Seventh Day Adventure
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SDA Bowl Spectacular Part III

SDA Bowl Spectacular Part III
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Ian Boyd

College football is poised to own the Friday and Saturday in between Christmas and New Year's Eve this year with a strong slate of bowl games and the Playoff semifinals. Many of the eight-, nine-, and even 10-win teams of college football's Power 5 conferences are squaring off, which tends to make for interesting matchups that carry some stakes.

The Playoff games are the real prize, of course, and will play back-to-back on Saturday night, December 29. The spreads in these games are high, with Vegas-favored Clemson and Alabama generally drawing massive betting penalties to even out the lines, but they are facing 12-1 Oklahoma and 12-0 Notre Dame, so these are hardly no-contests. It's hard to get these games right when regional powers that haven't played before face each other at a neutral site.

All times are listed as Eastern.

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
Nashville, Tennessee
Purdue vs. Auburn (-4) -- December 28, 1:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Overall Purdue (6-6) Auburn (7-5) F/+ 34 23 Special Teams S&P+ 60 43 S&P+ 6.7 12.8 When Purdue has the ball Offense Defense FEI 33 20 S&P+ 16 18 IsoPPP+ 7 87 Rushing S&P+ 29 20 Passing S&P+ 24 16 When Auburn has the ball Defense Offense FEI 69 53 S&P+ 82 47 IsoPPP+ 70 71 Rushing S&P+ 55 81 Passing S&P+ 80 58

Purdue got good news after the regular season when head coach Jeff Brohm decided to stay at the school rather than accepting the vacant head coaching job at Louisville where he got his start. Now the Boilermakers will enter this game with their coach committed and freshman All-American receiver Rondale Moore poised to benefit from more seasons in his offense. Moore already has 1,164 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns this year, as well as 203 rushing yards.

Auburn has had a tumultuous December, with rumors swirling around that some boosters were looking to push out head coach Gus Malzahn. Additionally, offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey left to take the same job at Kansas, either because of an inability to work under Malzahn or for the chance to be the lead architect of the offense under Les Miles. It seems that Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham will play in the bowl game, but he's departing early for the NFL afterwards.

The Tigers had a tough season, playing good defense again although they gave up too many big plays. Their offense was not up to the standards of a typical Malzahn unit and seemed to be enduring an identity crisis with a run-centric attack without a feature in the run game. Stidham threw for only 2,421 yards at 7.0 yards per attempt with just 13 touchdowns and five interceptions. Their best feature was running the ball inside with JaTarvious Whitlow, who had only 143 carries on the year that produced 777 yards and four touchdowns.

Purdue wasn't lights-out on defense this year, but they may be a match for Auburn provided the Tigers offensive line and rushing attack don't gel and unleash Whitlow between the tackles, opening up the entire Auburn attack. The Auburn defense is definitely a tough matchup for the Purdue offense; they'll play nickel defensive back Jeremiah Dinson over Moore and try to keep their safeties over the top against him and Purdue's tight end Brycen Hopkins (564 yards). Where Purdue likes to overwhelm opponents with matchups in the middle of the field, Auburn tends to load up the middle and trust their corners to hold up outside. If Purdue wide receiver Isaac Zico isn't ready to torch man coverage from the Tigers, then it'll be tough sledding for the Boilermakers offense.

S&P+ Outright Pick: Auburn

Camping World Bowl
Orlando, Florida
West Virginia vs. Syracuse (even) -- December 28, 5:15 p.m. (ESPN)

Overall West Virginia (8-3) Syracuse (9-3) F/+ 17 40 Special Teams S&P+ 23 1 S&P+ 12.6 6.1 When West Virginia has the ball Offense Defense FEI 8 36 S&P+ 6 60 IsoPPP+ 5 100 Rushing S&P+ 35 58 Passing S&P+ 12 58 When Syracuse has the ball Defense Offense FEI 62 52 S&P+ 81 44 IsoPPP+ 47 68 Rushing S&P+ 86 45 Passing S&P+ 60 60

West Virginia was explosive on offense this season thanks to quarterback Will Grier returning for his senior year, along with top receivers Gary Jennings and David Sills V and a solid front spearheaded by left tackle Yodny Cajuste and tight end Trevon Wesco. Grier threw for 3,864 yards and 37 touchdowns as the Mountaineers went 8-3 and came within a one-possession shootout against Oklahoma of playing for the Big 12 championship. However, that team won't be taking the field against Syracuse. Grier, Jennings, and Cajuste will all sit out to heal up and prepare for the NFL draft, which means this game is more of an exhibition for the next era of West Virginia football.

