Friday Forecast: An Absolutely Loaded Conference Championship Slate
Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Friday Forecast: An Absolutely Loaded Conference Championship Slate

December 06, 2019

Friday Forecast is back after a year-long hiatus last season. This week, the Hail Varsity staff is picking all of the championship games.

Here's how everyone’s doing against the spread after 14 weeks of picks.

  1. Jacob Padilla: 47-34
  2. Brandon Vogel: 42-39
  3. Erin Sorensen: 40-41
  4. Derek Peterson: 39-42
  5. Greg Smith: 36-45

The Big Ten Championship: No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 8 Wisconsin (OSU –16.5, O/U 56.0) 

Brandon Vogel: The numbers say to take Wisconsin with the points here. The Badgers’ track record suggests the same (at least to me). But this Ohio State team might be historically good and its margin for error is just greater than Wisconsin’s. PICK: Ohio State 38, Wisconsin 20 

Erin Sorensen: Part of me wants to pick Wisconsin to cover, but part of me also knows what’s on the line for Ohio State here. A big statement could keep the Buckeyes No. 1 going into the playoff discussion, which is what they want. I’m expecting that big statement. PICK: Ohio State 34, Wisconsin 14 

Greg Smith: I’m pretty sure I’ve picked Ohio State to cover every game we have picked them this season. There is no reason to stop doing that now. PICK: Ohio State 45, Wisconsin 14 

Jacob Padilla: The last time these teams squared off, Ohio State held Wisconsin to a season-low 83 rushing yards and crushed the Badgers 38-7. Five weeks later are either of these dramatically different teams? This is a big spread against a tough Wisconsin team, but the Buckeyes won by 31 last time. You shaved two touchdowns off that and the Buckeyes would still cover. Justin Fields will play after suffering an MCL sprain, so give me Ohio State. PICK: Ohio State 35, Wisconsin 17 

Derek Peterson: I don’t know. I thought Ohio State would more than cover that 18-point Penn State spread and it didn’t happen. Wisconsin’s game plan should be to keep the possessions down and keep the ball away from the Ohio State offense. That’s obviously easier said than done given that Buckeye defense is probably one of the two or three best in football, but this could be a two-score Buckeye win and it still doesn’t cover. I like the Badgers having film already on what went wrong and plenty left to prove. PICK: Ohio State 34, Wisconsin 20 

The SEC Championship: No. 2 LSU vs. No. 4 Georgia (LSU –6.5, O/U 54.5) 

BV: Here it is, fans of defense, your best hope for an old-school football team in the Playoff (unless Utah makes it). I think Georgia can make things somewhat difficult on the Tigers. Ultimately, not quite tough enough. PICK: LSU 31, Georgia 28 

ES: I’m just not sure Georgia can keep up with LSU. Sorry, Bulldogs. PICK: LSU 34, Georgia 24 

GS: I’m not a huge believer in Georgia but I do think they can keep this game close. The offense is inept but the defense is salty. LSU could be looking ahead to a college football playoff run. PICK: LSU 27, Georgia 23 

JP: Jake Fromm has completed less than 50% of his passes in each of his last four games. The defense is salty, but that’s not going to be good enough to keep up with a Joe Burrow-led LSU offense. PICK: LSU 35, Georgia 20 

DP: LSU’s going to win this one big and everyone is going to question whether they’re actually more deserving of that No. 1 spot and then Ohio State is going to smash LSU. Just not a believer in Georgia. PICK: LSU 35, Georgia 17 

The ACC Championship: No. 3 Clemson vs. No. 23 Virginia (CLEM –28.5, O/U 57.0) 

BV: Clemson has been outperforming even its lofty rating of late, and I’ve picked them against them in most of those games. Done with that. PICK: Clemson 35, Virginia 3 

ES: What even is this line? Woof. But I guess let’s roll with the absurdity of it. PICK: Clemson 48, Virginia 10 

GS: Clemson will roll and Dabo will find something to complain about. PICK: Clemson 49, Virginia 10 

JP: I didn’t even know which team won whichever ACC division it is that Clemson isn’t in until right now. PICK: Clemson 38, Virginia 7  

DP: Whoa boy. What a lopsided game this is going to be. And, yet, I’m still going to take the Cavs to cover. PICK: Clemson 38, Virginia 10 

The Pac-12 Championship: No. 5 Utah vs. No. 13 Oregon (UTAH –6.5, O/U 46.0) 

BV: This one is going to be pretty punchy for a Pac-12 title game though I guess last year’s was a 10-3 slugfest, too. Maybe this is the new Pac-12. If so, Utah is its new overlord. PICK: Utah 28, Oregon 20 

ES: The Utes feel like a pretty complete team to me so I’m going to take ‘em to win and cover this one. PICK: Utah 28, Oregon 21 

GS: The is the game I am most looking forward to this weekend. It seems like everyone is counting Oregon out and Utah has something to prove. They are also playing for a spot in the CFB Playoffs. That’s plenty motivation. PICK: Utah 24, Oregon 17 

JP: Give me the Utes to win but the Ducks to cover. I have no idea why. PICK: Utah 27, Oregon 21 

DP: I think Utah’s the better team. I know Utah’s the more consistent team. This is the closest the Pac-12 has been to a Playoff bid in three years and I trust Kyle Whittingham enough to say he gets it done. PICK: Utah 27, Oregon 20 

The Big 12 Championship: No. 6 Oklahoma vs. No. 7 Baylor (OKLA –9.0, O/U 64.0) 

