Phil Steele: 97-33 (75%)
Me: 97-33 (75%)
No. 5 Michigan State Spartans vs. No. 4Iowa Hawkeyes (in Indianapolis)
Big Ten Championship Game: Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, FOX
Michigan State’s sole loss is to Nebraska, a team Iowa beat last Friday. However, the Michigan State loss could be considered a fluke, a 1 point loss on the road. The Spartans are on fire in big games, against the Top 25 Michigan State is 3-0 with wins over Oregon, Michigan, and Ohio State. Iowa as faced only one Top 25 team this year, a win over Northwestern, we will see how these teams face off, but for now I’ve got the Spartans.
The Pick: Michigan State
No. 20 USC Trojans vs. No. 7Stanford Cardinal (in Santa Clara, Calif.)
PAC-12 Championship Game Presented by Dr. Pepper: Saturday, 7:45 p.m. ET, ESPN
This game hasn’t got as much attention as it should, it almost seems some people are taking this as a foregone conclusion that Stanford will win. USC has had an up and down year with a win over then #3 Utah, but also a loss to Washington. These two faced off earlier in the season, a 10 point Stanford win and this will feel like a road game for USC, Santa Clara is a lot closer to Palo Alto than Los Angeles is.
The Pick: Stanford
No. 18 Florida Gators vs. No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide (in Atlanta)
SEC Championship Game: Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, CBS
Florida has really struggled since Will Grier was suspended. The Gators are 3-1 in their past 4 games but the three wins were by an average of six points and were over teams with a combined record of 10 wins and 26 losses. Alabama on the other and has bounced back very well after losing to Ole Miss and might by the best team in the nation.
The Pick: Alabama
No. 22 Temple Owls at No. 19 Houston Cougars
American Athletic Conference Championship: Saturday, noon, ABC
This is a de facto play in game to a New Year’s Six bowl as no other “Group of Five” teams are left in the Top 25. Houston is 11-1, the sole loss to 6-6 UConn on the road. Temple is 10-2 with losses to Notre Dame and South Florida. Houston really impressed me in last week’s game against Navy, a 52-31 win over a top 15 team.
The Pick: Houston
West Virginia Mountaineers at Kansas State Wildcats
Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
Really Phil Steele, no MAC or C-USA Championship game, but you pick a game featuring a 5-6 team? Anyway, this game means a lot to Kansas State and Bill Snyder as a loss means they are out of a bowl game, a win and they are in. That’s a lot of pressure, especially facing a team that’s only losses are to are to Top 25 teams. Kansas State is just 2-3 vs the Power 5 at home, with wins being over 3-9 Iowa State and 0-12 Kansas.
The Pick: West Virginia
Air Force Falcons at San Diego State Aztecs
Sports Authority Mountain West Championship Game: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2
San Diego State started 1-3 in non conference play, then the Aztecs caught fire, they went 8-0 in Mountain West play. Runningback Donnel Pumphrey has rushed for almost 1500 yards this year for San Diego State. Also I picked Air Force earlier this year, against Navy and they failed me, so…
The Pick: San Diego State
No. 10 North Carolina Tar Heels at No. 1Clemson Tigers (in Charlotte, N.C.)
Dr. Pepper ACC Championship Game: Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, ABC
In a game that in my opinion should be a National Quarterfinal, or a College Football Playoff Play-In Game we see the UNC Tar Heels, who lost to now 3-9 South Carolina at the start of the season, then beat everyone else. Pittsburgh, Duke, Virginia Tech all lost to the Tar Heels. However, as good as UNC has been, 12-0 Clemson has been better.
The Pick: Clemson