A full two days of conference title games awaits as Championship Week in college football has arrived. Some of these games will not only result in pride but also serve as the closing argument for teams vying for the College Football Playoff. No. 1 Georgia and No. 3 Alabama will square off in one of the most highly-anticipated SEC Championship Games of all time. Georgia is essentially a lock for the CFP, but Alabama needs a win to get in and gain confidence going into the postseason.
No. 2 Michigan is in its first ever Big Ten Championship Game, and a win over No. 13 Iowa will punch Jim Harbaugh’s ticket to the CFP — something that has evaded him since taking over the program.
It’ll be a busy busy college football weekend. Here’s a viewer’s guide to help you navigate through the action.
All times eastern
All games on Saturday unless otherwise noted
The big games
No. 5 Oklahoma State vs. No. 9 Baylor (in Arlington, Texas) — noon on ABC: The Cowboys won Bedlam last week with a second half defensive performance from the ages, and are looking for another signature win and style points to show off to the CFP selection committee. Quarterback Spencer Sanders had a big day last week, but it will be more difficult here against the stout Bears defense.
No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 3 Alabama (in Atlanta) — 4 p.m. on CBS: The Bulldog defense has been one of the best in a generation, and it’s final act until the postseason is a matchup against an Alabama team that has been inconsistent up front throughout the season. Meanwhile, Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young could lock up the Heisman Trophy on Saturday afternoon if he has a big game.
No. 21 Houston at No. 4 Cincinnati — 4 p.m. on ABC: The Bearcats are in a CFP position right now, but multiple other teams including Oklahoma State and Notre Dame are nipping at their heels. Houston has won 11 straight games and quarterback Clayton Tune has settled in nicely. It’ll be a big day at Nippert Stadium in what is the biggest Group of Five game of the CFP era.
No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 13 Iowa (in Indianapolis) — 8 p.m. on Fox: The Wolverines rushing attack led by Hassan Haskins torched and embarrassed Ohio State last weekend, but the challenge is much different this week against a Hawkeyes team that is driving by defense. These are uncharted waters for Jim Harbaugh’s crew, so it’ll be interesting to see if there is a hangover from the win over the Buckeyes. If there is, it could drastically change the CFP picture.
Other big games
No. 10 Oregon vs. No. 17 Utah (in Las Vegas) — Friday, 8 p.m. on ABC: Utah knocked Oregon out of the CFP race on Nov. 20, so revenge will be on the mind of coach Mario Cristobal and the Ducks on Friday night in Sin City. Both of these teams strive to dominate up front, and that is what this one should come down to on Friday night
No. 15 Pittsburgh vs. No. 16 Wake Forest (in Charlotte) — 8 p.m. on ABC: Get your popcorn ready, because the quarterback matchup between Panthers’ star Kenny Pickett and Demon Deacons’ signal-caller Sam Hartman will result in points-a-plenty. What’s more, it could be a Heisman Trophy finalist elimination game for the quarterbacks.
Best of the rest
- Western Kentucky at UTSA — 7 p.m. on CBS Sports Network (on Friday)
- Kent State vs. Northern Illinois (in Detroit) — noon on ESPN
- Utah State at No. 19 San Diego State — 3 p.m. on Fox
- Appalachian State at No. 24 Louisiana — 3:30 p.m. on ESPN
- USC at California — 11 p.m. on FS1