Championship weekend in college football is always a ton of fun and we will finally get to know which four teams will make the playoffs after this weekend’s games are complete.
Will we get chaos or chalk? Most believe we will get a little bit of both but teams who play this weekend know that the only thing they control is how they perform in their conference title game.
There will be a lot of scoreboard watching by fans and cheering for the outcome that helps their team’s chances of making the playoffs or a big bowl game. That’s what makes this weekend so fun. Your favorite team winning is only the first part of what you hope is the final outcome.
Here are the matchups and betting odds for this weekend’s major college football championship games.
College football Week 15 odds: Championship Week
No. 1 LSU vs. No. 4 Georgia
The SEC title game in Atlanta will be must-see TV but it also will be appointment viewing for a few nervous fanbases. For most watching in Norman and Salt Lake City, the LSU Tigers will be the team that they hope wins the SEC. That would keep the number of SEC teams in the College Football Playoffs at one. If the ‘Dawgs beat the Tigers, the committee will be hard-pressed to leave out an 11-1 LSU team that has already defeated four Top 10 teams this season. If LSU loses, that would most likely eliminate Oklahoma and Utah from consideration.
While LSU is undefeated and the No. 1 team on in the country, Georgia’s loss to South Carolina left the Bulldogs in a win-or-else situation. The ‘Dawgs are on a six-game win streak since their only defeat and they have been riding the dominance of their defense. No one has managed to score more than 17 points on Georgia over their last six; they have even shut out two opponents during the streak.
This game is going to be strength vs. strength. Georgia’s defense has allowed 10.4 points per game — second best in the country. LSU leads the SEC in scoring and is second nationally with 48.7 ppg. The Tigers haven’t been held under 46 points over their last four. Something will have to give.
Even though Atlanta is just an hour west of Athens, Tigers fans have known their team would be playing in this game for a few weeks. Expect thousands of Cajuns to be in the stands and a real 50-50 split for the environment on Saturday.
No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 10 Wisconsin
The Big 10 title game is a rematch of the 38-7 blowout that Ohio State handed to Wisconsin back in late October. The Badgers couldn’t block Chase Young, who recorded four sacks in the game, and star running back Johnathan Taylor was held to only 52 yards rushing by the Buckeye defense. It was an afternoon that Wisconsin fans would like to forget.
The problem is that Ohio State has done nothing but become stronger as this season has progressed. Because of their dominance in Big 10 games, the undefeated Buckeyes are big favorites to crush Wisconsin again in Indianapolis. Last week, Ohio State dispatched archrival Michigan 56-27 and did it at the Big House. J.K. Dobbins ran for a ridiculous 211 yards and four touchdowns and the Wolverines had no answer for him or the Buckeye offense.
Wisconsin won last week at Minnesota to win the Big 10 West division. They did it with an impressive defensive effort, holding the Gophers to under 100 yards rushing in the snow. However, stopping Minnesota’s offense is nothing like trying to stop an offense that is averaging over 534 yards per game and 49.9 points per game. Ohio State’s offense is the best in the Big 10 and top three in the nation. It’s hard to see how the Badgers will keep up in this one.
This marks the fifth time Wisconsin has made the Big 10 Championship game and the third time it has played Ohio State. In 2017, the Badgers put up a fight but lost 27-21. In 2014, Ohio State destroyed Wisconsin 59-0. UW hopes the third time will be the charm.
No. 3 Clemson vs. Virginia
For the first time in school history, Virginia will play in the ACC Championship Game on Saturday. The program gets rewarded for its efforts in winning the ACC Coastal Division by having to play a team whose average margin of victory over their last seven games is more than 40 points per game. Clemson hasn’t just been beating opponents since nearly losing to North Carolina — it has been pounding them into submission.
Clemson is receiving multiple first-place votes in the AP Poll and many believe the defending champs are still the best team in America. With Alabama most likely out of the playoffs, Clemson will have to beat a new opponent if it wants to win back-to-back titles for the first time in school history. As heavy favorites, most expect the Tigers to be one of the top three seeds in the playoffs next month.
The Cavs lost to Louisville, one of their three losses on the season. Clemson beat the Cardinals 45-10 in mid-October and made it look easy. If Virginia is able to pull off the upset on Saturday, it would go down as one of the most shocking performances in recent memory. However, Virginia has won four games in a row, including an upset of then-No. 24 Virginia Tech in the Commonwealth Cup last week.
Most are expecting this game to be over at halftime but Bronco Mendenhall is a solid coach and he will have a gameplan ready. While it’s hard to see Virginia keeping this game close, the Tigers were on the ropes at North Carolina. If the Tigers don’t take UVa seriously, it could cost them a spot in the playoffs.
No. 5 Utah vs. No. 13 Oregon
It’s been another tough year in the Pac-12 on the national stage. The Pac-12 champ is most likely going to be left out of the playoffs again.
Oregon had a chance to change national perception with a win over Auburn in the opening weekend but couldn’t hold on to a lead late in the game. Then, the Ducks lost late in the season at Arizona State, ending their chance of getting into the playoffs. Even if they beat Utah on Friday, Oregon knows the best it can do is a Rose Bowl bid.
