The 2023 college football season has come to a close, and now all eyes now turn towards the postseason, which starts this weekend with a loaded slate of conference championship games. Starting on Friday night, teams from all over the country will face off with both league pride and College Football Playoff berths on the line.
With such a loaded field of CFP contenders this season, almost every Power Five conference championship game has major implications on the selection committee's thought process. Michigan, Georgia, Florida State and Washington all remain unbeaten, but at least three of those teams are expected to have tight battles in their respective conference title games. It's hard to fathom that any team can truly brunt a loss.
This is the last year that only four spots are up for grabs before the field expands to 12 teams in 2024, so this weekend's slate of title games might be the most impactful for a long while. With all that in mind, let's dig into the conference title game odds provided by SportsLine Consensus.
SEC Championship Game -- Georgia (-5) vs. Alabama: Things are back to normal in the SEC. This will be the fourth SEC title game in the past six years to feature the Crimson Tide and Bulldogs. Alabama is 3-0 in that span, securing a College Football Playoff bid with each win. Alabama keeping its streak of Atlanta dominance rolling this year could create a nightmare for the selection committee. The Crimson Tide would be in the field, but what to do with 12-1 Georgia? The Bulldogs set an SEC record Saturday by winning their 29th game in a row, and they've won two consecutive national championships. There are other potential conference champions that could bounce Georgia out of the final four if the Dawgs lose. It's all hypothetical, but fun to think about.
Big Ten Championship Game -- Michigan (-23) vs. Iowa: Since the conference adopted its current divisional alignment in 2014, Big Ten East teams are a perfect 9-0 in the title game. So it seems fitting that in the last year of divisions, Michigan is a very heavy favorite fresh off of winning the East for a third straight year. Iowa's defense could theoretically keep this one close. The Hawkeyes have stumbled to 10-2 somehow, after all. But oddsmakers expect Michigan to cruise through this one en route to another playoff berth.
Big 12 Championship Game -- Texas (-12.5) vs. Oklahoma State: Though the Big 12 could have descended into absolute chaos with as many as 128 potential title game scenarios headed into Week 13, this one ended up chalk. Texas secured its spot by demolishing Texas Tech, while Oklahoma State held off upset-minded BYU and edged out a win in overtime to return to Arlington, Texas, for the second time in three years. And hey, for the first time since the Big 12 adopted its current format in 2017, we'll have a fresh conference champion. Texas lost to Oklahoma in 2018 and hasn't made it back since, while the Cowboys came up short against Baylor in 2021.
Pac-12 Championship Game (Friday) -- Washington vs. Oregon (-9.5): Washington beat Oregon early in the regular season, so it may seem odd to the casual observer that the Ducks are now heavy favorites entering the title game. But these two teams have been on entirely different trajectories since their last meeting. Washington finished 12-0, but it was no easy feat. The Huskies notably struggled against the likes of Arizona State, Stanford and Washington State. Oregon, meanwhile, used the Washington loss as motivation to turn into a destructive machine that has mercilessly dispatched every team standing in its way. The Ducks have won by at least two scores in every game since. Oregon is marching to the postseason, while Washington's gait has been more akin to a limp.
ACC Championship Game -- Florida State (-5) vs. Louisville: Florida State was dealt a huge blow two weeks ago when it lost starting quarterback Jordan Travis for the season with a devastating ankle injury. The Seminoles responded by going on the road in Week 13 and preserving their undefeated season with a 24-15 win against Florida. Louisville, meanwhile, saw whatever scant playoff hopes it may have had completely implode with a home loss to then 6-5 Kentucky. FSU still looks like a capable team without Travis. It just has to lean more heavily on its underrated defense and elite cadre of running backs, while giving backup Tate Rodemaker easy spots to complete some passes.
AAC Championship Game -- Tulane (-3) vs. SMU: The winner of this game may very well play its way into a New Year's Six bowl. Though there are non-power conference teams with better records than both Tulane and SMU, the selection committee still puts a lot of stock into winning the AAC. Essentially, it's seen as the sixth-most impressive achievement once conference championship weekend rolls around. Tulane is a clear favorite given its status as reigning champion, but the Mustangs have won their last five games by an average of 27.4 points. This is going to be a battle.
Sun Belt Championship Game -- Troy (-6.5) vs. Appalachian State: How about the job Jon Sumrall is doing? The 41-year-old former SEC assistant is now 22-4 in his first two seasons as Troy's coach. The Trojans are headed back to the conference title game after winning it all a year ago. It only seems like a matter of time before bigger schools come calling for Sumrall's services as his star is on the rise. App State coach Shawn Clark deserves credit for guiding his team through a rough 3-4 start. The Mountaineers ripped off five straight wins to close the season, including an upset against ranked James Madison -- ruining the Dukes' undefeated campaign in the process -- to return to the Sun Belt Championship Game for the first time since 2021.
Conference USA Championship Game -- Liberty (-11) vs. New Mexico State: A pair of newcomers are set to face off for the Conference USA title. Jamey Chadwell is still doing Jamey Chadwell things, but in a new conference. He made the seamless transition from Coastal Carolina to Liberty this year, leading the Flames to their first 12-win season in program history. On the other side, Jerry Kill is enjoying a career renaissance. The former Minnesota coach guided the Aggies to a 10-3 regular season, winning 10 games as a coach for the first time since 2010 when he was with Northern Illinois.
MAC Championship Game -- Toledo (-8) vs. Miami (OH): This could be a low-key banger. The two teams finished the regular season with a combined 21-3 record. Toledo's only loss came in the season opener against Illinois, a game in which the Illini needed a last-second field goal to win 30-28. Rockets quarterback Dequan Finn is such a fun and enigmatic player to watch. It'll be cool to see him perform on at least a semi-national stage. Miami is lead by by the MAC's best scoring defense since 2000, as the Redhawks surrendered just 86 total points in league play.