Conference Championship Analysis- Week 11 Edition

For the eighth-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 games played on November 12. 2016.

ACC AtlanticClemson (Despite their shocking loss to Pitt, the Tigers will clinch the ACC Atlantic with a win over Wake Forest.  A loss will send Louisville to the title game instead.)

ACC CoastalVirginia Tech (Oddly enough, both Virginia Tech and North Carolina suffered shocking losses this weekend.  As a result, this division race is in the exact same position it was to start the week.  The Hokies are tied with the Heels for the division lead but they possess the always important head-to-head tiebreaker between the two teams.  As a result, Virginia Tech just needs to beat Virginia or have UNC lose to NC State to win the Coastal.)

Big Ten EastPenn State (It’s so strange for me to pick the Nittany Lions to win this division over their vastly superior counterparts of Michigan and Ohio State.  However, as a result of of Michigan’s shocking loss to Iowa, Penn State now just needs to beat two cupcakes in Michigan State and Rutgers and then have Ohio State knock off Michigan in their finale in order to win the Big Ten East.)

Big Ten WestWisconsin (The Badgers are tied with Nebraska for division lead but do possess all important head-to-head tiebreaker over the Cornhuskers.  As a result, Badgers just need to win at Purdue next week and at home against Minnesota the following week to clinch a berth in Big Ten Title Game.)

Big 12West Virginia (By virtue of their victory over Texas on Saturday, the Mountaineers are in the driver’s seat for the conference crown.  They host Oklahoma next weekend, and if they win that one they’ll just need to beat struggling Iowa State and Baylor to win the conference crown.)

Pac-12 NorthWashington (As long as Washington takes care of business against Arizona State next Saturday, the Pac-12 North will be decided by the Apple Cup the day after Thanksgiving.  If Washington does stumble against the Sun Devils and the Cougars can escape Boulder with a win,  then Wazzu will clinch the division next weekend.)

Pac-12 SouthSouthern California (The always interesting Pac-12 South comes down to a three-way battle between Colorado, Southern Cal, and Utah.  The Buffs have the advantage at this point because they a one game lead over both the Utes and Trojans.  However, Colorado has two tough home games left, against Washington State and Utah. and I’m predicting they drop the first of those contests which would send the Men of Troy to the title game, as long as they beat UCLA next weekend.)

SEC EastTennessee (The Vols should win out with remaining games against Missouri and Vanderbilt.  If they do that, then they will just need Florida to lose next week at LSU and the Vols will get a second chance to get destroyed by the Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship Game.)

SEC WestAlabama

AAC EastTemple (It’s crazy to think that Temple is on the brink of consecutive division championships in football, but all the Owls need to do is take care of business against conference bottom-dwellers Tulane and ECU to make a second consecutive conference championship game.  If they do slip up in one of those contests, then South Florida will control its own division destiny.)

AAC WestNavy (The Midshipmen will clinch the division crown with a win over either East Carolina or SMU in their remaining two games.)

C-USA EastWestern Kentucky (The Hilltoppers clinch C-USA East with win over Marshall in season finale or an Old Dominion loss to either Florida Atlantic or Florida International.)

C-USA WestLouisiana Tech

MAC EastOhio (The Bobcats have a de facto two game lead in the division standings by virtue of their head-to-head win over Miami-OH.  As a result, Ohio just needs to beat either Central Michigan or Akron in their final two games to get a berth in the MAC Title Game and have a shot to win their first conference championship game since 1968.  A feat I predicted them to achieve in my preseason predictions)

MAC WestWestern Michigan (As long as Toledo takes care of business next weekend against Ball State, there will be a de facto division title game in the final week of the regular season between the Broncos and Rockets.  Western Michigan will have a distinct advantage in that one as they will be playing at home with the more talented roster.)

MWC MountainBoise State (Even though Boise and Wyoming are currently tied for division lead and Wyoming possesses tiebreaker, I’m calling for the Cowboys to lose to San Diego State next Saturday, which will open the door for the Broncos to reclaim this division championship.)

MWC WestSan Diego State

Sun BeltTroy (The Trojans won the first half of their conference championship double header with a huge win over App State on Saturday.  Now, the Trojans just have to find a way to beat the other conference leader Arkansas State this Thursday to almost assuredly win a surprise Sun Belt Championship.)

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