By Monty Babers
Special to DFWSportsOnline.com
Pac-12 Championship: 3 Washington vs. 5 Oregon (Fri. 7pm on ABC)
This is a rematch of a game earlier this season which was a joy to watch. It was inevitable these teams would face off again, this time to determine the final champion of the Pac-12 in its final year as we know it. Ever since Oregon’s loss to Washington earlier this season, they have been on an absolute tear led by Heisimen candidate Bo Nix. In the first half of the season, Washington looked unstoppable with Micheal Penix being the best QB in the country but as of late they have had nothing but close games. They have kept their perfect record so far by thin margins. Ever since the loss Oregon has been playing like a top 4 team in the country, dominating every aspect of the game. Oregon will want to take revenge to win the Pac-12 one final time and prove to the committee they are worthy of a playoff berth. This will be a close battle not to be missed!
My hot pick: Washington +10
Big 12 Championship: 18 Oklahoma State vs. 7 Texas (Sat. 11 am on ABC)
Texas has a chance to leave the Big 12 with a bang, before their monumental move to the SEC. This year has seemed like everything Texas has been waiting forever on with a team talented enough to bring a National Title back to Austin. The week 2 win over Bama was arguably the most impressive win of the season of any team since Bama has only gotten better since. The OU loss is the only blemish on their record but they have bounced back nicely since the loss. With a chance for a statement win this week over OK State, they need to prove to the committee why they deserve a spot in the top 4. You should not discount OK State, they are a very scrappy team who despite some let-downs here and there have more than earned a chance to play Texas in the conference championship. I know all eyes are on UT but look for this to be closer than expected. If the Longhorns get comfortable and look too far ahead they stand a chance to let the Cowboys pull off an upset.
Hot pick: Oklahoma State +15
SEC Championship: 1 Georgia vs. 8 Alabama (Sat. 3 pm on CBS)
I think we could all see this one coming. Despite an early season loss to Texas, Bama has more than redeemed itself. Some see Bama as one team that can put up a fight against a very dominant Georgia, and I tend to agree. They are led by the greatest college coach of all time in Nick Saban while having a QB who found his stride despite some early struggles in Jalen Milroe. At the beginning of the year, Georgia was the favorite to three-peat. With many new starters key positions it was not the smoothest, especially with TE Brock Bowers being out for a spell. Since his return they seemed to have found who they are, which is a very dominant team who looks almost untouchable. A defense they will wreck any opposing offensive game plan, and a powerful offense to match anyone. Georgia is the clear favorite still, all you need to do is watch and see why.
Hot pick: under 54.5
AAC Championship: SMU vs. 22 Tulane (Sat. 3 pm on ABC)
Tulane has had a stellar past two years, they will look to repeat to win their second AAC championship in a row. They will have their work cut out for them though as SMU is one of the hottest teams in the country with an 8 game win streak. Neither of them have lost a conference game this year. This game might not have playoff implications but don’t discount it. It should be an exciting one with two offenses who are explosive and dynamic. It will be close as well as high scoring.
Hot Pick: SMU +142
Big Ten Championship: 2 Michigan vs. 16 Iowa (Sat. 7 pm on Fox)
If you were looking for an underdog to pick over the weekend then I would stay far away from Iowa. The Big Ten East/West has been lopsided for many years with the East having most of the powerhouse programs such as Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State. So it’s no surprise that whoever wins the Big Ten East is almost certainly the conference champion. It’s no different in 2023 as Michihan is rolling, coming off a win over their biggest rival OSU for the third time in a row. Iowa has won games somehow despite being outgained on offense in almost every match, luck has obviously been on their side. They have an abysmal offense only accounting for 22 tds, but their defense gets it done against opponents, so they hold on for 10 wins. This week they run into a juggernaut and their luck runs out. Michigan will roll over Iowa in a complete blowout, they will punch their ticket for the Playoff.
Hot Pick: Michigan -21.5
ACC Championship: 14 Louisville vs. 4 Florida State (Sat. 7 pm on ABC)
Florida State is having a year to remember as they look to remain undefeated through the AAC Championship to seemingly earn a spot in the final four. The one issue is they lost their team leader and QB Jordan Travis for the season. He was leading the team on an incredible run and to lose him is a shame. It will not be the same without him and I’m sure FSU fans are wondering “what could have been” as their championship hopes plummeted the second he went down. The team is still supremely talented and are favorites this weekend. I do think Louisville has a great chance for an upset to spoil FSU’s season. It will be a very close and competitive game, with so much unknown the winner will be a surprise either way.
Hot Pick: Louisville +105
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