Tusk to Tail: They have parishes in Louisiana. And probably the best team in college football
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Heading into the conference championship games, who do you think will win it all this year?
Brad Davis: My money is on LSU to win it all this year. The Cookie Monster has them on a seek-and-destroy mission, and they seem to be laser focused.
Mark Wagner: LSU. While the other top teams have looked good, none of them have faced the competition the Bayou Bengals have faced this year.
Greg Houser: There are three things I’m jealous of Louisiana: 1. The succulent dishes known throughout the world that are truly unique to that state. 2. The warmer spring they enjoy (which would be awesome for Razorback Baseball). 3. Being an absolutely loaded football talent-rich state. Joe Burrow, Dave Aranda, Coach O, and the Tigas can beat anybody.
David Rice: LSU has the offense to win, Georgia or Utah have the defense. Clemson has experience hoisting last year’s championship trophy. But as much as it pains me to say it, the most complete team this season on both sides of the ball is Ohio State. I think the Buckeyes add another championship this January.
THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
• Conference USA: Alabama-Birmingham @ Florida Atlantic
Brad Davis: Winner gets the Arkansas job! Everyone knows a coach that can win the C-USA is sure to be able to build an SEC Championship team. I don’t know anything about these teams other than neither may have a coach after the game. I just flipped a coin 10 times and FAU came out the winner 6-4, so multiply that by 5 for a final score of 30-20 in favor of FAU. Science!
• American Athletic: #21 Cincinnati @ #16 Memphis
Mac Garland: Welcome to the Groundhog Day Game! This game even kicks off at the same time as last week’s regular season finale. This could be the last game for both head coaches, depending on how the various dominoes fall beginning Sunday. Memphis won 34-24, and coincidentally is favored by 9.5 points this week. The two key differences are first, Luke Fickell will play starting QB for Desmond Ridder who sat out last week due to a shoulder injury and second, Memphis lost starting cornerback T.J. Carter to a season ending foot injury. Memphis 34, Cincinnati 30
• Big 12: #6 Oklahoma vs. #8 Baylor
David Rice: Another rematch of a regular season game that Oklahoma won 34-31 after Baylor choked away a 28-3 first half lead. I love what Baylor coach Matt Rhule has put together down in Waco, but they just don’t have the athletes to keep up with OU QB Jalen Hurts and receiver CeeDee Lamb. Lamb missed the last matchup, but can swing a game all by himself. Let’s call this one 38-28, Sooners.
• Pac-12 (Friday): #5 Utah vs. #13 Oregon
Mark Wagner: Oregon and Utah come into this game with an 8-1 conference record. They didn’t play each other during the regular season. The Utes have a great defense, and have held 11 of their 12 opponents this season to under 100 yards rushing. Look for that to continue in this game as the Ducks have not been the dominating offensive force this season. When facing a strong defense, the Ducks offense has shown cracks. The Utes defense will simply be too much for the Ducks to handle. Utah 36, Oregon 27
• ACC: #3 Clemson vs. #22 Virginia
David Rice: This conference only has one good team, and that is the defending champ. Clemson by 90.
• Big Ten: #2 Ohio State vs. #10 Wisconsin
Greg Houser: The last time Ohio State played Wisconsin, they won comfortably by 31 points. I see no reason to believe Wisconsin has changed their game plan, much less has the ability to outplay the Buckeyes. Ohio State wins by at least two touchdowns this time.
• SEC: #4 Georgia vs. #1 LSU
Mac Garland: Yours truly picked LSU as a CFP team back on Sept. 5 as well as the end of Bama’s run in the playoffs. The Bayou Bengals will be in regardless of what happens Saturday in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, but expect their offense to exploit Kirby Smart’s defense. LSU is a 7.5 point favorite and while Ole Miss exposed some holes in Dave Aranda’s defense, it’s unclear that the Dawgs have anyone who could exploit those. While the Tiger offense unlocked annihilation levels of offense, the defense has not been nearly as strong this season (though they shut A&M down last weekend). Some UGA fans are frustrated with Smart’s conservative offense (think Bama before Lane Kiffin arrived). Joe Burrow and his teammates may have him re-thinking that philosophy after Saturday. LSU 42, UGA 20
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