Championship Weekend is here, bringing 10 FBS games that will hand out hardware and make some teams' dreams come true while crushing others'. Not only are conference crowns on the line, but also College Football Playoff stakes in a few matchups. At this point, you know the drill: our writers and editors made their picks for all 10 games: the Pac-12, Big 12, Sun Belt, MAC, C-USA, AAC, SEC, Mountain West, ACC and Big Ten. Thanks for reading all season, and stay tuned for our upcoming bowl game picks.
Molly Geary: 118–48 (71.1%)
Max Meyer: 118–48 (71.1%)
Michael Shapiro: 118–48 (71.1%)
Pat Forde: 32–14 (69.6%)
Laken Litman: 115–51 (69.3%)
Ross Dellenger: 114–52 (68.7%)
Lorenzo Arguello: 63–30 (67.7%)
Pac-12: No. 13 Oregon vs. No. 5 Utah (Friday, 8 p.m. ET, ABC)
Max Meyer picks Utah: The Utes have absolutely rolled their Pac-12 competition following a wonky Friday night loss in September at USC. In fact, in their past three games, they’ve outscored their foes by a combined score of 129–25. However, the teams they’ve faced over that span were bottom-feeding UCLA, Arizona and Colorado. The last good team Utah has faced was Washington at the beginning of November, where the Utes needed a comeback to survive in Seattle. And despite Oregon’s sluggish end to the season, the Ducks are still a major step up in competition for Utah.
Oregon has had an up-and-down November, with the highest point being a 56–24 drubbing over USC and the lowest point coming in Tempe, with a 31–28 Arizona State upset knocking the Ducks out of the CFP chase. But this is still a dangerous team loaded with talent, headlined by a stingy defense, top-tier offensive line and a likely future NFL quarterback in Justin Herbert.
With heavy rain in the forecast in Santa Clara, though, this will likely come down to the trenches. Utah’s defensive line is among the best in the country, and one of the few units that has the edge over Oregon’s OL. And the Utes have a much more efficient run game as well, as tackling Zack Moss is a rather tough task. I think this game will be closer than the spread indicates, but with the Utes still squeaking this one out.
Big 12: No. 7 Baylor vs. No. 6 Oklahoma (12 p.m. ET, ABC)
Pat Forde picks Baylor: A 25-point lead got away from the Bears in the first meeting. They aren’t likely to get up that big again, but it says here they do slow down an Oklahoma team that has seen its passing game dwindle in recent games. The Sooners weren’t overwhelming against Oklahoma State last Saturday despite the Cowboys being without starting quarterback Spencer Sanders. This is the big upset of Championship Weekend.
Sun Belt: Louisiana vs. No. 21 Appalachian State (12 p.m., ESPN)
Ross Dellenger picks App State: This is a rematch of a regular season matchup in which the Mountaineers won 17–7 in an ugly game in Lafayette. The Cajuns have come a long way, though, ripping off six straight victories since that loss to App State. They won them all by at least 10 points, excluding a 31–30 regular season finale against UL-Monroe. Expect Billy Napier's team to put up more of a fight this time around, but the Mountaineers have downed both North Carolina and South Carolina. They'll finish off this magical season with a Sun Belt title.
MAC: Miami (Ohio) vs. Central Michigan (12 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
Laken Litman picks Central Michigan: Central Michigan won one game in 2018…and now it's playing for the MAC championship. In less than a year, first-year Chippewas coach Jim McElwain has miraculously turned the team into a conference title contender. He’s done it thanks to a backfield duo of Jonathan Ward and Kobe Lewis, who have combined to rack up more than 2,000 yards and score the most touchdowns by any running back tandem in the MAC this season (26). CMU has also been a balanced team, ranking in the top 50 nationally (and top 3 in the MAC) in yards per play (6.26) and yards allowed per play (5.38). Meanwhile, Miami (Ohio) struggles to get points on the board, averaging 5.01 ypp and 24.6 ppg. Can the Redhawks score enough points to make this interesting? Well, there’s a reason McElwain is a sought-after coaching carousel candidate right now.
