This story first appeared at SuperWest Sports (https://superwestsports.com/nick-bartletts-week-14-superwest-fearless-cfb-predictions/)
Wise is the bettor who consults Nick’s No-Nonsense Betting Tips before logging on to his sportsbook.
Last week was pretty good for me—and for you, if you followed my advice.
I went 8-4, missing on the Hawai’i-Colorado State, San Jose State-UNLV, San Diego State-Fresno State, and Cal-UCLA games.
So, where did I go wrong on those four?
Seriously, this has been one crazy season, especially in the Mountain West, and we couldn’t have ended with four crazier upsets. So, frankly, your guess is as good as mine.
But even with those misses, I’m still an impressive 109-44 on the season. But enough hindsight. It’s time to look ahead to this week’s two Championship games.
As always, my selections come with incredibly accurate game scores and just enough commentary to keep me from eating too many of these mini vanilla scones at Starbucks.
My plate is already half-empty, so let’s get on with the picks!
Oregon @ Washington
Friday, December 1
The Pac-12 got what it wanted in its final season: the matchup of dreams.
There is literally no better way to end the West Coast’s premier collegiate athletic conference than a showdown versus Oregon and Washington (maybe USC, but they hurt my feelings).
The first thing to consider in this contest is the health of Dillon Johnson.
Johnson looked beat up against Washington State, and he’s the only Husky back physically enough to handle the load against Oregon. If he’s hurt, UW lacks interior rushing.
This aspect is particularly important due to the recent struggles of Michael Penix Jr. Even though Penix Jr. started hot, he’s been pretty basic the last month.
Against a defense like Oregon’s, he’ll need to start hitting on the easy throws again. It feels like Rome Odunze has saved Penix all November, but it takes more than one to beat Oregon.
For the Ducks, this is their time.
UO’s looked like the better team ever since Washington knocked them off in Seattle, but that doesn’t mean shit. Oregon’s defense is better collectively, but the Huskies have enough playmakers to make an impact.
The Ducks scoring defense ranks seventh in the nation, while Washington’s ranks 48th.
On the offensive side of the ball, Bo Nix needs to win this game. Nix’s performance against Oregon State was phenomenal, but his legacy depends on this outing.
No filler lines; that’s just what it is.
With regard to the Ducks’ skill position players, they gotta step up. Troy Franklin and Tez Johnson are great players but lack the fame associated with the UW receivers.
If this duo comes into play, UO should be in a good position to win this game.
It’s also important to note that Oregon’s halfback, Bucky Irving, is troublesome with the ball in his hands. His dual-threat ability provides Nix with a solid check-down option.
The Purps and the Green, the Green and Purps.
The green came first, and Oregon’s going to the College Football Playoff.
Ducks by 14.
Oregon 35, Washington 21
Boise State @ UNLV
Saturday, December 2
Boise State’s journey to the Mountain West Championship has been weird.
Two weeks ago, the Broncos fired their head coach, Andy Avalos, and the week prior, BSU’s record was 4-5. But somehow, who knows how, the Broncos have a shot at winning the Mountain West title for the first time since 2019.
If Boise is going to win this game, they’ll have to rely heavily on their rushing attack. Taylen Green will start due to the season-ending injury to Maddux Madsen, which should give BSU a triple-threat rushing attack.
For UNLV, it’s show up or show out. The Rebels may not be the second-best team in the conference, but the game’s still being played in Allegiant Stadium.
And UNLV could probably get their crowd rocking with a fast start. They have a solid quarterback in Jayden Maiava, but he’s never played in a game of this magnitude.
Maiava may consider targeting Ricky White on a couple of early quick hitters to get his juices flowing.
On defense, LV’s goal should be to try to match the physicality of Boise State. The Broncos want to run, will run, and feature a Top 10 unit nationally.
The Rebels’ defense might be able to hold its own, but it ranks 67th against the run nationally. UNLV’s the new buck, but they’re no Bronco buster.
Boise wins the Mountain West.
Boise State 31, UNLV 28