news 4 days ago

A guide to college football's conference championship weekend & reasons to watch all 10 games

Sporting News — (Bill Bender)

College football's conference championship weekend has arrived, and it's the final chance for schools to make their College Football Playoff or New Year's Day Six case.  

Each of the 10 conference championship games bring various levels of intrigue, and the two-day event will put the cap on the college football regular season.  

Here's Sporting News' guide to conference championship weekend, including start times, TV channels and a reason to watch every game.

MORE: SN's updated college football top 25

SEC championship game

LSU (12-0) vs. Georgia (10-1)  

  • When: 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, Dec. 7  
  • Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta  
  • TV broadcast: CBS

Reasons to watch: This is a huge piece of the CFP puzzle that will generate interest from all corners of the college football world. It's Joe Burrow's chance to wrap up the Heisman Trophy and propel LSU to its first conference championship since 2011. The Tigers won that game against Georgia 42-10 The Tigers could still get in with a loss to the Bulldogs, who will try to win their second conference championship in three seasons.  

ACC championship game

Clemson (12-0) vs. Virginia (9-3)  

  • When: 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Dec. 7
  • Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C.  
  • TV broadcast: ABC

Reasons to watch: The Tigers are trying to win a fifth straight ACC championship and clinch a fifth straight College Football Playoff berth. Clemson has won 27 consecutive games, and Trevor Lawrence has yet to lose as the starting quarterback. They'll face a confident Virginia, which lived up to the preseason billing to win the ACC Coastal and snapped a 15-game losing streak to Virginia Tech on Black Friday. Bryce Perkins is a dynamic dual-threat quarterback, too. Clemson has won the last title games by an average of 20.5 points per game. Will the Cavaliers offer a rare challenge?  

Big Ten championship game

Ohio State (12-0) vs. Wisconsin (10-2) 

  • When: 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, Dec. 7  
  • Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
  • TV broadcast: Fox

Reasons to watch: The Buckeyes and Badgers will meet for the third time in the conference championship game in the College Football Playoff era. Ohio State won the regular-season meeting 38-7, and the Badgers will have to be multi-dimensional to have a chance to pull off the upset. The Buckeyes might be able to afford to lose this game and still get in, but that is not something to leave to chance knowing what happened the last two seasons. This is the last Heisman Trophy statement for Justin Fields, J.K. Dobbins and Chase Young. Chances are one lands in New York.

Pac 12 championship game

Oregon (10-2) vs. Utah (11-1) 

  • When: 8 p.m. ET on Friday, Dec. 6
  • Where: Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif.
  • TV broadcast: ABC

Reasons to watch: The Pac-12 championship has intrigue, and it's mainly on the Utah side. The Utes are trying to make their case to the CFP committee, and a convincing victory against a two-loss Oregon team could do the trick. Utah lost this game 17-3 to Washington last season, and the Pac-12 South champion is 1-7 in this matchup. Oregon will look to clinch a berth in the Rose Bowl with its first conference title since 2014. The quarterback matchup between Justin Herbert and Tyler Huntley should go as advertised.  

Big 12 championship game

Baylor (11-1) vs. Oklahoma (11-1) 

  • When: Noon ET on Saturday, Dec. 7
  • Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
  • TV broadcast: ABC

Reasons to watch: It's a rematch of the 34-31 thriller on Nov. 9, and both teams still have a chance to get in the CFP. Oklahoma has the advantage with the first victory, and a convincing victory by the Jalen Hurts-led Sooners would resonate more with the committee. The Sooners still have a chance to make the CFP for the fourth time in six seasons. Baylor would need more help, but winning a conference championship under third-year coach Matt Rhule would be a remarkable achievement for the program.  

Sun Belt championship game

Appalachian State (11-1) vs. Louisiana (10-2) 

  • When: Noon ET on Saturday, Dec. 7
  • Where: Kidd Brewer Stadium, Boone, N.C. 
  • TV broadcast: ESPN

Reasons to watch: The Mountaineers beat Louisiana 17-7 on Oct. 9, and it's a rematch of last year's conference championship they won 30-19. Louisiana quarterback Levi Lewis and Appalachian State quarterback Zac Thomas combined for 41 TD passes and just 10 interceptions this season. It should be an entertaining start to championship Saturday.  

MAC championship game

Central Michigan (8-4) vs. Miami (7-5) 

  • When: Noon ET on Saturday, Dec. 7
  • Where: Ford Field, Detroit 
  • TV broadcast: ESPN2

Reasons to watch: Jim McElwain has the Chippewas back in the MAC championship game in his first season, and Central Michigan did that by averaging 47.3 points per game in its last three games. It's a remarkable turnaround for the former Florida coach. Miami is back in the MAC championship game for the first time since 2010 under sixth-year coach Chuck Martin.  

AAC championship game

Cincinnati (10-2) vs. Memphis (11-1)  

  • When: 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Dec. 7  
  • Where: Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, Tenn.
  • TV broadcast: ABC

Reasons to watch: It's a rematch of the Black Friday matchup the Tigers won 34-24. Memphis broke that game open in the fourth quarter, and this is a chance for coach Mike Norvell to push this team into the New Year's Day Six. Luke Fickell and the Bearcats will have to adjust. The difference in the first matchup was turnovers. Cincinnati committed three while Memphis had just one.  

Conference-USA championship game

UAB (9-3) vs. FAU (9-3) 

  • When: 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Dec. 7
  • Where: FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, Fla. 
  • TV broadcast: CBS Sports Network

Reasons to watch: The Owls and Blazers have split the last two C-USA championship games, and it's an excellent coaching matchup between Lane Kiffn and Bill Clark, Sporting News' 2018 Coach of the Year. Florida Atlantic averages 34.1 ppg., which is more than the Blazers are 25.0. This could be an audition for both coaches for bigger jobs, too. 

Mountain West championship game

Boise State (11-1) vs. Hawaii (8-4) 

  • When: 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, Dec. 7
  • Where: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, Idaho  
  • TV broadcast: ESPN

Reasons to watch: Boise State still has a chance to reach a New Year's Day Six bowl, but the Broncos will need help from Cincinnati in the AAC. Boise State is led by one of the best defensive players in the FBS in linebacker Curtis Weaver. Hawaii is making its first appearance in the MWC championship game and will try to avenge a 59-37 loss to the Broncos in the regular season. Cole McDonald had 251 passing yards and three TDs in the first meeting.