Ari Wasserman, David Ubben and Kennington Smith III previewed the biggest games of college football rivalry week on the Until Saturday podcast. The duo made picks against the spread for Georgia vs. Alabama, Oregon vs. Washington, Florida State vs. Louisville and more.
Below is an edited, abridged version of their discussion on all 10 conference title games. The full episode includes discussion on Michigan (-23.5) vs. Iowa, Texas (-14.5) vs. Oklahoma State, SMU at Tulane (-3.5), Boise State (-2.5) at UNLV, Toledo (-7.5) vs. Miami (Ohio), New Mexico State at Liberty (-10.5) and Appalachian State at Troy (-6.5).
You can listen to the full episode here.
Georgia (-5.5) vs. Alabama
Wasserman: I kind of just get a sense that everybody is just assuming that Georgia is going to win, and I don’t necessarily think I buy that. Dave, what do you think?
Ubben: I’m with you on this, I think. Five and a half points with Nick Saban and a very good Alabama team, that’s too juicy. I definitely am taking Bama in this game. I think they can win this game outright.
I am concerned because, like I said, all of the concerns that we had for Alabama, we were right about those things, Ari. Those have been an issue. The receivers have come on a little bit late, but they still don’t have a game-breaker. They have some good pieces. Isaiah Bond has made some nice plays. Jermaine Burton sort of comes and goes. He can make some plays, but he sort of is who he is. We’ve seen a lot of him over the course of his career. If there’s any team that can expose some of those warts, limit Jalen Milroe, keep him in the pocket, keep contain, it’s Georgia. But Bama’s too juicy here. I think Georgia wins this and there’s a world in which Georgia wins this game, you know, 31-20, 31-17, something like that. But I like Bama on the points here because I think they can win, and if you got an underdog that you can easily see winning outright, I think you take Bama here and I would put a little sprinkle on Bama outright.
Wasserman: The thing that scares me is you can convince yourself that the Auburn game was kind of a re-emerging storyline to the entire country that these warts still exist, right?
I do think that if you are worried about Alabama on one side of it, you also have some general concern on the other with Georgia. They aren’t as good as they were the last two years, winning national championship game three years in a row is really, really, really hard, winning two in a row is really hard. And they haven’t played anybody as deep and talented as Alabama this year. So if Georgia is going to be exposed, this is also the stage in which it’s done.
So, Kenny, from your perspective, how do you kind of see this game playing out? And is Alabama, in your opinion, good and deep enough to beat Georgia?
Smith: Georgia has not played an elite defense this year, and that is what they’re going to see in Atlanta for the first time. Georgia’s offensive line has played great, and I think a lot of why Carson Beck is so successful is the fact that Georgia’s offensive line keeps him clean. But they haven’t seen a pass rush duo like Chris Braswell and Dallas Turner this season. And to me, the crux of the game comes down to who’s going to affect the quarterback the most. Are Turner and Braswell going to be able to heat Beck up a little bit? Is Georgia going to be able to generate some pressure on Jalen Milroe?
I think Alabama is definitely talented enough and definitely deep enough to win this game. I think I like Alabama and the points in this game. Like I said, I think everything in me, and maybe you two feel the same way, points to Georgia winning this game because you look at the positions who would you rather have? Georgia probably wins more positions than Alabama, but this is a matchup in which Alabama can exploit some weaknesses that Georgia has as well, especially defensively. So I like Alabama and the points. I think it’s going to be a really, really close game. And if Alabama were to win this game, I don’t see how you can keep both of these teams out of the Playoff.
Wasserman: I think I’m going to lay the points here. I think that Georgia is going to win by a touchdown. I think it’s going to be a good game. I don’t 100 percent trust Alabama to be the perfect edition of what it would take to actually win this game. Nick Saban’s a genius. He’s a wizard. It’s hard to pick against him. But Jalen Milroe going against the 12th-ranked pass defense in the country, the fifth-ranked defense in yards per play. They’re going against a legitimate animal defense and I think that Georgia is a more complete team that I have less to worry about.
Oregon (-9.5) vs. Washington
Wasserman: Washington is catching 9.5 points, which means Vegas kind of feels the same way that you do, Dave, about Oregon.
Ubben: Not 9.5 points. I feel good about Oregon. I thought Oregon was a better team all season. I thought that going into that first game. Oregon’s a more complete team. They’re better in the line of scrimmage. They’re better at defense. I think these offenses are comparable. Washington, probably a little bit more talent, but Oregon just as effective. Nine and a half points, though, it’s too many points. Too many points.
Wasserman: That’s what everybody thinks.
Smith: I agree. Nine and a half seems a little disrespectful. I understand the Oregon agenda is really strong right now. Both with Bo Nix in the Heisman race and obviously Oregon being primed to take a College Football Playoff spot with a win. But I imagine a closer game than this spread is trying to imply.
Ubben: Fifty-eight percent of the money is on Washington, so it’s not real lopsided. If it was like 90 percent I would be scared, but it’s not.
Wasserman: I think that Washington has done a tremendously good job of going undefeated. It never ceases to amaze me how difficult it is and how people don’t appreciate it. That said, I think that Washington in the Vegas power ratings is outside of the top 10 in terms of the statistics and the algorithms that they use to decide these spreads. So to me, you look at Oregon and you’ve been talking about all year that they are a more complete team or a complete team in general. Ten points feels like a lot, but is 38-28, 41-31 that out of the question? It is hard to cover a spread like this and Washington’s going to be playing for its life. It’s really hard to beat the same team twice, but I am leaning Oregon here. I just think that Oregon is a more complete, better football team.
Smith: I’m taking Washington and the points, but I’m also going to take that over. I’m expecting a lot of points in this game. Really exciting. And it is truly a shame that the Pac-12 is going out in this blaze of glory.
Florida State (-2.5) vs. Louisville
Wasserman: Do you think that Florida State is going to lose, either of you?
Ubben: Yeah, I do.
Wasserman: You do?
Ubben: Florida let that game go. Florida was the better team in the first half. Florida State looked like they were completely lost for a good chunk of that game. Louisville is a lot more competent than Florida and if Louisville puts them in the double-digit hole, Florida State is not climbing out of that. Louisville’s really good defensively, they have more weapons than Florida, obviously better quarterback play.
I think Louisville wins and I think Louisville outright is my lock of the week here going plus money.
Smith: Florida State can win this game, and I think Kentucky provided a blueprint to win this game. Going back to last week’s game, Louisville pretty much dominated every statistical category. They outgained them, they were better on third down, they had better time of possession, but there was an area that they didn’t win that led to a Kentucky win, which is turnover margin. Florida State is a significantly better team at protecting and taking away the football than Louisville is. Florida State is one of the best teams in turnover margin.
I look at it as Florida State being able to control the game on the ground, take care of the football, create some havoc on defense and win a tough game, win an Iowa-esque type of of game. Just don’t turn the ball over and and find a way to escape with a win.
Wasserman: I think that Florida State’s going to win. I think they figured some things out in the second half last week. I think their running game is too good. Louisville lost to Pitt and I’ll never be able to forget that.
(Photo of Michael Penix Jr.: Jesse Beals / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Daniel Miller is a sports fanatic who lives and breathes athletics. His coverage spans from major league championships to local sports events, delivering up-to-the-minute updates and in-depth analysis for sports enthusiasts.