It’s a big weekend for college football ahead of the College Football Playoff. And this weekend’s slate of games will play a big role in determining the final four teams that will be competing to win the National Championship.
While there are some games that already feel decided — I’m looking at you, Ohio State and Northwestern, although I’d love nothing more than to be wrong — there are some match-ups that should be close contests — like Notre Dame and Clemson.
As a college football fan, this weekend is second only to New Years bowl games and the College Football Playoff. So strap in, fellow college football fans. It’s going to be a great one.
Here are my picks for the Power 5 slate of conference championship games:
Friday, Dec. 18 | 8 p.m. | FOX
Oregon vs. (13) USC
This Pac-12 Championship will feature two of the past three winners as 13th-ranked USC battles it out with Oregon. But it was the Ducks that got lucky as they subbed in for the Washington Huskies, who were unable to play due to COVID-19. It doesn’t help that Oregon has had USC’s number in recent years, as they’ve won all but one game between the two teams since 2011.
My Pick: USC 34, Oregon 27
Big Ten Championship
Saturday, Dec. 19 | 12 p.m. | FOX
(14) Northwestern vs. (4) Ohio State
It’s hard for Ohio State not to look ahead to the College Football Playoff, but they’ll first need to take care of business against a surprise Northwestern team, who is playing in its second Big Ten Championship Game in the last three years. The last time these two teams met in the title game, the Buckeyes won easily 45-24. Ohio State is looking for their fourth straight Big-10 title.
My Pick: Ohio State 35, Northwestern 20
Big 12 Championship
Saturday, Dec. 19 | 12 p.m. | ABC
(10) Oklahoma vs. (6) Iowa State
Iowa State will be playing in its first-ever conference championship game, and they’ll face a tough challenge against a talented Oklahoma squad that’s won the previous five conference titles. But the Cyclones did take care of business against the Sooners earlier this season, where Iowa State won 37-30, but Oklahoma has won six straight since that loss. This one should be another close one.
My Pick: Iowa State 28, Oklahoma 27
Saturday, Dec. 19 | 4 p.m. | ABC
(3) Clemson vs. (2) Notre Dame
Arguably the most-anticipated conference championship game of the weekend will feature two of the nation’s top teams that will be playing for the right to play in the College Football Playoff. Although, if Notre Dame pulls out the win, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with Clemson in regards to the Playoff, as no two-loss team has made it before. Then again, who would you put in over Clemson that truly deserves it?
My Pick: Notre Dame 34, Clemson 31
Saturday, Dec. 19 | 8 p.m. | CBS
(1) Alabama vs. (7) Florida
Don’t let last week’s letdown loss to LSU fool you, this Florida team is still incredibly talented. The only problem is they’ll be facing the best team in the nation in powerhouse Alabama, who continues to play at another level. While I’d love for this Kyle Trask-led Gators team to pull the ultimate upset of the nation’s best program, it’s not something I foresee happening. Alabama is just that good.