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College Football Championship Week Picks, DFS Plays & Podcast: Win and in for Florida State

Plus, Pac-12 and SEC behemoths brawl for playoff spot

Peyton Baker/Tomahawk Nation

It’s championship weekend in college football and somehow that means fewer trophies will be handed out this week than last week. That may not make sense to many non-college football fans, but the diehards know there’s nothing quite like battling your rival for a chance to hoist a five-foot Paul Bunyan or a pair of boots that are somehow related to Howard Schnellenberger.

Regardless of how you celebrate championship weekend, the fact is the college football season is nearly over and that sucks.

Gone are the big rivalry games.

Gone are the coaches on the hot seat.

Gone are the full Saturday slates.

All that’s left is the boring part... crowning a champion and we’ll take a big step in doing that this week.

Ten games over Friday and Saturday with five of them having some impact on who the final four teams are when they announce the College Football Playoffs on Sunday at noon. So with a condensed slate we’ll do things on the Sharpen the Point podcast differently this week. No review of last week. All focus on the 10 games with notes on the game and matchup implications of all 10 from both my podcast co-host Chris Tyndall and I, released on Thursday.

If haven’t listened yet this year, let this be your first and come join in on the fun wherever you get your podcasts. Chris does a really good job of breaking down the matchups on this slate that I simply don’t know because he loves some midweek college football and could provide some glimpses into the way to better pick these games and DFS.

Of course, you may not want to follow my picks at the rate I’m going. Three straight 3-7 weeks is not cutting it. I was basing my picks on the logic that upsets always come around in college football and we were certainly due. Unfortunately, they never did.

My record takes another hit and I’m back 62-75 on the season after being one game under at the start of the month.

We had a few folks miss the Friday game last week. Hopefully, the earlier publish this week helps you guys not miss this time around. Luckily, none of those folks only missed two games this week so it didn’t impact our overall winner.

That’s because two folks did only miss two games. MexiNole and csfuu each went 8-2 this week. Both are previous winners as MexiNole grabs a third victory of the season and csfuu gets a second. Congratulations and welcome back to the Comment Section Hall of Fame! Let’s keep this hot streak going this week.

Comment Section Hall of Fame

  • Week Zero: MexiNole and Topnole (5-2)
  • Week One: Yapo.SD and Topnole (7-3)
  • Week Two: Kylefsu02 (7-3)
  • Week Three: Kylefsu02 and Ukedadnole (7-3)
  • Week Four: trojan24man and Brian (7-3)
  • Week Five: NoleInAggieland (7-3)
  • Week Six: medav (8-2)
  • Week Seven: csfuu (9-1)
  • Week Eight: 85 Chief and JGsped (7-3)
  • Week Nine: mr_britt (8-2)
  • Week Ten: MexiNole and Brian (7-3)
  • Week Eleven: GolferNole456 (7-3)
  • Week Twelve: Kylefsu02, Noleyman, JGsped, medav, olbrannon, GolferNole456 and mr_britt (7-3)
  • Week Thirteen: csfuu and MexiNole (8-2)

csfuu does also hold our best week of the season from his previous win with a 9-1 record. Can someone beat or tie it in the final week? It will be tough, but there’s only one way to do it and that’s by getting in on the action.

Could you be the next Comment Section Champion of the season? Leave your picks to the 10 games below in the comment section at the bottom of the page. You have to pick the 10 games I provided to be eligible for the Hall as those are the only ones I grab. Most correct is our winner.

Remember, the best information this week is coming from the Sharpen the Point podcast, where we talk in-depth on the game picks ahead as well as the Daily Fantasy Sports contest on DraftKings this weekend. All 10 games below are the only 10 games on the DFS slate so we go through all of them. New to DFS? We can help you through the thought process of building a team this week on the show.

Reminder that we are just two guys with keyboards and microphones, not gambling professionals, so follow at your own risk and play responsibly.

Let’s get to the ATS and DFS picks. All lines and DFS pricing from our friends at DraftKings.

