Michigan Football
Syndication: Detroit Free Press

The money is on the table in conference championship games!

All over college football this past weekend, the arch rival who was used to losing stood up and punched their opponent in the mouth.

Auburn gave Alabama one helluva game.

Michigan finally beat Ohio State.

Oklahoma State finally beat Oklahoma — and then the Sooners lost Lincoln Riley to USC!

So now we’re down to the biggest championship weekend of the College Football Playoff era. Realistically, five teams are playing for their chance at a playoff berth: Georgia, Alabama, Michigan, Cincinnati and Oklahoma State. Only four can get into the dance.

Who wins? We can’t wait to watch the games this weekend.

Here’s the conference championship game schedule that could impact the College Football Playoff this weekend:

  • #9 Baylor vs #5 Oklahoma State — Noon ET — ABC
  • #1 Georgia vs #4 Alabama — 4:00 PM ET — NBC
  • #16 Houston @ #3 Cincinnati — 4:00 PM ET — ABC
  • #2 Michigan vs #16 Iowa — 8:00 PM ET — FOX

1. Georgia (12-0)

The Bulldogs are in the CFP no matter what. They’re the only Power 5 team that enters the weekend undefeated and even a loss to Alabama shouldn’t knock them out of the playoff. Georgia is loaded with future NFL stars. Don’t think for one second they don’t want to bury Bama and keep them out of the playoff, however.

2. Michigan (11-1)

The Wolverines defense dominated the high-octane Buckeyes this past weekend, an impressive performance that earned Jim Harbaugh his first win over Ohio State. The job isn’t finished for Michigan, however. They need to beat Iowa this weekend to get into the playoff. A loss would give them two, and likely knock them — and the Big Ten Conference — out of the CFP.

3. Alabama (11-1)

It took four overtimes, but Alabama stole a win from Auburn over the weekend to keep their playoff hopes alive. The SEC championship is a play-in game for Alabama; they need to win to get in because they already have a loss on their resume.

4. Cincinnati (12-0)

We really hope the Bearcats get into the playoff — they deserve it. They host a tough No. 16 Houston team this weekend and will need to win that game to stay undefeated, which is their only chance of getting in. Their win against Notre Dame holds up as a strong victory on their resume.

5. Oklahoma State (11-1)

Like Michigan, the underdog stood up in the Bedlam game this past weekend. Oklahoma State won a marvelous game and now sits on the cusp of making life miserable for Cincinnati, who need a strong performance to keep the Cowboys out of the playoff.

6. Notre Dame (11-1)

In their seven games since losing to Cincinnati, the Fighting Irish have outscored their opponents 269-102, and have limited their last four opponents (Navy, Virginia, Georgia Tech and Stanford) to 23 total points. Their schedule is nothing to be excited about but they’ve dominated most of their games.

7. Baylor (10-2)

Baylor gets a shot at ruining Oklahoma State’s playoff dreams this weekend. They also get a chance to redeem their earlier 24-14 loss at the Cowboys, one of their two losses. Baylor beat Oklahoma when the Sooners were in the top ten and present a strong test for Oklahoma State this weekend.

8. Oregon (10-2)

We’re ranking the Ducks ahead of Ohio State once again because they won in Columbus. It’s that simple. Oregon won’t make the playoff but their win at Ohio State stands up as the most impressive among the teams ranked lower than five in our rankings this week.

9. Mississippi (10-2)

Ole Miss’ two losses are at Alabama and at Auburn; while Auburn’s record isn’t great, they gave Bama all they could handle in the Iron Bowl. With all due respect to Ohio State, we’re rolling with Mississippi at No. 9 this week because the SEC is just tougher top to bottom than the Big Ten this year.

10. Ohio State (10-2)

They got their butts kicked by Michigan and limp into the bowl season hoping CJ Stroud, their Heisman frontrunning quarterback, can at least hold that hardware at the end of the year.

Tab has written about MLB, the NHL and the NFL for more than a decade for publications including The Fourth Period, Bleacher Report and La Vida Baseball. He is the author of two books about the Chicago Blackhawks and has been credentialed for the MLB All-Star Game and postseason and multiple Stanley Cup Finals. He is the co-host of the Line Drive Radio podcast.