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KSL.com College Football Pick'em Week 14 preview


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SALT LAKE CITY — It's conference championship week in college football, highlighted by a rematch between the Utes and Trojans for the Pac-12 trophy.

Make your picks for the big games here.

No. 11 Utah (9-3) vs. No. 4 USC (11-1)

Friday, Dec. 2 at 6 p.m. MST at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas (FOX)

Utah beat USC 43-42 the last time the two teams met on Oct. 15 in the Trojans' only loss of the season.

Why Utah will win: The Utes lost two weeks ago in heartbreaking fashion to then-No. 12 Oregon but rebounded in a big way last week with a 63-21 road win over Colorado in their regular-season finale.

Thanks to an Oregon State win and the Pac-12 tiebreaker rules, Utah finds itself back in the Pac-12 title game after winning it last year, and Cam Rising and company hope to make it a repeat. Look for another high-scoring affair between talented offenses that could come down to a critical error or defensive stop.

Why USC will win: The Trojans are rolling with five-straight wins after the loss in Salt Lake City, including top-20 wins over UCLA and Notre Dame.

Quarterback Caleb Williams is now the Heisman front-runner after C.J. Stroud and Ohio State lost to Michigan last week, making this game an opportunity to seal the deal on the hardware. The Trojans are scoring over 42 points per game but find themselves up against a Utah defense giving up just 20 points per game in what should be a blockbuster battle.

Betting line: USC -3

Over/under: 67

No. 10 Kansas State (9-3) vs. No. 3 TCU (12-0)

Saturday, Dec. 3 at 10 a.m. MST (ABC)

The Horned Frogs arrive undefeated at the Big 12 title game as the staunch Kansas State Wildcats look for an upset.

Why Kansas State will win: The Wildcats are holding their opponents to under 20 points per game and pitched a shutout against then-No. 9 Oklahoma State in October.

Their only losses in Big 12 play came on the road at TCU and a one-score loss at home to Texas. The Wildcats will have to hope their defense shows up and can muster some of what held Baylor to just a field goal three weeks ago.

Why TCU will win: The Horned Frogs have been dominant this season. There's no way around it.

Quarterback Max Duggan is second in the Heisman race behind Williams and has a 29-to-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio this season. The run game is just as lethal, with Kendre Miller leading the way with 16 scores on 1,260 yards. TCU beat Kansas State 38-28 in October and will look for a repeat this week.

Betting line: TCU -2.5

Over/under: 62

Fresno State (8-4) vs. Boise State (9-3)

Saturday, Dec. 3 at 2 p.m. MST (FOX)

The Mountain West championship runs through the "States" in a battle between the Bulldogs and Broncos.

Why Fresno State will win: The Bulldogs have rattled off seven-straight wins after losing four in a row early in the season. Their regular-season finale was a 30-0 demolition of Wyoming.

Quarterback Jake Haener has 17 touchdowns and three interceptions on the year, but running back Jordan Mims is really who has shined with 14 touchdowns and over 1,000 rushing yards this season.

Why Boise State will win: The Broncos recovered from a late-season loss to BYU by finishing off their Mountain West slate undefeated with wins over Nevada, Wyoming and Utah State.

The Broncos won the first meeting with the Bulldogs 40-20 on Oct. 8, and the vaunted Bronco defense — holding opponents to under 18 points per game — should make the difference Saturday.

Betting line: Boise State -3

Over/under: 54

No. 22 UCF (9-3) vs. No. 18 Tulane (10-2)

Saturday, Dec. 3 at 2 p.m. MST (ABC)

These two teams met just three weeks ago and UCF came out on top. Can the Knights repeat the upset when it matters most in the AAC title game?

Why UCF will win: The Knights handed the Green Wave just its second loss of the season on Nov. 12 when they went to then-No. 17 Tulane's house and came away victors 38-31.

Dual-threat quarterback John Rhys Plumlee has 13 passing touchdowns through the air and 11 on the ground, and the offense scored 46 points last week against USF. Three of Rhys Plumlee's scores this season came in the win over Tulane.

Why Tulane will win: The Green Wave is holding opponents under 20 points on average this season and will have to learn from its defensive mistakes last time around against the Knights.

Quarterback Michael Pratt has 21 touchdowns of his own this season with just four interceptions, while running back Tyjae Spears has 14 rushing touchdowns and 1,177 rushing yards this season.

Betting line: Tulane -3.5

Over/under: 56.5

No. 9 Clemson (10-2) vs. No. 23 North Carolina (9-3)

Saturday, Dec. 3 at 6 p.m. MDT (ABC)

Both teams in the ACC title game are coming off losses in their regular-season finale last week.

Why Clemson will win: The Tigers lost a 31-30 thriller to South Carolina last week, dropping their second in four games — they have only two losses on the season.

Clemson will look to prove it is still a national powerhouse as quarterback DJ Uiagalelei and running back Will Shipley trade blows with a potent Tar Heel offense that averages 37 points per game.

Why North Carolina will win: The Tar Heels lost their last two games but were undefeated in ACC play before that.

Quarterback Drake Maye is tied for fourth in the nation with 35 passing touchdowns on just five interceptions and has another six scores on the ground. Josh Downs is his favorite receiver and has picked up 11 touchdowns on the season.

Betting line: Clemson -7.5

Over/under: 63.5

Don't forget to make your picks here!

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Caleb Turner covers Real Salt Lake as the team's beat writer for KSL.com, in addition to his role where he oversees the sports team's social media accounts.

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