The opening weekend of the SGPN College Football Tournament on NCAA Football 14 was electric. I hope you tuned in, maybe partook in some nose beers, and perhaps cashed some bets. If not, you’ll get another chance starting on Saturday.
We have back-to-back weekend double headers coming your way again! The two games on Saturday, followed by the two games on Sunday, will form our Elite 8.
Last weekend we saw the favorites go 4-0 straight up and 3-1 ATS. The Over also went 2-1-1. We got a great slate of games coming up. Tune in!
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Notre Dame Fighting Irish @ Wisconsin Badgers
Line: Wisc – 3.5
Saturday 5pm PST
We got a classic Midwestern college football battle here. Although these two are set to play the next two seasons (at Lambeau Field and at Soldier Field) they surprisingly haven’t squared off against each other since 1964. Notre Dame won that game, can they pull the upset here too?
The Badgers had a 10-2 regular season before dropping the Big 10 Championship to Ohio State (34-21) and the Rose Bowl to Oregon (28-27). They recorded nice wins over Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa and Minnesota while dropping regular season games at Illinois and again at Ohio State.
QB Jack Coan will lead Wisconsin out of the huddle but this offense is really built around RB Jonathan Taylor. The now Indianapolis Colt, rushed for 2,000 yards and 21 TD’s while finishing 5th in the Heisman voting. Other Badgers who recently got drafted and will be wearing the red and white for the last time include LB Zack Baun, C Tyler Biadasz, and WR Quintez Cephus.
Notre Dame also had a 10-2 regular season that was capped off with a nice 33-9 beating of Iowa State in the Camping World Bowl. They dropped games at Georgia and at Michigan but beat the likes of Louisville, UVA, USC, Va Tech, and Stanford.
QB Ian Book had a fantastic year, throwing for over 3,000 yards and 34 TD’s to just 6 INT’s. His top targets were WR Chase Claypool and TE Cole Kmet who were both recently drafted in the second round. RB Tony Jones leads a talented backfield and ran for 857 yards and 6 TD’s. The Irish have a balanced offensive attack that will be difficult to stop.
Defensively, Notre Dame only allowed one opponent to score north of 30 points this year. The D Line is led by DE Julian Okwara and Khalid Kareem who were 3rd and 5th round picks respectively. The experienced secondary looking to put the clamps on Coan is led by CB Tony Pride and S Alohi Gilman who were drafted in the 4th and 6th rounds.
This should be a close game decided in the final minutes. The hook is baiting me take Notre Dame. There’s not much that separates these teams. Notre Dame has a slight talent edge but the Badgers are playing in Camp Randall. Jonathan Taylor will get his but the Fighting Irish defense will do enough to keep it at least within a FG. Three of the four games last weekend went well over 54 points and I expect this one to as well. Give me Notre Dame and the Over.
UL Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns @ Clemson Tigers
Line: Clemson – 21.5
Saturday 7pm PST
After dropping the national championship game to LSU, Clemson is eager to get back on the field and get another crack at taking home a trophy. Their first round matchup has the underdog Ragin Cajuns coming into Death Valley. It should be noted that Sun Belt Champion, the Appalachian State Mountaineers, did not get the invite because…well back in 2014 they had yet to ascend to the FBS and therefore weren’t in the video game.
Dabo Swinney’s Tigers are led by future first round pick (probably first overall) QB Trevor Lawrence who threw for 3,665 yards and 36 TD’s with only 8 picks. Electric RB Travis Etienne ran for over 1,600 yards and 19 TD’s last year while the dynamic WR duo of Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross combined for over 2,000 yards and 21 TD’s. ULL won’t be able to contain this Clemson offense. In order to keep it respectable, they’re going to have to score some points.
Aiming to shut down the ULL offense will be a Clemson defense that limited opposing teams to 20 or less points in 13 of the 15 games. LB Isiah Simmons and CB AJ Terrell were first round NFL picks and S Tanner Muse was a third round selection. Expect the Tigers to be in the Ragin Cajun backfield all night causing disruption which will lead to multiple turnovers.
Although ULL lost to App State in the Sun belt title game, they had a great season that ended with a bowl victory over Miami OH and a final record of 11-3. Their regular season losses were against App State again and a 10 point defeat at Mississippi State in week 1.
Junior QB Levi Lewis had a stellar season, throwing for 3,050 yards and 26 TD’s to only 4 Int’s. RB Elijah Mitchell was one of the best in the conference, scampering for over 1,100 yards and 16 TD’s while backup RB’s Ray Calais and Trey Ragas both also ran for over 800 yards. Clearing the way for all these backs was an excellent offensive line that had two players drafted in the first 135 selections. For a Sun Belt team to have two offensive lineman drafted that early in the same year is unheard of. The main question is if they can handle, or at least hold their own, against an athletic and talented Clemson defensive front.
Look, we all know Clemson is going to win comfortably it’s just by how much. I took LSU to cover the 24 last week and they burned me. Louisiana is better than Miami OH (evident by beating them in the bowl game) and Clemson is not quite as good as LSU. Give me UL Lafayette to pull off the cover and give me another Over as well.