It’s conference championship week and the stakes are high for teams looking to secure a College Football Playoff berth or a top bowl invite. Here’s a rundown of six conference championship games that should be worth your viewing time. All times are Pacific.
No. 4 USC (11-1) vs. No. 11 Utah (9-3) at Las Vegas
Much is on the line for the Trojans in their rematch against the Utes for the Pac-12 title. The stakes include a potential berth in the College Football Playoff semifinals and a possible Heisman Trophy for quarterback Caleb Williams. The outcome could also determine who plays in the Rose Bowl. Utah beat USC in the regular season by a point in Salt Lake City, the only loss in the season for the Trojans. Since then, they have topped UCLA and Notre Dame, edging the Bruins on a field goal and holding the Fighting Irish to fewer that 100 yards rushing last week at the Coliseum. USC is favored by 2½ points.
How to watch: 5 p.m. Fox, Fox Sports app
No. 3 TCU (12-0) vs. No. 10 Kansas State (9-3) at Arlington, Texas
The Big 12 championship will feature two 1,000-yard rushers in power back Kendre Miller of Texas Christian and the 5-foot, 6-inch slippery Deuce Vaughn of Kansas State. The Horned Frogs are one of three remaining undefeated college teams. If the Wildcats pull off the upset, will TCU remain in the playoff picture? The only teams to lose a conference championship and stay in contention were Georgia last year and Notre Dame in 2020 when it was a guest member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Texas Christian is favored by 2½ points.
How to watch: 9 a.m. ABC, ESPN+
No. 1 Georgia (12-0) vs. No. 14 LSU (9-3) at Atlanta
After two straight losing seasons, Louisiana State was sailing toward a potential playoff berth under first-year coach Brian Kelly until the Tigers ran into a Texas A&M buzz saw last week, losing 38-23. Now LSU will need a similar effort that produced an upset of Alabama in the regular season to top the No.1 Bulldogs. A Southeastern Conference title would be a nice addition to Georgia’s impressive run over the last two seasons after it sustained its only loss last year in the SEC championship. Georgia is favored by 18½ points.
How to watch: 1 p.m. CBS, Paramount+
No. 18 Tulane (10-2) vs. No. 22 Central Florida (9-3) at New Orleans
The American Athletic Conference championship finds Central Florida trying to earn its third-straight invitation to a New Year’s Day bowl game. On the Tulane side, the Green Wave hasn’t been to a major bowl since 1940 when it played in the Sugar Bowl. Although the Knights won the regular-season meeting, Tulane’s Tyjae Spears was named AAC offensive player of the year and Willie Fritz received honors as coach of the year. Last week, Central Florida got by South Florida, 46-39 on Mikey Keene’s 14-yard touchdown pass with 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Tulane is favored by 3½ points.
How to watch: 1 p.m. ABC, ESPN+
No. 2 Michigan (12-0) vs. Purdue (8-4) at Indianapolis
Some might expect Michigan to have a letdown after its superb win over Ohio State last week at Ohio Stadium. But the Wolverines were in a similar situation last season after beating the Buckeyes, and they won the Big Ten championship handily with a 42-3 trouncing of Iowa. Purdue, which sewed up its first Big Ten West crown with a 30-16 drubbing of Indiana, is looking for its first conference title since 2000. The Boilermakers are led by quarterback Aidan O’Connell, running back Devin Mockobee and wide receiver Charlie Jones. All three were walk-on players when they started their Big Ten careers. Michigan is favored by 16½ points.
How to watch: 5 p.m. Fox, Fox Sports app
No. 9 Clemson (10-2) vs. No. 23 North Carolina (9-3) at Charlotte, N.C.
The prize for the winner of this Atlantic Coast Conference title game is a date in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 30. Clemson had a two-game win streak snapped along with an outside chance to make the playoff semifinals when it lost last week to South Carolina. The game should feature Clemson’s defense against North Carolina’s offense, which is led by freshman sensation Drake Maye, considered by some as a potential Heisman finalist. The Tar Heels ended their regular season with two losses, though, falling in double overtime last week to North Carolina State. Clemson is favored by 7½ points.
How to watch: 5 p.m. ABC, ESPN+