College Football Playoff Spots Up for Grabs on Championship Weekend

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Everyone begins the college football season wanting to win their conference championship. But in this, the final year before the College Football Playoffs expand to 12 teams, a conference championship is the key to also playing for the National Championship.

(College Football Playoff Committee Rankings)

Big Ten Championship – No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 17 Iowa

It is possible, as Ohio State proved last year, that you can lose to Michigan to end the regular season, miss out on a conference championship appearance, and still get into the College Football Playoff.

But even though this year’s loss was closer and on the road, the Buckeyes have their work cut out for them. Michigan should win easily over Iowa, putting them in. Then Ohio State has to hope for CFP chaos, except in the SEC. If Georgia wins, eliminating Alabama, then maybe Ohio State can sneak in.

Michigan fans looking to visit one of the state’s brick-and-mortar sportsbooks this weekend will have to give 23 points on the Wolverines.

Pac-12 Championship – No. 6 Oregon vs. No. 4 Washington

A Washington win on Friday in Las Vegas, and they would be an unbeaten Power Five champion with two wins over Oregon this season. BetUS.com is paying +1600 on Washington to go on and win the college football National Championship.

Oregon, however, is at +500 to be the last team standing for the national title, and at Oregon online sportsbooks the Ducks are favorites to avenge their three-point loss earlier in the season in Seattle. The Ducks are giving 9.5 points to the Huskies.

Oregon and Washington will move to the Big Ten next season.

Big 12 Championship – No. 20 Oklahoma State vs. No. 7 Texas

This isn’t the ideal matchup for the Texas Longhorns. They have a loss as they head into the Big 12 Championship, and getting a big conference championship win was supposed to help them. Instead, they face Oklahoma State, which was blown out by South Alabama and UCF earlier this season.

South Alabama finished sixth in the Sun Belt Conference, and UCF finished ninth in the Big 12.

Texas can still get in to the CFP, but they will need some help. Along with getting an impressive win over Oklahoma State — BetUS.com has the Longhorns as -14.5 favorites — they need Florida State to lose. Texas needs more one-loss teams to help muddy the waters for the College Football Playoff committee.

ACC Championship – No. 10 Louisville vs. No. 5 Florida State

Florida State is unbeaten, and never before has the selection committee not put in an undefeated Power Five conference champion. So one would think that as long as FSU beats Louisville for the ACC Championship, they are in.

But never before has a top team lost its starting quarterback right as the season was ending, completely changing the outlook for the team. BetUS.com has the Seminoles as +3000 longshots to win the National Championship. 

Last week, without quarterback Jordan Travis, they matched their season-low of 24 points. To ensure that the ‘Noles make it into the CFP with a win over Louisville, the offense needs to be better.

SEC Championship – No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 8 Alabama

College football bettors have been hammering the Georgia Bulldogs all season. They were favorites to win the National Championship when the season kicked off, and they are one win away from being the top seed in the College Football Playoffs for the second year in a row.

But if Georgia loses to Alabama, what happens? The Crimson Tide are probably in, assuming Texas also wins. Alabama needs their lone loss to be to a conference champion. But Georgia may get bumped, depending on what happens elsewhere.

If Florida State and Michigan stay unbeaten, they’re in. One of Washington or Oregon probably gets in, and then Alabama would make four. There are simply too many good teams across the country for one conference to take up half the CFP field.

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