College Football Odds, Lines, Week 14 Schedule: Georgia, Michigan open as big favorites for conference title

The regular college football season is over as attention now turns to the postseason, beginning with this weekend’s conference championship games. Beginning Friday night, teams from across the country will be playing for conference titles, while some will also be looking to earn their spot in the college football playoff field.

However, CFP stakes might just focus on seeding as I’m not sure any of the three remaining undefeated Power Five teams can miss the playoffs at this point. And judging by the point spreads in two of their games, we shouldn’t expect them to lose this weekend either.

However, two teams with playoff hopes are expected to be in close battles. So let’s take a look at the opening lines for each conference championship game, courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.

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SEC Championship Game – LSU vs. Georgia (-16.5): Many people wondered if LSU would be the first two-loss team to make the College Football Playoffs if they found a way to beat Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, but the Tigers missed that opportunity when they lost to Texas A&M Saturday night. Now the stakes have been lowered on this game because there’s nothing stopping Georgia from finishing in the top four, but let’s not get stupid here. Winning the SEC is still win SEC.

Big Ten Championship Game – Purdue vs. Michigan (-16): Michigan secured its place in the playoffs when it defeated Ohio State and is now looking to win its second straight Big Ten title. Not bad considering the Wolverines lost their coordinators and Jim Harbaugh was interviewed for an NFL appearance on National Signing Day. In the path of the Wolverines is an upstart Purdue who emerged from the scrum that is the Big Ten West holding the title belt. Not many give the Boilermakers a chance here, but how many have even given them the chance to come here?

Big 12 Championship Game – Kansas State vs. TCU (-2.5): TCU had many close encounters during the regular season, and the win over Kansas State was one of them. For those who can’t remember, Kansas State’s starting QB Adrian Martinez left the game with an injury. Then backup Will Howard was kicked out as well. Now Howard is the starter as the Wildcats seek revenge. Will Kansas State finally be the team to defeat the Horned Frogs, or should we accept that TCU is a team of destiny at this point?

Pac-12 Championship Game (Friday) – Utah vs. USC (-2.5): The formula seems pretty simple here. If USC wins and avenges its only loss of the season against Utah, it seems inconceivable that the selection committee would let it out of the top 4. But if Utah gets its second win of the season over the Trojans? Well, then it gets interesting.

ACC Championship Game – North Carolina vs. Clemson (-8): It’s the ACC championship game so it means a lot, but that game lost a lot of its national appeal over the weekend. North Carolina lost to rivals NC State and its fourth-row QB, while Clemson carried on with a home loss to South Carolina. This game doesn’t affect the playoffs, but the conference is at stake, as is an appearance at a New Year’s Six Bowl game.

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AAC Championship Game – UCF vs. Tulane (-2.5): It’s hard to imagine that the winner of this game won’t be the New Year’s Six Group of Five contestant, so there’s a lot at stake besides the AAC title. Still, an AAC title would be a nice prize for a Tulane team that hasn’t won a conference championship since 1998, when it was in Conference USA. UCF has won the AAC four times, but this would be the first time under Gus Malzahn.

Conference USA Championship Game (Friday) – North Texas at UTSA (-8.5): Frank Harris, Jeff Traylor and the UTSA Roadrunners are looking to win back-to-back Conference USA championships. To do that, they must beat a North Texas team trying to win their first conference title since winning the Sun Belt in 2004. The Mean Green last competed in the 2017 C-USA title game but lost to FAU 41–17.

MAC Championship Game – Ohio vs. Toledo (-3.5): Jason Candle won the MAC in Toledo in his second season at the school in 2017, but this is her first trip back to Detroit since. The Rockets face an Ohio team that no one expected would be here and one that hasn’t won the MAC since 1968. They’ve appeared in the game four times (most recently in 2016) but are yet to win the big one.

Sun Belt Championship Game – Coastal Carolina at Troy (-7): Jon Sumrall pulled off one of the most impressive turnarounds in the country, taking on a Troy team that won 5-7 last year and winning the SBC West 10-2. The Trojans are one win away from their first Sun Belt title since 2017. They face a Coastal Carolina team who lost QB Grayson McCall’s start through injury but won the league in 2020.

Mountain West Championship Game – Fresno State in Boise State (-4.5): These have been the top two teams at Mountain West all season, so it’s no surprise they’re going head-to-head in the conference championship. Boise State hasn’t lost a conference game this season and is looking to win its first MWC title since 2019. Fresno has only lost once, but that loss was a 40-20 loss to the Broncos in Boise. If the Bulldogs exact revenge, they will claim their first MWC title since 2018.