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Lock$ of Saturday: Championship Week

By Sam Jessee | December 16
Lock$ of Saturday: Championship Week

There are no silver medals this week.

It's winner take all as Championship Week is on our doorstep. I mean look at us! Who would've thought we'd make it this far? Not me! So, in celebration of the college football not bursting into a flames this season we'll be picking every single conference championship game this weekend. There are some great matchups and some big spreads. Who knows what will happen because this is 2020 and quite frankly we're all just glad to be watching football in December.

At the end of the regular season here are the current standings. Note: We will be going over our ACC Over/Under Win Totals from the beginning of the season on next week's podcast. Stay tuned! Those will count towards the final score as our playoff picks in a few weeks.

Locks Champ Week

Alabama-Birmingham +5.5 vs Marshall

Sam - Marshall -5.5

Two pretty even teams. Marshall has cooler colors though. Go Herd!

Ed - Marshall -5.5

Marshall is the better team with a better record. I'm not sure what happened against Rice, but I expect them to bounce back and win by a touchdown.

Chris - Alabama-Birmingham +5.5

In a matchup of statistically even teams that literally nobody has watched play football, take the points. Plus, dragon mascots > bison mascots, just saying.

Robert - Marshall -5.5

The Blazers have played one football game since Halloween, and I fully expect Marshall to bounce back from an inexplicable loss to Rice two weeks ago.

Brett - Marshall -5.5

Marshall made me look like a genius against App State so I am going to keep rolling with them. Yeah they had one bad loss, but who doesn’t in G5 football.

CUSA

Ball State +13.5 vs. Buffalo

Sam - Buffalo -13.5

Buffalo is a wagon. And no one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bulls.

Ed - Ball State +13.5

Ball State hasn't lost a game since week 1. I don't know if that trend will continue, but I find it hard to believe that the Cardinals will lose by 2 touchdowns.

Chris - Ball State +13.5

Similar logic from my UAB pick. Although it’s worth noting that Ball State plays in the better MAC division (West) than Buffalo (East). Also, the MAC should definitely change their division names to Kraft and Velveeta.

Robert - Buffalo -13.5

Buffalo has been absolutely steamrolling the entire MAC. Wanna talk about a G5 team not getting any love? The Bulls are undefeated and unranked.

Brett - Buffalo -13.5

I have watched a decent amount of MACtion this year and to me no one is close to Buffalo in terms of talent. I think they outmatch Ball State on every aspect of the field especially with Jaret Patterson at tailback.

MAC

Oregon +3.0 vs. Southern California

Sam - USC -3.0

Kedon Slovis has proven why he’s been hyped as a Heisman contender for next season. All he’s done in LA is win. Couple that with the Ducks struggling in recent years in big games, and I’m going with the Trojans here.

Ed - USC -3.0

USC might actually be playing for something. Similar to last week, I like Kedon Slovis and the Trojans to win and cover in this one as the Pac 12 only hopes at the CFP.

Chris - USC - 3.0

In the “Let’s Just Get This Over With” Conference Championship game, the edge here goes to USC who is actually playing for an outside chance at the CFP and seem to finally be “Clay Helton proof” in their late game winning efforts.

Robert - USC -3.0

Ah, yes, nothing like a team losing two straight and making it to a conference championship game because the team ahead of them decided they didn’t want to play. Classic 2020. I’ll take the team that actually earned their trip to this game.

Brett - USC -3.0

USC is on a roll right now after grinding out a win against their rivals. Oregon has been extremely underwhelming, so I take the Trojans here due to recency bias.

PAC

Northwestern +20.5 vs. Ohio State

Sam - Northwestern +20.5

Look, I lived in Cleveland for 4 years so trust me when I say there are no more pompous fans in sports than Buckeyes. To be fair, they win a lot. I think I’m just pulling for the upset here. If the Wildcats can keep the game total under 50 or so, I think they have a chance to keep it close.

Ed - Ohio State -20.5

I have been on the OSU and Justin Fields wagon all year. They may not need a huge showing to solidify their position in the top 4, but i think they will put on a show anyway.

Chris - Northwestern +20.5

Believe it or not, Northwestern has more of a reason to show up in this game. OSU’s path to the CFP is a foregone conclusion at this point with the Big 10 basically rewriting the rulebook in their favor and the CFP committee just assuming they are one of the top four teams in the nation, meaning the goal for the Buckeyes is to just win the game.

Robert - Ohio State -20.5

The Fighting Rece Davis’s? Sorry, Rece, you’re a legend, but even you can’t stop Justin Fields trying to get his team into the Playoff. Buckeyes, huge here.

Brett - Ohio State -20.5

As much as I want to pick the Wildcats here, I just can’t. Ohio State has to solidify their spot in the CFP, and that’s beating another ranked B10 by three or more TD’s.

Big10

Oklahoma -5.0 vs. Iowa State

Sam - Oklahoma -5.0

The Sooners have won the Big 12 title game the past 3 seasons, and all 3 have been by a touchdown or more. I think Spencer Rattler and the Sooners beat Iowa State in a shootout. Take the over, take the Sooners.

Ed - Oklahoma -5.0

Oklahoma -5, and Oklahoma big. The Sooners have been playing some high level football and after a tough start to the season they have shown why they were so highly thought of preseason.

Chris - Iowa State +5.0

Beating Oklahoma twice in the same season is tough, but Matt Campbell always seems to have the Cyclones ready to play in big games, as evidenced by their 0.3 point margin of victory against ranked opponents (17 games) since 2017. They’ll be prepared to play Oklahoma again but this time, likely in a close loss.

Robert - Oklahoma -5.0

Iowa State is not the 6th-best team in the country, and they probably aren’t even in the top 20. Oklahoma is the hottest non-playoff team in the country, and I expect a firm victory over a laughably overrated Cyclones team.

