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On New Year’s Day, 2020, three of the four big bowl games featured an SEC team which was favored to win the game. Of course the winners of the SEC Title this year are the LSU Tigers, which will go up against head coach Dabo Swinney and his Clemson Tigers, once again as the favorites to win the CFP Championship on January 13th in New Orleans by 5.5 points.

Coach Nick Saban would surely rather have been at home in Alabama awaiting participation in the national championship game, but losses to LSU and Auburn this season pushed the Crimson Tide all the way down to number 13 in the CFP rankings and relegated them to the Citrus Bowl in Orlando to take on the number 14 ranked Michigan Wolverines as 7.5 point favorites.

The first half of the game was close and hard fought with Michigan holding a slim 16-14 lead at halftime, but the Tide rolled in the second half by scoring 21 points while shutting out the Wolverines.  Alabama won the game and covered the spread by a final score of 35-16, but the anticipated over & under of 61 only made it to 51.

Just down the road in Tampa, Florida, the Outback Bowl pitted an overachieving Minnesota Gopher team as 7 point underdogs to yet another SEC powerhouse, the Auburn Tigers, coming off a victory over archrival Alabama. But it was the day of the Gophers and mighty Auburn was upset by a final score of 31-24.  Las Vegas oddsmakers almost hit this over & under right on the money, they posted 54, the final scores totaled 55!

This year’s Rose Bowl not only provided a perfect setting with perfect weather, it also produced a really good, nonstop action type football game between the number 6 ranked Ducks of Oregon and the number 8 ranked Wisconsin Badgers out in sunny Pasadena, California.  The Badgers went into the game as 3.5 point favorites with the over & under set at 52 points.

Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert, who was in this year’s Heisman Trophy discussion, took the game on his shoulders and stiff armed his way into the end zone late in the fourth quarter to secure the slim one point victory for the Ducks by a final score of 28-27.

Down in New Orleans at the Sugar Bowl, the number 5 ranked Georgia Bulldogs, whom many had thought should have been the number 4 team in the CFP finals, took on the number 7 ranked Baylor Bears as representatives of the SEC as 3.5 point favorites, but the oddsmakers under estimated this one as the Bulldogs dominated the Sugar Bowl all evening long and gave credence to the idea that four teams are enough team for the CFP final tournament.  Georgia could have competed, but the competition fell off swiftly after that.  The Bulldogs won the game and covered the spread by a final score of 26-14.

The resurgent Kentucky Wildcats finished off a rare winning season by beating a very good Virginia Tech team on New Year’s Eve by a final score of 37-30 on a late touchdown pass from quarterback Lynn Bowden. The Wildcats went into the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, North Carolina as 2 point underdogs to the Hokies. The 67 total points scored far exceeded the posted over & under of 47 in the game.

The Orange Bowl from Miami Gardens, Florida was played on December 30th this year and featured the number 9 ranked Florida Gators taking on the number 24 ranked Virginia Cavaliers as huge 16 point favorites. The line turned out to be a bit too huge as the Cavaliers put up a tough challenge for the Gators, who did win the game, but did not cover.  Final score Gators 36- UVA 28 and the game went over the posted 56 over & under by 8 points.



The teams, dates, times and venues are set for one of the most anticipated weekends on the NFL schedule when everything is on the line in one game, winner take all, loser go home. They call it the ‘Wild Card Weekend’.

The two teams with the best overall records, based on win percentages, get to rest up on Wild Card Weekend.  They call it a ‘first round bye’, which means that the 4 teams with the best records will be home watching Wild Card Weekend on TV and evaluating their future competition.  Obviously first round bye is a coveted position to be in, not only for the rest, but for the chance to observe the teams that you will be facing when you do take the field on the following weekend.

In the AFC, or the American Football Conference, the two top teams at the end of regular season play were the Baltimore Ravens with a 14-2 record and the Kansas City Chiefs at 12-4. They are the number one and number two seeds respectively in the playoffs.

The New England Patriots, falling out of their usual placement as a first round bye after losing inexplicably to the Miami Dolphins in the last game of the regular season, are the number 3 seed and must face a tough Tennessee Titans team that just managed to sneak into the playoffs as the 6th seed in the AFC.

The Titans will go to Foxborough, Mass. to face Tom Brady and his 3rd seed   Patriots for the evening game on Saturday as 5.5 underdogs with the over & under being set at 43.5.  The winners of this game will have to travel to Baltimore next and take on the NFL leading Ravens in the divisional playoffs.

The early game on Saturday will take place between the number 4 seeded Houston Texans who will host the number 5 seed Buffalo Bills down in Houston as 3 point favorites with the over & under being set at 41.5. The winners will take on a well rested Kansas City Chiefs team on Sunday January 12th at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.

Over in the NFC, or National Football Conference, the San Francisco 49ers, the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints all ended up with the same overall record of 13 wins and 3 losses. The seeding is then determined by head-to-head matchups between the teams concerned.

As the 49ers defeated the Saints in the waning weeks of the regular season, San Francisco became the number one seed and the Saints fell to the number three seed and missed the first round bye they had previously anticipated.

