Ray Carlin/Associated Press
With the rivalry games in the bank, everything is set up for conference championship week, and the College Football Playoff subplots abound.
Wisconsin took care of Minnesota to secure Paul Bunyan’s Axe and win the right to take on Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game. The Buckeyes disposed of Michigan in “The Game,” and while they’ll be a heavy favorite in the title tilt, don’t ink them into the playoffs.
If Ohio State loses a close game, has it still done enough to impress the committee and stay in the Top Four? Probably so.
That’s going to be the same question to watch for if defensive-minded Georgia can slow Joe Burrow and LSU enough to pull the upset in the SEC Championship Game. If the Bulldogs win, of course they’re in. But will the Bayou Bengals stay in as well?
Clemson’s roughshod run through the ACC will conclude with a championship-game tilt against Virginia, and the Tigers shouldn’t have any trouble. If they lose, their strength of schedule could push them out of the playoff picture.
Nobody in the Pac-12 or Big 12 controls their destiny, but Utah, Oklahoma and Baylor all still have hopes. For the Bears, it’s a revenge scenario after the Sooners stormed back from 25 points down to derail their undefeated season. For OU, it’s the opportunity to prove its defense is championship-worthy.
And while the Utes took care of business against Colorado on Saturday, they took a big blow when Arizona State ended Oregon’s playoff chances last week, since a Pac-12 title will mean less.
There are too many scenarios! All we can do is watch and see how the teams fall.
Pac-12: 8 p.m. ET, Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California; Oregon vs. Utah
Big 12: Noon, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas; Baylor vs. Oklahoma
MAC: Noon, Ford Field, Detroit; Miami (Ohio) vs. Central Michigan
Sun Belt: Noon, Boone, North Carolina; Appalachian State vs. Louisiana
Conference USA: 1:30 p.m., Boca Raton, Florida; Florida Atlantic vs. UAB
American Athletic Conference: 3:30 p.m., Memphis, Tennessee; Cincinnati vs. Memphis
Mountain West: 4 p.m. ET, Albertsons Stadium, Boise, Idaho; Hawaii vs. Boise State
SEC: 4 p.m. ET, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta; Georgia vs. LSU
ACC: 7:30 p.m. ET, Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina; Clemson vs. Virginia
Big Ten: 8 p.m. ET, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis; Ohio State vs. Wisconsin