Jeff Schultz

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Weekend (Monday) Predictions: Georgia, Clemson advance to final

Hello, I’m back.

This won’t take long. The bosses wanted me to toss out a couple of predictions to open the 2018 fiscal/degenerate gambling season. The problem with this is I really don’t have an overwhelming feel for either the Rose Bowl (Georgia vs. Oklahoma) or Sugar Bowl (Clemson vs. Alabama), so consider each of these projections an indication of simply how I’m leaning. There, that should cover me for liability. So let’s begin in . . .

PASADENA: As a Los Angeles native. I’ve been asked more than a few times this week by visitors what there is to see in Pasasdena. My standard answer is: It’s close to a freeway. Get on it and drive west to Santa Monica. The only song I know of that was written about Pasadena was, “The Little Old Lady From Pasadena,” which should tell you something. But it’s a great old bowl game in a great old stadium with two interlopers: Georgia vs. Oklahoma. The Sooners have the best player in the game: the slightly diseased Baker Mayfield, whose receivers presumably will wear gloves to avoid getting the flu. But the Bulldogs can control this game with their running attack. I don’t believe Oklahoma has faced a defensive front as strong as they’ll see in this game. The Dogs opened as a three-point underdog. They’re now a three-point favorite. Follow the money. Georgia wins and covers three, moving into the national championship game against ...

NEW ORLEANS: And here is where the rest of the world goes, “Please not Alabama. Please not Alabama. Please not Alabama.” Because can you imagine the level of smugness on Southeastearn Conference campuses and the reaction elsewhere if the Crimson Tide avenge last year’s loss to Clemson and set up an all-SEC championship game? I was among those who didn’t believe Alabama should have been designated a playoff team. The Tide’s overall resume was not strong enough to compensate for the fact that, not only did it not win the SEC championship, it didn’t even make it into the conference title game. Of course, most people didn’t want Alabama in the playoffs because, well, it’s Alabama. And it can win. But Clemson is the better team. One game convinced me: Clemson 38, Miami 3, in the ACC championship. Alabama lost to Auburn at the end of the regular season and you have to go back to the opening 24-7 win over Florida State (which wasn’t yet wreckage) to find something really impressive. Bama is favored by 3. Why? Because people like to bet Bama. But I’ll take the points. And I’ll take Clemson straight up for the win.

ATLANTA: Get ready for Georgia vs. Clemson for the national championship. I think.

Ear candy:We Never Played The Game” podcast on Baker Mayfield’s death bed

Earlier: Will Georgia expose Oklahoma, or is SEC vs. Big 12 narrative dead?

Earlier:  Hard to imagine Mayfield’s illness not hurting him against Georgia

Subscribe to the, “We Never Played The Game” on iTunes or listen from the new AJC sports podcasts page or the WSB Radio on-demand page.

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About the Author

Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.