One of the benefits of college football’s conference expansion is the conference championship weekend. They are often played with teams who have a history with each other and can often rematch one of the conference’s best games of the year. This week will feature six championship games that will have huge bowl implications including National Championship and BCS bowls.
Conference USA Championship
The Tulsa Golden Hurricanes will host the UCF Knights in the Conference USA championship on Saturday. The two teams come in with an identical record of 9-3 and 7-1 in conference. The teams last meet in Tulsa on November 17 where the Golden Hurricane come away with a narrow 23-21 win.
Atlantic Coast Conference Championship
The ACC Coastal division has been forced to go to the third ranked team, Georgia Tech, to represent them in the Championship against Atlantic division leader Florida State. North Carolina and Miami are both on bowl bands allowing Georgia Tech a chance at the championship. Both Florida State and Georgia Tech are coming off losses to SEC rivals and will be looking to build confidence heading into bowl season.
Big 10 Championship
The Big 10 is in the same boat as the ACC as undefeated Ohio State and Penn State are ineligible to play in the championship opening the door for Wisconsin to play in their second Big 10 championship game. Wisconsin will take on Nebraska who will play for their first Big 10 championship in their second year in the conference since moving over from the Big 12. Nebraska won the regular season meeting 30-27.
Mid American Conference Championship
The Northern Illinois Huskies and the Kent State Golden Flashes will play in the MAC championship on Friday Night at Ford Field in Detroit. Both teams come into the game undefeated in conference and both hold an 11-1 record overall. If everything falls the winner’s way in the BCS they could earn a place at the BCS table with a top 16 ranking. Going into the game Kent State sits at 17 and NIU at 21. I think this has the possibility of being one of the best championship games of the week.
PAC 12 Championship
The preseason hype was USC vs Oregon for the PAC 12 championship since USC’s bowl ban had ended, but instead UCLA will travel to Stanford for a rematch of the final game of the season. On November 17 UCLA defeated USC to secure the top spot from the South Division for the second-straight year. At the same time Stanford went into Oregon and handed the Ducks their only loss and knocked them out of the championship game. Last week at the Rose Bowl Stanford beat UCLA 35-17 now they will look to do it again at home for the championship.
South Eastern Conference Championship
We are still a few years away from a true playoff but this is essentially the National Championship Semi Final and the winner of Alabama and Georgia will punch their ticket to play Notre Dame. Alabama missed the SEC Championship last season after losing to LSU at home but they are now back and will need the win to return to the National Championship game. Georgia faced LSU in last year’s game and jumped out to an early 10-point lead before giving up 42 points and losing to LSU just as the Tide had. The winner will then try to continue the SEC six-year National Champion streak.
For more photos of the Conference Championship contenders check out Newscom.
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