Conference championship picks

Why UCLA will push Stanford, plus picks and upset odds for every title game

Originally Published: November 29, 2012
By Will Harris | ESPN Insider
Brett Hundley and Kevin HoganAP Photo, Getty ImagesBrett Hundley and Kevin Hogan have led their schools to the Pac-12 title game.

Every week during the season, Will Harris will check with the computers (using Insider's PickCenter) and wiseguys to evaluate the upset possibilities in college football's most compelling games and give his picks for which teams will come out on top.

The seven teams ranked 15th through 21st all lost last week, creating a scenario in which new No. 17 Kent State has a good chance of landing an Orange Bowl berth by way of automatic qualification should the Flashes defeat Northern Illinois in the MAC championship game on Friday night.

Now sitting at 76-53 on the year after a 3-7 mark last week (our first losing week since September), Upset Watch brings you the lowdown on the MAC title game and the five other championship tilts on tap for the weekend.

UCLA Bruins at Stanford Cardinal (Friday)

Stanford favored by 8 points
TeamRankings win odds for UCLA: 25 percent

Stanford just won by 18 in Pasadena -- so what's different this time around that makes taking the Bruins and the points a more appealing choice on the Farm?

It's true that some of the factors benefiting the favorite are still in place. Stepfan Taylor ran for 142 yards on 20 carries and still has an edge against a mediocre UCLA rush defense. Zach Ertz and fellow tight end Levine Toilolo still present problems for UCLA's linebackers and undersized safeties. A Cardinal front seven that recorded seven sacks and held Johnathan Franklin to 65 yards still remains a tough matchup for a UCLA line that starts three freshmen.