The regular season is over, and Championship Weekend is here. The race to the College Football hits its final turn.
Is there room for some last-minute chaos that would flip the Playoff picture? Four unbeaten teams remain in the mix, and three Power 5 teams have one loss heading into the weekend.
Championship Weekend: A reason to watch every game
We’re just one week out from Dec. 2, when the final pairings are announced. With that mind, here are the four teams in, the first two out and another to watch heading into the conference championship games:
1. Alabama (12-0)
Tua Tagovailoa left his mark on the Iron Bowl in a 35-point second half that was part of a 52-21 blowout against Auburn. Five different Crimson Tide players caught a touchdown pass, and now Nick Saban has Alabama in its seventh SEC championship game since he took over. The Tide are 5-1 in that game under Saban. Even with a loss, Alabama might still be in.
2. Clemson (12-0)
The Tigers capped another unbeaten regular season under Dabo Swinney with a 56-35 victory against South Carolina, and now they have a chance to win a fourth consecutive ACC championship, this one against Pitt. The Tigers rushed for seven touchdowns against the Gamecocks, and Trevor Lawrence finished the regular season with 22 touchdowns and four interceptions.
3. Notre Dame (12-0)
The Irish are in. That’s right, after a 24-17 victory against USC, this team will be in the College Football Playoff. There is no solid argument for keeping Notre Dame out, but this will call into question whether Notre Dame should join a conference, considering the Irish don’t play a conference championship game. That’s a fair gripe for another day, but Brian Kelly deserves credit for building an impressive roster that will compete with its next opponent.
4. Georgia (11-1)
Georgia will be a placeholder for at least a week heading into the SEC championship game, a rematch of last year’s College Football Playoff championship with Alabama. This is a chance for the Bulldogs to win back-to-back conference championships. Georgia has allowed 18.4 points per game since the loss to LSU. That defense will get its biggest test against the Crimson Tide.
5A. Oklahoma (11-1)
The Sooners punched their ticket to the Big 12 championship with a 59-56 victory against West Virginia, and Kyler Murray built on his Heisman resume with 478 total yards of offense. Oklahoma’s defense continues to be questioned after giving up more than 40 points for the fourth consecutive game. Now, the Sooners get a chance to correct their only blemish in the Big 12 championship game against Texas.
5B. Ohio State (11-1)
Let the arguments with the Sooners begin. The Buckeyes picked the right time to look like a Playoff contender in a 62-39 blowout against rival Michigan. Dwayne Haskins pushed his way back into the Heisman Trophy conversation, and Urban Meyer improved to 7-0 in The Game. Now, the Buckeyes have an opportunity to win a third Big Ten championship under Meyer against Northwestern in Indianapolis.
One to watch
7. UCF (11-0)
The Knights capped off a second unbeaten regular season with a 38-10 victory against South Florida and face Memphis for the second straight season in the American Athletic Conference championship game. But the story is the gruesome leg injury star quarterback McKenzie Milton suffered in the second quarter of the victory against the Bulls. The Playoff committee factors in injuries when rankings teams, and that’s a significant blow to the Knights’ Playoff hopes.