Projected BCS matchups and pointspreads: Week 14
Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Projected line: Alabama -10
The Crimson Tide had no problem with Auburn as they rolled 49-0 in the Iron Bowl. Only one team stands in the way of Alabama as Georgia is on deck in the SEC Championship. Should Alabama lose, Georgia will make the trip to Miami. Notre Dame was able to sneak out another win and finished its first undefeated season since 1988. Not many people will give Notre Dame a chance against Alabama but its defense alone gives it a shot. The price will be steep, as some books have already posted a line at or around double-digits, despite almost identical power rankings. A low scoring game favors the dog.
Kansas St. Wildcats vs. Oregon Ducks
Projected line: Oregon -7
Because of Stanford's win over UCLA, Oregon got shut out of the Pac 12 Championship but it is still the biggest at-large draw and the Fiesta Bowl will no doubt scoop up the Ducks. With Notre Dame winning, both Oregon and Kansas St. are out of the National Championship picture but we still catch a good matchup here. The Wildcats are not a sure thing though as they close the season at home against Texas this week and with the Longhorns off an upset loss to TCU, they could be bringing a little extra to that game. The Ducks got back on track against Oregon St. and again upped their public appeal which will make them a little overvalued.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs. Florida St. Seminoles
Projected line: Florida St. -10
Florida St. got into the ACC Championship with its no sweat win over Maryland and then lost to Florida in its regular season finale. The Seminoles will face Georgia Tech for the title and it will be the first matchup of the season between the two and they are heavy favorites to win. With Louisville losing again, Rutgers falls into the Orange Bowl as all it needs now is a home win on Thursday night against the Cardinals. It certainly isn't a guarantee though as the Scarlet Knights are coming off their worst game of the season in a loss at Pittsburgh. Florida St. will be a big favorite no matter who it faces.
Stanford Cardinal vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers
Projected line: Stanford -7
Stanford easily handled UCLA in the first of two straight matchups and now it faces the Bruins at home for the Pac 12 Championship. The Cardinal are arguably the best two-loss team in the nation with the defeats coming by a combined 11 points. Nebraska has to contend with Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship after struggling with Iowa in its regular season finale last week. The Huskers are slight favorites against the Badgers in Indianapolis but with the way Stanford has been playing, the Cardinal will be a pretty significant chalk in its home state in the Rose Bowl.
Florida Gators vs. Oklahoma Sooners
Projected line: Florida -3
Florida no longer has a chance to get in the BCS Championship after Georgia dominated Georgia Tech last week. The Gators were very impressive against Florida St. as they scored 24 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to turn a seven-point deficit into a 17-point lead. The Sooners survived another scare as it defeated Oklahoma St. by a field goal in overtime and that happened to be their only lead of the game. Oklahoma faces TCU on the road this week and it might be catching the Horned Frogs still celebrating their win over Texas. Based on the close calls that the Sooners have had, Florida comes in a slight favorite.
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These two teams are moving in opposite directions right now and I think those trends continue here. Columbus has lost seven straight, while behind the strong play of goaltender Corey Schneider the Devils are 6-1-1 in their last eight, most recently coming off a 3-1 home win over Central Division-leading Nashville on Tuesday. If history is any precedence, then New Jersey has to be loving its chances today as it's 6-0-1 with one tie at home in the all-time series vs. the Blue Jackets. The Devils have been particularly efficient on the penalty kill, staving off 21 of the last 22 chances, with Schneider posting a 1.33 GAA in the process. Schneider's numbers are equally as impressive against Columbus, he's 9-1-1 with a 1.71 GAA in 11 starts vs. the Blue Jackets life time, which includes a 33-save effort in last weekend's 2-0 road victory. Columbus comes in with zero momentum, it fell to 0-6-1 in its last seven after a 5-3 setback to Washington on Tuesday; note one big reason behind the Blue Jackets struggles is their inept power play, an NHL-worst 8.7 percent since the All-Star break. NEW JERSEY is now in the playoff hunt and I think is definitely worth the price of admission in this spot, but what do you think? Does the home side lay the hammer down, or can the Jackets score the upset?