It all comes down to this. The final weekend of the regular season where College Football Playoff positions gets confirmed and some teams can see their dreams of reaching the semifinals or New Year’s Six bowl crash and burn.
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The team with the biggest chance of falling out of the top four is Southern California. The fourth-ranked Trojans get a repeat matchup against No. 12 Utah – the only team to beat them this year – in the Pac-12 championship game. The best thing going for USC is Caleb Williams and the Utes will have to find a way to stop him to repeat as conference champions and spoil the Trojans season.
Another team with a concern is No. 3 TCU. The Horned Frogs also have a rematch opponent in its conference title game. No. 10 Kansas State took a 18-point lead on TCU during the game in October, but couldn’t hold the lead. The Wildcats will look to finish it off and win the Big 12 for the first time since it shared the crown with Oklahoma in 2012.
No. 1 Georgia must overcome some recent disappointing history in the SEC championship game with it faces No. 13 LSU. The Bulldogs are 1-3 in this game under Kirby Smart. While they know a loss likely won’t keep them out of the playoff, they’ll still be motivated to finish the regular season perfect and secure a spot in the Peach Bowl for the semifinals.
No. 2 Michigan likely can afford a loss, too, but that result may seem improbable with 8-4 Purdue as the opponent in the Big 12 title game.
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Outside of games with playoff implications, No. 11 Clemson will look to get back to the top of the ACC after a one-year absence. Waiting for the Tigers in Charlotte is North Carolina, which has lost two in a row but can save its season with its first league crown since.1980.
A berth in the New Year’s Six will be on the line when No. 18 Tulane hosts No. 23 Central Florida for the American Athletic championship. The Knights knocked off the Green Wave on the road just three weeks, so they’ll be on familiar ground and comfortable of having success Saturday.