Brett - Oklahoma -5.0

Does anyone not remember Iowa State losing to Louisiana? Well now you do. Sooners always find a way to win big games, and I expect them to here, outright.

Big12

Louisiana +4.0 vs. Coastal Carolina

Sam - Coastal Carolina -4.0

If Coastal win this game, they need to be in an NY6 bowl. The Ragin’ Cajuns are a really good team, but they’ve struggled with the small details all season. I think that kills them in this game and Coastal takes home the hardware.

Ed - Coastal Carolina -4.0

Coastal will continue to prove themselves and take care of business. Party time in Myrtle.

Chris - Coastal Carolina -4.0

The future 2035 Sun Belt Conference commissioner has spoken.

Robert - Coastal Carolina -4.0

“I want my mullet back.” -Billy Ray Cyrus

Brett - Coastal Carolina -4.0

I have ridden this team to the very end, so I thank the Chanticleers. Let’s ride one last time! *breaks a tear*

Sunbelt

Clemson -10.5 vs. Notre Dame

Sam - Clemson -10.5

It’s hard to beat a team twice in a year, especially when that team is one of the best in the country. I think the Clemson defense will be a bit more prepared for this one, and the leadership and calming presence of TLaw may take some weight off the shoulders of the rest of the team. They played tight against the Irish, and it hurt them. Clemson wins pretty convincingly, and the over hits.

Ed - Clemson -10.5

There is no reason to think Clemson will cover a spread this large, which is why I am picking it. In my mind, Notre Dame will always be guilty until proven innocent.

Chris - Notre Dame +10.5

As the winning team in their previous matchup, ND being a double digit underdog in the rematch is a slap in the face. While I would hate seeing ND win the ACC in what is likely their only season as a member, this game will be close considering it's hard to see Trevor Lawrence exceeding the previous effort from DJ Uiagalelei (439 yds / 2 TDs).

Robert - Notre Dame +10.5

I think Clemson still wins this game, but this is not the same ND team we’re used to seeing flop in big games. Their win over Clemson was legit, and it started in the trenches, where the Irish still have an advantage. The Tigers’ playmakers will be too much to handle, but it will be way closer than 10.5.

Brett - Notre Dame +10.5

Double digits is just for Vegas to get action on this play and people to hammer ND. In this case, they should. Lawrence has looked less than stellar in the last few weeks while the Notre Dame defense has improved every week.

Acc

Boise State -6.5 vs. San Jose State

Sam - Boise State -6.5

The Broncos have been plagued by injuries and COVID. They are still 5-0 in conference and have been playing lights out recently. Bachmeirer is the real deal and will just be too much for the Spartans. Credit to SJSU, though, they’ve had a great season and have worked their way out of the cellar of college football.

Ed - Boise State -6.5

San Jose State has had an amazing year. That being said, Boise State has the pedigree and experience as a program to take care of business. Plus the blue field.

Chris - San Jose State +6.5

San Jose State’s turnaround has been a great story and it will likely continue as these teams are surprisingly dead even statistically, meaning the value here is not only with taking the Spartans against the spread, but also the +200 ML.

Robert - Boise State -6.5

Hank Bachmeier: 2022 NFL Draft First Round Pick.

Brett - Boise State -6.5

Don’t EVER go against the smurf turf.

Mw

Alabama -13.5 vs. Florida

Sam - Alabama -13.5

Alabama is a covering machine. Florida is 1-3-1 against the spread in their last 5.

Ed - Alabama -13.5

Before last weekend I thought Florida and the Kyles would have a shot in this game. Now, not so much. Roll Tide.

Chris - Alabama -13.5

To quote Conan the Barbarian, “Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of the women.”

Robert - Alabama -13.5

“Who throws a shoe? Honestly.” -Austin Powers.

No playoff hopes = not enough motivation for the Gators as the Tide are just too good.

Brett - Alabama -13.5

Florida has nothing to gain and Bama is looking to retain that number one spot. Tide BIG!

Sec

Tulsa +14.0 vs. Cincinnati

Sam - Cincinnati -14.0

I think Cincy may win by 30. Tulsa has won close in their last 3 games. Margin of victories against ECU (+4), SMU (+4), and Tulane (+6) is less than stellar.

Ed - Cincinnati -14.0

No matter how much Cincy wins by it won't matter to the committee, which is unfortunate. However, they will do all they can to run it up and prove themselves.

Chris - Cincinnati - 14.0

Statement win that will inevitably fall on the deaf ears of the College Football Playoff selection committee. Congratulations in advance to the 2020 College Football Co-Champion Cincinnati Bearcats!

Robert - Cincinnati -14.0

Tulsa has been a pleasant surprise, as their only loss is to Oklahoma State, but Cincinnati is just too good. The Bearcat defense will dominate once again.

Brett - Cincinnati -14.0

This is the only way the Bearcats keep their playoff hopes alive which the committee has tried to destroy over and over. They want to stick it to the man.

AAC
Sam Jessee

I'm a born and raised Hokie. My first game in Lane Stadium was in September of 1997 when Tech stomped Big East rival Syracuse 31-3. I graduated from Tech with a degree in Finance in 2019 and am currently in Blacksburg getting my MBA in data analytics and statistics. Born and raised in Richmond, VA, where I was a Deep Run Wildcat with fellow Son Grayson Wimbish, NFL Hokie Antone Exum, and Blacksburg legend Jack Click.


I'm a certified analytics nerd with a passion for data visualization and modeling. Much of my work is written with an analytical flair. I host the Lock$ of Saturday podcast where we talk all things college football betting as well work on the baseball beat.


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