The regular season is over in college football and this weekend ten teams in the Power Five conferences will play for league championships. There are four spots in the College Football Playoffs up for grabs which means at least one of the major conference winners will be left out. As always though, it should be an amazing weekend of football.
Pac-12 Championship Santa Clara, California 8:00 PM/ABC
Oregon faces Utah on Friday night for the Pac-12 title. A Utah win would very likely hand the Utes' the fourth and final spot in the playoffs, provided LSU, Ohio State and Clemson all win their games.
That would be the easiest scenario for the selection committee but that's not necessarily the way things work out. Utah is a very good football team with the Utes' only loss coming to Southern Cal. Since that loss to the Trojans, Utah has won eight straight games. Oregon is certainly no pushover. The Ducks are 10-2 and they were the only team in the Pac-12 North to have a winning conference record at 8-1. This should be a very competitive contest but Utah should prevail.
Utah 34 Oregon 24
Big 12 Championship Arlington, Texas 12:00 PM/ABC
Oklahoma will be trying to keep its slim playoff hopes alive as they tangle with Baylor. Both teams are 11-1 but since Oklahoma is ranked higher, a Baylor win would not guarantee the Bears a playoff spot. The two teams met three weeks ago and Oklahoma scored a hard fought 34-31 victory, coming back from the largest deficit in school history. Saturday's game will find Baylor not wanting to make the same mistake twice. That being the mistake of letting the Sooners back in the game. The Bears get the win this time around.
Baylor 42 Oklahoma 27
SEC Championship Atlanta, Georgia 4:00 PM/CBS
This has the ingredients of a classic college football match-up. Top-ranked LSU facing fourth ranked Georgia for the SEC title. The league's best offense, (LSU) against the league's best defense, (Georgia.) The Bengal Tigers have been one of the best stories in college football this season. Led by Heisman Trophy front runner Joe Burrow the Tigers have put together an amazing offense scoring just under 49 points per game. The only real weakness is the LSU defense which is not nearly as good as it's been in the past. But when you can score points as quickly as the Tigers do, that's more than good enough. While points have come in bunches for LSU, points have been hard to come by for Georgia. This game could come down to this; Is Georgia's offense better than LSU's defense? That's the key because I don't see the Bulldogs being able to stop Joe Burrow and company, even though they could slow them down a bit. If it's a shoot out, LSU will win big. Georgia's offense has been hit hard by injuries as outstanding receiver Lawrence Cager is out for the year while junior running back D'Andre Swift is questionable following a shoulder injury last week against Georgia Tech. Those injuries may be too much for the Bulldogs to overcome.
LSU 30 Georgia 24
ACC Championship Charlotte, North Carolina 7:30 PM/ABC
No team has played better than defending national champ Clemson over the second half of the season. The Tigers have the longest winning streak in the country with 27 straight wins. Their last loss was to Alabama in the playoff semi-finals at the end of the 2017 season. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence has never lost a game in college. I could go on and on about how good Clemson is but you probably already know that. The Tigers face Virginia in the ACC Title Tilt Saturday night and Clemson is a 28 point favorite. The Cavaliers are a solid football team but unless they play way over their heads and Clemson lays an egg on the field at Bank of America Stadium, the Tigers will win in a rout. Clemson is feeling under appreciated by pollsters and everyone else who has them ranked third in the country. They're on a mission.
Clemson 44 Virginia 10
Big Ten Championship Indianapolis, Indiana 8:00PM/Fox
Ohio Sate takes on Wisconsin at Lucas Oil Stadium for the Big Ten Championship and the Buckeyes are big favorites. The Badgers scored an emotional win at Minnesota last week to get to the title game and while Wisconsin is a good football team, I don't feel they can stay on the field with Ohio State for sixty minutes. They weren't able to do so when they faced the Buckeyes earlier in the season losing 38-7. Ohio State is a dominant football team and they haven't been seriously tested all year. In fact, they're 12-0 with double digit scoring margins with Penn State coming closest to beating them with the Nittany Lions losing by eleven.Unlike LSU, Ohio State is equally as good on both sides of the field, offensively and defensively. The Buckeyes should take care of business early.
Ohio State 45 Wisconsin 21
Last Week 7-2
Final SEC Picks Total 91-19 (83%)
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Randy Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org