The first Saturday in December hosts a bevy of big, impact games in the College Football world. But, we have all the big matchups covered in our Week 14 cheat sheet.
(23) Oklahoma State at Baylor (+5, 87.5)
This a matchup of two of the nation’s most balanced offenses and it shows in the total – the highest ever for a major football game. Both teams are among four FBS schools that average more than 300 passing yards and 200 rushing yards (Louisiana Tech and Texas A&M are the others). The Bears have won two straight and three of four to gain bowl eligibility, and the offense has led the surge with 52 points in each of the past two games. But Baylor has lost 15 of the last 16 meetings and hasn’t beaten the Cowboys since 2005. Oklahoma State is coming off a 51-48 overtime loss to rival Oklahoma. The Cowboys are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 meetings.
(11) Oklahoma at TCU (+5.5, 60)
Oklahoma has won seven Big 12 titles since 2000 but needs a win and some help to secure another. The Sooners have won four straight, including a wild overtime victory over Oklahoma State last week. Landry Jones threw for 500 yards and three touchdowns on a school-record 71 pass attempts in the win. The Horned Frogs relied on their defense, which held the Longhorns to season lows in points and yards, in their 20-13 win last week over Texas. TCU is 0-4 ATS in its last four games following a win.
Kansas at West Virginia (-20, 71)
Kansas will conclude its woeful campaign on the road against West Virginia. The Jayhawks are winless against Big 12 foes this season and have dropped 20 conference games in a row. West Virginia is likely looking at a bid to the Holiday Bowl in San Diego should it win Saturday’s contest. A loss would likely put the Mountaineers in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. West Virginia snapped a five-game losing skid with a 31-24 triumph over Iowa State last Friday but is just 1-4 ATS in its last five home contests.
Middle Tennessee at Arkansas State (-10.5, 62.5)
The Sun Belt Conference doesn’t have a championship game, but Week 14’s tilt between the Arkansas State Red Wolves and Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders will determine the conference champ. ASU, which is coming off a bye week, has won six straight games and has covered in each of its last four contests. The Blue Raiders have also been excellent against the spread recently, going 3-0-1 in their last four.
UL Lafayette at Florida Atlantic (+9, 60)
Louisiana-Lafayette cruises into the final regular season game riding back-to-back wins and victories in three of four with the only blemish being a seven-point loss at Florida. FAU may have a 3-8 record, but the Owls have beaten both Troy and Western Kentucky in league play in the past four weeks. The Ragin’ Cajuns are just 1-6 ATS in their last seven meetings and the Owls are 6-0 ATS in their last six vs. a team with a winning record.
(20) Boise State at Nevada (+8.5, 59)
A win by the Broncos would give them a share of the Mountain West Conference title with San Diego State and Fresno State. And Nevada has already accepted a bid to the New Mexico Bowl. Boise State’s defense has been stellar all season and has forced 32 turnovers – 16 interceptions and 16 fumbles. The Broncos are fifth in scoring defense (14.4 points per game) and eighth in rushing defense (293.3 yards). The Wolf Pack are the only team in the country to score 30 or more points in each game but a leaky defense has allowed more than 30 six times. Nevada has played over the total in four of its last five games and the over is 4-0 in Boise State’s last four road games. Nevada also needs a win to go over its season win total of 7.5 games.
Cincinnati at Connecticut (+4.5, 40.5)
With a win here and a loss by Rutgers on Thursday, Cincy would gain a share of the Big East title for the fourth time in five years. Connecticut, meanwhile, is a win away from gaining bowl eligibility for the fifth time in six seasons. The Huskies scored a total of 33 points during a four-game losing streak from Oct. 6 to Nov. 3. They’ve scored 47 in two wins since, although 13 of those points came in overtime against Louisville. The home team is 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings between the schools.