Brian’s College Football Week 13 Picks

Conference USA Championship Game: New Mexico State Aggies (+10.5) at No. 24 Liberty Flames (7:00 p.m. ET Friday, CBSSN)

Brian’s Pick: New Mexico State +10.5

Pac-12 Championship Game: No. 5 Oregon Ducks (-9.5) vs. No. 3 Washington Huskies in Las Vegas (8:00 p.m. ET Friday, ABC)

It’s another rematch to start the championship weekend and everybody loves the Ducks this week to right their wrongs from earlier this season. But it feels a little too heavy handed to me. Washington has played a lot of close games and that has everyone expecting that loss, but they’ve managed to win them all. They could certainly lose to Oregon, but I don’t think they’ll go down easy.

Brian’s Pick: Washington +9.5

Big 12 Championship Game: No. 18 Oklahoma State Cowboys (+15.5) vs. No. 6 Texas Longhorns in Arlington (Noon ET Saturday, ABC)

I’ve been wildly incapable of figuring out Oklahoma State. I picked them against the new blood of the Big 12 the last few weeks expect that rushing attack to roll them, but it’s been tough sledding and their QB Alan Bowman has struggled. I don’t expect that to get better against this Texas front. It’s a big number, but I like the Longhorns.

Brian’s Pick: Texas -15.5

MAC Championship Game: Miami (OH) RedHawks (+7.5) vs. Toledo Rockets in Detroit (Noon ET Saturday, ESPN)

I’ve got no expertise in this game and won’t even try to fake it. You want smart thoughts? Get it from Chris on the podcast.

Brian’s Pick: Toledo -7.5

Mountain West Championship Game: Boise State Broncos (+2.5) at UNLV Rebels (3:00 p.m. ET, FOX)

Once again, Chris has a lot of smart thoughts on the podcast. I am focused on not overthinking it.

Brian’s Pick: UNLV -2.5

SEC Championship Game: No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs (-5.5) vs. No. 8 Alabama Crimson Tide in Atlanta (4:00 p.m. ET, CBS)

What to do with Alabama, the dynasty of our times. They struggled mightily a week ago against Auburn after burning through the rest of their games in November. Logic would tell me that’s a blip and I should ignore it. They’re more likely the team that dominated the previous six weeks than the team that struggled on the road with their rival. But the team I have to trust them against is the two-time defending champions who have always played their best football over the last six weeks. This should be a fun watch.

Brian’s Pick: Georgia -5.5

AAC Championship Game: SMU Mustangs (+3.5) at Tulane Green Wave (4:00 p.m. ET, ABC)

This is my favorite pick of the week. Tulane is at home against an SMU team that just lost its starting quarterback a week ago. If they win, they’re likely heading to a second consecutive New Year’s six bowl game. I’m going Wave.

Brian’s Pick: Tulane -3.5

Sun Belt Championship Game: Appalachian State (+6.5) at Troy Trojans (4:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)

My expertise here is once again limited. I’ve seen App State play twice this year — once against UNC and another against JMU — and they performed well each time. Why not a third time?

Brian’s Pick: App State +6.5

Big Ten Championship Game: No. 2 Michigan Wolverines (-22.5) vs. No. 16 Iowa Hawkeyes in Indianapolis (8:00 p.m. ET, FOX)

It’s gross and I hate it plus Chris made me feel even worse for it on the podcast, but I like Iowa in this game. I think Michigan is in a potential letdown spot coming off the Big Game and getting Harbaugh back. At some point, the emotion of the last month has to catch up to these kids. I still think Michigan wins, but I like Iowa and the points.

Note: The Draftkings line is 22. We’re using 22.5 for our purposes.

Brian’s Pick: Iowa +22.5

ACC Championship Game: No. 14 Louisville Cardinals (+2.5) vs. No. 4 Florida State Seminoles (8:00 p.m. ET, ABC)

This is normally where I point you toward the staff predictions article that comes out about the same time as this article on Fridays, but since this is a day early, I can’t do that. My reasoning here is one you won’t like. It’s a wet, rainy potentially gross game. That could negate Florida State’s biggest advantage with the two giants on the outside and force them to find a run game against a rushing defense that has largely been great. They’ll also be facing the best quarterback they’ve faced since September by a wide margin even though he’s still probably not a top 25-30 quarterback this season. It’s not a game I can really pick either side with a lot of confidence given the soft schedule for Louisville, the Jordan Travis injury and the weather so I’m taking the points. Fear not though, I’ve been wrong enough times in the last two weeks that this should bode well for all of Noles nation.