Utah has only one loss this season, a tough defeat to USC on the road without their best running back Zack Moss in uniform. However, the Utes’ resume just isn’t strong enough to get them into the playoffs if they win this game on Friday. While winning a Pac-12 title is a major accomplishment, the conference was hoping for something bigger this season from its top team.
The Utes’ last three games have ended with final scores of 49-3, 35-7, and 45-15. Utah is dominating right now and trying to impress the committee with style points. It’s too little too late, but it’s bad news for an Oregon team that hasn’t looked great in the last two weeks. While the Ducks did beat Oregon State after losing to Arizona State, Oregon has underachieved this season.
No. 6 Oklahoma vs. No. 8 Baylor
The Big 12 title is a rematch of the thrilling game played just a few weeks ago. Baylor was undefeated and at home when it went up 28-3 against Oklahoma. The Sooners, behind star QB Jalen Hurts, were able to storm all the way back to win the game outright 34-31 and save the season for OU. With this game being played in Dallas on a neutral field this time, Baylor is going to have a hard time getting revenge from the first meeting.
Oklahoma’s resume is solid but it needs help to get into the playoffs. The best-case scenario is for LSU, Ohio State and Clemson to all win and for Oregon to beat Utah. At 12-1 and winners of the Big 12 title, Oklahoma will be in prime position for the No. 4 seed.
Baylor would need a lot of chaos to get into the playoffs if it beats OU on Saturday. However, getting revenge on the only team to have beaten you is a great message to send to the committee. A victory over Oklahoma would be the best win of the year for the Bears, though. Texas has fallen apart and no other team was ranked when Baylor beat them. Being a conference champ at 12-1 is great, but the Big 12 has a much better chance of getting into the playoffs with OU as its champion.
No. 19 Cincinnati at No. 18 Memphis
The AAC Championship is a rematch of a game played just last week in Memphis. The Tigers were double-digit favorites over the Bearcats and won by 10 to set up this winner-take-all matchup. The Bearcats had their nine-game winning streak snapped in the loss and were handed their first conference game of the season.
The biggest thing that came from the win last week was the right to host this game inside the same stadium that Memphis just beat Cincinnati in. This marks the first time that Memphis will host a conference title game in school history. A win would keep the Tigers in the running for a bid to the Cotton Bowl.
However, this game might be different than last week if Cincy QB Desmond Ridder plays instead of redshirt freshman Ben Bryant. The start for Bryant at quarterback snapped a 24-game start streak for Ridder due to a sore shoulder and some believe that the Bearcats were saving Ridder for the rematch. If that’s the case, the best scoring defense in AAC might get more help than the 24 points the offense put on the board last week.
Hawaii at No. 20 Boise State
The 2019 version of Boise State is the first team in school history to run the table in the Mountain West Conference without a loss. Other teams have gone 8-1 but the Broncos are 9-0 this year and will host Hawaii on Saturday in the Mountain West Conference Championship game as heavy favorites. Given the fact that only BYU has defeated Boise State this season and it was by only three points, it’s no shock that an easy win is being predicted for the 11-1 Broncos.
Hawaii is 9-4 overall and won the MWC West Division with a 5-3 record by beating San Diego State two weeks ago. The Warriors played a non-conference game last week against Army and beat the Black Knights 52-31. It was the fourth straight win for Hawaii, so the Rainbow Warriors come into this game with some momentum. However, the forecast for Saturday right now is for a low temp of 31 with snow showers throughout the game. That could cool off the boys from the tropics in a hurry.
If the Broncos win they could be in line for a bid to a New Year’s Six Bowl game. With home field and the weather in their favor, it will take a monster performance from Hawaii to stop the Broncos from winning another Mountain West crown.
Louisiana at No. 25 Appalachian State
The Sun Belt Conference title will take place on the campus of the only team to be ranked from the Sun Belt this season. App State has only been defeated by nemesis Georgia Southern so far and at 11-1, the Mountaineers matched their own Sun Belt record for wins in a season after a blowout victory over Troy last week.
Louisiana isn’t going to lie down for anyone and even though they lost earlier in the season to ASU, 17-7, the Cajuns are 10-2 on the year and have won six straight games since that loss. While the Mountaineers have been blowing out opponents with some regularity this season, the fact that the line is under a touchdown tells you what the bookmakers think of Louisiana’s chances of pulling off the upset.
This game could be sneaky good.
Week 15 opening lines
Where a line opens and closes matters when you’re trying to get value against the sportsbook. Here’s a look at where each of the FBS college football Week 15 odds opened at FanDuel Sportsbook. Compare these to the live odds above to see where they have moved since the start of the week.
- LSU (-7) vs. Georgia
- Ohio State (-17.5) vs. Wisconsin
- Clemson (-28.5) vs. Virginia
- Utah vs. Oregon (NL)
- Oklahoma (-9.5) vs. Baylor
- Cincinnati at Memphis (-10)
- Hawaii at Boise State (-15)
- Louisiana at Appalachian State (-6)