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Sports NCAA Football

Regular-Season Finales Key Ahead of Inaugural College Football Playoff

December 04, 2014 by Alec

Conference Championships

With the final College Football Playoff rankings set to be released on Sunday, Dec. 7, there is much at stake for the majority of programs around the country, and especially so for those competing in conference championship games on Friday and Saturday.

In the most recent CFP rankings released on Dec. 2, Alabama and Oregon held steady at 1-2, respectively, while TCU moved up two spots to No. 3 and Florida State dropped down to fourth. Should seeding remain the same, the Crimson Tide would face the Seminoles in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, while Oregon and TCU would square off in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

All four will be in action this Saturday with Florida State taking on Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship, Alabama and Missouri meeting in the SEC Championship, and Oregon battling Arizona for the Pac-12 Championship. Meanwhile, TCU will close out its regular-season slate against Iowa State, and potential playoff contender, fifth-ranked Ohio State, will have the chance to make one more case when it takes on Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship.

ACC Championship – Florida State vs. Georgia Tech
With a 28-game winning streak on the line, Florida State will look to keep its perfect regular-season mark intact when it takes on Georgia Tech in the 2014 ACC Championship at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. While the Yellow Jackets will surely have their hands full against a Seminoles squad that has not lost since Nov. 2012, the squad’s third-ranked rushing offense – keyed by Justin Thomas and Zach Laskey – could provide just the edge needed to make a run at the reigning national champs.

Big Ten Championship – Ohio State vs. Wisconsin
While Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium is no stranger to hosting the Big Ten Championship, it will however feature a first-time matchup this year in Ohio State versus Wisconsin. The Badgers have of course been a frequent participant in the conclusive contest, clinching a spot for the third time since the game was introduced in 2011. The Buckeyes, meanwhile, are back for a second straight year and will be looking to avenge a loss in the title game last year to Michigan State. With starting QB J.T. Barrett sidelined, Ohio State has tabbed back up Cardale Jones to helm the offense, and a win is essentially a must in order for the Buckeyes to remain in the College Football Playoff hunt. At No. 13 in the rankings, a victory for Wisconsin could potentially impact the squad’s bowl assignment, which is assured not to be the Rose Bowl this year due to its semifinal designation.

Pac-12 Championship – Oregon vs. Arizona
After previously being held at the site of the higher seed team, the 2014 Pac-12 Championship will instead take place at the neutral site Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. Oregon is returning for the first time since winning the inaugural game in 2011, while the contest is a first for Arizona. The Wildcats prevailed in their last two clashes with the Ducks; though with a chance at the top seed on the line for the College Football Playoff, expect Oregon to come out ready for redemption.

SEC Championship – Alabama vs. Missouri
All eyes will be on the Georgia Dome in Atlanta as the outcome of the SEC Championship game could ultimately determine the final College Football Playoff rankings. Entering the contest as the country’s top team, many expect that an Alabama win will all but solidify a top seed for the Crimson Tide. Having never won an SEC title, Mizzou will give it another try this year and will look to become the first Eastern Division winner since 2008.

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