Brian’s Pick: Louisville +2.5

Chris’ College Football Daily Fantasy (DFS) Plays

Saturday DK Main Slate

QB

  • Gunnar Watson, Troy ($6000) — Watson is not a mobile QB but we lack those on this slate to some extent. What he does have is a ton of experience, a good floor, and a low price tag. Watson has thrown for at least one TD in every game this season and has three or more in four of his last five. I do not believe he is a guy who will break the slate but the matchup is there and the price allows me to get to more pieces of the UGA/Alabama game that I want to target.
  • Jalen Milroe, Alabama ($9000) — Don’t look now but here comes Alabama getting hot at the right time. Georgia is still a good defense, but not one that we need to be afraid of like in years past as they have been prone to giving up explosive plays this season. Explosive plays are what Milroe has lived off of as Alabama has not consistently been good at moving the chains like in years past. The game environment is one of the best on the slate in a game I believe goes over the total and into the sixties so stacking the game is in play although the Georgia pieces are priced up as well. Milroe has shown us his upside recently with over 100 yards rushing against Auburn and LSU which were closer games plus his six TD performance against Kentucky. He will have to approach 20 carries again for the Tide to hang with UGA.

RB

  • Ashton Jeanty, Boise State ($8000) — Jeanty is a flat out star that we highlighted earlier in the season as he continues the long history of running backs out of Boise that produce monster numbers. With George Holani going down to injury in week one we got to see the full extent to what Jeanty could be over the next six weeks and he was a fantasy monster. Holani’s return coincided with Jeanty himself going down with an injury which caused him to miss two games. In those two games Holani himself accounted for over 130 total yards and two touchdowns per game which tells us that the RB1 spot in Boise is very valuable. Over the last two weeks of the regular season we got a small sample size of what life is like with both healthy and it showed that they are going to split work fairly evenly. This will limit the overall upside of Jeanty but with the loss of their top two receiving weapons to the transfer portal and their run centric offense there will be plenty of opportunities for each to get their fair share of touches. In fact, Jeanty was their most prolific pass catcher last week with a 5/118/1 line through the air while almost matching it with 14/107/1 on the ground for the vaunted double bonus on DK. I expect a similar game to play out as last week with 15-17 touches for Holani and 18-20 for Jeanty with all of the big play and pass catching upside in Jeanty’s court.
  • CJ Baxter, Texas ($5600) — Baxter left last week’s game early due to what is being called a hip pointer so there is something to monitor here, but Coach Sark has come out and said that if the game was closer we would have continued to play which eased some concern here. The talented freshman took over after Jonathon Brooks was lost for the season to an ACL tear and has shown glimpses of what he can be throughout the year but we have yet to see that monster performance. This week, he gets the second best matchup against an Oklahoma St front seven that I have picked on this season in a game where Texas has the highest team total on the board at 34 and a 14-point spread. His 117-yard performance against a good Iowa St run defense and 90/1 versus Kansas St give me confidence that Baxter has more in the tank than what we have seen. At $5600, he is too cheap relative to what should be similar players in worse matchups. Texas needs to make a statement here to have any hope of jumping into the playoff.

WR

  • Ricky White, UNLV ($6700) — By far and away the best WR on the slate to me. White transferred from Michigan St and is dominating the MWC. Boise is okay against the run but one of the more exploitable secondaries on the slate Saturday. 100+ yards in each of his past six games with over 150 in five of six paired with over five catches in each of his last eight games gives us a floor/ceiling combo that nobody else has.
  • Jabre Barber, Troy ($4400) — There are a ton of great mid range plays at WR this week but Barber stands out as the top value play for me with teammate Chris Lewis ($4700) not far behind. Lewis is the big play threat in the offense leading the team in touchdowns, but it is Barber who has twice as many receptions which gives him the higher floor and if he manages to score then his ceiling is higher as well. Troy will score plenty of points in this game as App St is one of the worst defenses on the slate, but they have played better of late.

Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.