Former four-star recruit Jack Allison, a transfer from Miami, will get the start in this game. Alabama transfer T.J. Simmons will slide to inside receiver to replace Jennings, and the Mountaineers will shuffle the line around. This has resulted in a once solid point spread for West Virginia disappearing, but it's also a little troubling for Syracuse, who have very little film on Allison to scout. They'll probably start by overplaying the run and testing Allison's passing ability.

Syracuse finished their own season strong, with quarterback Eric Dungey getting healthy for the final stretch and putting together a 2,565-yard passing season with 27 touchdowns and also a 732-yard, 15-touchdown rushing performance. Much like West Virginia, Syracuse will use extra wide receiver splits to force defenses to commit numbers far away from the box; unlike West Virginia, they will regularly run the ball with their quarterback. It's a tough setup to stop on defense, although West Virginia is used to handling these sorts of spread attacks from playing in the Big 12 for several years.

The best hope for the Orange in this game may not be that Grier is missing out, but that West Virginia will have to break in a new quarterback and left tackle against defensive ends Alton Robinson (10 sacks) and Kendall Coleman (seven sacks). The Mountaineers are generally pretty well insulated from the pass rush because their experienced quarterbacks can often diagnose defenses before the snap and just drop back and throw to a spot where a highly skilled wide receiver is running. That's harder with a less experienced quarterback-receiver tandem, and if Allison starts holding onto the ball, then the West Virginia pass protection may not hold up.

S&P+ Outright Pick: West Virginia

Valero Alamo Bowl
San Antonio, Texas
Iowa State vs. Washington State (-3.5) -- December 28, 9 p.m. (ESPN)

Overall Iowa State (8-4) Washington State (10-2) F/+ 43 82 Special Teams S&P+ 28 72 S&P+ 12 -.1 When Iowa State has the ball Offense Defense FEI 61 84 S&P+ 77 50 IsoPPP+ 26 60 Rushing S&P+ 107 96 Passing S&P+ 33 22 When Washington State has the ball Defense Offense FEI 23 7 S&P+ 31 14 IsoPPP+ 20 51 Rushing S&P+ 34 53 Passing S&P+ 23 35

This should be a fun game for the matchup between Iowa State's unique 8-3 defense and Washington State's Air Raid offense under Mike Leach. The Cougars still run the basic Leach Air Raid, throwing the ball far more often than not, with Heisman candidate Gardner Minshew throwing for 4,477 yards and 36 touchdowns this season. They didn't have any particularly dominant skill players this year up in Pullman, but they spread the ball around pretty well between multiple running backs and receivers. Their four main wideouts and top running back all went over 400 yards receiving, which is how Leach likes it since he defines balance as having multiple people touch the ball rather than how many times you run or pass.

Iowa State is built to handle spread attacks in the Big 12 that are modeled after Leach's attack. They'll drop eight defenders into coverage at least as often as not and combine that with some different four-, five-, and even six-man zone blitzes which often maintain a two-deep safety coverage shell. They famously shredded West Virginia during the regular season and came within a road loss to Texas of playing in the Big 12 title game. One of their main tweaks is that they play a robber safety in the middle of the field, similar to San Diego State, that can hang back in coverage like a Tampa-2 middle linebacker or run downhill to be a run-stopper. Their man here, Greg Eisworth, led the team with 84 tackles. The big challenge for Washington State will be maintaining their normal ball-control, short passing attack against a team that plays lighter linebackers that will drop wide and help match and bracket routes underneath. They don't offer up the easy passing windows that Leach's offense was designed to hammer.

On the other side of the ball, Iowa State has a plodding rushing attack featuring David Montgomery, who had to break a million tackles playing behind iffy blocking to get his thousand rushing yards this season. They'll use that rushing attack to keep the chains moving and draw in defenders so that they can throw over the top to 6-foot-6 wide receiver Hakeem Butler, who went for 1,126 yards and nine touchdowns and was primarily responsible for their high IsoPPP explosiveness numbers on offense. Freshman quarterback Brock "Pump Fake" Purdy also added some extra dimensions with his ball fakes on spread option plays, running ability, and precise deep shots to Butler and the other wideouts. Washington State will have their hands full figuring out how to balance the lesser but real risk of Iowa State plodding down the field with conversions from the run game and Butler beating them for big chunks down the field.

