As the college football regular season just about closes, we now know who will represent each conference in their respective championship games, and we are one week closer to knowing who the final four will be in the College Football Playoffs. Rivalry week did not disappoint. Everyone took care of business inside the top 6 except for one team, which will completely open up the CFB playoff in the race for the 4th seed. That team was Alabama, and they lost an absolute thriller at Auburn in the Iron Bowl.
Recapping The Contenders
With Tua out for the year, Mac Jones got the nod for the #5 ranked Crimson Tide under center. All things considered he had a pretty big game, but his two pick sixes were the difference in this one as the #15 ranked Tigers pulled off the upset 48-45 in Auburn. Joseph Bulovas missed a game tying kick for Alabama with about two minutes left in the game.
Alabama was about to get the ball back again but got called for 12 players in the huddle on 4th down, effectively ending the game. The 48 points scored by Auburn was a record number allowed for a Nick Saban led Alabama team, beating the previous record of 46 set by LSU this season. Rough year for the Crimson Tide defense who will settle for an elite bowl game outside the top 4.
#1 Ohio State won THE game destroying Michigan in Ann Arbor extending their undefeated streak against Harbaugh. JK Dobbins had a field day going for over 200 yards and 3 TD’s. Meanwhile #2 LSU absolutely demolished Texas A&M in Death Valley scoring over 40 points for the 9th time this season. Joe Burrows has all but wrapped up the Heisman Trophy contest.
#3 Clemson did what they had to do defeating in-state rivals South Carolina with relative ease. #4 Georgia were not phased with the lowly Georgia Tech either, but did lose their starting running back to an injury, and will have a starting defender suspended for the first half in the SEC Championship due to unnecessary roughing. Both are big losses for Georgia in a game they won by over 40 points.
#7 Oklahoma and #6 Utah both won their games handedly keeping their names in the consideration for the Top 4 with Alabama going down. #12 Wisconsin knocked off #8 Minnesota in the snow. Minnesota were the only other team remaining that had a shot at the Top 4. Wisconsin will now take on Ohio State in the Big-10 Championship in place of the Gophers.
Conference Championship Games and CFP Implications
After Week 14’s results we now have the official schedule for all the college championship games. Here are the notables:
SEC Championship Game: LSU Tigers vs Georgia Bulldogs
Big-10 Championship Game: Ohio State Buckeyes vs Wisconsin Badgers
ACC Championship Game: Clemson Tigers vs Virginia Cavaliers
Big-12 Championship Game: Oklahoma Sooners vs Baylor Bears
Pac-12 Championship Game: Oregon Ducks vs Utah Utes
AAC Championship Game: Memphis Tigers vs Cincinnati Bearcats
We expect that LSU and Ohio State are safe no matter what, but expect both to win this weekend anyways. Assuming LSU wins and knocks off Georgia, Georgia would be out of the top 4, and it would be on the committee to decide who slides in between Oklahoma and Utah. If both take care of business with a Georgia loss, we think Oklahoma would jump Utah and get into the top 4.
Clemson of course must win to stay in given their strength of schedule, regardless of the fact they are undefeated this year. They are 29 point favorites to beat Virginia. In the AAC, Memphis will take on Cincinnati for the second straight week in Memphis after winning week 14 in Memphis. If Memphis wins they will clinch a birth into a New Year’s Six Bowl. UCF has occupied the spot of the non power conference team in the New Year’s Six the last few years.
Prediction: LSU and Ohio State roll to big victories, as does Clemson. Oklahoma holds off a surging Baylor to win by 7. Utah gets upset by Oregon in the Pac-12 championship losing not only a spot for the top 4 but in the Rose Bowl as well. Memphis defeats the Bearcats for the second straight week to clinch their first New Year’s Six Bowl birth ever.
Is there anything better than December and January football? Buckle up because we are just getting started!