The 2023 college football regular season is sadly behind us, as the conference championships begin this weekend across the country. But before we talk about our picks for the SEC Championship Game, I'll discuss everything that went down in the final week of the regular season.
I have to start with what was maybe the most whacky and entertaining game of the season. That is... unless you're an Auburn fan. The Tigers had almost nailed the coffin closed on #8 Alabama. But after an inexplicable muffed punt by Auburn with just under five minutes to play, Alabama regained possession nearly inside the red zone and trailing by four points. The next four-plus minutes of football was a rollercoaster of momentum and excitement that culminated in a miraculous touchdown pass to the corner of the end zone on 4th and goal from the 31-yard line. Jalen Milroe had legitimately all day to throw, and placed a perfect pass to Isaiah Bond just out of reach of the defender.
I'm fired up about what I just witnessed in the Chiefs/Eagles matchup. We had the over 44.5, and so I was rooting for both offenses rather than one team over the other. And boy, was that an agonizing aspect to cheer for.
The Chiefs have to have the worst receiving corps in the NFL. Marquez Valdes-Scantling dropped a wide open deep touchdown pass on the final drive that would have given us 45 total points and a win. But it went through his hands and fell to the turf, a result that Mahomes couldn't dig himself out of. Though not for lack of effort on his part, as his fourth down pass went through the arms of Justin Watson to put a nail in the game's coffin.
We didn't get any SEC games that went down to the wire until the 7:30pm window in Week 12, as all but two games on the day ended in blowout fashion. Granted, most of those games featured non-Power 5 opponents. I'll talk about just a couple of the matchups we saw on Saturday before we get into our bets for the final week of the regular season.
We had a rough start to our bets on Sunday, but rebounded in a major way to finish the week with a 4-2-1 record. The Lock of the Week also hit, bringing that to a very impressive 7-2 on the season. I think it was also the biggest spread I've taken with my weekly Lock, but it paid off as the Cowboys wrangled the Giants with ease.
We now sit at 34-31-3 on the season, and we'll try to push further into plus .500 territory in what should be an intriguing week of football.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Over 33.0
Week 11 was a week of blowouts in the SEC. The smallest margin of victory came in the final game of the night as LSU beat Florida 52-35. The biggest surprises were Auburn's sudden surge of offense to massacre Arkansas and Missouri's beatdown of Tennessee to officially knock the Vols out of the SEC title race.
Georgia also demolished Ole Miss as they appeared to return to their typical form we've gotten used to over the last few years. They clinched the SEC East on Saturday and will face off against none other than Alabama, who also clinched the West with a big win over Kentucky.
I gotta be honest, I wasn't super confident in any of the picks I gave out yesterday. So much so that I forgot to even designate a Lock of the Week. Some of the bets I placed ended up being so far off that I just had to laugh - such as the Under 40 in the Bucs/Texans matchup ending with a score of 39-37. But before an arrow is fired through a bullseye of a target, it must first be drawn back by the archer. And after our draw back week in Week 9, we'll smash through the target in Week 10.
Our record on the season is still above .500 at 30-29-2, and the Lock of the Week remains 6-2. It's time to bounce back with these seven picks I'm giving out for free today.
Jacksonville Jaguars +3.0 vs. San Francisco 49ers
There were some excellent football games in Week 10, and we have a clearer picture of the potential SEC championship contestants after the eight games last Saturday. I'll recap some of the bigger storylines from the week that was in the Southeastern Conference.
Georgia beat Missouri in a tighter game than a lot of people expected, and they now just have to win either of their final two SEC matchups to advance to the championship game yet again.
In the West, Alabama all but secured their SEC title appearance by beating LSU at home in a game that was on track to be an all-time classic until Bama knocked Jayden Daniels out of the game in the fourth quarter. I'll be talking a little more about this game later, but Bama just needs to beat either Kentucky or Auburn in the next two weeks to lock up their division.
Week 8 was a decent bounce back after a poor performance in Week 7 of the NFL season, but it could have been a lot better. We suffered two pretty bad beats, including a 4-point loss from the Browns, who we took at +3.5. Even more frustrating was the Cardinals scoring a touchdown with just over a minute left to cut Baltimore's lead to 10 before recovering an onside kick and kicking a field goal to ruin our Ravens -9.5 bet.
Still, we got back on the plus side for the week and the Lock of the Week hit yet again - though it took a near miracle for the Jets to pull off the sneaky overtime cover against the Giants.
We now sit at 28-24-2 with a 6-2 Lock of the Week as we roll into Week 10. Let's go 7-0 this week with the bets I'll give you now.
Los Angeles Rams +3.0 at Green Bay Packers
Week 9 of the college football season passed without too much drama in the SEC. The only contest decided by just one score was the primetime matchup between Tennessee and Kentucky, which the Vols won 33-27. That game, as well as the other four, went more or less as most people expected going into the weekend.
I would like to add the Georgia looked about as good as they have all season against Florida in their first game without Brock Bowers. They should remain strong championship contenders if they can continue to get the job done down the stretch.
When it rains it pours...
Last weekend was one of the worst weekends of football I've had in a while, across both college football and the NFL. It started on Saturday as my Tennessee Volunteers steamrolled Alabama in the first half, only to get 27 straight scored on them to lose the game. There was questionable officiating and though I won't solely blame that for the loss, it really set the tone for how my weekend was going to go.