Clearly, I’m writing the wrong column.
On the day before my NFL picks improved to a record of 75-59-1 — including more than 60 percent on best bets (It’s true! Check out the NFL Bettor’s standings at nypost.com) — I endured the worst Saturday in the Profit’s history.
It’s comforting to be riding so much momentum entering one of the biggest games in years. It’s even better not knowing whether Tua Tagovailoa will be playing for Alabama.
The battle between Alabama and LSU is the AP’s first 1-2 matchup since 2011, when the Tigers won a 9-6 bare-knuckle overtime brawl in Tuscaloosa, Ala., which preceded the Crimson Tide’s national championship rematch win and sparked the creation of the playoff.
The second-ever matchup of the AP No. 1 vs. the Coaches poll’s No. 1, eight years, and an offensive revolution later, pits Alabama’s second-ranked offense (48.6 points per game) against LSU’s fourth-ranked attack (46.8).
The Tigers’ Heisman Trophy front-runner (quarterback Joe Burrow) will be there. The likely No. 1 pick of the 2020 NFL Draft (fellow-QB Tagovailoa) is a game-time decision after undergoing surgery on his sprained right ankle less than three weeks ago, but a 9-6 final score is more likely than Tagovailoa staying on the sideline.
He will play. He just won’t play to his potential.
It’s unfortunate because these heavyweight bouts occur so infrequently. When they do — only three times since 1997 — they often are classics: like Notre Dame-Florida State (1993), Miami-Florida State (1991), Notre Dame-Michigan (1989), Nebraska-Oklahoma (1971), Texas-Arkansas (1969), Notre Dame-Michigan State (1966) and Notre Dame-Army (1946).
Even considering Tagovailoa’s ankle, this one will join the list. But because of the injury, Lsu (+6½) will finally end its eight-game losing streak to the Crimson Tide, and Burrow will seize a sizable Heisman lead while lighting up a defense less equipped than the SEC powers (Auburn, Florida) he already has eviscerated.
With any luck, Alabama will get another opportunity for revenge, and spark an eight-team playoff.
Baylor Bears (-2) over TCU HORNED FROGS: The Bears haven’t made many believers in their ugly undefeated run, featuring three home wins of three points or fewer in the team’s past five games. On the road, though, c has gotten the most out of his unheralded roster, picking up quality wins over Kansas State and Oklahoma State, by a combined 37 points.
OHIO STATE BUCKEYS (-43½) over Maryland Terrapins: A rare tip of the cap to the playoff committee, which correctly identified the Buckeyes — ranked in the nation’s top three in scoring offense and defense — as the top team in the country.
Penn State Nittany Lions (-7) over MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS: Minnesota is 8-0 for the first time since 1941. They just locked up coach P.J. Fleck — leveraging Florida State’s opening — to a new contract through 2026. Their crowd will be amped for one of the biggest games in school history. But Minnesota isn’t ready for the No. 4 team in the country. The Golden Gophers have gone undefeated without playing any of the other five ranked teams in the Big Ten, and will see their strong ground game swallowed by the Nittany Lions’ top-ranked run defense, which is allowing 2.2 yards per carry.
FLORIDA GATORS (-26½) over Vanderbilt Commodores: The Gators have played the country’s toughest schedule over the past month. This will be savored.
Kansas State Wildcats (+7) over TEXAS LONGHORNS: Reputation is the only reason the Longhorns are laying a touchdown. In a battle of teams heading in different directions, the Wildcats could walk away with their latest upset, led by first-year coach Chris Klieman, who previously won four of the past five FCS national championships.
Connecticut Huskies (+35) over CINCINNATI BEARCATS: If you think the Huskies are unwatchable now, wait until the soon-to-be independent squad spends next season squaring off with the likes of Liberty, San Jose State and Maine.
VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES (+2) over Wake Forest Demon Deacons: Wake Forest hasn’t been relevant long enough to avoid looking ahead to next week’s game at Clemson. They also have spent too much time at home, playing just one road game in the past two months.
Iowa Hawkeyes (+9½) over WISCONSIN BADGERS: There’s no reason to pull up highlights of the LSU-Alabama game from eight years back. You’ll get the full replay here.
GEORGIA BULLDOGS (-16½) over Missouri Tigers: It sure would be nice to know if Missouri quarterback Kelly Bryant — yes, the same guy who briefly made Trevor Lawrence his understudy — is going to play through his hamstring injury.
NORTH CAROLINA STATE WOLFPACK (+32½) over Clemson Tigers: It’s astounding that six years into the made-for-TV College Football Playoff rankings show, people are still being duped into believing anything before Dec. 7 matters. If the No. 5 Tigers win out the rest of their JV schedule, they’ll be in the playoff. If they are upset by any of the mid-major talents sporting ACC gear, they’ll rightfully be left out. Don’t click on headlines telling you otherwise.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-8) over DUKE BLUE DEVILS: The core of a playoff team still sits in Brian Kelly’s locker room. It’s bound to reveal itself after three straight underwhelming outings.
Iowa State Cyclones (+14¹/₂) over OKLAHOMA SOONERS: The Cyclones haven’t lost by more than two touchdowns since 2016 — this season’s three losses were by a combined 10 points — and they stunned the Sooners in Norman, Okla., two years backs. They’ll show up for their end of the shootout.
Best bets: Kansas State, Iowa, Iowa State
This season (best bets): 68-85-2 (11-19)
2014-18 record: 641-612-10
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