Conference Championship Week Spread Picks, Best Bets

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So much is at stake this weekend, whether it's bowl positioning or grabbing a coveted CFP spot. 

Below, our staff's writers and editors make their picks against the spread for conference championship week, along with their best bets.

Season-long standings:

Laken Litman: 89-75-4

Ross Dellenger: 88-76-4

Max Meyer: 86-78-4

Molly Geary: 78-86-4

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BEST BETS

No. 5 Utah (-6.5) vs. No. 13 Oregon

The Pac-12’s chances of making the College Football Playoff hinge on No. 5 Utah beating No. 13 Oregon in the conference championship game Friday night. If the Ducks win, the Pac-12 is eliminated and the Big 12 champion probably gets that fourth spot. If Utah wins (and LSU beats Georgia in the SEC title game), then there’s a better chance of Utah representing the conference in the playoff. However, it’s safe to say this won’t be an easy decision for the selection committee. If Utah wins, there will be a debate between the Utes and the Big 12 champion. Perhaps the Pac-12 gets the short end of the stick if Utah wins a narrow game and Oklahoma or Baylor win handily.

The best thing Kyle Whittingham’s team can do is win. And that’s what this team has been doing—since suffering its only loss of the season to USC on Sept. 20, the Utes have reeled off eight straight victories. The Utes have the most physical running game in the Pac-12, led by Zack Moss (1,246 yards on 6.23 yards per carry and 15 touchdowns), who missed a lot of the USC game due to injury. Quarterback Tyler Huntley has been one of the most efficient passers all season, completing a conference-best 75.5% of his attempts for an average of 11.1 yards per pass, while throwing 16 touchdown passes against two interceptions. And Utah’s defense is the third-best in the country, limiting opponents to 11.3 points per game.

While we’re all curious about the quarterbacks here in Huntley and potential future first-round draft pick Justin Herbert, the most interesting matchup lies in the trenches between Utah senior star defensive end Bradlee Anae and Oregon sophomore left tackle Penei Sewell. Both are two of the best at their respective positions and whoever dominates this battle will give their team an edge.

Utah is making its second consecutive Pac-12 title game appearance, but its first with Huntley and Moss, who were both injured last year. Oregon has nothing to lose, while Utah has everything. It will be a competitive game between the teams that have been the Pac-12’s best all season, but the Utes have too much riding on this opportunity to waste it. —Laken Litman

No. 2 LSU vs. No. 4 Georgia (+7)

I just think this line is too high. The best defense LSU has faced thus far this season was Auburn, and Ed Orgeron's group barely edged that one out 23-20. Georgia may even have personnel better-equipped to slow down the high-flying Tigers, and seven points is a lot to give an extremely talented team playing in its home state. 

Kirby Smart deservedly gets knocked for his in-game decisions, but his preparation in these types of situations is top-notch. Tua Tagovailoa had his worst game of last season against these very Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Championship Game, before Jalen Hurts took over for an injured Tua to save the day for the Tide. 

Georgia has not allowed more than 20 points in a single game this season, and that includes clashes against Florida, Notre Dame and Auburn. LSU's defense has shown signs of vulnerability too this season, which could mean a strong effort from Jake Fromm, even with a few key skill-position players injured/suspended for the first half. I'll take the touchdown here with a team desperate to win to make the CFP.—Max Meyer

Season record: 26-31-1