Except for a dozen or so games rescheduled due to the Coronavirus, the regular season has ended and it’s time for conference championship games. This year has been unlike any other and some conferences had to make tough calls as it pertained to who would play in their respective championship games. The Big 10 removed a rule stating six games must be played for Ohio State to play in their game, while the Pac-12 scrambled to find a new team in their game as Washington didn’t have enough players to play against USC.
These games can be crucial for the final College Football Playoff ranking and one stumble by a team can be the difference between being the one or two seed or missing out on the playoff all together. Here are the Top 3 college football conference championships to watch this weekend.
SEC Championship – #1 Alabama vs #11 Florida
The SEC Championship would have been a lot more interesting had Florida not dropped the ball against LSU last weekend. But, if Florida can somehow find a way to knock off the best team in the country, there will be cries for the Gators to be included in the College Football Playoff. Alabama has won this game eight times, the most of any team since the conference championship game began in 1992. Next are the Gators with seven wins. Kyle Trask and Mac Jones are Heisman front-runners, and this game could be crucial to who wins the Heisman as votes are due December 21. Alabama will be sure to put up points on a weak Gators defense, but it will come down to Bama’s defense shutting down Trask and his weapons on offense. Bama is a massive 17-point favorite entering the game.
ACC Championship Game – #2 Notre Dame vs #4 Clemson
Both Notre Dame and Clemson seem to be locked into the College Football Playoff and this game could make for an interesting outcome. If Notre Dame loses, they could drop to #3 while Clemson moves to #2. That means these two teams would meet for a third time in one season in the semifinals for the College Football Playoff. If that isn’t the ultimate series, I’m not sure what is. If Clemson loses, it would be their second loss and Texas A&M could make an argument for taking their spot. The Fighting Irish got the best of the Tigers last time around but that was without Trevor Lawrence. With the future number one overall NFL draft pick ready to roll, this should truly be one of the top games of the entire season.
Big 10 Championship Game – #15 Northwestern vs #3 Ohio State
The Big 10 did not picture Northwestern taking on a 5-win Ohio State team in the championship before this season began, but here we are. Ohio State is a better overall squad than the Wildcats, but they’ve played fewer games and the college football world is going to demand to see a blowout win for there to be no questions about them making the playoff. Justin Fields missed out on the opportunity to win the Heisman this season and if he wants a chance for a few more games as a Buckeye, a win is pivotal here. The Wildcats are 6-1 and have allowed the second fewest points per game in the nation. However, the Buckeyes are the fourth highest scoring team in the nation averaging over 46 points per game. Something has got to give here.
*Authors Note: All rankings are from the AP Top 25