C-USA: UAB vs. Florida Atlantic (1:30 p.m. ET, CBSSN)
Pat Forde picks UAB: Florida Atlantic coach Lane Kiffin has his name in the hopper for several jobs, which means he’s paying about as much attention to this game as he did to Alabama’s offense before the 2016 College Football Playoff semifinals—Nick Saban told him to take a hike instead of coaching in the playoff final. Focused Blazers spring the upset.
AAC: No. 20 Cincinnati vs. No. 17 Memphis (3:30 p.m., ABC)
Michael Shapiro picks Memphis: We'll have a rare back-to-back matchup on Saturday, with Memphis and Cincinnati squaring off just eight days after the Tigers' 34–24 win on Nov. 29. Expect a repeat performance at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in the AAC championship. Memphis's offense is downright explosive, with senior quarterback Brady White throwing 24 touchdowns and just six interceptions in the last two months. Redshirt freshman Kenny Gainwell is averaging 6.8 yards per carry in 2019, giving the Tigers a fearsome balanced attack. The Bearcats' defense is fierce, and Luke Fickell is perhaps the conference's premier coach. But Cincinnati doesn't have enough firepower to keep up in a road tilt with Memphis for the AAC title.
SEC: No. 4 Georgia vs. No. 2 LSU (4 p.m. ET, CBS)
Ross Dellenger picks LSU: As a top-4 battle, the SEC championship game can really alter the course of the College Football Playoff. A Georgia win could mean two SEC squads advance. An LSU blowout might mean the Tigers jump back into the No. 1 spot ahead of Ohio State. Most believe the Bulldogs can't score with LSU's Heisman Trophy favorite quarterback and its highly-flying offense, but UGA's defense will be one of the better opponents for Joe Burrow & Co. This could be a nail biter that LSU squeaks out.
Mountain West: Hawaii vs. No. 19 Boise State (4 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Lorenzo Arguello picks Boise State: Boise State took care of Hawaii 59–37 the first time they met this season by matching the Rainbow Warriors’ formidable aerial attack nearly yard for yard and taking advantage of four Hawaii turnovers. Will the Broncos do it again at home in the conference title game on Saturday afternoon? Most likely. BSU heads into the weekend as a double-digit favorite and with a shot at grabbing the Group of Five’s New Year’s Six bowl spot. Pair those with Hawaii’s terrible defense and Boise State looks like an easy pick at home.
ACC: Virginia vs. No. 3 Clemson (7:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
Molly Geary picks Clemson: Ever since that one-point win over UNC, the Tigers have rolled through their opponents to reach 12-0. Virginia, though, represents the only team on Clemson's entire schedule currently in either the playoff rankings or AP poll. Senior QB Bryce Perkins is dangerous, especially with his feet (he has 11 rushing touchdowns on the season), but realistically the Hoos only have a chance at keeping this close if they can slow down Trevor Lawrence and the Tigers' offense. Since a semi-uncharacteristic start to the season, Lawrence hasn't thrown an interception in five games, and Clemson has only lost four fumbles all season. Without forcing some turnovers, it's hard to see UVA being anything but the sacrificial lamb for Clemson and the ACC's playoff hopes here.
Big Ten: No. 1 Ohio State vs No. 8 Wisconsin (8 p.m. ET, FOX)
Laken Litman picks Ohio State: On Saturday night the nation will be blessed while watching two of college football’s most exciting running backs duke it out. In one corner there’s Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins, who rushed for 211 yards and four touchdowns in a 56–27 win over Michigan last week. In the other corner there’s Jonathan Taylor, who is second in the country with 1,761 rushing yards (on 6.31 yards per carry) this season and has 5,932 yards in his three-year career. But in his last two meetings with Ohio State—on Oct. 26 and in the 2017 Big Ten championship game—Taylor has been held to 93 yards on 35 total touches.
In order for the Badgers to pull an upset, he’ll need to be better than that. The problem, however, will be Buckeyes star Chase Young, who is still making his case to become the second defensive player ever to win the Heisman Trophy. Young tallied four sacks in the teams’ last meeting a few weeks ago and leads the country with 16.5 this year. The Buckeyes need to make a final statement here in order to clinch the No. 1 ranking on Selection Sunday. And they should have no problem doing that.