CFB Conference Title Picture
Down the stretch, we focus on the contenders
As the regular season approaches its final weeks, we look at each of the conferences and divisions to see who still has a shot at playing for a title the first weekend in December.
American Athletic Conference
Central Florida (6-0) Owning a one game lead (and a tie-breaker against Temple), the Knights can lock up an appearance in the AAC title game with a win over Cincinnati on Saturday regardless of what happens in the regular season finale against rival South Florida.
A three horse (no pun intended) race between SMU, Houston, and Tulane (!!!!). All teams sit at 4-2, but the Mustangs already hold victories over the Cougars and Green Wave. Houston plays host to Tulane on Thursday night in a West Division eliminator, but if SMU wins out none of it will matter. Should Memphis win on Friday night, it will put the entire division in flux in the final weekend of the regular season.
Atlantic Coast Conference
Clemson (7-0) Tigers have locked up the division and are just making sure they stay healthy until the College Football Playoff.
Pittsburgh (5-1) Panthers hold a one game lead over Virginia, and a one and a half game lead over Georgia Tech, though all three have a shot at winning the division. The Panthers can lock up the Coastal this weekend with a win or Virginia loss, the Cavaliers are in with wins over Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech if Pitt loses out, and GT is in a similar situation as the Hokies. Yellow Jackets win out and Pitt loses their final two games and Paul Johnson and crew are in the title game. Advantage Pitt.
Big 12 Conference
Four teams still have a shot at playing for the conference championship in Dallas in a few weeks. Oklahoma and West Virginia control their own destiny, win out and they are in, playing each other in the weeks final season does present the possibility that the Sooners and Mountaineers could play again the following week in Jerry’s World.
Iowa State has the next best shot at getting in, if they win out (Saturday at Texas, 11/24 vs Kansas State), if the Cyclones go 2-0, and Oklahoma beats WVU on Black Friday, Iowa State will face Oklahoma for the Big 12 Championship.
Texas has to win out (vs Iowa State then at Kansas) and hope WVU beats Oklahoma.
Big Ten Conference
Barring massive amounts of mayhem (upset losses to Indiana or Maryland) the East will again come down to the winner of Michigan vs Ohio State. Is it a loser goes home to find a new coach game? Many cynics (myself included) believe that if tOSU loses, Urban is gone, and if Michigan loses to the Buckeyes AGAIN, will the Wolverine faithful be willing to continue with Harbaugh?
Northwestern (6-1) has already locked up the division. Had you told me in that season opener against Purdue would have decided the division title, I would have called you insane, but here we are.
Middle Tennessee St (6-1) currently maintains a half game lead over Florida International (5-1), but FIU won the head to head matchup back in mid-October. Considering that MTSU still has to play west champion UAB in the regular season finale, FIU could hold all the keys here. The Golden Panthers have Charlotte and Marshall left on their schedule, who are a combined 10-9.
UAB (7-0) won the west with an undefeated run thru conference play, the only blemish on the Blazers schedule is a now mind-boggling week two loss at Coastal Carolina.
Buffalo (6-0) is up two games on Ohio with two to play and control their own destiny. Ohio needs to win out (vs Buffalo, vs Akron) and Buffalo to lose out.
Northern Illinois (6-0) also holds a two game lead over Western Michigan, and can win the division with a win Wednesday night against Miami (OH). A loss by the Huskies sets up a winner take all matchup on November 20th for the west title as Western Michigan hosts NIU.
Mountain West Conference
Utah State (6-0) is up one game on Boise State and play host to the Broncos on the regular season’s final day. Very winnable games for both teams this week set up the Mountain Division title game next Saturday.
Fresno State (5-1) holds a one game lead over Nevada and San Diego State as the Bulldogs host the Aztecs Saturday. A Fresno State win clinches the division, a SDSU win throws the hole thing into flux.
PAC 12 Conference
Washington State (6-1) holds a one game lead over in-state rival Washington, both have winnable games this week which sets up the Apple Cup/Division Championship game the day after Thanksgiving.
Utah (5-3) clings to a one game lead over Arizona and Arizona State, and can clinch the division with a win at Colorado on Saturday. A Utes loss opens up the door to the Sun Devils who already have a win against Utah just two weeks ago.
Georgia (7-1) has clinched the division setting up a rematch against Alabama in Atlanta.
Alabama (7-0) won the west, again. Plays The Citadel this weekend before the Iron Bowl the following weekend. Could ‘Bama lose the Iron Bowl AND the SEC title game and still get in to the CFP?
Sun Belt Conference
Troy (6-0) leads Appalachian State by one game in the division, but they play Thanksgiving weekend for the division title.
Louisiana Monroe (4-2) holds a one game lead over Louisiana and Arkansas State and can put themselves in position to lock up the division with a win at Arkansas State on Saturday. A Warhawks loss doesn’t ruin their plans as they wrap the season up at home against Louisiana, so ULM controls their own destiny.