Conference Championship Analysis- Week 13 Edition

For the sixth-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 CoastalGeorgia Tech

Big Ten East- Ohio State

Big Ten West– Wisconsin (The oldest FBS rivalry in existence will decide the Big Ten West, as the Gophers meet the Badgers in a de facto Big 10 West division title game next Saturday.)

Big 12- Baylor (Baylor, TCU, and Kansas State are all tied atop the conference standings with one loss.  Kansas State’s chances of winning the Big 12 are slim by virtue of losing their head to head matchup with TCU and having to travel to Waco at the end of the season.  Both Baylor and TCU should win out, so the Bears will likely win the Big 12 thanks to their victory over TCU.)

Pac-12 NorthOregon 

Pac-12 SouthUCLA (We now have a three-way tie between UCLA, Arizona, and Arizona State for the Pac-12 South division lead. The Bruins control their own destiny because of their head-to-head victories over both Arizona schools, but they do have a tough regular season finale against Stanford. If the Bruins falter in that one, then the winner of the Duel of the Desert will earn a trip to the PAC-12 title game.)

SEC East- Missouri (By virtue of their huge road victory over Tennessee last night, the Tigers are now in command of the SEC East race. All they need to do is beat Arkansas at home next Friday and they will earn a second consecutive trip to Atlanta. A Mizzou loss will send Georgia there instead.)

SEC West- Alabama (Alabama clinches the division with either a Mississippi State loss to Ole Miss or a victory over Auburn. However, if neither of those things happen, then the Bulldogs of MSU will go to their second SEC Championship game in school history.)

American- Memphis (UCF, Memphis and Cincinnati all have one conference loss, and at this point in the season, you have to assume at least one of them will finish at 7-1.  Memphis has best chance as they have played more conference games than the other two and will be heavily favored in their season finale over UConn next Saturday.  They also own head to head tiebreaker over the only other 1-loss team they played Cincinnati.)

C-USA EastMarshall

C-USA WestLouisiana Tech (The Bulldogs will host the Owls of Rice in a de facto C-USA West title game next Saturday.)

MAC EastBowling Green

MAC WestToledo (There’s a thee-way tie between Toledo, NIU, and Western Michigan atop the MAC West standings as we approach the final weekend of the season. The Huskies of Northern Illinois actually control their own destiny, as they clinch the division crown if they knock off fellow title contender Western Michigan. Toledo clinches with a win over lowly Eastern Michigan and a Western Michigan win over NIU. Western Michigan will need to beat NIU and hope Eastern Michigan finds a way to beat Toledo.)

MWC MountainBoise State (The first of two wild Mountain West division title races! Boise State, Colorado State, and Utah State are all tied atop the Mountain Division, but Boise is currently the frontrunner based on their head-to-head victory over Colorado State. The Broncos control their own destiny, as all they need to do is beat Utah State at home next Saturday night to get to their first Mountain West conference title game. Colorado State needs a Boise loss on Saturday and a victory over Air Force on Friday. Utah State will need to beat Boise and also have Air Force falter to Colorado State. Interestingly enough, Colorado State may end up with the best New Years Six resume of the Group of Five teams, but because they won’t be a conference champ, they won’t be eligible for selection.)

MWC WestFresno State (The Bulldogs of Fresno, who battled through two separate three-game losing streaks this season, will astonishingly win the division title if they knock off Hawaii on Saturday night. However, if Fresno loses, not only will they likely fail to win the division, they won’t even be eligible for a bowl game at 5-7. If Fresno falters, then San Diego State will clinch the division with a win over San Jose State. If both squads lose, then we could have a chaotic four-way tiebreaker situation between Fresno, SDSU, Nevada, and Hawaii.)

Sun BeltGeorgia Southern (The Ragin’ Cajuns inexplicably dumped a home conference game to Appalachian State giving the Eagles of Georgia Southern the inside track to an outright conference championship game. All GSU needs to do is knock off UL-Monroe on Saturday night and they’ll be Sun Belt champs in their very first year in the league. Sadly though, Georgia Southern won’t be going to a bowl game unless the NCAA grants them an unprecedented waiver on their transitional status.)

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