New Mexico State at Texas State (-13.5, 57.5)
The first-ever meeting between a couple of disappointing WAC programs takes place on Saturday, as the Texas State Bobcats play host to the New Mexico State Aggies. Back on Aug. 30, the Aggies began the season with a 49-19 win over FCS Sacramento State at home, but have since dropped 10 straight. New Mexico State has struggled mightily on offense recently, having been limited to 14 points or less in its last five games. Texas State has also been brutal, dropping five straight contests, but showed some life in a 38-31 defeat to Texas-San Antonio last week. The Bobcats are 4-0 ATS in their last four games.
(2) Alabama at (3) Georgia (+7.5, 50)
A berth in the BCS Championship Game against Notre Dame is at stake when Alabama and Georgia clash in Saturday’s SEC title game in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Alabama leads the nation in points allowed (9.3) and total defense (233.7). The Bulldogs rank 17th in points allowed (17.7) but have been especially stingy the last five games, allowing an average of 8.6 points. The schools have played over the total in their last four meetings and the Crimson Tide are 6-0 ATS in their last six neutral site games.
Pittsburgh at South Florida (+7, 46)
The Panthers have shown a tendency to play to the level of their competition this season. Pitt is coming off a huge victory over Rutgers (its second win against a ranked opponent at the time), just two weeks after taking Notre dame to triple overtime. The Panthers have an opportunity to become bowl eligible with a victory and won’t be lacking motivation this weekend. South Florida is devastated by injuries at the QB position. Freshman Matt Floyd has yet to throw a touchdown pass in two starts and has led the offense to a total of 19 points in back-to-back losses at Miami and Cincinnati. The Panthers are 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall.
(18) Texas at (6) Kansas State (-10.5, 63)
The Wildcats need to beat the Longhorns to clinch their first BCS berth since the 2004 Fiesta Bowl and at least a share of their first Big 12 title since 2003. The Longhorns fell out of the conference title picture with a 20-13 loss to TCU on Thanksgiving and are now simply trying to improve their bowl pecking order and play spoiler for a Kansas State team that has won the past four meetings with Texas. The Longhorns have won their last five road games, including all four this season, and they’ve beaten two ranked teams away from home this campaign (then No. 22 Oklahoma State, then-No. 20 Texas Tech). The underdog is 7-0 ATS in their last seven meetings.
(13) Florida State vs. Georgia Tech (+14, 61.5)
Both teams are coming off disappointing losses to their in-state rivals, with Florida State losing 37-26 to Florida and Georgia Tech falling 42-10 against Georgia. The winner of this contest advances to the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Day, possibly against the Big East champion. The Seminoles boast the nation’s second-best defense, allowing 249.42 yards per game, but they’ll be without senior DE Cornellius Carradine (ACL) for the rest of the season. The prognosis for Georgia Tech’s leading rusher Orwin Smith is unclear for Saturday’s ACC title game. Smith was held out of practice again Wednesday because of his ankle injury suffered in the Duke game Nov. 17. The Seminoles are 0-2-2 ATS in their last four meetings.
(12) Nebraska vs. Wisconsin (+3.5, 49)
With a Rose Bowl berth on the line Saturday, the Badgers are the only obstacle that remains in the way of the Cornhuskers winning their first Big Ten conference championship. Wisconsin is appearing in this game only because Ohio State and Penn State are ineligible for postseason play this season. The Badgers have dropped three of their last four games, but all three were in overtime. In fact, all five of Wisconsin’s losses this season have been by seven points or less and have come by a combined 19 points. The Cornhuskers have played over the total in their last eight neutral site games.
South Alabama at Hawaii (-6.5, 52.5)
The South Alabama Jaguars are 0-6 on the road this season, allowing 35.2 points per game away from home. And now the Jaguars face a long and difficult road trip to Hawaii for their season finale. “We’re going to lose a day in travel, so we have had to kind of tighten our belts coming straight off the last game and get the game plan in even earlier than we normally would,” Jaguars defensive coordinator Bill Clark said Wednesday. “It’s a different feeling this week. You’re at the end of a long season; as a player, you just have to fight through that. From a preparation standpoint, it’s a time crunch trying to get ready.” South Alabama has failed to cover in its last four games overall. Sharps and the public are on Hawaii and have driven this line up a field goal since it opened.