Weekend Preview: Teams Vie For Conference Titles and To Keep Playoff Hopes Alive

November 23, 2022 by CollegeFootballPoll.com Staff

Here is a look at everything on tap for this week that will determine conference championship matchups, as well as bowl eligibility. Four conference championship pairings have now been decided and 75 teams have reached bowl eligibility for the 82 slots. 15 teams have yet to be eliminated from bowl consideration.

SEE: Schedule and Picks


There are lots of rivalries this week. These are just a few that stand out to us.

Auburn at Alabama - The 87th Iron Bowl. Alabama leads the series 48-37-1. Auburn pulled off upsets in 2017 and 2019, and only lost by 2 in OT a year ago. Cadillac Williams, Auburn's interim head coach, looks to get the Tigers to bowl eligibility with an upset this year to put a little bit of shine on an otherwise dull season.

Michigan at Ohio State - This will be the 118th meeting of a rivalry series that Michigan leads 59-52-6, despite going 2-15 since 2004. Once again, the eastern division title is on the line. With both teams undefeated and in the top 4 of the playoff poll, the loser may very well remain in the playoff picture.

Notre Dame at USC - Notre Dame leads the series 50-37-5 after taking the last four. A possible shot at the Final Four playoff is at stake for USC while Notre Dame looks to continue to elevate its bowl possibilities. No matter what happens this week, Marcus Freeman has had a tremendous first season as a head coach, and Lincoln Riley has led a dramatic turnaround in his first season at USC.

Virginia at Virginia Tech - A game that won't be played for the first time since 1969 as these two hated rivals have come together once again in the wake of violence. In 2007, UVA supported Virginia Tech after the massacre that killed 32 and wounded 19 on April 16. This year, the shoe is on the other foot as UVA has endured the killing of 3 football players and the wounding of another on November 13 as the season entered its final two weeks. A female student was also injured. Virginia also canceled last week's home game against Coastal Carolina. Ironically, the Hokies and 'Hoos wind up tied at 1-6 in the ACC's Coastal division under first-year head coaches Brent Pry (VT) and Tony Elliott (UVa). Virginia Tech's 3-8 record is its worst since 1992 (2-8-1), and Virginia's 3-7 mark is its worst since 2016 (2-10).

Apple Cup and Civil War - Washington at Washington State, and Oregon at Oregon State will both be determining factors in who gets to play USC in the PAC-12 Championship game in Las Vegas. They could even help Utah sneak back in. Oregon controls its own destiny.

Palmetto Bowl - Clemson has the big edge in the series at 72-42-4 and has won 7 straight. Clemson also has a 40-game home winning streak on the line and a shot at the Final Four playoffs. Shane Beamer and South Carolina look to put an end to all of it.


ACC: Clemson vs. North Carolina

The Tigers (Atlantic) and Tar Heels (Coastal) have already clinched their respective division titles and will meet in Charlotte on Saturday, December 3 in one of the the ten conference championship games. When that game is over, the ACC will officially say farewell to the two-division system. The PAC-12, American Conference, and CUSA have already switched to staging a title game between the top two teams in the entire conference. The Mountain West, like the ACC, will implement that type of format next year while the B1G, SEC, MAC and Sun Belt will continue to use divisions.

Miami and Georgia Tech will each try to obtain bowl eligibility this week, but the odds are against that. The 'Canes might have a shot as they at least get to host host Pitt. Nonetheless, Miami is a 6.5-point underdog while the Jackets have the dubious task of playing at Georgia as massive underdogs by 35.5.

Bowl eligible members (9):
Clemson (10-1, 8-0), Florida State (8-3, 5-3), Louisville (7-4, 4-4), NC State (7-4, 3-4), Wake Forest (7-4, 3-4), Syracuse (6-5, 3-4).
COASTAL: UNC (9-2, 6-1), Pittsburgh (7-4, 4-3), Duke (7-4, 4-3).

Still Bowl possible (2):
COASTAL: Georgia Tech (5-6, 4-4), Miami (5-6, 3-4).

AMERICAN: ? vs. ?