Green Bay is the number 2 seed in the NFC and will enjoy the first round bye this year while the Saints will host the number 6 seed Minnesota Vikings, with whom the Saints already have a colorful history, in the early game on Sunday Jan. 5 in New Orleans as 7.5 point favorites, the largest spread being offered for Wild Card Weekend. The over & under in that one is 47.5 points.

Whoever comes out on top between the Saints and the Vikings will next travel all the way out to San Francisco to take on the 49ers coming off their first round bye week.  At least the weather should not be too much of a factor in sunny Santa Clara.

The last contest of Wild Card Weekend will take place in Philadelphia as the Eagles, who finished as the number 4 seed, will welcome in the number 5 seeded Seattle Seahawks who are favored in the game by 1.5 points. The over & under for the Seahawks and Eagles game is at an even 46 points.

The lucky winners of the Seattle-Philadelphia game will then get to travel up to the frozen tundra in the wilds of Wisconsin and take on the number 2 seed Green Bay Packers, probably in the cold and snow, in the conference playoffs.

In an interesting side note, all of the Wild Card Weekend games and Conference playoff games, with the exception of Houston and New Orleans, will be played in open, outdoor stadiums in the winter time.  So, bundle up, make your bets and hang on for a couple of weeks of prime NFL action.



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Going into their Big Ten Championship game against the University of Wisconsin, the Ohio State Buckeyes were the odds on favorites to win the NCAA Football Championship, or CFP, this year.  By half time all that had changed as the Badgers held a 21-7 lead over the Buckeyes who went into the game as 16.5 point favorites.

Even though Ohio State was able to come back after half time and put up 27 unanswered points to take home the victory, and the Big Ten Championship, by a final score of 34-21, the damage had been done. The weakness was exposed and shades of doubt began to creep into the minds of the committee members charged with making the decision of who shall be the number one college football team in the land.

Then the #2 ranked LSU Tigers simply dominated the Georgia Bulldogs, who came into the SEC Championship ranked #4 in the CFP standings as 7 point underdogs, but ended up losing by 27 points 37-10.  LSU put up grand total of 467 yards as Heisman Trophy favorite Joe Burrow at quarterback threw for 349 yards completing 28 of 38 passes with zero picks.

The choice left to the committee was clear.  LSU had the strongest resume overall and topped it off with a convincing defeat of the powerful Georgia Bulldogs while Ohio State struggled early on before asserting themselves in the second half of their game against Wisconsin.

So much so that the Tigers of LSU will now face the newly arrived #4 Oklahoma Sooners as 13 point favorites in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta on Saturday December the 28th while the Buckeyes will travel out to Glendale, Arizona to participate in the Fiesta Bowl as 2 point underdogs against Dabo Swinney’s Clemson Tigers.

Now the Clemson Tigers, led by quarterback Trevor Lawrence, are feeling a lack of respect from the CFP committee, but the Las Vegas oddsmakers are certainly giving them their due by crowning them as the favorites over the formally number one ranked Ohio State Buckeyes.

Assuming that LSU takes care of business in Atlanta and defeats the Sooners, the winners of the Ohio State-Clemson game are going to have to travel down to New Orleans and the Super Dome on January the 13th, 2020 to take on the Bayou Bengals in what amounts to being a home game for LSU in one of the loudest venues in all of football.

Before the drama of the CFP Semifinal Games get started at 4 EST, there is early action on Saturday December the 28th from Dallas as #17 Memphis takes on #10 Penn State as 7 point underdogs in the Cotton Bowl Classic on ESPN. Airing at the same time on ABC from Orlando will be a contest between the #15 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Cyclones of Iowa State University with the Irish listed as 3.5 point favorites for the Camping World Bowl.

The Orange Bowl from Miami this year will be played on Monday evening December the 30th between the #9 ranked Florida Gators and the #24 ranked Virginia Cavaliers with the Gators going in as 13.5 point favorites.

Top rated CFP games continue on New Year’s Day when #18 Minnesota plays that same #12 ranked Auburn team that defeated mighty Alabama just a few weeks ago. The Gophers will be 8 point underdogs against the Tigers of Auburn in the Outback Bowl from Tampa, Florida.

Then it’s ‘Oh how the mighty have fallen’, Alabama playing in the Citrus Bowl down in Orlando as the #13th ranked team in the land up against #14 Michigan Wolverines as 7 point favorites.  This game will pit two of the best known head coaches against one another in college football as Jim Harbaugh and Nick Saban try to salvage what they can from less than stellar seasons.

Out in Pasadena, California, the Rose Bowl will feature the #6 ranked Oregon Ducks against the Badgers of Wisconsin, listed at (-2.5),  who finished as the #8 ranked team in the country and represent the Big Ten since Ohio State is going on to the CFP Finals.

The final contest on New Year’s Day will be coming from New Orleans when the #5 Georgia Bulldogs take on the #7 Baylor Bears as 7.5 point favorites in the Sugar Bowl from the Super Dome down in the ‘Big Easy’.

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