One may think there is very little at stake when Washington and Utah square off for the Pac-12 Conference Championship on Friday night in California. The two teams have met already once this season -- a 21-7 Huskies win that featured four combined turnovers and a number of missed opportunities by the Utes. Furthermore, there are no playoff implications. 

But the playoff doesn't have to mean everything, even if it feels that way sometimes. The Rose Bowl is still on the line, and in the Pac-12, that means something. In fact, there's a possibility this season's Rose Bowl will feature both the traditional Big Ten and Pac-12 champions for the first time in the playoff era.

Plus, this is the final time to see Jake Browning battle it out in a Pac-12 game with stakes attached. 

Viewing information

Date: Friday, Nov. 30 | Time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Levi's Stadium -- Santa Clara, California
TV: FOX | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)

Storylines

Washington: Running back Myles Gaskin was the grinder the Huskies needed offensively last time these two teams met. He's quietly churned out his fourth straight 1,000-yard season, making him one of the most productive running backs in the nation over the last several years. The offense always seems to operate better when he's getting the ball, so expect him to be a huge part of what figures to be another tight, lower-scoring game. 

Utah: You have to hand it to Utah, winners of seven of their last eight games. They were the Pac-12's best two teams in October and have continued to win despite injuries to quarterback Tyler Huntley and Zack Moss. The one-two punch of Jason Shelley and Armand Shyne has stepped up nicely. And, of course, getting a huge come-from-behind victory against rival BYU was the icing on the cake to end the regular season. A win on Friday would not only mark the Utes' first Pac-12 title, it would give the program its second 10-win season since 2015. 

Game prediction, picks

The previous matchup was predictably a defensive struggle with Washington averaging the higher yards per play at 5.05. Turnovers are what killed Utah, and given another chance, I suspect the Utes will play sharper. This final score should be more reflective of what the first game would have looked like if Utah's ball security was better. Pick: Utah +5.5

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