Can Georgia keep pace with LSU's offensive machine?

Tony Barnhart

Man, it has gone by fast, hasn’t it?

This is our last Pick Six for the 2019 season and I would really like to go out on a winning note.

Last week we again went 3-3. Let’s start with the good:

**--I picked Auburn, a 3 ½ point underdog, to beat Alabama straight up. But I never dreamed the two teams would combine for 93 points. Auburn prevailed in an instant classic 48-45.

**--Kentucky, playing its seventh game with a wide receiver (Lynn Bowden, Jr.) at quarterback, was picked to beat Louisville by a mere 3 ½. Picking the Wildcats was like stealing money as they rolled 45-13.

**--And you can’t go wrong taking LSU and laying only 16 points against Texas A&M. The Tigers went to 12-0 by beating the Aggies 50-7.

The bad:

**--I thought South Carolina (4-8) would really step up and play Clemson tough at home in the Gamecocks’ final game of the season. I thought the Tigers would be looking ahead to the ACC championship game. Wrong. Very wrong. Clemson won a 38-3 beat down.

**--With Georgia’s recent struggles on offense and with a big game coming up with LSU for the SEC championship, I didn’t think the Bulldogs would cover 29 ½ against Georgia Tech. They did it easily, 52-7.

**--Tennessee beat Vanderbilt 28-10 but they didn’t cover the 20-point spread.

The leaves us with a record of 49-33-2 record against the spread. Not too bad.

Here we go with Championship week.


The game: Pac-12 championship, Santa Clara, Calif.: No. 13 Oregon (10-2) (plus 6 ½) vs. No. 5 Utah (11-1), 8 p.m. (FOX)

The winner: Utah

The score: Utah 31, Oregon 24.

The skinny: Utah, which has never won a Pac-12 championship, needs a win over the Ducks to stay alive for the College Football Playoffs. The Utes have one of the better quarterback/running back combinations in the game in QB Tyler Huntley and RB Zack Moss (113.3 yards per game). The defense potentially has seven players who will be drafted. Oregon’s two losses were to Auburn in Dallas and Arizona State on the road. Utah wins and covers.


The game: Big 12 championship, Dallas. No. 7 Baylor (11-1, plus 8 ½) vs. No. 6 Oklahoma (11-1), Noon (ABC).

The winner: Oklahoma.

The score: Oklahoma 35, Baylor 24.

The skinny: These teams met on Nov. 16 at Baylor, when the Bears saw 25-point lead disappear into a 34-31 loss to the Sooners. If Oregon beats Utah in the Pac-12 championship game Friday night and LSU beats Georgia in the SEC championship game, this game will be for a spot in the College Football Playoff. It will be a battle of two dynamic quarterbacks in Oklahoma’s Jaylen Hurts, who leads the Big 12’s top scoring offense (44.3 ppg) and Baylor’s Charlie Brewer, who has completed more than 60 percent of his passes in 21 of his 28 starts.

The game: SEC Championship, Atlanta. No. 2 LSU (12-0) vs. No. 4 Georgia (11-1, plus 7 ½), 4 p.m., CBS.

The winner: LSU.

The score: LSU 35, Georgia 27.

The skinny: LSU has the SEC’s No. 1 offense (48.7 ppg) while Georgia has the league’s best defense (10.4 ppg). LSU has the almost-certain Heisman Trophy winner in quarterback Joe Burrow, who has already set the SEC record for most passing yards in a season (4,366) and needs just one touchdown pass to give him 45, which would also be the SEC record. This will be the third straight year that Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm has started in the SEC championship game. He’ll have to have a big game for the Bulldogs to hang with LSU’s offensive machine. Georgia’s best shot is for that defense to keep the game in the 20s.

The game: ACC Championship, Charlotte. No. 3 Clemson (12-0) vs. No. 23 Virginia (9-3, plus 28 ½), 7:30 p.m., ABC.

The winner: Clemson.

The score: Clemson 42, Virginia 13.

The skinny: It’s pretty simple. If the Tigers win they advance to the College Football Playoff for the fifth straight season. Clemson, led by quarterback Trevor Lawrence (2,870 yards, 30 TD) and running back Travis Etienne (1,386 yards), has dominated the competition since a tight 21-20 win over North Carolina on Sept. 28. Only once in that seven-game stretch has Clemson scored fewer than 40 points.

Clemson wins and easily covers.

The game: Big Ten championship, Indianapolis. No. 1 Ohio State (12-0) vs. No. 8 Wisconsin (10-2, plus 16 ½), 8 p.m. FOX.

The winner: Ohio State.

The score: Ohio State 35, Wisconsin 17.

The skinny: These two teams met during the regular season with Ohio State winning 38-7 on Oct. 26 in Columbus. The Buckeyes are dynamic on offense with running back J.K. Dobbins, who has rushed for 1,657 yards and 19 touchdowns, and sophomore quarterback Justin Fields, the transfer from Georgia, who has 37 touchdown passes, including four last week against Michigan.

The Buckeyes will win and cover. But will it be impressive enough to hold on to the No. 1 ranking in the final CFP Standings?

The game: American Athletic Conference championship. No. 20 Cincinnati (10-2, plus 8 ½) at No. 17 Memphis (11-1), 3:30 p.m., ABC.

The winner: Memphis.

The score: Memphis 31, Cincinnati 20.

The skinny: This is one of the biggest games in Memphis history. Along with an AAC championship, a win against the Bearcats makes it all but certain that the Tigers will get the New Year’s Six Bowl (Cotton) bid that is assigned to the highest ranked Group of Five team. These two teams met last week with Memphis winning 34-24. This is the first 11-win season in Memphis history. The Tigers’ only loss was to Temple 30-28 back on Oct. 12.


Tony Barnhart