The big games on Saturday saw UCF get upset 17-14 at home by Navy, and East Carolina got plastered 42-3 at home by Houston. Meanwhile, Tulane romped to a 59-24 win at home over SMU, and Cincinnati was a 23-3 victor at Temple.

The winner of this week's Tulane-Cincinnati game will nail down hosting duties. Something will have to give as Tulane is 4-0 on the road and Cincinnati is 5-0 at home. A UCF win at USF gives the Knights the second spot. If would appear that if UCF gets upset at USF, the Tulane-Cincinnati loser is back in and the championship game would be a rematch. We're not seeing a legitimate path for Houston.

Bowl eligible members (7): Cincinnati (9-2, 6-1), Tulane (9-2, 6-1), UCF (8-3, 5-2), Houston (7-4, 5-2), SMU (6-5, 4-3), East Carolina (6-5, 3-4), Memphis (6-5, 3-4).

Still bowl possible: None

B1G: Ohio State or Michigan vs. ? (Most Likely) Iowa

Once again, the season-ending rivalry game between Ohio State and Michigan will be a de facto East division championship game. Iowa and Purdue are tied in the west, but Iowa owns the head-to-head tie-breaker. If Iowa beats Nebraska at home, or if Purdue loses at Indiana, the Hawkeyes are in. Purdue is in with a win over the Hoosiers and an Iowa loss to Nebraska.

Bowl eligible members (9):
Ohio State (11-0, 8-0), Michigan (11-0, 8-0), Penn State (9-2, 6-2), Maryland (6-5, 3-5).
WEST: Iowa (7-4, 5-3), Purdue (7-4, 5-3), Illinois (7-4, 4-4), Minnesota (7-4, 4-4), Wisconsin (6-5, 4-4)

Still bowl possible (1):
Michigan State (5-6, 3-5).

BIG 12: TCU vs. (Most Likely) Kansas State

Kansas State in in with a home win over Kansas. Texas is in with a Kansas State loss if the Longhorns win at home over Baylor as Texas owns the tie-breaker over the Wildcats.

Bowl eligible (8): TCU (11-0, 8-0), Kansas State (8-3, 6-2), Texas (7-4, 5-3), Oklahoma State (7-4, 4-4), Baylor (6-5, 4-4), Texas Tech (6-5, 4-4), Oklahoma (6-5, 3-5), Kansas (6-5, 3-5).

Still bowl possible: None

CONFERENCE USA: North Texas (Most Likely) at UTSA

UTSA secured hosting duties with a win 41-7 romp at Rice. Ironically, North Texas can secure the other spot with a win at home this week over Rice. Rice needs a win to become bowl eligible. If North Texas loses and WKU wins at FAU, the Hilltoppers are in.

if UNT loses and WKU falls at FAU, is there a path for the Owls? At this point, we don't see it. All three schools would be 1-1 vs. each other and FAU would only be 6-6 over-all.

Bowl eligible (4): UTSA (9-2, 7-0), North Texas (6-5, 5-2), Western Kentucky (7-5, 5-2), MTSU (6-5, 3-4).

Still bowl possible (4): FAU (5-6, 4-3), Rice (5-6, 3-4), UAB (5-6, 3-4), UTEP (5-6, 3-4) .


If there were a championship game among Independents, Liberty would be in it for the third time in the last four years. Despite an astonishing loss at UConn two weeks ago, and a 23-22 loss at home to Virginia Tech last Saturday, the Flames are tied with Notre Dame for the best record (8-3) among the 7 independent programs.

Liberty hosts New Mexico State on Saturday.

Bowl eligible (4): Notre Dame (8-3), Liberty (8-3), BYU (6-5), UConn (6-6).

Still bowl possible (1): Army (4-6). New Mexico State is 4-6 with only 1 game left on the schedule.

MID-AMERICAN: Toledo vs. Ohio

Toledo is in the championship game for the first time since 2017 when the Rockets beat Akron in the championship game at Detroit.

Ohio defeated Bowling Green 38-14 on Tuesday night in a de facto MAC East Championship game.

Ball State was eliminated from bowl consideration with a last-minute 18-17 loss at Miami (O), and Miami wrapped up bowl eligibility and secured a Bahamas Bowl bid.

