The Bulldogs are getting ready as if Daniels goes to play, and this week Georgia defensive lineman Zion Logue said the plan was to “get a cage around him and not let him run.” The Bulldogs haven’t allowed greater than 52 yards dashing to a quarterback this season.
Georgia runs one of many extra leisurely paced offenses within the nation, averaging 28.1 seconds per play (114th within the nation). With a playoff berth all however sewn up and enjoying in opposition to a quarterback with a presumably bum wheel, the Bulldogs haven’t any want to start out hurrying up and appear pointed to a simple win by a rating that stays below the entire.