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STS Staff Season Predictions: Who will reach their conference championship games and take home the trophy?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 04 Big 12 Championship Game - Oklahoma State v Baylor Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Six writers from the STS staff got together and put our predictions on the record. Since predictions made before Week 1 are sure to be wrong, we waited until after the first week of action so we could massively overreact to a small sample and ensure our picks are 100% accurate. Without further ado here are the championship picks from STS writers: Ryan Kantor, Will Harper, Drew Schneider, Matt Goldin, Nick Vivona, and John McElhaney.


Atlantic Division Pick:

  • 6/6 Clemson

Prior to Week 1, all six of us selected Clemson to win the Atlantic. After NC State’s near loss at ECU, we only further dug our heels in. Neither Wake Forest getting Sam Hartman back early nor FSU beating LSU were enough to scare any of our writers off Clemson as the pick in the Atlantic Division.

Coastal Division Pick:

  • 4/6 Miami (Ryan, Will, Drew, John)
  • 2/6 Pittsburgh (Matt, Nick)

I picked Miami to win the Coastal Division. Seeing Pittsburgh and North Carolina struggle with their Week 1 opponents only further drove him the pick in my mind. Nevertheless, Matt and Nick think Pittsburgh will repeat as Coastal Division champions. Pittsburgh closes the season on the road at Miami which could decide the division. I think Pittsburgh lost too much and will lose to Tennessee this weekend. Of course, the Tennessee game doesn’t impact the division race, but it may be a sign of things to come.

ACC Champion Pick:

  • 6/6 Clemson

There’s no disagreement here. Even with the WR and O-line problems that persisted in the opener at Georgia Tech, all six of us stuck with Clemson to win the ACC.


SEC East Pick:

  • 5/6 Georgia (Ryan, Will, Drew, Nick, John)
  • 1/6 Kentucky (Matt)

Matt could have changed his pick after seeing Georgia dismantle Oregon. In fact, I texted him to make sure this wasn’t some sort of typo, but alas he held steady with the Wildcats. Georgia impressed me more in Week 1 than at any point last season and I think they have a better shot at winning their division than any team in the country.

SEC West Pick:

  • 5/6 Alabama (Ryan, Will, Drew, Matt, Nick)
  • 1/6 Texas A&M (John)

Five of us went with the supremely chalky pick of Alabama, whileJohn is betting on the uber-talented Aggies to put it together and reach their first SEC Championship game. It isn’t crazy, but I think Alabama could be historically good this season.

SEC Champion Pick:

4/6 Alabama (Will, Drew, Matt, Nick)

1/6 Georgia (Ryan)

1/6 Texas A&M (John)

I’m still leaning towards Alabama for the National Championship, but hedging a little by calling a reversal of last year’s non-SEC Champ Georgia winning with Alabama winning as a non-champion.

Big Ten

Big Ten East Pick:

Unified once again. Ohio State will have to contend with Michigan, but after beating Notre Dame in Week 1 it is very hard to pick against them.

Big Ten West Pick:

  • 5/6 Wisconsin (Ryan, Will, Matt, Nick, John)
  • 1/6 Purdue (Drew

Drew’s wife is the head of science at the intergalactic animal hospital or something fancifully impressive like that. Before that, I’m told she ran Purdue University. Drew might also be smart and perhaps has a degree from Purdue, I’m not really sure, but he lived there at some point and can’t pick against them. When the Boilermakers were flirting with beating Penn State I considered picking them, but ultimately joined everybody else with Wisconsin winning the Big Ten West. I originally was leaning towards picking Iowa, but their offense looked too bad in Week 1 and I got scared and ran to the favorite.

Big Ten Champion Pick:

  • 6/6 Ohio State

We’ll get another boring Wisconsin vs. Ohio State Championship Game and the crazily NCAA-mandated conference divisions will come to a fitting end with the kind of unoriginal matchups they have created for years.

Big 12

Big 12 Champion Pick:

Big 12 Runner-up Pick:

  • 3/6 Oklahoma (Will, Drew, John)
  • 2/6 Baylor (Ryan, Nick)
  • 1/6 Iowa State (Matt)

Five of six picked the Oklahoma Sooners to at least reach the Conference Title game. Four picked Baylor to reach it with two selections for each as the champion. Kansas State and Oklahoma State were picked as the champions by one writer apiece. I believe Drew’s wife was the provost at K-State before running Purdue and the intergalactic animal hospital. It's unclear, but they both probably have degrees from there. K-State goes to Oklahoma and Baylor this season so I don’t see them having the road wins needed to win the conference.

Pac 12

Pac-12 Champion Pick:

  • 3/6 Utah (Will, Drew, Nick)
  • 2/6 Oregon (Matt, John)
  • 1/6 USC (Ryan)

Pac-12 Runner-up Pick:

  • 2/6 USC (Drew, Matt)
  • 2/6 Utah (Ryan, John)
  • 2/6 Oregon (Will, Nick)

After an offseason of defections from USC and UCLA and a Week 1 that included Oregon getting obliterated by Georgia and Utah losing to Florida, the Pac-12 seems like an afterthought. Their own fans seem to think so too as they set a record-low attendance (27,143).

As such, I won’t waste too much time on them. It appears to be a toss-up between Utah, USC, and Oregon. Anybody else playing in the title game would be a surprise.

College Football Playoff


  • 6/6 Alabama
  • 6/6 Ohio State
  • 6/6 Clemson
  • 3/6 Georgia (Ryan, Drew, John)
  • 1/6 Baylor (Will)
  • 1/6 Oklahoma (Matt)
  • 1/6 Oregon (John)

Interestingly, we all agree on three of the playoff teams: Alabama, Ohio State, and Clemson. I was actually less sure about Clemson than I was Georgia after seeing the Tigers' offense still have issues on the O-line and at WR while Georgia cruised past Oregon. I picked Clemson to go 10-2 in a previous article, but picking anyone else would feel like a dart throw. NC State and Louisville definitely look like less trouble than I was expecting when the season started, but Notre Dame and Miami are big challenges on the schedule and Wake Forest could be tough now that Sam Hartman is back early.

Beyond Alabama, Ohio State, and Clemson, three of us chose Georgia as a second SEC team to make the playoff. I could see a reverse scenario of last year where Georgia wins the SEC but Alabama gets revenge and wins the National Championship.

Will took a shot on Baylor coming out of the Big 12 and making the playoff. That would be a fun story given Oklahoma and Texas bailing for SEC money. Matt took Oklahoma to get into the Playoff in Coach Venables’ first season. You’d hate to see Brent Venables have to face his old team, but it would make for great television. In all, that last spot in the playoff feels like a wildcard.

Thanks for reading. Sound off in the comments below and tell us why our sure-to-be-right picks aren’t sure to be right. Also, be sure to vote in our poll below.


Who will win the College Football Playoff?

This poll is closed

  • 43%
    (39 votes)
  • 3%
    Ohio State
    (3 votes)
  • 33%
    (30 votes)
  • 17%
    (16 votes)
  • 1%
    Someone else
    (1 vote)
89 votes total Vote Now