It’s Championship Week in college football. Here are six burning questions heading into Saturday’s six big matchups, with conference titles and BCS bids on the line.
Oklahoma Sooners at Oklahoma State Cowboys (-9.5, 57)
Will the Sooners be able to continue their domination over the Cowboys?
The bedlam rivalry game has been completely dominated by Oklahoma throughout the decades, with the Sooners holding an 82-18-7 record all-time in the series.
While Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy is just 1-7 SU (2-6 ATS) versus the Sooners in his career, his lone victory came in 2011 - the last time OSU faced OU for a chance at a share of the Big 12 championship.
The Cowboys come in playing their best football of the season, fresh off convincing wins against nationally-ranked Baylor and Texas, two teams that have beaten the Sooners this season.
Texas Longhorns at Baylor Bears (-15, 71.5)
After back-to-back bad showings, can the Bears’ offense turn it around?
Baylor and its high-octane offense have limped to the finish line. After a humiliating 49-17 loss to Oklahoma State killed their national title hopes, the Bears barely hung on to defeat TCU 41-38 last week, as the nation’s No. 1 offense was held to under 400 total yards for the first time in 38 games.
But Baylor should get a major boost this Saturday when it returns to Waco, where a record crowd is expected for the last ever BU game at Floyd Casey Stadium. The ninth-ranked Bears are 9-0 SU/ATS in their last nine at home, including five straight wins against ranked opponents.
Missouri Tigers vs. Auburn Tigers (-2, 58)
Is this a possible letdown spot for Auburn or are the Tigers truly a “team of destiny?”
After the “Immaculate Deflection” in the last minute against Georgia and Chris Davis’s 109-yard missed field goal return for a touchdown to defeat the mighty Crimson Tide, it certainly looks like the third-ranked Tigers are destined to win the BCS title in 2013.
But wait just a minute. Those other Tigers from Mizzou may have a little something to say about that.
Missouri is 5-0 SU/ATS on the road in 2013 and QB James Franklin and the Missouri offense looked sharp in last week’s 28-21 win over Texas A&M - one of the big reasons why bettors have pushed the number down from its opening of Auburn as 3-point favorites down to as low as 1.5.
Duke Blue Devils vs. Florida State Seminoles (-29, 62)
Can upstart Duke actually keep it close vs. the top-ranked Seminoles?
David Cutcliffe and the No. 20 Blue Devils might be the feel-good story of the college football season, but they could be in for a rude awakening come Saturday.
Florida State has won 14 straight meetings vs. Duke dating back to 1994. But take a closer look inside the numbers and you’ll find FSU is a perfect 9-0 ATS in games where they were favored against Duke by 30 points or less, and just 1-4 ATS when favored by 31 or more. Saturday’s game opened with FSU as a 30-point favorite and has been bet down to 29 points.
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Michigan State Spartans (+5.5, 51.5)
Can Ohio State run the ball successfully against MSU’s No. 1 rush defense?
The Buckeyes feature college football’s second best rushing offense (321.3 yards per game), led by RB Carlos Hyde and QB Braxton Miller, who’ve combined for nearly 2,200 yards on the ground this season.
On the other hand, the Spartans boast the nation’s top run defense, allowing a paltry 64.8 yards per game. So who has the edge?
Considering MSU has held 10 of 12 opponents to under 100 yards rushing and has allowed only 46 points over its past six games (7.7 ppg) – just five more points than the Buckeyes gave up to lowly Michigan last week - the Buckeyes and their rushing attack will certainly have their work cut out for them come Saturday.
Stanford Cardinal at Arizona State Sun Devils (-3, 56)
Will home field prove to be the difference for ASU in its rematch with Stanford?
On the heels of a 42-28 loss at Stanford on Sep. 21, revenge will certainly be on the minds of Arizona State when it hosts the Cardinal in the Pac-12 championship game.
The Sun Devils are hot, having won seven straight, but are 0-3 SU (0-2-1 ATS) in their last three versus Stanford, including a 17-13 loss in Tempe back in 2010.
Any doubts surrounding Stanford’s ability to beat a team twice in the same season were answered just last year when it knocked off UCLA 27-24 in the conference championship after defeating the Bruins 35-17 during the 2012 regular season.