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2023 College Football season: Conference Championship weekend preview

Conference championship week is here and when it ends the College Football Playoff lineup will be determined.

The stakes could not be higher, especially when it comes to the five Power 5 games.

On the heels of an entertaining 13-week regular season on the college football gridiron, conference championship week has arrived. Not only are titles on the line, but spots in the College Football Playoff are also up for grabs. 

Those four spots will be determined by the outcome of this weekend’s Power 5 championship games. Georgia, Michigan, Washington and Florida State are currently in pole position, but Oregon, Texas and Alabama are lurking.

Here is a breakdown of the most important games to watch on Friday and Saturday.

Pac-12 Championship: No. 5 Oregon Ducks vs. No. 3 Washington Huskies

WhereAllegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, NV
When8 PM ET, Friday, December 1
How to watchABC
OddsOregon -9, Washington +290 ML

Friday night’s Pac-12 Championship is effectively a national quarterfinal, as the winner will certainly be a part of the College Football Playoff, while the loser will almost definitely be out. It’s also a battle between Heisman Trophy contenders in Oregon’s Bo Nix and Washington’s Michael Penix Jr.

Washington's undefeated record includes a 36-33 home win over Oregon on October 14. However, the Huskies have otherwise racked up a flurry of unimpressive victories whereas the Ducks have been dominant since that game. As a result, Oregon is a considerable favorite in this matchup.

Click here for the odds to win the 2023 Heisman Trophy.

Big 12 Championship: No. 19 Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. No. 7 Texas Longhorns

WhereAT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
When12 PM ET, Saturday, December 2
How to watchABC
OddsOklahoma State +500 ML, Texas -15

The Big 12 Championship almost became another installment of the Red River Rivalry, but Oklahoma State scraped past BYU last weekend to prevent Oklahoma from earning a spot. The Cowboys have lost three games, but their 7-2 conference record was enough for second place in the standings behind Texas.

If the Longhorns win, they will keep hope alive for a place in the College Football Playoff. At least one loss by either Georgia, Michigan, or Florida State would give them a chance. Texas lost to Oklahoma, but its 11-1 record includes a win at Alabama.

SEC Championship: No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs vs. No. 8 Alabama Crimson Tide

WhereMercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
When4 PM ET, Saturday, December 2
How to watch CBS
OddsGeorgia -5.5, Alabama +180 ML

Not too much unlike the Pac-12 Championship, this SEC showdown is a borderline national quarterfinal. The winner is in the College Football Playoff. If the one-loss Crimson Tide lose, they are out; if the undefeated Bulldogs lose, they would still be in the mix but would possibly need some help.

Alabama-Georgia is currently one of the best rivalries in college football. This is the third such SEC Championship matchup in the last six years and second in a row. 

In 2021, ‘Bama won the SEC title game but UGA got revenge in the National Championship. The Dawgs defeated the Tide in last season’s SEC Championship on their way to a second consecutive national title. 

Big Ten Championship: No. 2 Michigan Wolverines vs. No. 18 Iowa Hawkeyes

WhereLucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
When8 PM ET, Saturday, December 2
How to watchFOX
OddsMichigan -21.5, Iowa +1125 ML

Can Iowa play to another under!?!? The over/under in this matchup is 35.5 total points, and the under is 10-2 in Hawkeyes games this season: their last six outings have resulted in 21, 22, 17, 22, 28 and 23 points.

As the Michigan -23.0 spread suggests, the above question is really all the suspense that is involved in this matchup. 

Michigan is 12-0, No. 2 in the country, and coming off a huge win over Ohio State, whereas Iowa is 10-2 and ranked 18th while owning a whole host of unimpressive wins. It’s no surprise that this is expected to be by far the biggest Power 5 blowout of the weekend.

ACC Championship: No. 15 Louisville Cardinals vs. No. 4 Florida State Seminoles

WhereBank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
When8 PM ET, Saturday, December 2
How to watchABC
OddsLouisville +105, Florida State -1.5

Florida State not only wants to win but is also eager to impress the College Football Playoff. After all, even with an undefeated record the Seminoles – without quarterback Jordan Travis – are not a lock for the top four.

Meanwhile, Louisville is looking to pull off a minor upset and capture its first ACC title. The Cardinals took their second loss of the season last week against Kentucky, so they are reeling a bit heading into Charlotte on Saturday night. Can they bounce back and knock the ‘Noles out of CFP contention?

Odds displayed within this article were correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.

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