CFB: Conference Championship Predictions

By Rory Daniels

Conference Championship weekend is upon us and what a weekend it looks set to be. There is so much to play for and two games that are likely ‘win and in’. Here is our best guess at how it could go.

PAC-12 Championship - Washington v Oregon

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The weekend kicks off on Friday evening with a Pac-12 barnburner. A Washington v Oregon rematch where the winner likely secures a spot in the final four. Since the teams met in Week 6, a battle that the Huskies won 36-33, both have gone unbeaten. Oregon in more impressive fashion and the Ducks appear to have momentum going into this one.

Oregon’s defense is ranked 15th nationally in yards conceded per game, and I expect them to slow down the fast-paced Huskies offense led by Heisman candidate Michael Penix Jr. Oregon’s own candidate Bo Nix has been relatively mistake-free, and it will need multiple big defensive plays for Washington to stay in the game.

The Ducks win and leapfrog the Huskies to get a shot at the National Championship.

Prediction: Washington 24-31 Oregon

Big-12 Championship - Texas v Oklahoma State

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Saturday gets off to a steady start with a relative warm-up between Texas and Oklahoma State. The Longhorns are favourites, and you would expect this one to be fairly straightforward. It took Oklahoma State all its might to overcome BYU in overtime to make it here, so I’d be nervous backing the Cowboys. That said, Texas does have a history of tightening up under pressure.

The key for me will OSU’s running game and star back Ollie Gordon II. He has 1,580 rushing yards this season and had an impressive five TDs against the Cougars. If Gordon can get going early on and keep pace with Ewers and the Texas offense, things could get nervy in the 4th quarter. 

All that said, I think Texas give themselves an outside shot of making the playoffs with a thorough thrashing of Oklahoma State.

Prediction: Texas 41-17 Oklahoma State

SEC Championship - Georgia v Alabama

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For your main course, the SEC Championship. Can Alabama rise to the challenge and provide a toe-to-toe battle for the ages? The form would suggest not. A gruelling rivalry matchup last week with Auburn came down to a last-gasp 31-yard touchdown throw. In contrast, Georgia has barely hit their top gears. QB Carson Beck looks more comfortable every week, and Georgia remains no.1 in the country.

The Bulldogs will be buoyed by the return of the rested Brock Bowers and will be difficult to slow down. It will need star edge rusher Dallas Turner at his best to put Beck under duress. I have been super impressed with Terrion Arnold in the ‘Bama secondary, who has five interceptions this year. He and Kool-Aid McKinstry will be aiming for some takeaways.

The glimmer of hope for Alabama is that this Georgia defense is not quite as elite as previous incarnations. They showed chinks of weakness when allowing Peyton Thorne to roam freely in their matchup with Auburn. Jalen Milroe is much more mobile, and that will be the primary concern for the Bulldogs.

Alabama can make Georgia sweat in this one but doesn’t have the class to make it stick.

Prediction: Georgia 35-31 Alabama

Big-10 Championship - Michigan v Iowa

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Holy mismatch! Michigan defeated Ohio State last week in cathartic fashion. Sherrone Moore ably standing in for Jim Harbaugh as the Wolverines sought to draw a line under the signal-snatching scandal. Their reward, a conference game against the most boring 10-2 team in history! Iowa have only scored above 20 points four times this year.

The Wolverines should have more than enough to take the Hawkeyes down and seal their place in the playoffs. That said, it will test JJ McCarthy. The Michigan QB has underwhelmed at times but enjoyed the limelight of ‘The Game’. Iowa are strong defensively but will be missing their star cornerback Cooper DeJean.

This would be a major upset if Iowa could throw Michigan’s plans into disarray. I don’t see it. Wolverines comfortably.

Prediction: Michigan 22-10 Iowa

ACC Championship - Florida State v Louisville

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Florida State should be in the playoffs with a win here. As hamstrung as they may be without star QB Jordan Travis, an unbeaten conference champion is almost impossible to leave out. The question is, does stand-in Tate Rodemaker have enough to overcome Louisville? The Cardinals have enjoyed a strong season under Jeff Brohm, even though they ended things flatly with a loss to Kentucky.

Expect the Seminoles to rely heavily on the run game, Trey Benson may be the top-rated running back in this draft class. That, paired with a defense full of talent, should be enough to force errors out of Lousiville quarterback Jake Plummer. 

I think the Seminoles can beat Louisville here, but I’m much less optimistic about their chances in the playoffs.

Prediction: Florida State 20-17 Louisville

Final Four Matchups

  1. Georgia vs 4. Florida State
  2. Michigan vs 3. Oregon
Mock Draft

Rory-Joe Daniels

Cfb contributor

formerly writing for the inside zone, rory will be breaking down college tape and keeping you up-to-date with all things CFB for the touchdown. an avid bengals fan, you can also find some of rory’s work at