CFB Picks: Back Georgia, Oregon in Conference Championship Games


The most chaotic college football season in over a decade could come to a chalky ending.

Georgia, Michigan, Cincinnati and Oklahoma State are all favored by five or more points in their respective championship games.

All of those teams may not cover, but there is a good chance all of them win on Saturday to set up the four-team College Football Playoff field.

The rest of the programs beneath top-ranked Georgia are banking on the Bulldogs to beat Alabama, which would eliminate the two-loss Crimson Tide from the playoff picture.

Georgia could earn that result in dominant fashion through the FBS' top-rated defense. The Bulldogs are a 6.5-point favorite for Saturday's SEC Championship Game and anything inside a touchdown is worth hammering.

As for Friday's games, Oregon is in a great position to bounce back from its loss to Utah and earn a Rose Bowl berth. The key for the Ducks is that Friday night's Pac-12 Championship Game takes place outside of Salt Lake City.

CFB Championship Game Picks

Overall Record: 97-82

Western Kentucky (-3.5) at UTSA (Friday, 7 p.m. ET, CBSSN)

Do not let the records fool you in the Conference USA Championship Game.

Western Kentucky is the better team at this point of the season compared to UTSA.

The Hilltoppers have won seven games in a row and they covered the spread in six of those contests.

UTSA lost is undefeated record in a 22-point loss to North Texas last week. It underachieved in the two prior games against UAB and Southern Miss.

Western Kentucky's passing attack is firing on all cylinders. Quarterback Bailey Zappe has 52 passing touchdowns.

UTSA has a fantastic running back in Sincere McCormick, but UTSA offense does not have a passing attack to match what WKU can do.

Eventually, the Hilltoppers will pull away in this game through its quick-strike offense led by Zappe.

Oregon (+120) vs. Utah (Friday, 8 p.m .ET, ABC)

Revenge Game!!!!

Oregon has a chance to gain revenge over Utah after its loss in Salt Lake City on November 20.

The Ducks still have a Rose Bowl berth on the line, and they get the Utes away from their home field, which is vital to this handicap.

Utah suffered each of its three losses away from home against BYU, San Diego State and Oregon State. All three teams ran the ball well against the Utes.

What does Oregon do best? You guessed it. Run. The. Damn. Ball.

Expect to see a heavy load of Anthony Brown and Travis Dye on Friday night in Las Vegas.

Kent State vs. Northern Illinois (+136) (Saturday, Noon ET, ESPN)

There's nothing more beautiful than seeing the MAC Championship Game with an over/under set above 70.

It's exactly what we want to see out of the conference that warms our hearts as the weather gets colder in November.

Enough of the poetry. Let's get to my pick.

Northern Illinois is more of a gut pick than anything. The Huskies have been on the right side of many close games and they won on a few clutch kicks.

The Huskies also have the revenge narrative going in their favor. They lost 52-47 to Kent State on November 3. NIU quarterback Rocky Lombardi threw for 532 yards in that game.

If NIU gets even one or two stops, Lombardi can put the Huskies ahead for good.

Baylor vs. Oklahoma State (Under 46.5) (Saturday, Noon ET, ABC)

Oklahoma State's defense allowed 16.4 points per game in the regular season.

Baylor was not far behind the Cowboys at 19.4 points allowed per contest. The Bears are also 4-1 to the under in their last five games.

Oklahoma State's Bedlam clash with Oklahoma went over early in the second half due to a rash of first-half scoring.

The Cowboys should get back to their dominant defensive ways against a Baylor team struggled to find consistency at the quarterback position all season. The Bears average just 218.6 passing yards per game.

Oklahoma State held its four opponents before Bedlam to under 20 points. Baylor's defense will do enough to keep it in the game, but the Cowboys should make one or two game-changing plays in the second half to win a low-scoring affair.

Georgia (-6.5) vs. Alabama (4 p.m. ET, CBS)

Georgia's defense is leaps and bounds better than any other unit in the FBS.

The Bulldogs have not allowed more than 17 points in a single game this season and they are facing an Alabama offense that struggled to pull away against an Auburn team that was playing with its backup quarterback on one leg.

Georgia will not let Alabama hang around if it gains control, and I believe UGA's defense gains control of the SEC Championship Game from the start.

Houston (+10.5) vs. Cincinnati (4 p.m. ET, ABC)

Cincinnati has not been a good team against the spread all season.

Even though the Bearcats are at home, I don't think they will create much separation between themselves and Houston.

Houston posted some near-identical numbers to Cincinnati. The Cougars' offense averages under one point per game fewer and 7.5 total yards per game less than the Bearcats.

Houston will give Cincinnati its toughest test of the season and we will see a one-possession game on our hands in the fourth quarter, unlike the SEC Championship Game.


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