This is the moment that we have all been waiting for. We’ve made it to Championship Weekend in this 2020 season. The playoff and bowl matchups will come into focus. Can Alabama continue it’s dominant play and win another SEC Championship? Will Clemson get revenge over Notre Dame? Can the Big 12 fight their way into the playoff discussion? What’s the path for Cincinnati to get to the playoffs? We’ll look to answer those questions and much more as we look at the best weekend of the season in our 2020 Championship Weekend College Football watch guide.
Note: All game times are in central standard time
2020 Championship Weekend College Football Watch Guide
Conference USA Championship Game
Grant Wells and the Thundering Herd must be itching to get back on the field. They were blanked by Rice 20-0 after five interceptions by Wells. Conversely, UAB has only played once since October 31st, defeating that same Rice team last week 21-16. This could be a fantastic matchup in terms of the running back battle. Spencer Brown has 740 yards and 10 scores for UAB. And, Brenden Knox for Marshall has 820 yards and nine touchdowns.
MAC Championship Game
Buffalo comes in as the prohibitive favorite and one of the strongest unranked Group of Five teams. They are a heavy run team led by Jaret Patterson. He passed the 1,000-yard mark last week and has 18 touchdowns on the season. Comparatively, Ball State has been the king of the close games. Four of their five wins this season have come by a total combined 26 points. If the Cardinals are able to keep it close going into the fourth quarter, you have to like their chances.
PAC 12 Championship Game
Oregon was a mid-week substitute due to Covid issues at Washington for this game. Interestingly enough, it provides a more even matchup. The Ducks have two losses, but they are by a total of seven points. Young Tyler Shough will need to have a good game if Oregon is able to win their second straight championship game in an upset fashion. Meanwhile, the cardiac kids from Southern Cal are living the good life. They have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat on three separate occasions this season. This could be the closest championship game of the weekend.
Big 12 Championship Game
A carbon copy of two team’s face off in Arlington. Iowa State and Oklahoma might be the most evenly matched teams in championship weekend. The Sooners are looking for their sixth straight conference championship in a rebuilding year where most thought it wouldn’t happen. Comparatively, The Cyclones will be looking to secure their first title since 1912. As an added bonus, the winner of this game is not completely out of the playoff conversation. If chaos ensues, with the Cyclones currently ranked sixth the winner could find themselves in the thick of it.
Big 10 Championship Game
The Buckeyes have had quite the tumultuous season. From lobbying for a season, to canceled games, to backdooring in the Big 10 Championship game, they now have a chance to get back to the playoffs. However, they might need to see an improvement on the defensive side of the ball. Ohio State has given up 25 or more points in three of their five games. Meanwhile, Northwestern comes in as the prohibitive underdog in this game. The Wildcats rely on their defense and running game. So, it will be imperative that they limit the big play ability of Justin Fields and company.
We come to our first regular-season game of the weekend. The Aggies are looking for style points in this one. Sitting at number five in the college football playoff, a win and a Notre Dame or Northwestern win gives them a solid argument for a playoff berth. However, standing in their way are the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium. The Vols have had a tough season, but are playing better in their last three games. There will be many curious eyeballs from Iowa, Oklahoma, and Cincinnati cheering on the Vols.
We change up our look in the 2020 Championship Weekend as move to the service academies. The Commander-In-Chief trophy is up for grabs as these two service academies collide. The Falcons come in at 3-2, while Army is at 8-2. Both teams are stout against the run so expect another low-scoring affair. The emergence of Tyhier Tyler at quarterback for Army may have been the difference against Navy last week. For Air Force, they pounded Navy earlier in the season by a score of 40-7 and have only allowed a total of seven points in their last two games.
ACC Championship Game
The biggest game of the year in terms of the highest-ranked teams with second-ranked Notre Dame and third-ranked Clemson. But, the fact of the matter might be that both teams would be in the playoffs regardless of the result. Be that as it may, Clemson will be looking to avenge their regular season loss against the Irish. Will the return of Trevor Lawrence be the difference-maker? Or can Notre Dame get the second win over the Tigers and make a claim for the number one seed in the playoffs?
Mountain West Championship Game
San Jose State is ranked 24th in the country and Boise State is unranked? Do we have that right? The Spartans come into the Mountain West Conference championship game undefeated and hosting this game. However, Boise State is about a touchdown favorite coming in. San Jose State is bolstered by Texas A&M transfer quarterback Nick Starkel who has thrown 13 touchdowns on the year. Meanwhile, for Boise State, they have won three straight since losing to BYU and will look to continue their dominance in this conference.
SEC Championship Game
The Florida Gators received an early Christmas present from the College Football Playoff committee. After dropping a home decision to 3-win LSU, they only dropped one spot. This means they are within striking distance where an upset win over the Tide will likely land them in the playoffs. But, Alabama is the hottest team in America. And, like Notre Dame, are likely in the playoffs no matter the result. As an added incentive, the Heisman Trophy might be decided in Atlanta as well.
AAC Championship Game
Cincinnati seems to get punished for not playing games while their partners in Ohio remain steady. The Bearcats have seen their ranking drop from sixth to ninth because they haven’t played since November 21st. Well, they will get their chance as they host the AAC Championship Game against the upstart Tulsa Golden Hurricane. Tulsa will try to get this game into the fourth quarter where they have had a flair for the theatrics. Meanwhile, like Texas A&M, the Bearcats must be very impressive in looking for style points.
We complete our 2020 Championship Weekend watch guide out west. Even though this game has no bearing on the national scene, we can’t have our final weekend watch guide of the regular season without PAC 12 after dark. Both teams have a losing record, but in the craziness that is 2020 could go bowling with only two or three wins. The Sun Devils got their first win of the season last week. But, they did so in dominating fashion over Arizona, 70-7. And, the Beavers have lost two in a row but only by a combined nine total points. Oregon State may have the best running back in the PAC 12 in Jermar Jefferson.