After three months of games, conference championship weekend has finally arrived.
College football fans began the season in September with a fresh slate, hoping this was the year their teams would make the leap.
After 13 weeks, the College Football Playoff Committee is looking at eight teams that still have a case for the final four-team playoff.
There’s a chance for major chaos Sunday as the CFP committee selects the four teams that will play for the 2023 national championship.
Let’s take a look at the current national championship odds, according to Caesars Sportsbook.
The Wolverines have owned Ohio State over the past three years, with or without head coach Jim Harbaugh.
Michigan defeated the Buckeyes Saturday for the third straight year, giving Ryan Day a 1-3 record against the Wolverines and likely ending Ohio State’s CFP chances.
The win sends Michigan to the Big Ten championship game against Iowa and one step away from its third consecutive CFP trip.
“I think Michigan’s offense didn’t look as dominant, but their defense really kept them in it. That interception early in the game really pushed them over to get that win against Ohio State. Biggest game of the year,” Caesars Sportsbook college football lead Joey Feazel told Fox News Digital.
“Even with the last three weeks without Harbaugh, they still fought through it. They still played great. Still undefeated in the regular season. They’re going into the Iowa game [as] 22-point favorites. Even if they lose this game they’re in, and they’re probably not going to lose. This Iowa offense is not going to be able to score.”
The CFP committee moved Michigan to No. 2 in the rankings as it prepares for the Hawkeyes Saturday.
“Michigan’s in the best spot,” Feazel added. “They’re the only ones that probably there is no controversy around that they won’t be in. They’re the only ones that have that really cemented spot as a spot in this playoff.”
The Bulldogs are undefeated in the regular season for the second consecutive year as they attempt to win their second SEC championship in three seasons.
Georgia didn’t dominate Georgia Tech on Saturday but still managed to win its sixth in a row over the Yellow Jackets.
“Credit to Georgia Tech,” Smart said.
“You see across the country in these rivalry games what happens. I know better than anybody that it can go either way in these type games. Very emotional. Very different.”
Georgia turns its attention to Alabama, which enters the SEC title game winners of 10 straight.
If Georgia wins, it’s the top seed in the CFP. A loss and things get interesting. It will be hard to keep the Bulldogs out of the playoff considering their resume and lone loss to a top-10 team.
The Oregon Ducks are sitting pretty as they prepare for their rematch with Washington in the Pac-12 championship game.
Oregon was selected at No. 5 by the CFP committee Tuesday, ahead of one-loss Ohio State, Texas and Alabama. The Pac-12 has arguably been the best conference in the country in 2023, and the winner of the title game is almost assuredly getting into the playoff. The Pac-12 has missed out on the CFP the last six years.
While the Ducks lost to Washington in a Week 7 thriller, the two teams have had different paths to their rematch.
Oregon has looked better than it has all year heading into the matchup, while the Huskies have remained undefeated, albeit with close wins.
Washington’s win over Washington State Saturday was its eighth straight conference game decided by 10 points or fewer.
“Right now, Oregon-Washington, it was obviously a very close first game,” Feazel said of Oregon’s odds compared to Washington’s. “Oregon made the mistakes. Washington came out with the W. But since that game, both of these teams have taken wildly different directions. Oregon has been dominant in every game. It’s very clear that they’re the better team in this situation, and that’s reflected in the spread. We have 9½ right now or -400 on the money line, suggesting a 75% chance of winning this game.
“We truly believe that Oregon is the better team here, both offensively and defensively,” he added. “But it is the championship game. It’s going to be hard to beat the same team twice … but it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility. So, it should be interesting to see.”
Both offenses are explosive, but it’s the defenses that should decide the Pac-12 Saturday. Oregon is the second-best defense in the Pac-12, while the Huskies are eighth in the conference in yards allowed.
Texas is back and looking for its first conference championship since 2009 as it prepares to depart for the SEC after the season.
The Longhorns will face Oklahoma State, a program that has not won a conference title since 2011.
“It’s kind of fitting that we’re playing Oklahoma State in the Big 12 championship game knowing we didn’t get an opportunity to play each other in the regular season,” Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian said, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
“With us leaving the Big 12 and some of the great games and the matchups that have gone on over the years and historically. For us to be able to play in the Big 12 championship game, it’s kind of fitting.”
Texas is in an interesting position with one-loss Oregon and Ohio State ahead of it in the CFP. The Longhorns will be closely watching the other conference championship games around the country.
Well, that was close.
Alabama was going to lose to Auburn in the Iron Bowl on Saturday, ending its CFP hopes before playing Georgia for the SEC Championship.
And then Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe completed a pass on fourth and goal from the 31-yard line, throwing a touchdown to Isaiah Bond in the corner of the end zone to send Jordan-Hare Stadium into a deafening silence.
The miracle win sets up a massive matchup Saturday in Atlanta as the Crimson Tide look to end Georgia’s 29-game winning streak.
The last team to beat the Bulldogs? Alabama in the 2021 SEC championship game.
A win over Georgia and the CFP committee may be in a serious bind depending on the other conference championship game results.
Washington Huskies +1600
Florida State Seminoles +1600
Ohio State Buckeyes +4000
Iowa Hawkeyes +100000
The Associated Press contributed to this report.