NCAA conference championship games will determine CFP final four

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Florida State running back Trey Benson (3) is lifted, in celebration of his touchdown, by offensive lineman Jazston Turnetine during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game against Louisiana on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough)
Florida State running back Trey Benson (3) is lifted, in celebration of his touchdown, by offensive lineman Jazston Turnetine during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game against Louisiana on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough)

What happens the weekend of Dec. 1-2 in college football will have a lot to say about who not only goes to the playoffs, but who eventually walks away with the national title.

Five conference championship games will be held this weekend, with the Pac-12 kicking things off Friday night, Dec. 1. And the other four — the ACC, SEC, Big 10 and Big 12, going at it Saturday, Dec. 2.

The results of those five games will determine the four teams that qualify for the College Football Playoffs and play for the National Championship. 

Let’s take a quick look at the conference title games, with any odds from OLBG.

Pac-12: Allegiant Stadium Las Vegas: #4 Washington (12-0) vs. #6 Oregon (11-1), 8 p.m. 

Washington beat Oregon, 36-33 during the season in one of the best college games played all season. This rematch promises to be just as good. The Huskies own a spot in the playoffs as of now and a win would clinch a perfect regular season and secure that spot in the playoffs. But if the Ducks and Heisman hopeful quarterback Bo Nix avenge the regular-season loss, then what? Oregon would certainly have an argument to be included in the Final 4, but a lot would be determined by what happens the next day.

The Pick: Oregon

Big 12: AT&T Stadium Dallas: #7 Texas (11-1) vs. #20 Oklahoma St. (9-3), Noon.

Texas could end up the best team not in the playoffs. The Longhorns did what no other team had done in 53 games and that’s go to Alabama and beat The Crimson Tide. Their only loss was to Oklahoma in the middle of the season, 34-30. They ended the season with a 50-point win over Texas Tech. But if four teams remain undefeated the one-loss ‘Horns will have to settle for a New Year’s Day Bowl Game and a lot of wondering what-if. Oklahoma St. made it to the final by virtue of its head-to-head win over Oklahoma.  

The Pick: Texas 

SEC: Mercedes Benz Stadium Atlanta: #1 Georgia (12-0) vs. #8 Alabama (11-1), 4 p.m. 

If the Pac 12 game isn’t the best one on the docket than this is it. Georgia is looking to defend its national title and win a third straight title. That has not been done since Minnesota did it back in 1934, 1935, 1936. Alabama, whose only loss was to Texas, is looking to prevent that. A Georgia win would send the Bulldogs to the playoffs as the likely top seed. An Alabama win and who knows what happens? The one-loss Crimson Tide would likely get a bid, but not without screams from Texas fans if the Longhorns are left out. And would the defending champs be left out as well with one loss?

The Pick: Georgia 

ACC: Bank of America Stadum Charlotte: #5 Florida State (12-0) vs. # Louisville (11-2), 8 p.m. 

The committee would probably like to see Louisville pull off the upset so they could leave the Seminoles, who lost starting quarterback Jordan Travis to a broken leg, out of the playoffs. They may try to find a way anyway, but if the ‘Noles complete a perfect season it’s going to be hard to leave them out. Backup Tate Rodemker has done well in place of Travis. Louisville’s comes in on a down note having lost to inter-state rival Kentucky the final week of the regular season.

The Pick: Florida State 

Big 10: #17 Iowa (10-2) vs. #2 Michigan (12-0): Lucas Oil Stadium Indianapolis, 8 p.m. 

Michigan has been on a mission all season and despite its head coach Jim Harbaugh being suspended to start and end the regular season, the Wolverines have been perfect. Now, they’re a win away from going back to the playoffs. Iowa has not allowed more than 13 points in its last six games, but have only scored more than 20 once in that span (a 22-0 win over Rutgers). 

The Pick: Michigan