The 2019 college football season moves into Week 15, which is Conference Championship Weekend, the final fling for the regular season before the Army-Navy Game a week later, and then the bowl games the week after that. The College Football Playoff will be selected the day after the Saturday conference title games, but there are prizes other than playoff berths in the smaller conferences. Merely winning a conference championship is enough to create a successful season in the Sun Belt, where Appalachian State is trying to preserve its top-25 national ranking. Let’s look at some over-unders for these championship games, many of which will be played in neutral sites listed as part of the game information.
No. 13 Oregon vs. No. 5 Utah – Santa Clara, CA
The Ducks will be playing for the Rose Bowl, while Utah will be playing for a possible playoff spot. The general line of thought is that if Oklahoma beats Baylor, Oklahoma will get in. If Baylor beats Oklahoma, however, Utah will get in with a win over Oregon. The Utes play Friday, about 20 hours before Baylor and Oklahoma play, so the Utes won’t be distracted by looking at the out-of-town scoreboard. They should be focused, and since they played in this Pac-12 Championship Game last year against Washington, they should be ready for the occasion.
Does this seem irrelevant to the over-under? Maybe, but realize that Utah leans on its defense first. Oregon would like a higher-scoring game. Utah has been the steadier, better team of these two, and when it lost its only game to USC, it lacked running back Zach Moss, who will be healthy in this game.
The Utah defense is rolling right now. Utah’s offense is playing fairly well, but the defense sets the tone. Oregon’s offense looked stale against Arizona State and Oregon State. This game won’t be the 10-3 game last year’s Pac-12 title game was, but it will be lower scoring than some think. Take the under.
No. 21 Cincinnati at No. 16 Memphis
This game is a rematch of the game played last week, a 34-24 Memphis win. If these teams are playing two weeks in a row, that probably will favor the defense, since the defensive players and the two defensive coordinators will have a better understanding of what each team likes to do, and is also weak at doing in certain situations. If last week’s game scored 58 points, this week’s game is more likely to go lower rather than higher. Take the under.
Hawaii at No. 19 Boise State
This game, like a number of other conference championship games, is a rematch of a regular-season game. In this particular case, Boise State beat Hawaii 59-37, a 96-point total. This game won’t be as high-scoring as that one, but even if it is 30 points lower, it still hits the over. Boise State should be able to score 40 or more points against Hawaii, and the Rainbow Warriors should be able to score in the mid-20s with their passing attack against the Boise State defense. This game will probably be very close to the actual posted total, but it should still go over. Expect 42-28 or 45-30, something in that area.
Louisiana-Lafayette at No. 22 Appalachian State
The Appalachian State Mountaineers defeated the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns on October 9. The score was 17-7. This game should definitely be higher scoring, but are these two offenses going to find 33 more combined points? That is what they will need to hit the over in this game. That’s five touchdowns, basically. I’m not sure these two offenses will score five more combined touchdowns, given how well the two defenses played against each other. Take the under.
No. 4 Georgia vs. No. 1 LSU – In Atlanta, GA
The Georgia defense is really good, but the LSU offense is great. Joe Burrow will be the 2019 Heisman Trophy Award winner. He has been by far the best player in the United States. It is not that close. Chase Young of Ohio State did not have a great game against Michigan. Jalen Hurts has dropped off in recent weeks.
Justin Fields has been good but not spectacular in November. Burrow is the best of the best in college football, and unless Georgia can slow him down – only Auburn truly limited Burrow during the 2019 regular season – LSU should put up at least 35 points if not more. Georgia should be able to score at least 17 to 20 points and push this game over the total.
No. 10 Wisconsin vs. No. 2 Ohio State – In Indianapolis, IN
This game is another regular season rematch. Ohio State won the first game 38-7, but that game was played in a driving rainstorm. Offensive players didn’t have a good feel for the ball. The conditions were not conducive to good offense.
This game will be played in Indianapolis and Lucas Oil Stadium, a domed facility. The offenses should be a lot better, especially Wisconsin’s, which scored 38 last week against Minnesota. This game should go well over the number.
No. 22 Virginia vs. No. 3 Clemson – In Charlotte, NC
The Clemson defense should dominate Virginia’s offense. Clemson knows that if it loses this game, it will not make the College Football Playoff due to a weak schedule. The Tigers usually turn it up a notch in these situations.
That generally means they will play great defense, and that’s why the under looks like a better play in this game on Saturday night in Charlotte. Clemson might win 31-10 or something in that area.
No. 8 Baylor vs. No. 6 Oklahoma – In Arlington, TX
The Baylor defense is very consistent, and the Oklahoma defense – while terrible for a few games in 2019 – has generally been very strong. The two teams played a 34-31 game a few weeks ago. They will probably play a game in that similar range here.
The fact that Oklahoma’s passing game has declined from previous weeks is a good reason to think that Baylor’s defense can once again contain Oklahoma’s offense. The game should hit very close to the actual total, but one should lean ever so slightly to the under in this game.