S&P+ Outright Pick: Washington State

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
Atlanta, Georgia
Florida vs. Michigan (-7) -- December 29, 12 p.m. (ESPN)

Overall Florida (9-3) Michigan (10-2) F/+ 15 6 Special Teams S&P+ 9 40 S&P+ 15.1 21.3 When Florida has the ball Offense Defense FEI 31 10 S&P+ 27 5 IsoPPP+ 59 81 Rushing S&P+ 32 10 Passing S&P+ 30 20 When Michigan has the ball Defense Offense FEI 28 14 S&P+ 26 24 IsoPPP+ 74 58 Rushing S&P+ 47 33 Passing S&P+ 28 10

This is quietly one of the more interesting matchups of the bowl schedule. It was a remarkably unsexy landing point for Florida and particularly Michigan, who have faced off on neutral fields in each of the last two years -- first in the Citrus Bowl of 2016, and then in the Advocare Classic to start the 2017 season. Michigan won each of those two contests by big margins and was hoping to win the Big 10 and make the Playoff this season. Instead, stars like defensive lineman Rashan Gary, running back Karan Higdon, and linebacker Devin Bush will sit this one out to prepare for the NFL draft.

For Florida, though, this is a very different game. They are no longer the ineffective, pro-style offense that Michigan easily shut down in previous seasons, but a spread attack under new head coach Dan Mullen. They haven't totally put it together yet, but did have two backs run for 700 yards, each with 5.9 yards per carry and at least 120 runs (Lamical Perine and Jordan Scarlett), while quarterback Feleipe Franks threw for 23 touchdowns. They'll likely have spent their bowl practices working on man coverage-beating concepts such as Ohio State used to torch the Michigan defense for 396 passing yards and 62 points.

Michigan's defense is intended to pressure and attack offenses with man coverage concepts that allow them to keep their linebackers in the box against spread teams, blitz, and play with big personnel up front on the defensive line. That failed to generate pressure against Ohio State, and the Wolverines secondary couldn't run with the Buckeyes wide receivers. Florida will try and get their skill athletes in similar situations and see if they can pick at the same spots.

On the other side of the ball, Michigan has a pretty brutish and physical rushing attack that they regularly supplement by having quarterback Shea Patterson get some carries in the zone-read game. They'll also run those from multiple-tight end sets that allow Michigan to move around who the read defender is and create angles against different parts of the defensive front. Florida is a better pass defense than they are a run defense, with 14 interceptions on the year and a defensive end tandem in Jachai Polie and Jabari Zuniga that combined for 17.5 sacks.

Michigan's offensive tackles were a weak spot this season that Notre Dame and Ohio State both victimized with athletic defensive end tandems. If Florida can stop the run there will be big opportunities to attack the Michigan offense and to finally come out ahead in this bizarrely annual matchup.

S&P+ Outright Pick: Florida

Belk Bowl
Charlotte, North Carolina
South Carolina (-5.5) vs. Virginia -- December 29, 12 p.m. (ABC)

Overall South Carolina (7-5) Virginia (7-5) F/+ 35 41 Special Teams S&P+ 9 40 S&P+ 8.8 6.2 When South Carolina has the ball Offense Defense FEI 20 33 S&P+ 29 29 IsoPPP+ 24 67 Rushing S&P+ 71 39 Passing S&P+ 18 27 When Virginia has the ball Defense Offense FEI 66 79 S&P+ 61 65 IsoPPP+ 10 93 Rushing S&P+ 94 99 Passing S&P+ 35 62

South Carolina comes into this game more under-manned than Virginia, starting with wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who will skip out to prepare for the NFL Draft. Samuel led the team with 882 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns, but they'll have to do without him. The Gamecocks were more of a passing team this year, with junior Jake Bentley manning the quarterback position. Bentley threw for 2,953 yards at 8.5 yards per attempt with 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Big receiver Bryan Edwards (6-foot-3, 220 pounds) finished just behind Samuel with 809 receiving yards (and seven touchdowns), while speedy slot Shi Smith added 597 more.

Even without Samuel, the passing game is the ticket for this South Carolina team, although a tough way for them to handle Virginia's defense. The Cavaliers picked off 15 passes this season, paced by safety and leading tackler Juan Thornhill, who had five interceptions. Corner Bryce Hall added two more picks but also 20 pass break-ups. It's a nasty crew for the Cavs on the back end.

