Conference Championship Analysis- Week 13 Edition

For the fifth-straight year, I will be publishing weekly November columns analyzing the conference championship races.  Like my bowl bubble watch, there is not really a column like this on any other mainstream college football site.  Bold teams have already clinched their division or conference.  Italicized teams are my predicted champions of their respective conferences/divisions at this point in time.  This list is updated through all week 13 games.

ACC AtlanticFlorida State

ACC CoastalDuke (With a win over UNC next Saturday, Duke football will clinch an unbelievable division title.  However, Virginia Tech, Miami, and even Georgia Tech are still in the hunt.  The Hokies need to a victory over Virginia and a Duke loss to get there.  The Canes need to beat Pitt and then have both Virginia Tech and Duke lose.  Meanwhile, Georgia Tech needs losses by Virginia Tech, Miami, and Duke to qualify for their second straight ACC Championship Game.)

American- UCF (The Golden Knights will most likely have to lose to both USF and SMU to not clinch the AAC.  The team with the best chance of challenging the Knights is actually Cincinnati, who sits in a tie for second and does not play UCF this season.) 

Big Ten Legends- Michigan State

Big Ten Leaders Ohio State

Big 12- Oklahoma State (The Cowboys can clinch the conference crown with a home win again Oklahoma on December 7th.  If the OSU stumbles, then Texas and Baylor will likely play a de facto Big 12 title game that same day.  It’s hard to get over the fact that if Oklahoma State had simply shown up for their game against 4-7 West Virginia on September 28th then they would be in the national title hunt right now.)

Pac-12 NorthStanford (It’s really funny how this division title race played out.  In the preseason I predicted the Cardinal to take the Pac-12 North.  Then after Stanford’s loss to Utah, Oregon became the frontrunner.  Then after Stanford beat Oregon, the Cardinal were the predicted champs.  Then, Stanford lost to USC, once again opening the door for Oregon.  However, the Cardinal clinched the division last weekend when Arizona knocked off the Ducks.  Now, that’s what you call a topsy-turvy title race.)

Pac-12 SouthArizona State (The Sun Devils’ victory over UCLA sets up a regular season rematch of ASU and Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship Game.  If Arizona State wants to host the game this time around, they will need to knock off Arizona next weekend.)

SEC East- Missouri (While watching Mizzou’s rout of Ole Miss last night, it kinda hit me that this Tiger team may just be a team of destiny.  I’m just not sure that Johnny Football has what it takes to go into Columbia and win next weekend following his disastrous performance at LSU.  It’s also mind-boggling to think that Missouri is a fourth quarter collapse away from controlling their own destiny for the national title.)

SEC West- Alabama (If you said at the beginning of the season that Alabama would beat LSU and Texas A & M and still be in jeopardy of losing the SEC West, people would think you were crazy.  Well that’s exactly what has happened thanks to the meteoric rise of Auburn.  Next Saturday’s Iron Bowl will be the de facto SEC West title game for the first time ever.)

C-USA EastEast Carolina (The day after Thanksgiving clash between ECU and Marshall will be a de facto C-USA East title game.  In the preseason, I predicted the Pirates to edge out the Herd in this division, so I might as well stick with that pick.)

C-USA WestRice (The Owls just need to beat Tulane at home next Saturday to clinch this division.  A loss there could create a wild 4-way tie for the C-USA West title.)     

MAC EastBuffalo (Next Friday’s clash between Buffalo and Bowling Green will be a de facto MAC East title game.)

MAC WestNorthern Illinois  

MWC Mountain- Utah State (Just as I predicted, Boise dropped a heartbreaker on the road to San Diego State.  As a result, the Aggies can clinch this division with a win over Wyoming on Saturday.)

MWC West- Fresno State

Sun BeltUL-Lafayette (The Ragin’ Cajuns can clinch the conference crown with either a home win against Monroe next Saturday or a victory over South Alabama the following weekend.)

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