Conference championship weekend Preview, Prop and Picks
The buffet of betting options overflows with main courses with only conference championship games on the menu this weekend.
With Oregon-Washington, Alabama-Georgia and Michigan-Iowa coming up, it's easy to be distracted by the shiny draw of big names in big games.
But a matchup not many circled could prove a massive stage for one underdog ready to flex.
It's the Conference USA championship game - No. 24 Liberty vs. New Mexico State - and you know you'll look to have something to follow when the TV clicks on.
We have stats, news, quotes and betting predictions for our college football (betting) game of the week.
--Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET, Friday
--Television: CBS Sports Network
--Location: Williams Stadium, Lynchburg, Va.
--Point Spread, Total: Liberty -10.5; 55.5 (DraftKings)
It's a home game for Liberty, with 25,000-plus fans aiming to help the unbeaten Flames (12-0) roll past New Mexico State in Lynchburg, Va., Friday.
The Aggies (10-3) are not intimidated, however, and the venue won't be a surprise. Liberty stopped New Mexico State 33-17 earlier this season at home.
Bettors who witnessed New Mexico State's upset at Auburn two weeks ago know about the Aggies' size and speed. This improving team could be eye-opening for Liberty, a double-digit favorite given the spotlight thanks to a place in the College Football Playoff rankings.
The trends are smiling on Aggies backers. New Mexico State has an 11-2 mark against the spread - 6-1 as the underdog - and following that loss to Liberty has covered 10 consecutive games.
Coming off a 20-17 win over Jacksonville State, in which New Mexico State put two early touchdowns on the board and then became somewhat disinterested, the Aggies have all the inspiration they need in an "us against the world" matchup.
Liberty could be conservative early, and New Mexico State would welcome a slower pace. The Aggies are 9-4 to the "under" this season.
The bet, a plus-money New Mexico State teaser parlay: Aggies +14.5 with the under 60.5 points (+124 at DraftKings).
The Flames are trying to stay in play for the Group of 5 spot in the upper tier of bowls when the College Football Playoff committee reveals its final rankings Sunday.
"To say we're 12-0, I would've said you're crazy," Liberty's first-year coach Jamey Chadwell said. "But this team bought in to each other, and just what a tremendous season."
The Aggies will arrive with an eight-game winning streak that includes a 31-10 handling of host Auburn on Nov. 18 and Saturday's 20-17 home escape versus Jacksonville State. Ethan Albertson's 52-yard field goal as time expired won it for New Mexico State.
Liberty trails only No. 22 Tulane among Group of 5 teams.
"I told them before the season started, you have an opportunity to make history (in the) FBS," Chadwell said.
"Certain things haven't happened here. For us to be 12-0, there's not an FBS program that has ever won 12 games in a season in the state of Virginia."
It's almost impossible to quantify the number of what-if scenarios that could be hatched if Alabama beats Georgia in the SEC title game.
That's been a common discussion point among college football fans and media. No. 1 Georgia wants nothing to do with it.
Would the Bulldogs remain among the College Football Playoff top four when the committee reveals its rankings Sunday at noon ET? That would depend on several other outcomes.
The Bulldogs, unbeaten and improving, know their roles and have taken the elite coaching from Kirby Smart and his staff to heart.
Quarterback Carson Beck is on a nice upward trend in performance. He's completing 72.4 percent of his attempts - which would easily break the school mark - for 3,495 yards, 22 touchdowns and six interceptions. His yardage total is fourth most in Bulldogs' history.
No doubt, Tide QB Jalen Milroe has been exceptional, capping his run of success with a dart of a touchdown throw on fourth-and-goal from the Auburn 31-yard line to Isaiah Bond to win last Saturday's Iron Bowl.
Our take? It was an incredibly lucky throw to beat a clearly inferior opponent.
The bet: Georgia -5.5.
THEY SAID IT
"Definitely, we have to embrace the challenge that's ahead of us. They're coming off of a (29)-game winning streak, so it's definitely a challenge for the guys in the locker room." -- Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe.
--Field Level Media
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