South Carolina has been beat up all year on defense, but still managed to put together some solid efforts. Linebacker T.J. Brunson led the pack with 94 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, and four sacks. After Brunson, the Gamecocks have depended on fundamentals and big play prevention. Their task in this game will be to handle a two-headed spread-option run game that involves Virginia quarterback Bryce Perkins (197 carries, 842 yards, nine touchdowns) and running back Jordan Ellis (189 carries, 920 rushing yards, nine touchdowns). Perkins also threw for 2,472 yards and 22 touchdowns, really keying the spread-option attack for the Cavs. Virginia is in good shape for this game and will be ready to pound away at the Gamecocks on the ground while South Carolina will have to navigate their pressures and secondary without their star player.

S&P+ Outright Pick: South Carolina

Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl
Tucson, Arizona
Arkansas State (-1) vs. Nevada -- December 29, 1:15 p.m. (CBSSN)

Overall Arkansas State (8-4) Nevada (7-5) F/+ 75 72 Special Teams S&P+ 92 71 S&P+ 4.2 -6 When Arkansas State has the ball Offense Defense FEI 57 35 S&P+ 35 68 IsoPPP+ 107 54 Rushing S&P+ 59 16 Passing S&P+ 69 62 When Nevada has the ball Defense Offense FEI 61 92 S&P+ 65 72 IsoPPP+ 109 50 Rushing S&P+ 87 65 Passing S&P+ 40 95

Arkansas State is coming off a second strong year with Oklahoma transfer quarterback Justice Hansen, who has been pretty overpowering in the Sun Belt conference. This year Hansen threw for 3,172 yards with 27 touchdowns to six interceptions while adding another 399 yards and six more touchdowns on the ground. He ran their RPO spread attack well again, with a running back tandem producing 1,445 yards and 11 touchdowns while wide receivers Kirk Merritt and Justin McInnis added 939 yards and 694 yards apiece and another 12 touchdowns. Better opponents outside of the Sun Belt fared OK, but the conference slate was typically blown away by the offensive firepower.

Meanwhile, Nevada had a solid season as well on offense. Quarterback Ty Gangi threw for more than 3,000 yards and spread the ball around, with three receivers going over 500 receiving yardsand lead running back Toa Taua hitting 816 rushing yards at 5.2 yards per carry. They're more of a passing team and they'll look to match pace and points with Arkansas State in a high-paced warm up before the Playoff semifinals. However, Nevada plays better defense than Arkansas State and will bring hybrid lineman/linebacker Malik Reed into this game with 15.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks on the year. Arkansas State's defense is led by star pass-rusher Ronheen Bingham, who has 18.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks on the year in his own right.

S&P+ Outright Pick: Arkansas State

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic -- College Football Playoff Semifinal
Arlington, Texas
Notre Dame (+13) vs. Clemson -- December 29, 4 p.m. (ESPN)

Overall Notre Dame (12-0) Clemson (13-0) F/+ 5 3 Special Teams S&P+ 62 99 S&P+ 20.6 27.9 When Notre Dame has the ball Offense Defense FEI 19 3 S&P+ 26 1 IsoPPP+ 35 11 Rushing S&P+ 74 1 Passing S&P+ 21 6 When Clemson has the ball Defense Offense FEI 8 9 S&P+ 4 7 IsoPPP+ 5 34 Rushing S&P+ 18 8 Passing S&P+ 8 27

Clemson has been clicking on a lot of cylinders this season, particularly since inserting freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence. He has thrown for 2,606 yards at 8.0 yards per attempt with 26 touchdowns to just four interceptions. Lawrence has made Clemson's RPO game stronger, regularly pulling the ball to throw aggressive vertical passes like fades, slants, and comebacks to the Tigers wideouts. Big 6-foot-4 sophomore Tee Higgins has been his favorite target with 802 yards and 10 scores. Senior slot Hunter Renfrow is still a tough cover, but with a freshman behind center the Clemson offense has been tooled more around the run game this season.

Running back Travis Etienne is the real star of the show, and Lawrence fights hard to protect his running lanes from spread formations by forcing opponents to commit more numbers to the perimeter. He has been successful more often than not, leading to Etienne running for 1,464 yards at 8.3 yards per carry with 21 touchdowns. The Tigers have a diverse spread run game with inside and outside zone along with a few versions of counter to create creases downhill. They have enough talented wideouts to spread a team out and throw it around as well, but haven't given Lawrence the full keys to the offense yet. That may prove important in these playoffs, as the Tigers often had to abandon their spread run game in the past and rely on Deshaun Watson throwing the ball around in order to beat teams like Alabama that weren't daunted by their rushing attack.

