Week 14 was the week of conference championships, giving contenders a final opportunity to show the committee that they’re good enough to compete in the College Football Top 4. Ohio State was the only team in the top 4 who did not play in Week 14, putting pressure on the other three top 4 teams to win their conference and remain in playoff contention. Here are the results of the main conference championship games with major implications.
(#17) Western Michigan 29 – 23 Ohio
Western Michigan remain undefeated, going 13-0 and capturing the MAC Championship. However, it was their toughest game of the season, as a game-clinching interception by linebacker Robert Spillane ruined Ohio’s potential game-winning drive. The Broncos now await a major bowl game assignment, but they’ve now won their third conference championship, first since 1988. Quarterback Zach Terrell, who had a 30:1 touchdown to interception ratio, threw two touchdowns and two interceptions, recording 290 passing yards on the day. Corey Davis, one of the best wide receivers in the nation, had a career-high in receptions (9) and receiving yards (155). Western Michigan’s kicker Butch Hampton set a MAC Championship game record with five field goals.
PAC 12 CHAMPIONSHIP
(#4) Washington 41 – 10 Colorado (#8)
It was all Washington in the Pac 12 Championship as they snapped Colorado’s six-game winning streak, giving the Huskies their first conference championship. Jake Browning threw for 118 yards and 2 touchdowns. Browning, the Pac 12 Offensive Player of the Year, tied Marcus Mariota for the second-most touchdown passes (42) in a single season in conference history. John Ross had four catches for 51 yards and a highlight-worthy score. Ross caught his 17th touchdown of the year, tied with J.J. Stokes for second-most in a season in Pac-12 history. Running backs Myles Gaskin (159 yards) and Lavon Coleman (101 yards, 1 TD) had big games on the ground. On defense, Washington’s freshman defensive back Taylor Rapp had two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown. Rapp has four career interceptions, all between two games.
(#1) Alabama 54 – 16 Florida (#15)
The Crimson Tide was unstoppable, scoring 33 points in the first half and never looking back. Alabama have now won 25 straight games and firmly sit atop of the college football rankings. Jalen Hurts threw for 138 yards and a touchdown. Hurts is the first true freshman to win the SEC Championship and will try to be the first to win a national title. Running back Bo Scarbrough ran for 91 yards and 2 touchdowns. The stout Tide defense managed to hold Florida’s offense to zero rushing yards on 30 carries. They also scored two non-offensive touchdowns, boosting their total to 14 for the season.
BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP
(#7) Penn State 38 – 31 Wisconsin (#6)
Penn State, trailing 28-7 late in the first half, managed to score 31 straight points to rattle the #6 Wisconsin Badgers. The Nittany Lions won their first conference championship since 2008 and have won nine straight games, hoping to sway the committee to put them in the College Football Playoff. Trace McSorley threw for 384 yards and 4 touchdowns. Running back Saquon Barkley threw for 83 yards and a score. Receivers Saeed Blacknall (six catches for 155 yards, 2 TDs) and DaeSean Hamilton (eight catches, 118 yards) also had big games.
(#3) Clemson 42 – 35 Virginia Tech (#23)
Clemson managed to hold off a late Virginia Tech rally to win their second consecutive ACC championship and 16th all-time, the most out of any school in the conference. Deshaun Watson had five total touchdowns, throwing for 288 yards and 3 TDs, while also running for 85 yards and 2 TDs. On defense, cornerback Cordea Tankersley had two interceptions, after only having one the entire year.