Conference Championship Analysis- Week 12 Edition

For the thirteenth consecutive season, I will be publishing weekly columns late in the season which analyze all of  the FBS conference championship races. Like my bowl bubble watch, there is not really a column like this on any other mainstream college football site.  Bolded 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 19, 2022.

ACC AtlanticClemson 

ACC Coastal North Carolina 

Big 12TCU/Kansas State (The second spot in this conference title game comes down to K-State and Texas.  Kansas State will get it if they knock off Kansas or if Texas loses against Baylor.  However, if the Jayhawks and Longhorns both win, then Texas will be earning a bid to the Big 12 title game.)  

Big Ten EastOhio State (We will have a de facto Big Ten East championship game between OSU and Michigan for the second consecutive season.  I gotta give the Buckeyes the edge in this one since they will be playing at home, but it should nevertheless be a fascinating contest.)

Big Ten WestIowa (Despite their season-long offensive woes, the Hawkeyes can clinch this division next Friday with a home win over Nebraska.  If the Huskers do stumble, then Purdue will win the division as long as they can beat their in-state rival Indiana.)

Pac-12– Southern Cal/Oregon (Just as I predicted, USC and Oregon won the two marquee Pac-12 matchups in week 12 and now appear to be on a collision course for the title game.  USC has already clinched a bid there, and Oregon will clinch if they knock off rival Oregon State in the Civil War next weekend.  If Oregon does stumble, then we would likely have a three way tie between Washington, Utah, and Oregon for the second spot in the title game.  If this happens, then Washington will go to the Pac-12 championship game as a result of their head-to-head win over Oregon.)

SEC EastGeorgia



AmericanCincinnati/UCF  (Cincy and Tulane now sit alone atop the AAC standings, and the two squads play each other next Friday.   I have got to give the Bearcats the edge there, especially since that game is Nippert, so I think the Bearcats will earn the first bid to the AAC title game.  The second bid would then likely come down to a three-way time between Houston, UCF, and Tulane, and UCF will win that tiebreaker.  In fact, a Tulane win and and a UCF win would also send the Knights into the title game, so all UCF really has to do is beat South Florida in next Saturday’s game and they will advance to the American Athletic championship game to play the winner of Cincy/Tulane.)  

Conference USAUTSA/North Texas (The second spot in the C-USA title game comes down to North Texas and Western Kentucky, but because the Mean Green own the head-to-head tiebreaker between those two teams, all they need to do is knock off Rice on Saturday to claim the second spot in the Conference USA Championship Game.  If North Texas does somehow stumble in that one, then Western Kentucky will earn that bid assuming they can knock off Florida Atlantic on Friday.)  

MAC EastOhio (This division title race was complicated this weekend by the cancellation of the Buffalo/Akron game.  As a result, the scenarios are now as follows: (1) Ohio wins division title with over Bowling Green, (2) Bowling Green wins MAC with win over Ohio and Buffalo loss to Kent State, and (3) Buffalo wins division with win over Kent State and Ohio loss to Bowling Green.  You got to give the edge to the Bobcats over the Falcons, especially at home, so I am sticking with my Ohio pick.  Keep in mind that Ohio U has still not won a conference title since 1968, and wouldn’t it be wild if they finally won the MAC in a year they were predicted to finish near the bottom of the league.)

MAC WestToledo 

MWC MountainBoise State (The Broncos edged out Wyoming in Laramie on Saturday night to clinch a bid to the Mountain West title game.)

MWC WestFresno State (The Bulldogs have officially clinched a spot in the Mountain West title game against  Boise, just as I predicted in the preseason!)

Sun Belt East Coastal Carolina 

Sun Belt WestTroy (The second spot in the Sun Belt title game comes down to the two Alabama teams in this division, Troy and South Alabama.  The Jaguars own the head-to-head tiebreaker between the two, so the Trojans will clinch the division title with a win at Arkansas State next weekend. If they lose, then South Alabama clinches the Sun Belt West with a win over Old Dominion.)


In addition to my usual analysis above of every conference/division title race, I am going to be adding a new feature to this article this season by ranking each race based on the intrigue each provides and the importance each holds in the overall college football landscape.  Here are my rankings of all 16 division/conference championship races:

  1. Big 12 (between TCU, Kansas State, and Texas)
  2. Pac-12 (between Southern Cal, Oregon, and Washington)
  3. Big Ten East (between Ohio State and Michigan)
  4. AAC (between Tulane, UCF, Cincinnati, and Houston)
  5. Big Ten West (between Illinois, Purdue, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin)
  6. MAC East (between Buffalo, Ohio, and Bowling Green)
  7. Conference USA (between UTSA, North Texas, Western Kentucky, and Florida Atlantic)
  8. Sun Belt West (between Troy and South Alabama)
  9. MWC Mountain (already clinched by Boise State)
  10. MWC West (already clinched by Fresno State)
  11. SEC West (already clinched by LSU)
  12. SEC East (already clinched by Georgia)
  13. ACC Coastal (already clinched by North Carolina)
  14. MAC West (already clinched by Toledo)
  15. Sun Belt East (already clinched by Coastal Carolina)
  16. ACC Atlantic (already clinched by Clemson)


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