Whether or not Notre Dame can, like Alabama, force Clemson to shelve Etienne in order to fling the ball around remains to be seen. The Irish played very good defense this year. Their pass defense often generated big results, but they were stout up front and good at forcing opponents into third-and-long. The Irish were more talented outside than in most previous years, but they were anchored up the middle by an amazing foursome at defensive tackle, Mike and Will linebacker, and free safety. Jerry Tiller is the defensive tackle; they like to use under fronts that feature him as a back-side 3-technique, making life miserable for whichever blocker has him inside. Their two inside linebackers (Te'Von Coney and Drue Tranquill) and free safety Alohi Gilman comprise their three leading tacklers. It's a good bet that Notre Dame can make the Tigers ask more of Lawrence in order to win the game; the scare for Clemson would be if they could do it without having to try all that hard in terms of sending numbers to the box.

On the other side of things, Notre Dame struggled to dominate opponents in the box like Clemson did, at least until running back Dexter Williams came back to the lineup. He finished the year with 941 rushing yards at 6.6 yards per carry. Where Notre Dame was dominant this season was slinging the ball around once quarterback Ian Book replaced Brandon Wimbush as the starter. Book threw for 2,468 yards at 8.8 per attempt with 19 touchdowns to six interceptions. Notre Dame's top wideouts Miles Boykin (803 yards, eight touchdowns) and Chase Claypool (631 yards, four touchdowns) go 6-foot-4, 228 pounds and 6-foot-4, 227 pounds, respectively, yet the Irish also regularly field a tight end in Alize Mack who goes 6-foot-5, 247 pounds and a smaller slot in Chris Finke. There's always someone small matched up on a big target who can overpower them, and Book has been solid at finding them.

Clemson's defensive dominance this year has been about pressure, particularly with star defensive end Clelin Ferrell (17.5 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks). They have some bigger defenders in the backfield, like 6-foot-3, 225-pound Isaiah Simmons, but they have been feasting on weaker passing attacks since early in the year when Texas A&M threw for 430 yards on them with a less-developed passing attack than Notre Dame will bring into this game. The spread is built around Clemson's total domination over weaker opponents, so while Notre Dame has built a rep this year off beating a schedule that wasn't too intimidating, they've shown the ability to utilize some matchups that could make this tougher than expected for the Tigers.

S&P Outright Pick: Clemson

Capital One Orange Bowl -- College Football Playoff Semifinal
Miami, Florida
Oklahoma (+14) vs. Alabama -- December 29, 8 p.m. (ESPN)

Overall Oklahoma (12-1) Alabama (13-0) F/+ 4 1 Special Teams S&P+ 32 93 S&P+ 22.1 29.7 When Oklahoma has the ball Offense Defense FEI 1 1 S&P+ 1 8 IsoPPP+ 1 72 Rushing S&P+ 1 4 Passing S&P+ 2 7 When Alabama has the ball Defense Offense FEI 98 2 S&P+ 89 2 IsoPPP+ 68 2 Rushing S&P+ 53 5 Passing S&P+ 91 1

This game bears some resemblance to the 2017 Playoff semifinal between Georgia and Oklahoma, save that these teams are better on offense. One of the biggest questions in this contest is whether or not Oklahoma star receiver Marquise Brown (1,318 yards, 10 touchdowns) will be healthy enough to play. The 165-pound waterbug is one of the faster skill players in the country, but he was carted off the Big 12 Championship Game field with an injured foot. The Sooners can still field another thousand-yard wide receiver in Ceedee Lamb, with other burners waiting their turn, and they also have a flex tight end in Grant Calcaterra who had 378 yards and six touchdowns while serving as a role player with star abilities.

The conundrum facing Nick Saban has been how to approach this Oklahoma offense. Do they match Oklahoma's skill athletes with their own dime package and try to erase matchup advantages while leaning on safety Deionte Thompson to help prevent the Sooners run game from getting out of hand? Oklahoma ran wild on opponents trying to keep a lid on their passing game this season, with running backs Trey Sermon and Kennedy Brooks combining for 1,949 yards at 7.3 yards per carry with 24 touchdowns, while Heisman-winning quarterback Kyler Murray also added another 892 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground. However, Oklahoma has a relatively simple rushing attack built around running on lighter boxes with an incredibly experienced offensive line chocked full of future NFL players at arguably every position. A defensive front with top-line talent and a month to prepare might be able to play the run short-handed simply by virtue of knowing how to sniff out the ball.

