Before we find out which four teams will be headlining this years College Football Playoff, we see which teams will be crowned champions of their beloved conferences. Will there be any unexpected results? What key headlines and factors will come into play? Here is everything you need to know about the match-ups this weekend.
Washington (-4.5) vs Utah
Friday, 8:00PM E.T, FOX
Washington’s victory last week over in state rival Washington State killed any idea of a PAC 12 team getting into the playoff, but this match-up will still be intriguing as it’s one of only two Power 5 conference championship games this week with a spread less than a 2 TD favorite.
Best Matchup: Utah Defense vs Wash Offense
Wash X Factor: RB Myles Gaskin (1000+ rushing yards in 4 straight seasons)
Utah X Factor: QB Jason Shelley, 4th career start
Verdict: Washington is coming off momentum, they have the senior leadership in Jake Browning and Gaskin, and Utah had its worst offensive production this season to the Huskies.
Prediction: Washington 34 Utah 24
Oklahoma (-7.5) vs Texas
Saturday, Noon E.T, ABC
The first Red River Showdown rematch in the same season since 1903, the Sooners have a chance to erase their only loss this season and a possible playoff berth with a win against their rivals in Arlington.
Key Matchup: OU Secondary vs UT Recievers
OU X factor: QB Kyler Murray #1 in Total QBR (96.1) and 2nd in TD’s responsible for (48) as well as total offense per game (377.3 yards)
UT X Factor: Lil’Jordan Humphrey 72 catches, 1,058 yards, 8 TD’s his 6-foot-4 size and athletic ability will give the Sooners D all they can handle.
Verdict: With Texas QB Sam Ehlinger’s shoulder injury one week after the first match-up, his health has never been the same. OU is 6-0 since the lost and their offense is loaded with weapons. If the defense gets a couple stops they will be in the drivers seat.
Prediction: Oklahoma 45 Texas 31
Alabama (-13.5) vs Georgia
Saturday, 4:00PM E.T, CBS
The Alabama Crimson Tide has won every one of their games this season by at least 21 points. Besides the Bulldogs loss to LSU, both teams haven’t looked back since their National Championship match-up last season. Can Georgia slow down the Tide and have back to back years with two SEC teams in the playoff?
Bama X Factor: Tua Tagovailoa, the Heisman front runner with the highest passer efficiency rating (currently 212.5)
Georgia X Factor: Anyone that can stop the Tide’s dominance
Verdict: Keys to victory for UGA, protection. Jake Fromm needs to protect the ball, his loss this season against LSU included two huge interceptions. The Georgia O-Line has to protect him from the vicious Bama D-Line led by Quinnen Williams.
Prediction: Alabama 38 Georgia 20
Ohio State (-14) vs Northwestern
Saturday, 8:00PM E.T, FOX
After a huge 62-39 win against Michigan, the Buckeyes have made a real case for why they should be in the playoff mix. The Wildcats ground and pound style mixed in with a weak Big 10 West division gives them the opportunity to spoil any chance of that happening.
OSU X Factor: QB Dwayne Haskins year has been very shadowed by Kyler Murray and Tua Tagovailoa. Haskins leads the nation in passing touchdowns (42).
NW X Factor: Freshman RB Isaiah Bowser has rushed for 100+ yards in four of the last six games. Bowser is also from Sidney, Ohio and would love to torch his home state Buckeyes.
Verdict: If Northwestern can limit the amount of time Haskins and the OSU offense is on the field, this game can stay close, for a while…
Prediction: Ohio State: 30 Northwesten 17
Clemson (-26) vs Pittsburgh
Saturday, 8:00PM E.T, ABC
Freshman QB Trevor Lawerence leads Clemson to an undefeated regular season with not many challenges and shouldn’t get one this weekend.
Clemson X Factor: The Tigers defense is coming off a terrible performance last week where they gave South Carolina QB Jake Bentley throw for 510 yards and 5 TDs.
Pitt X Factor: RB’s Qadree Ollison and Darrin Hall are one of the best running duo’s in college football. If they can get good production and make Clemson respect the run, they can try to open the passing game up.
Verdict: The ACC is weak
Prediction: Clemson 42 Pitt 10