This is the weekend all college football fans have looked forward to. The four teams that will play for the national championship will be decided this weekend. If this weekend is as crazy as the season has been, there is no way to predict what will happen. But what the heck, let’s give it a shot anyway…
MAC Championship Game
Who: No. 13 Western Michigan vs. Ohio
When: Friday, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
The Line: Western Michigan (-19)
Western Michigan is the best-kept secret in college football, as they are the only undefeated outside of Alabama. WMU are 2-0 against the Big Ten conference and destroyed a good Toledo team that beat Arkansas earlier in the year. I think the Broncos are good enough to play with almost any team in the country. A win here will give them the opportunity to prove it on New Year’s Day.
Ohio is a good team that gave Tennessee all it could handle earlier in the year. They were 6-2 in MAC play losing to Michigan schools. They do have a penchant for playing close games, but this will not be one of them.
Pick: Western Michigan (-19)
Score: Western Michigan 48, Ohio 17
Pac-12 Championship Game
Who: No. 9 Colorado vs. No. 4 Washington
When: Friday, 9 p.m. ET (Fox)
The Line: Washington (-7)
This will be a great matchup between two of the best teams in the country. A Washington win will probably put them in college football’s final four. Colorado will need some help with a win to gain entry into the championship tournament. Colorado lost at Michigan but was only down 31-28 when QB Sefo Liufau got injured and had to leave the game. He played only a couple of plays before having to leave against USC, which was a close game. Colorado is as good as almost anybody in the country.
Washington QB Jake Browning has had a great season, the question here is can he gain on Louisville QB Lamar Jackson in the Heisman trophy race? Colorado is a very balanced offensive team, but in the end, I think Washington is slightly more talented and will win the game. Can they cover? That is a tough question, but I think they will.
Pick: Washington (-7)
Score: Washington 34, Colorado 24
AAC Championship Game
Who: Temple vs. No. 20 Navy
When: Saturday, noon ET (ABC)
The Line: Navy (-3)
Believe it or not, this might be the best matchup of the weekend. Navy has one of the top offenses in all of college football and has punted just twice *this entire month*. Temple’s defense on the other side of the ball has given up just 23 points combined in November.
Will Worth leads Navy’s wishbone attack that has scored more than 40 points in each of their last seven games. I think in the end, Navy will just be too powerful on offense for Temple.
Pick: Navy (-3)
Score: Navy 37, Temple 31
No. 11 Oklahoma State vs. No. 7 Oklahoma
When: Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
The Line: Oklahoma (-12)
This is the de facto Big 12 Championship game. Oklahoma has turned their season around since early losses to Houston and Ohio State.
Oklahoma State’s defense will struggle to contain Baker Mayfield and the explosive Sooners offense, so the question is whether Mason Rudolph can keep up…
Pick: Oklahoma State (+12)
Score: Oklahoma 45, Oklahoma State 34
SEC Championship Game
Who: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 15 Florida
When: Saturday, 4 p.m. ET (CBS)
The Line: Alabama (-24)
Florida looked lost in last week’s beating administered by rival Florida State. This is very similar to last year when the Gators were worn out by the Seminoles, 27-2, and the Gators recovered to play respectably in the SEC title game.
Florida is very good defensively and 24 points is a lot of points to give. The Gators have almost no chance to win this game and, to cover the spread, they’ll have to limit Bama to field goals in the red zone. They won’t take Bama big!
Pick: Alabama (-24)
Score: Alabama 34, Florida 7
ACC Championship Game
Who: No. 3 Clemson vs. No. 19 Virginia Tech
When: Saturday, 8 p.m. ET (ABC)
The Line: Clemson (-9.5)
Clemson finally looked like we thought they would in last week’s beatdown of South Carolina. They have played down to the level of their competition all season long. Virginia Tech has looked like a top ten team some weeks and in others cannot get out of their own way.
I think that the Tigers may be finally putting it all together and will be too much for the Hokies.
Pick: Clemson (-9.5)
Score: Clemson 28, Virginia Tech 10
Big Ten Championship Game
Who: No. 6 Wisconsin vs. No. 8 Penn State
When: Saturday, 8 p.m. ET (Fox)
The Line: Wisconsin (-2.5)
Wisconsin constantly puts pressure on the quarterback, and the Nittany Lions have an average offensive line at best — especially if Brendan Mahon is out again. This line might not be able to contain T.J. Watt, Vince Biegel and the rest of the Badgers’ pass rush.
No offense to Badgers and Nittany Lions fans, but the best two teams in the Big Ten played last week. With a little help, a Penn State win could put them in the college football playoff. Wisconsin will need more help to get in.
Wisconsin and Penn State will be a defensive slugfest: The Badgers are known for the run game, but the ground attack has not been very productive this year. If Barkley is healthy for the Lions, I like the Lions in a close game. But a win by either team would not surprise me. If either gets in the playoff and has to play Alabama, look for a replay of last year’s beating that Alabama gave Michigan State.
Pick: Penn State (+2.5)
Score: Penn State 17, Wisconsin 16