The other problem is trying to keep Murray both under wraps and also pressured so that he doesn't continue his horrifying pace. Murray has thrown for 4,053 yards at 11.9 yards per attempt with 40 touchdowns to seven interceptions. He's around 5-foot-10 and clearly struggles to find and see passing lanes from the pocket as well as his predecessor Baker Mayfield, but he's impossibly quick and regularly escapes the pocket to buy time before throwing perfect balls down the field. Alabama will also have choices to make up front on which of their stars on the defensive line to put where in order to ensure that Murray is contained in the pocket, where freakish nose tackle Quinnen Williams (66 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, eight sacks) can get in his face.

Oklahoma's defense is an easier puzzle to solve. They lack good safeties and had to play a base 4-3 with athletic strongside linebacker Caleb Kelly tasked with covering in space while cornerback Tre Norwood was converted into a strong safety to help over the top and shadow Texas' slot receiver. The Sooners defensive line is solid in fits and bursts but tends to tire and can be leaned on. Alabama has regularly played more like Oklahoma this season, hunting matchups for their devastatingly fast wide receiver corps -- Jerry Jeudy (1,103 yards, 12 touchdowns), Jaylen Waddle (803 yards, seven touchdowns), and Henry Ruggs (724 yards, 10 touchdowns) -- and tight end Irv Smith Jr. (648 yards, seven touchdowns) to attack while Heisman runner-up Tua Tagovailoa (3,353 yards, 11.4 yards per attempt, 37 touchdowns, four interceptions) hits them down the field.

It's possible that Alabama could choose to match Oklahoma's pace and try to outscore them with their own potent offense, leaning on their superior defense to make up the difference. That wouldn't be a horrible bet for the Tide, but they may opt instead to try and control the ball more and pound away at Oklahoma's overmatched defensive front with a brilliant offensive line that put the trio of Damien Harris, Najee Harris, and Joshua Jacobs at a combined 1,945 yards, 6.0 yards per carry, and 22 touchdowns. Presumably Oklahoma will try to make the choice for them by outnumbering the run or the pass, but it's not really obvious what choice they should make. Most likely they'll aim to get Caleb Kelly involved in stopping the run to prevent the outcome of Alabama running for 200-plus yards and hope that Tagovailoa isn't fully healthy or otherwise can't connect on enough passes to keep up with Murray.

That's actually not a great bet though, in part because Oklahoma had the worst third-down defense in the Big 12 this season. The Sooners may be better off playing their safeties deep and daring Alabama to either force the ball down the field anyways, or else keep up with Murray handing the ball off.

S&P Outright Pick: Alabama

S&P+ PICKS: Bowl Week 3

Favorite Spread Underdog S&P+ Pick S&P+ pick
against the spread
Ian's pick
against the spread
Auburn 4 Purdue Auburn Auburn Purdue
Syracuse even West Virginia West Virginia West Virginia West Virginia
Washington State 3.5 Iowa State Washington State Washington State Iowa State
Michigan 7 Florida Michigan Florida Florida
South Carolina 5.5 Virginia South Carolina Virginia Virginia
Arkansas State 1 Nevada Arkansas State Arkansas State Nevada
Clemson 13 Notre Dame Clemson Notre Dame Notre Dame
Alabama 14 Oklahoma Alabama Oklahoma Alabama

S&P+ Picks against the spread this year: 46-38
Ian's Picks against the spread this year: 49-34


2 comments, Last at 27 Dec 2018, 4:40pm

1 Re: SDA Bowl Spectacular Part III

People forget that Dexter Williams didn't play in the first four games and Ian Book didn't play in the first three games (while also missing FSU). ND is probably a work-in-progress, but will they round into form enough to beat Clemson?

2 Re: SDA Bowl Spectacular Part III

Surprised the playoff spreads are so big; Bama looked historically good all season, but they probably should have lost to Georgia (again), they're the team coming into the game with turmoil, and, if Tua's less than 100% you'd have to think the Sooners have a chance. Given the lack of connectivity in college football, it's hard to tell just how good Notre Dame's resume really is (I was disappointed that Georgia couldn't hold off Alabama; we're probably one season with only two major conferences in the playoff away from an expansion to eight teams, and this year we got reaaaaaaally close). Hope they can make it a contest