BV: Despite having a good defense overall, Baylor’s tackling is bizarrely “just OK.” That’s a big problem against the fleet of athletes Oklahoma rolls out there each week, including CeeDee Lamb, who didn’t play in the first game. PICK: Oklahoma 42, Baylor 30 

ES: I like Oklahoma to win. I like Baylor to cover. PICK: Oklahoma 31, Baylor 24 

GS: I am surprised the line is this high. I think it’s more of a coin flip game. The flip landed on Baylor. PICK: Baylor 35, Oklahoma 31 

JP: Oklahoma is going to make as strong a case for itself as possible to make the CFP in case some weird stuff happens elsewhere, and Jalen Hurts is going to make one last Heisman push. PICK: Oklahoma 38, Baylor 28 

DP: So in the same week Greg and I start feuding over his incorrect Die Hard/Christmas movie take, he goes and pulls this? Whatever. Five straight conference titles and a CFP berth on the line. Oklahoma doesn’t just need a win, it needs style points. If the first meeting hadn’t been such a dramatic collapse from Baylor I’d say the loser takes the rematch, but Oklahoma is going to be in the Bears’ heads. Lincoln Riley will love that. PICK: Oklahoma 42, Baylor 28 

The AAC Championship: No. 20 Cincinnati at No. 17 Memphis (MEM –9.5, O/U 58.0) 

BV: I’m ok with title-game rematches, but the back-to-back weeks thing is suboptimal. That’s probably edge Cincinnati, but I don’t think this line is that close to the actual gap between the teams so I’ll run it back with the Tigers. PICK: Memphis 37, Cincinnati 24 

ES: It feels like we just watched this one. Oh, wait. It’s because it did. PICK: Memphis 31, Cincinnati 21 

GS: Going with Memphis and Mike Norvell riding this win all the way to Tallahassee. PICK: Memphis 31, Cincinnati 20 

JP: I picked Cincinnati to cover last time and the Bearcats had my back. However, the line dropping to single digits makes it a tougher call to ride with Cincinnati. PICK: Memphis 35, Cincinnati 24 

DP: Go Tigers. PICK: Memphis 37, Cincinnati 23 

The Mountain West Championship: No. 19 Boise State vs. Hawaii (BSU –14.0, O/U 64.5) 

BV: Don’t have a great feeling for this one. The Broncos cruised in the first meeting, but Hawaii is Team Chaos. It will fare better this time around, but not well enough. PICK: Boise State 41, Hawaii 28 

ES: I don’t know. I actually missed this game completely in originally going through my picks, so that’s good. PICK: Boise State 42, Hawaii 24 

GS: Boise State became good again without me noticing. Bryan Harsin has shunned job opportunities this week and his team rewards him with a good performance. PICK: Boise State 42, Hawaii 24 

JP: I have no idea what I’m supposed to think about Hawaii this season, but I do think Boise State is pretty good. PICK: Boise State 45, Hawaii 30

DP: I like the Rainbow Warriors, who have found their fire in recent weeks on defense, to keep it close against a second-string Boise State quarterback. PICK: Boise State 37, Hawaii 34 

The Sun Belt Championship: No. 21 Appalachian State vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (APP –6.5, O/U 56.5) 

BV: As an avowed fan now of App State and Boone, N.C., I can’t pick against the Mountaineers here, but they probably got outplayed in their October win over the Cajuns. I’ll stick with my team, but play the other side so I win either way. PICK: Appalachian State 27, Louisiana-Lafayette 24 

ES: I can’t believe I have more faith in Brandon’s team than he does. PICK: Appalachian State 27, Louisiana-Lafayette 20 

GS: I wouldn’t dare pick against Brandon’s team. PICK: Appalachian State 28, Louisiana-Lafayette 20 

JP: I’m going to go with Appalachian State too simply so Brandon is all alone picking against his team to cover. PICK: Appalachian State 31, Louisiana-Lafayette 21 

DP: Appies. (I have no knowledge of whether Appalachian State has ever, in any way, shape or form been referred to as the “Appies” but I went for it.) But not to cover. PICK: Appalachian State 30, Louisiana-Lafayette 27 

The MAC Championship: Central Michigan vs. Miami (OH) (CMU –6.5, O/U 54.0) 

BV: Good on Miami (Ohio edition) for getting here, but it’s been extremely fortunate on its way to 7-5. For example, the RedHawks have been outscored by 51 total points this season. Central Michigan has not. PICK: Central Michigan 35, Miami (OH) 21 

ES: I’ve lost all motivation to write a reason for why I’m picking what I am, so here’s my pick. PICK: Central Michigan 31, Miami (OH) 24 

GS: I’ve not watched any MACtion this season which is a shame. PICK: Miami (OH) 17, Central Michigan 10 

JP: I, too, have not watched any MACtion but I’ll go the opposite way of Greg here. Brandon’s fun fact is compelling. PICK: Central Michigan 31, Miami (OH) 24 

DP: Central Michigan is actually a pretty good football team. Just in time to come play Nebraska early in 2020. PICK: Central Michigan 33, Miami (OH) 24 

The C-USA Championship: UAB vs. FAU (FAU –7.5, O/U 49.5) 

BV: Despite some of what you’ll read below, Lane Kiffin is not the best coach in this game. But he’ll probably win anyway. PICK: FAU 31, UAB 21 

ES: Let’s go Lane! PICK: FAU 31, UAB 21 

GS: Lane Kiffin wins and then bolts. PICK: FAU 35, UAB 10 

JP: What Greg said. PICK: FAU 28, UAB 20 

DP: Greg wants a lot of these coaches to leave for other jobs. PICK: FAU 24, UAB 20 

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