Counting today, there are just two (two?!?) Saturdays left in the 2019 regular season, which means championship weekend is right around the corner. As Week 13 gets set to kick-off, here’s a look at where each of the races in the Power Five conferences stands at the moment:
By virtue of its Week 12 win over NC State, No. 3 Clemson has already clinched the division.
Unlike its Atlantic brethren, the Coastal is still very much undecided.
Virginia (5-2) currently holds the lead and can win the division with a Week 14 win over rival Virginia Tech. Two other teams sit at 4-2 with two league games remaining — Pitt and Virginia Tech. Each of those teams can claim the division by winning their last two games AND a Virginia loss. The field of contenders will be whittled down by one this weekend as Pitt and Tech will square off Saturday afternoon.
As they are both 6-1, and the next closest teams are at 4-3, wins in just one of their last two league games would put both No. 14 Baylor and No. 9 Oklahoma into the conference championship game in a rematch of the Sooners’ wild come-from-behind Week 12 win.
Two losses by Baylor (vs. Texas, at Kansas) and/or Oklahoma (vs. TCU, at No. 22 Oklahoma State) would bring a trio of 4-3 teams, No. 22 Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Texas, back into the title-game picture — provided those teams win their last two games, of course.
BIG TEN EAST
This division is simple: if No. 2 Ohio State (7-0) beats No. 8 Penn State (6-1) this afternoon, the Buckeyes are headed to the conference championship game for the third straight season and fifth since the game was first played in 2011. Conversely, if Penn State upsets OSU (Buckeyes are 18-point home favorites) and then takes care of 2-8 Rutgers in the regular-season finale, the Nittany Lions would be headed to Indianapolis for just the second time (2016).
In the unlikely event of a three-way tie between Ohio State, Penn State and No. 13 Michigan (5-2), the Nittany Lions would get the nod based on the Big Ten’s three-way tiebreaker system and what would be head-to-head wins over both the Buckeyes and Wolverines in such a scenario.
BIG TEN WEST
The West is one of two things: either very straightforward or extremely convoluted.
If No. 10 Minnesota (6-1) beats Northwestern on the road today and No. 12 Wisconsin (5-2) at home next week, the Golden Gophers will make their first-ever appearance in the Big Ten championship game; a Minnesota win and Wisconsin loss today would also do the trick for the Gophers. A Minnesota loss to Wisconsin, coupled with a UW win over Purdue this weekend, would send the Badgers to represent the West vs, the East.
At 4-3, both No. 17 Iowa, which beat Minnesota last weekend, and Illinois are lurking and remain in the divisional hunt with two weeks left to play. A Minnesota win today — or losses by either, for that matter — would eliminate them both from consideration.
At 7-0 with two games remaining, and with second-place Oregon State at a distant 4-3, Oregon has already wrapped up the North.
No. 7 Utah (6-1) can clinch the South today with a win over Arizona AND a No. 23 USC (6-2) loss to cross-town rival UCLA. By virtue of its head-to-head win over Utah in September, USC can win the division if it beats UCLA and Utah loses to either Arizona or Colorado.
Unbelievably, given how they started, there is the possibility that UCLA (4-3) could end the season in a three-way tie with USC and Utah if the Bruins win their last two (at USC, vs. Cal) and the Utes lose their last two. In such a scenario, USC would still win the division based on the Pac-12’s method of breaking multi-team ties.
By virtue of its Week 12 win over Auburn, No. 4 Georgia has already clinched the division.
No. 1 LSU can wrap up the West by with a win over 44-point underdog Arkansas OR a win the following weekend against Texas A&M. Alabama can still win the division if it beats rival and 15th-ranked Auburn in Week 14 AND LSU loses both of its last two games.