With a few exceptions, FBS college football action for Week 14 is restricted to conference championship games, several of which having a direct impact on the College Football Playoff (CFP). Let’s take a closer look at some the upcoming Conference Championship games so you can place your bets against the College Football odds.
NCAA Football: Expert Predictions for Conference Championship Matches
Big 12, American Conference and SEC Championship Games Preview
As we enter the final weekend of competition prior to the release of the final CFP rankings that will determine the four teams that will make up the playoff field, only one team is likely to make the cut regardless of a win or a loss, with top-ranked Georgia a virtual lock for a spot in the semifinals on New Year’s Eve.
The results of at least four of the league championship contests will impact the final standings, with particular interest paid to the American, SEC, and Big Ten, where a win by the favorites would solidify their inclusion in the four-team CFP field. However, if Cincinnati, Georgia, or Michigan should stumble, Notre Dame or Oklahoma State, if they prevail against Baylor in the Big 12 title game, could find themselves in the playoff mix.
At one point, Alabama was also considered a lock even if they failed to defeat Georgia in the SEC championship game. However, a pair of close losses over Arkansas and Auburn to end the regular season have most likely created a situation where the Crimson Tide will have to beat Georgia to make it into the playoff, especially after the CFP committee dropped Alabama to fourth last week with a further fall possible when this week’s rankings are released.
(7) Oklahoma State Cowboys (11-1, 8-1) (-5.5) (-220) vs (8) Baylor Bears (10-2, 8-1) (+180) (46.5 o/u)
- Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
An impressive win by the Cowboys could jump them over Notre Dame and into fourth place assuming Georgia takes care of business against Alabama.
Otherwise, Oklahoma State will need help to have a shot at a playoff berth. In the first meeting between these two teams, the Cowboys held Baylor to 280 total yards in a 24-14 win, despite its quarterback Spencer Rattler tossing three passes to the other team.
Pick: Oklahoma State -5.5 and take the under in a nervous, conservative struggle by both teams.
(24) Houston Cougars (11-1, 8-0) (+325) @ (4) Cincinnati Bearcats (12-0, 8-0) (-10.5) (-425) (54 o/u)
- Where: Nipper Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
These two teams didn’t meet during the regular season, as each one made it through their respective conference schedules unscathed, with only Houston recording a loss to Big 12 Texas Tech by the score of 38-21 to start the season.
Cincinnati is seeking to become the first team from a Group of Five conference to make it into the CFP, but they’ll need an impressive performance against the Cougars to convince the committee that they belong, especially with Notre Dame and potentially Oklahoma State lurking just outside the top four.
Pick: Cincinnati -10.5 and take the over in a high-scoring game, with Houston overmatched after facing a relatively anemic schedule.
(1) Georgia Bulldogs (12-0, 8-0) (-6.5) (-255) vs (3) Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1, 7-1) (+205) (50.5 o/u)
- Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia
Georgia has been the most dominant team in college football throughout the season, and Alabama has dodged a pair of upset bullets the last two weeks, especially in pulling a Houdini in escaping Auburn with a 24-22 four-overtime victory to keep their what are now slim playoff hopes alive.
The Bulldogs will be able to stifle the Tide like Auburn did last week while taking full advantage of an uncharacteristic lack of discipline by the Alabama defense.
Pick: Georgia -6.5, but take the under in what will be a 27-17 kind of outcome.