The college football regular season is officially over, but we still have 10 conference championship games to look forward to next week. Let’s take a look at some of the title games and what’s at stake in each one with regard to the College Football Playoff.
Pac-12: Utah Utes vs. Oregon Ducks
The Pac-12 title game gets things started on Friday night. Had Oregon avoided a loss to Arizona State a couple of weeks ago, this could have been a play-in game for the CFP. However, Utah still has a chance to sneak into the top four.
The Utes are 11-1 and breezed through most of their Pac-12 schedule. Thanks to Alabama’s loss, they appear to have the inside track on being fourth in the CFP rankings if they can beat Oregon.
Big 12: Baylor Bears vs. Oklahoma Sooners
Alabama’s loss has also opened a door for Oklahoma to grab a top-four spot if it can win its rematch with Baylor. Of course, the Bears are in the mix as well and could have an argument if they’re able to avenge their only loss of the season, which came last month against the Sooners.
If Utah wins the Pac-12 title, it’ll be an interesting conversation between the Utes and the winner of this game. Depending on how things play out in the other games, the fourth spot in the CFP could come down to the Pac-12 champion or the Big 12 champion, but it’s unlikely that both will get in.
SEC: Georgia Bulldogs vs. LSU Tigers
This is where things could get a little complicated. Georgia has just one loss this season and currently owns the No. 4 spot in the CFP rankings. However, a second loss on its resume, even if it’s a close loss to LSU, will probably take it out of the top four in favor of a conference champion. A win for the Bulldogs, of course, will put them in the CFP.
Meanwhile, LSU could survive a loss and remain in the top four. The Tigers at 12-1, with their only loss to Georgia, would likely have a better resume than Utah, Oklahoma, and Baylor. Obviously, LSU wants to leave nothing to chance, especially since a win could be the difference between being the No. 1 seed and being the No. 4 seed.
ACC: Virginia Cavaliers vs. Clemson Tigers
This about as simple as it gets for Clemson; the Tigers need to win to remain in the top four. It’s been a down year for the ACC, and while Clemson has blown out just about every team on its schedule, it won’t get to the CFP with a loss. That means the Tigers must extend their 27-game winning streak to 28 games against Virginia.
Big Ten: Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Wisconsin Badgers
Ohio State is in a similar position to LSU. It has gone through the regular season undefeated and should be able to absorb a loss and remain in the top four. The Buckeyes actually have four wins over teams playing on Championship Saturday, including Wisconsin. However, a loss to Wisconsin would probably drop them to the No. 4 spot, which keeps them in the CFP but would keep them out of contention for the No. 1 seed, which could give them a distinct advantage.