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Ryan’s Ramble: Championship vibes

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2020 has certainly been one of the most memorable college football seasons to date, now let’s end it with some Ws.

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

After one of the most chaotic and memorable college football seasons to date, we have finally reached championship weekend.

Prior to the college football season kicking off back in September, I was expecting to see maybe a few games here and there throughout the fall, but the NCAA did a fantastic job (eventually) of getting players on the field, making it all the way to week 16 without any major conundrums.

This is always one of the most exciting weekends in college football, and with good reason. Can you imagine the potential playoff scenarios if Alabama, Notre Dame, and/or Ohio State lost their conference title game? Insanity would unfold.

Even if Ohio State loses to Northwestern this Saturday, I’m willing to bet the committee will find a way to bend the rules in the Buckeyes favor... again. Just like the majority of Horned Frog fans, I will never forgive the committee for what happened in 2014, NEVER.

If I was a Cincinnati or Coastal Carolina fan right now, I would be absolutely furious. I have a lot to say on why the little guys deserve a shot this year, but our very own Melissa Triebwasser summed things up perfectly in the most recent Midweek Musing. An excellent read that I highly recommend.

The matchup I am most anticipating this weekend is the rematch between Clemson and Notre Dame with the Tigers opening as -10.5 point favorites. It’s not often you see a double-digit point spread in a game between two top-5 teams, but this time Vegas thinks Clemson is hungry for revenge.

I am planning on writing something up for my bowl season picks, but this week will be my last full card of the college football season. It’s been one hell of a ride. Bringing these picks to you every week along with sweating out over/unders until the final whistle blows has been the highlight of my college football season.

With that being said, here is an in-depth look into my final regular season card of 2020:

All odds are taken from Friday, 2:00 p.m. CST based on DraftKings sportsbook

Game 1: Oklahoma vs Iowa State

  • Kickoff: 11:00 a.m. CST
  • Spread: OU -6, ISU +6
  • O/U: 57.5
  • Money Line: OU -225, ISU +175

Pick: Iowa State +6

Why: This is the Cyclones year, kick rocks Oklahoma. Even if the Sooners win, which they won’t, I expect this game to be neck and neck from the opening kickoff to the final whistle, so Iowa State at +6 is a gift. On one side we have a team going for their sixth straight Big 12 title while on the other side we have a team looking for their first conference title in over a century. You’ve got to root for the “little guys” here. If the Cyclones win, they’ll have a slight chance at sneaking into the college football playoffs which would be awesome to see as a neutral fan. Iowa State +6 is my favorite pick of the day, hammer this bad boy.

Game 2: Ole Miss @ LSU

  • Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Ole Miss -2, LSU +2
  • O/U: 75
  • Money Line: Ole Miss -125, LSU +105

Pick: Ole Miss -2

Why: Coming into this season, I don’t think anyone would have expected LSU topping Florida to be the upset of the year, but here we are. The Tigers big win last week put them in a unique position where I think they are being overvalued for the first time since week 1. This is what I like to call the hangover trap. LSU is going to be coming off their biggest win of the season and potentially spoiling their conference foe’s chances of reaching the playoffs, which is exactly why I think they’ll come into this matchup with big heads. Ole Miss surely isn’t up to par with Florida, but they are a decent team nonetheless. Ask yourself this: before LSU beat Florida, would you have even considered taking the Tigers in this matchup? If your answer was yes, you must be an LSU fan or Joe Exotic. Back the Rebels.

Game 3: Clemson vs Notre Dame

  • Kickoff: 3:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Clemson -10.5, ND +10.5
  • O/U: 60
  • Money Line: Clemson -345, ND +270

Pick: Notre Dame +10.5

Why: Even though Clemson will have Trevor Lawrence back in the starting lineup for the rematch this weekend, -10.5 points is a huuuuge spread to cover. I think Clemson is going to win outright this time, but Notre Dame is more than capable of keeping things close, proven by their 47-40 win over the Tigers about a month ago. My favorite matchup in this game is between the highly-rated run defense of Notre Dame vs the not-so-special Clemson ground game. Travis Etienne is a solid running back and an outstanding athlete, but there just hasn’t been as much explosiveness out of the backfield compared to past years. Even if Clemson get’s Trevor Lawrence and the passing game going, the Irish proved they have a capable pass defense after holding Sam Howell and the explosive UNC offense to just 17 points. Ian Book is going to do Ian Book things regardless of what defense is lined up against him. Back Book and the Irish defense to make enough big plays to keep things within 10.

Game 4: Boise State vs San Jose State

  • Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Boise St. -7, SJSU +7
  • O/U: 56
  • Money Line: Boise St. -245, San Jose State +7

Pick: Over 56, San Jose State +7

Why: San Jose State has been one of the most pleasantly surprising teams in all of college football. After going just 2-6 in conference play a year ago, the Spartans find themselves with a perfect 6-0 record and their first ever top-25 ranking heading into the Mountain West championship game. What a turn around. Boise State is a solid team as per usual, but they’ve looked a bit sluggish in their most recent outings. The Broncos narrowly escaped Hawaii 40-32 and Wyoming 17-9 in their last two games, failing to cover the spread in both. As for taking the over, Boise State quarterback Hank Bachmeier has led the Broncos to three 40+ point scoring games in only four starts behind his impressive 8.1 yards per attempt. Boise State typically scores a bunch of points, but they also give up a ton as well. The Broncos have the 118th ranked defense nationally when it comes to explosiveness allowed. Personally, I think San Jose State can win this game outright, but a touchdown cushion at +7 is even better. Take the Spartans to finish this chapter of their storybook season in a high-scoring title game.

Game 5: Arizona State @ Oregon State

  • Kickoff: 9:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: ASU -7, ORST +7
  • O/U: 54.5
  • Money Line: ASU -265, ORST +210

Pick: Under 54.5

Why: The conditions for this matchup are going to be extra cruddy. There is currently expected rain, 50 degree temperatures, and 14 mph winds under the lights of Reser Stadium. The Sun Devil’s offense did look dangerous their last time out, putting up 70 points on Arizona, but it’s hard to not call it a fluke compared to their 18-point performance from the week before. Mother Nature should help us out with this one, back a low-scoring affair for these two teams final regular season game of the year.

Hammer time pick(s) of the week: Iowa State +6, Notre Dame +10.5

  • I am currently sitting at a 10-11 record all time on my hammer picks which is not up to par. I’m taking a bit of a gamble here, but ideally this will bring my record above .500 to 12-11.

Waluigi’s why not pick of the week: Illinois +16 against Penn State

  • After losing the last two times I picked Illinois to cover a spread, I told myself I was done betting on the Illini, but here we are. 16 points seems like too many, I’m back on the Illini train like I never left.

Paradise City parlay of the week: NO PARLAY this week

  • Enjoy championship weekend without sweating that last leg of a crucial parlay, you’ve earned it.

If you have been following along all year, I can not express how much your support means to me. Even if this is your first time reading Ryan’s Ramble, thanks for stopping by.

If I somehow manage to lose every pick this week, I will still achieve my original goal of finishing in the green (meaning over 50% win percentage). This was my first time doing any sort of deeper analysis on betting lines rather than just the amatuer eye test, and it’s safe to say I’ve discovered a new passion within writing. It’s only up from here.

I am sending positive vibes to you and all of your college football picks this weekend. #BeatTheBookie

List view:

  • Iowa State +6
  • Ole Miss -2
  • Notre Dame +10.5
  • Boise St. vs SJSU o56
  • SJSU +7
  • Arizona St. @ Oregon St. u54.5
  • Illinois +16