Randy Smith: Power Five Championship Game Picks

Wednesday, December 1, 2021 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith

The 2021 college football season absolutely flew by. Seems like only yesterday I was preparing to watch Tennessee open the Josh Heupel era against Bowling Green, but I hear the older you get, the faster time flies. I can tell you that is accurate. My picks this year went pretty well as after missing all of last year due to COVID-19 and feeling the season should not have been played at all, I thoroughly enjoyed this season. My final record of 86-25 (77%) was just a slight bit better than it was two years ago.

(Friday) #11 Oregon vs #19 Utah Pac - Ten Championship in Las Vegas, NV

The Oregon Ducks are 10-2 with one of their losses just two weeks ago to Utah and it wasn't even close. Utah won by a score of 38-7 which makes this game really difficult to pick. You have to ask, "Was Utah really that much better?" Probably not, but Utah should win again, and it will be much closer.

Utah 27 Oregon 20

#8 Baylor vs #7 Oklahoma State - Big 12 Championship in Arlington, TX

The Cowboys have an 11-1 record going into the Championship Game, with a loss to a really good Iowa State team being the only blemish. Oklahoma State also knocked off rival Oklahoma in the season finale last week, so the Cowpokes feel with a win they should be in the playoff picture. Baylor has two losses and one of them was a 24-14 decision to Oklahoma State in the middle of the season. Depending upon how the teams ahead of them fare, Oklahoma State's chances of making the playoffs are razor thin and that's only with a win.

Oklahoma State 35 Baylor 20

#17 Pittsburgh vs #18 Wake Forest - ACC Championship in Charlotte, NC

This game could be one of the most entertaining on the schedule this weekend. Wake has a really potent offense, but their defense is not good at all which bodes well for Pitt and their Heisman candidate quarterback Kenny Pickett. If you don't remember him, he's the guy who picked Tennessee apart early in the season. Pickett has been picking apart teams all year and he also did it to Clemson. Coach Dave Clawson has done a wonderful job for the Demon Deacons since taking over in time for the 2014 season but Pittsburgh is just a better team. However, if Pitt had to face Tennessee or Clemson again they would likely lose.

Pittsburgh 38 Wake Forest 35

#5 Michigan vs #16 Iowa - Big Ten Championship in Indianapolis, IN

Jim Harbaugh has silenced the critics that wanted his head going into the season. The Wolverines beat an outstanding Ohio State team last weekend, snapping an eight game losing streak to the Buckeyes. That win also took OSU out of the playoff picture and gave Michigan the number two spot in the playoff poll, just ahead of Alabama. The Wolverines' only loss was to rival Michigan State and Harbaugh has his team playing as well as anybody right now. They're a single win away from making the playoffs and while Iowa has something to say about that, I feel the Hawkeyes are no match.

Michigan 30 Iowa 17

#1 Georgia vs. #3 Alabama - SEC Championship in Atlanta, GA

We've been waiting on this match up all season long, perhaps even in the pre-season. Georgia has dominated every team they've played the entire season, with the exception of Clemson in the season opener. The Bulldogs have one of the best defensive units in college football history, holding the opposition to about a touchdown per game. Georgia has shut out three different teams this year and the 17 points scored by Tennessee is the most they've given up in any game all season long. They may not have an explosive offense but they have a very good offense that makes very few mistakes. Alabama on the other hand has struggled especially in the latter part of the season. They should have lost last week to Auburn but managed to pull out a four overtime thriller. Make no mistake, Alabama is very, very good but not as good as Georgia. The Tide's reign in the SEC comes to an end on Saturday.

Georgia 31  Alabama 20

The playoff committee will have a big decision to make if Cincinnati wins over Houston. Right now the Bearcats are 12-0 and rated third. If they win and finish 13-0, they simply have to be included in the playoff scenario. We shall see on Sunday.


Randy Smith can be reached at rsmithsports@epbfi.com

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