By Brad Carroll
Before we fully jump into Championship Saturday, where the College Football Playoff picture will finally come into clear focus, for most anyway, there is a conference title on the line the night before that should have college football fans excited, as No. 10 USC plays No. 12 Stanford for the Pac-12 championship in Santa Clara.
Below, our college football experts preview and pick that title game against the point spread. Check out our Saturday previews and picks for the six biggest conference championship games here. As always, follow us on Twitter here.
No. 14 Stanford vs. No. 11 USC at Santa Clara, 8, ESPN
Spread: USC -4
Brad’s Breakdown: USC has won four straight since its blowout loss to Notre Dame last month. Stanford has won three straight since losing to Washington State, including victories over Washington and Notre Dame, when both were ranked in the top 10 at the time. But all those games and victories might tell as good a story for this title tilt as the game played on Sept. 9, which saw USC beat Stanford, 42-24, at home. The Trojans nearly doubled up the Cardinal in total offense, 624-342, and had a field day running the football in that early-season matchup. Sam Darnold also had a big game, passing for 316 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. Darnold has seemingly got his turnover problem under control the past several weeks, which makes for even worse news for Stanford coming into this game. But the Cardinal couldn’t be hotter right now, especially coming off a 38-20 drubbing of then-No. 8 Notre Dame last week. Still, this could be Darnold’s second-to-last opportunity to prove himself on the field as a potential No. 1 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. He and the Trojans get the win.
Brad’s Final: USC 31, Stanford 21 (USC)
Craig’s Final: USC 28, Stanford 21 (USC)
Glenn’s Final: USC 42, Stanford 35 (USC)
Matt’s Final: Stanford 34, USC 28 (Stanford)