College football picks, schedule: Predictions for major 2018 conference championship games today
A closer look at the major conference championship games being played in the final week of the 2018 season
The official College Football Playoff announcement is less than 24 hours away, so it is now or never for some of the best college football teams in the land to make their statements. Oklahoma gets the first opportunity early on Saturday, but it will be far from the last team looking to show the best version of itself to the CFP Selection Committee.
The final week of the 2018 season has arrived, and with the CFP Rankings shaken up just one week ago, suddenly it feels like anything can happen. With more than a dozen scenarios possible on Saturday, the top four could look quite different by the time the day is over. With five major conference titles on the line over the course of the day, not only the CFP but the New Year's Six bowl games could see some major changes before we're all finished.
Action begins at noon ET and continues late into the evening, so let's take a look at the biggest games on the schedule Saturday along with our predictions for what will transpire in those contests. Our CBS Sports college football experts have picked every game both straight up and against the spread, giving you ample opportunity to decide how to make your picks ahead of kickoff.
All times Eastern
Big 12 Championship Game -- No. 14 Texas vs. No. 5 Oklahoma (-8) -- noon on ABC: There are a couple of conflicting ideals at play. A recurring theme on here is that Tom Herman is a far better underdog than he is a favorite. For evidence, look no further than this game just a couple of months ago vs. Texas' 24-17 win over lowly Kansas a week ago. Ultimately, that underdog line helps the Horns cover. Beating the same team twice, though, especially one as good as Oklahoma? That's a different story. Pick: Texas +8 -- Ben Kercheval
AAC Championship Game -- Memphis vs. No. 8 UCF (-3) -- 3:30 p.m. on ABC: One of the reasons that Memphis coach Mike Norvell has been credited as a potential star on the rise is his ability to scheme up an offensive game plan. Word on the street is that if Norvell gets a look at you, your team is going to be in trouble if there's a second meeting in that season. UCF held Memphis to just 13 points in their regular season meeting in 2017 and then couldn't stop the Tigers offense when they met in December. Memphis nearly had the first game won this year, and I think the breakthrough happens here in Orlando. Pick: Tigers +3 -- Chip Patterson
SEC Championship Game -- No. 1 Alabama (-13) vs. No. 4 Georgia -- 4 p.m. on CBS, CBSSports.com and fuboTV (try for free): It's a big spread, which makes picking Georgia seem quite tasty. Don't take a bite out of it, though. Both of these teams are very, very good -- perhaps two of the four best teams in the country. But Alabama is on the verge of becoming the best college football team of all time, and Georgia won't derail that. It'll be low-scoring early, the Bulldogs running game will have more success than anticipated and they'll have a chance in the second half. But when Alabama pours it on, it's like a firehose. The receivers will get loose late and lead to a Crimson Tide win and cover. Pick: Alabama (-13) -- Barrett Sallee
So what college football picks can you make with confidence on Championship Week, and what title contender will go down hard? Visit SportsLine now to see which teams are winning more than 50 percent of simulations, all from a proven computer model that has returned over $4,000 in profit over the past three seasons.
Big Ten Championship Game -- No. 21 Northwestern vs. No. 6 Ohio State (-14.5) -- 8 p.m. on FOX and fuboTV (try for free): Northwestern is a great story and it's a much better team than the one we saw in September. Still, it's benefited from a down season in the Big Ten, and it hasn't faced a task as tough as the one it's getting in Indianapolis. The Buckeyes' advantages in this game are everywhere, and with the extra motivation of a possible playoff berth, I'm fully expecting Ohio State to come out with a performance similar to what we saw last week. Pick: Ohio State -14.5 -- Tom Fornelli
ACC Championship Game -- No. 2 Clemson (-25.5) vs. Pittsburgh -- 8 p.m. on ABC: This is too many daggum points for a game between two really good rushing teams. Clemson and Pitt both want to pound the rock and the Tigers want to get out of the game healthy. Clemson will win, but Pitt will score enough to cover the spread. Pick: Pitt +25.5 -- Chip Patterson
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