Conference Championship Analysis- Week 12 Edition

For the seventh-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 12 games.

ACC AtlanticClemson (My surprise preseason playoff pick is turning out very well.)

ACC CoastalNorth Carolina

Big Ten East- Michigan State (After MSU’s shocking road win over Ohio State, Sparty has become the front runners in this division. If they beat Penn State next week at home, they clinch the Big Ten East. If they lose, then Ohio State will battle Michigan for the division crown.)

Big Ten West– Iowa (The Hawkeyes are the surprise Big Ten West Champs.)

Big 12- Oklahoma (In the preseason, I picked Oklahoma to finish with one conference loss and become the surprise Big 12 Champ. I’m going to stick with my preseason prediction and call for Oklahoma to win beat Oklahoma State and clinch the conference crown. If the Sooners do stumble in Bedlam, Baylor would clinch if they beat TCU and Texas. Oklahoma State would take the Big 12 title if both Baylor and OU falter.)

Pac-12 NorthStanford

Pac-12 SouthUCLA (The intra-city battle between USC and UCLA will be a de facto division title game next Saturday.)

SEC East- Florida

SEC West- Alabama (The Tide can clinch the division crown with a win over Auburn or an Ole Miss loss to Mississippi State. Ole Miss would take it if neither of those things happen next Saturday.)

AAC East- Temple (The Owls can clinch the division crown with a win over UConn or a USF loss to UCF. South Florida would take it if neither of those things happen next weekend.)

AAC West- Houston (The Cougars will host one-loss Navy the day after Thanksgiving in a de facto division title game.)

C-USA EastWestern Kentucky (Like the AAC West (see above), the C-USA East crown will come down to the season’s final weekend as the Hilltoppers host co-leader Marshall on the day after Thanksgiving in a de facto division championship game.)

C-USA WestLouisiana Tech (Conference USA will actually have de facto semifinal games this season, as the C-USA West championship will also be decided on Thanksgiving weekend when LA Tech hosts Southern Miss. You got to give the conference schedule-makers props for having the foresight to match the league’s top 4 teams during its final regular season weekend.)

MAC EastBowling Green

MAC WestNorthern Illinois (The Huskies can clinch the division crown for a remarkable sixth consecutive season with a win over Ohio on Tuesday night or a Toledo loss to Western Michigan on Friday. The Rockets would take it if neither of those things happen next weekend.)

MWC MountainAir Force

MWC WestSan Diego State

Sun BeltArkansas State (The Red Wolves stand alone in first place in the Sun Belt with two very winnable games left against lowly New Mexico State and Texas State. Should the Red Wolves somehow stumble, Appalachian State and Georgia Southern are waiting in the wings only a game back.)

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