College football score picks, predictions for Championship Week

College Football HQ
College Football HQ

With just one week left on the schedule before the bowls kick of, the college football season is poised to finally sort out the major conference and playoff races with Championship Week on the horizon.

What can we expect from the Week 14 slate of games? This week, we turn to FPI to guide us in making our own picks for the biggest matchups.

Place your bets: College football picks, predictions against the spread

Football Power Index (FPI) college football rankings and computer prediction model are a measure of team strength that predicts a team’s future performance.

Devised by ESPN analysts, its rankings and scores predictions are based on 20,000 simulations of a team’s season, using a combination of analytics, including scores to date, quality of opponents, and a team’s schedule.

College football picks, predictions for Championship Week

Percentages courtesy of FPI and game lines from SI Sportsbook

Pac-12 Championship Game

USC vs. Utah

Line: USC -2.5

FPI pick: USC 61.2%

Maybe no team in America is under as much pressure as USC heading into the Pac-12 Championship Game. Win, and it's in the College Football Playoff. Lose, and it's out. Now comes a rematch with the team that handed the Trojans their one loss, by one point, midseason. Utah won that game by controlling the ball on fourth down and attacking the intermediate portion of the field with tempo, USC's weakness defensively. But Caleb Williams and this offense have found a rhythm late in the season that can compensate for any defensive slip-ups.

College Football HQ pick: USC 34, Utah 30 (USC -2.5)

Post-game: How'd we do? Not so great thanks to Caleb Williams playing on what Lincoln Riley called a "popped hamstring" and USC's defense once again failing to play up to its challenge, as Utah won 47-24 in the upset, bouncing the Trojans out of playoff contention.

Rankings: College Football Playoff rankings for Championship Week

AAC Championship Game

Tulane vs. UCF

Line: Tulane -4

FPI pick: Tulane 59.3%

The last time these teams met, UCF stacked up 336 yards on the ground in a win over the Green Wave. But that was with quarterback John Rhys Plumlee leading the way, and there are questions about his availability as he deals with a hamstring injury. It's hard to beat the same team twice, on the road, and now with a New Year's bowl on the line.

College Football HQ pick: Tulane 30, UCF 25 (Tulane -4)

How to watch: College Football Conference Championship Schedule

Big 12 Championship Game

TCU vs. Kansas State

Line: TCU -1.5

FPI pick: TCU 53.9%

The Wildcats are going to run the ball effectively all day behind a ground attack that posts over 210 yards per game, but that loses some of its punch without quarterback Adrian Martinez fully healthy. TCU just has more variety and speed at the skill positions both running the ball and on the perimeter. This line has moved from 2.5 down to 1.5 in TCU's favor ahead of kickoff.

College Football HQ pick: TCU 34, Kansas State 27 (TCU -1.5)

ACC Championship Game

Clemson vs. North Carolina

Line: Clemson -7.5

FPI pick: Clemson 77.7%

Carolina has been playing marginally better defense in recent weeks and quarterback Drake Maye should struggle a little against a solid Clemson front seven that will pressure him, but the Tigers' offense has been extremely unreliable the second half of the season. DJ Uiagalelei has not played up to expectations, he just lost top-scoring receiver Beaux Collins to an injury, and you can't expect Will Shipley to do everything. Even so, UNC's loss to Georgia Tech is enough to not pick the outright upset.

College Football HQ pick: Clemson 34, North Carolina 28 (North Carolina +7.5)

Big Ten Championship Game

Michigan vs. Purdue

Line: Michigan -16.5

FPI pick: Michigan 89.0%

Purdue takes care of the football thanks to the deft play of quarterback Aidan O'Connell, in tandem with solid targets in Charlie Jones and Payne Durham, who combined have 20 touchdown catches on the year. Michigan may have left its best plays on the field at Ohio State and, while it's still clearly the better team overall, won't play too fancy and just wants to get out of Indy with a win and no one else any more banged up than they already are.

College Football HQ pick: Michigan 36, Purdue 23 (Purdue +16.5)

SEC Championship Game

Georgia vs. LSU

Line: Georgia -17.5

FPI pick: Georgia 83.0%

Georgia is the better football team in every phase, but that's still a big point spread for a conference championship game, much less the SEC. Georgia likes to build early leads and let its defense, which leads college football with 11.3 points allowed per game, to do the rest. Watch how LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels, the team's leading rusher, is able to extend plays against the Bulldogs' pursuit group at the line. Georgia can keep LSU under 20 points, but this offense tends to lose interest after halftime, too.

College Football HQ pick: Georgia 34, LSU 17 (LSU +17.5)

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