A ton is up for grabs this weekend in college football and a lot will be decided by the conference championship games. The stakes are high but the fiercest and most accurate staff will not shy away from the pressure. Here are the predictions for conference championship weekend.
Big 12 Championship: #9 Baylor vs #5 Oklahoma State
Brian Bada: Baylor 24 Oklahoma State 21
Baylor is without their starting quarterback so a lot of people are counting them out. They should know better.They win in the end because they find a way to get Spencer Sanders to turn the bowl over multiple times.
James Brisentine: Oklahoma State 42 Baylor 35
This game has major playoff implications for Oklahoma State. They win this game, and they have a shot at getting in the playoff if one of the top 4 falls. Baylor is going to be a tough out but the Cowboys have too much on offense for them.
Johnny Hill: Oklahoma State 27 Baylor 14
Oklahoma state has surprised a lot of people this year. They are just clicking on all three phases of the game.With a win, they can potentially be in the college football playoffs. The Cowboys are just going to be too much for Baylor.
Zach Thompson: Oklahoma State 28 Baylor 24
The stakes are extremely high for Mike Gundy and Oklahoma State. A win here likely catapults the Cowboys into the top four, an outcome that hardly anyone saw coming entering the season. That is the beauty of the sport, though. Baylor will not make it easy on them but Oklahoma State will keep riding their wave of momentum.
SEC Championship: #1 Georgia vs #3 Alabama
Brian Bada: Georgia 31 Alabama 27
Kirby is still trying to beat Bama. He finally does it this year.
James Brisentine: Georgia 24 Alabama 20
I think this is finally the year Kirby Smart puts it all together at Georgia and knocks off Alabama. As we saw last week in the Iron Bowl, Alabama won’t go down without a fight, but that Georgia defense is too stifling.
Johnny Hill: Georgia 21 Alabama 14
The Bulldogs are playing elite right now. It's clear that they are the best team in college football. Their first step is to win the SEC championship on Saturday. The X-Factor for this game is Jordan Davis, the best interior defensive lineman in college football. Look for him to dominate in the trenches on Saturday.
Zach Thompson: Georgia 31 Alabama 17
All season, it felt like no matter what Georgia did, it all would come down to this regardless. A chance to punch a ticket to the playoff and slay the dragon that has been keeping them down. Alabama is certainly capable of beating anyone but they just have not looked as impressive as we are used to them typically being this time of year However, maybe Georgia is also just this good this year. It will be a slugfest, but this is the Bulldogs’ year.
AAC Championship: #21 Houston @ #4 Cincinnati
Brian Bada: Houston 24 Cincinnati 21
A lot of talk going into this game is about Cincinnati. Houston uses this as motivation and pulls off the upset.
James Brisentine: Cincinnati 40 Houston 21
Cincinnati needs to win convincingly to make it undeniable for the committee to keep them in the top four. There’s a chance that Oklahoma State could jump them if they struggle against Houston, so they’re gonna be out for blood.
Johnny Hill: Cincinnati 28 Houston 10
Cincinnati has been the best team in the AAC all year. They are clicking on all cylinders and have next level talent, headlined by “Sauce” Gardener. But another thing they have is six seniors going to the senior bowl. This game is going to come down to talent and experience,and the Bearcats just have too much.
Zach Thompson: Cincinnati 34 Houston 28
The Bearcats are on the doorstep of history. A win over Houston likely locks them in the field for the college football playoff. The Cougars have had an incredible season and have been rolling for a while now, but the Bearcats are not going to mess this up. They will handle business at home and become the first group of five team in NCAA history to make it to the playoff.
BIG 10 Championship: #2 Michigan vs #15 Iowa
Brian Bada: Michigan 45 Iowa 17
Michigan finally beat Ohio State and now have bigger goals. They blow out Iowa.
James Brisentine: Iowa 21 Michigan 17
This is my chaos upset pick of the week. Iowa has been famous for knocking off playoff contenders, and this is their chance. They’re gonna destroy Michigan’s dreams of finally getting in the playoff with a stunner.
Johnny Hill: Michigan 26 Iowa 17
Michigan is coming off a dominating victory 42-27 over Ohio State. They are going to ride that momentum to victory this week and straight into the playoff. Iowa has been really good on defense, but I just don’t see them containing the Wolverines explosive offense.
Zach Thompson: Michigan 27 Iowa 10
Micgan’s win over Ohio State a week ago was a nice reminder of how fun college football can be sometimes. Their win over the Buckeyes not only solidified their status as a playoff participant, assuming they beat the Hawkeyes, it was a reminder how much this game means to so many people. Jim Harbaugh finally got over the hump. It will be interesting to see where they go from here.
ACC Championship: #15 Pittsburgh vs #16 Wake Forest
Brian Bada: Pitt 45 Wake Forest 42
Pitt has the better team. They will win a close one.
James Brisentine: Pitt 38 Wake Forest 37
These two teams have gone somewhat under the radar mostly throughout the season, but both have had very remarkable years. Kenny Pickett just might win the Heisman Trophy and he has a good chance of potentially sealing it with a good performance. These two are very even teams, and it might be the most fun game to watch during the weekend with Pitt squeaking it out in the end.
Johnny Hill: Wake Forest 45 Pitt 35
Wake Forest had a great offense headlined by a two headed monster in A.T. Perry and Jaquarii Roberson. They are arguably the best wide receiving duo in college football right now. They are big, fast, and they run great routes. They are going to be too much for that Pittsburgh defense to keep up with.
Zach Thompson: Pitt 34 Wake Forest 31
Pitt vs Wake for the ACC Title. Just like we all predicted. Both these teams are fun to watch and the matchup figures to be high-scoring. Kenny Pickett is a Heisman candidate and could help out his chances with a strong showing here. Pitt wins in a close one.