Conference Championship Analysis- Week 12 Edition

For the ninth-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 18, 2017.

ACC AtlanticClemson

ACC CoastalMiami-FL

Big Ten EastOhio State (The Buckeyes have clinched their first Big 10 East championship in 3 seasons and now look to win out and steal a bid in the college football playoff.  If that happens, I may break one or more of the televisions in my house!)

Big Ten WestWisconsin

Big 12Oklahoma/TCU (The Sooners have officially clinched the first berth in the Big 12 Title Game.  Meanwhile, TCU now stands alone in second and just needs to take care of business against Baylor next weekend to get a rematch against the Sooners in the Big 12 Title Game.  If the Frogs were to get upset by the Bears, then we could have a crazy five-way tie for the second berth into this inaugural conference championship game.)

Pac-12 NorthStanford (Would you believe that there is now a two team battle for this division crown, and Washington isn’t one of those two teams?  Instead, Stanford will clinch if Washington beats Washington State in next Saturday’s Apple Cup.  If Wazzu can somehow knock off Washington on the road, then Mike Leach will coach his first ever conference championship game against Southern Cal.)  

Pac-12 SouthSouthern California    

SEC EastGeorgia

SEC WestAlabama (For the first time since the “Kick Six” play in 2013, the Iron Bowl will serve as a de facto SEC West Championship game.)

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AAC EastUCF (A de facto AAC East championship game will be played the day after Thanksgiving between the Knights and the Bulls of South Florida.  Not only is a berth in the conference championship game on the line, but the winner also becomes the frontrunner for the Group of Five New Year’s Six bowl bid.)

AAC West Memphis (The Tigers have clinched the AAC West and are just two wins away from earning a New Year’s Six bowl berth.)

C-USA EastFlorida Atlantic (We’re going to have the ultimate Cinderella Conference Championship Game in Conference USA where the Owls of FAU, predicted to be 5th in the C-USA East, will play the Mean Green of North Texas, predicted to be 5th in the C-USA West.)

C-USA WestNorth Texas (The Mean Green are the Conference USA West Division champions!  Unbelievable!)

MAC EastAkron  (The Zips have taken firm control of the MAC thanks to their huge upset over Ohio.  All they have to do is beat lowly Kent State, and they claim their first MAC East title since 2005.  A loss by Akron would send Ohio to the title game as long as they beat Buffalo in their own season finale.)

MAC West Toledo (The Rockets will clinch the MAC West on Thanksgiving weekend with either a win Friday against Western Michigan or a Northern Illinois loss to Central Michigan.  If neither of those things happen, the Huskies of NIU will shock the world and become the surprise MAC West champions.)

MWC MountainBoise State (The Broncos and Bulldogs of Fresno will become the first teams in college football history to play each other in consecutive weeks, as the two matchup next Saturday and then again in the conference championship game the following weekend.  The winner of the first contest will earn home field advantage for the championship rematch.)

MWC WestFresno State (The Fresno State Bulldogs are officially the surprise team of 2017 as they have gone from finishing 1-11 last season to winning the MWC West Division!)    

Sun BeltArkansas State/Appalachian State (The Sun Belt championship race is as wide open as any title race in the entire country.  There is currently a four-way tie for the conference lead between Troy, Georgia State, Appalachian State, and Arkansas State, all of whom all have only one conference loss.  There are two head-to-matchups between these four down the stretch, as App plays at Georgia State on November 25th and Troy visits Arkansas State the following Saturday.  After everything plays itself out, I believe Arkansas State and Appalachian State both win their remaining games and end up sharing the conference title since the two never played each other during the season.  Sadly, this league does not have a conference championship game until next season.)

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