Buffalo hosts Kent State on Saturday with bowl eligibility on the line for the Bulls.The Akron at Buffalo game that was snowed-out on November 19 has been rescheduled for Friday, December 2.

Bowl eligible (5):
EAST: Ohio (9-3, 7-1), Bowling Green (6-6, 5-3), Miami (6-6, 4-4).
WEST: Toledo (7-4, 5-2), Eastern Michigan (7-4, 4-3).

Still bowl possible (1):
EAST: Buffalo (5-5, 4-2).

MOUNTAIN WEST: Fresno State at Boise State

Boise State clinched the MWC Mountain and home field advantage in the championship game with a 20-17 win at Wyoming. Fresno State clinched the MWC West with a 41-14 win at Nevada.

Both division winners host their regular season finale games on Friday with the Broncos taking on Utah State and The Bulldogs welcoming Wyoming.

Bowl eligible (7):
Boise State (8-3, 7-0), Wyoming (7-4, 5-2), Utah State (6-5, 5-2), Air Force (8-3, 4-3)
WEST:  Fresno State (7-4, 6-1), San Diego State (7-4, 5-2), San Jose State (6-4, 5-3).

Still bowl possible: None

PAC-12: USC vs. Oregon, Washington or Utah

USC's conference championship game opponent could be either Oregon, Washington or even Utah.

Yes, the Utes still have a long shot path even after the 20-17 loss at Oregon. The Utes need to win at Colorado and hope that Washington beats Washington State, Oregon State beats Oregon, and UCLA wins at Cal. The UCLA win is necessary to push the tiebreaker to the fourth step, which they would win based on SOS.

Washington advances with a win at Wazzu, an Oregon State win in the Civil War, and a Cal upset upset of UCLA.

The Ducks just need to win and their in, and they can back in with a Washington loss.

USC, as mentioned in the "RIVALRIES" section at the start of this article, hosts Notre Dame as the Trojans look to stay in the hunt for a Final Four playoff bid.

Bowl eligible (7): USC (10-1, 8-1), Oregon (9-2, 7-1), Washington (9-2, 6-2), Utah (8-3, 6-2), UCLA (8-3, 5-3), Oregon State (8-3, 5-3), Washington State (7-4, 4-4).

Still bowl possible: None

SEC: LSU vs. Georgia

LSU is one of the more surprising success stories of the 2022 season. The Tigers are 9-2 and could possibly be 10-1 were it not for a blocked PAT at the end of regulation in the opener against FSU. Georgia is what was expected of Georgia. Alabama is having a down year with 2 losses by a total of 4 points.

Texas A&M is the only program eliminated from bowl consideration heading into the final week.

Three teams can become bowl eligible this week, but Auburn will have to win at 'Bama, Mizzou has to beat Arkansas at home, and Vandy needs a home win over a Tennessee team that will be without Hendon Hooker.

Bowl eligible (10):
Georgia (11-0, 8-0), Tennessee (9-2, 5-2), South Carolina (7-4, 4 4), Kentucky (6-5, 3-5), Florida (6-5, 3-5).
WESTERN: LSU (9-2, 6-1), Alabama (9-2, 5-2), Ole Miss(8-3, 4-3), Mississippi State (7-4, 3-4), Arkansas (6-5, 3-4).

Still bowl possible (3):
Vanderbilt (5-6, 2-5), Missouri (5-6, 2-5).
WESTERN: Auburn (5-6, 2-5).

SUN BELT: Coastal vs. Troy or South Alabama

The Coastal Carolina (6-1) game at Virginia was canceled this past Saturday due the tragic murders of three UVa football players. That game, of course, would have had no bearing on the conference championship game scenarios.

With a win at home over the Chanticleers on Saturday, James Madison can tie Coastal for the East division title, but the Dukes are not eligible for the regular season championship or a bowl game, per NCAA rules in their first year of transition from FCS to FBS.

Troy and South Alabama are tied on the other side at 6-1, but Troy owns the head-to-head tie-breaker.  The Trojans visiting Arkansas State while the Jaguars host ODU. The Trojans are an 8-game heater while South Alabama has won 4 straight.

Georgia Southern hosts Appalachian State as the Eagles look to become bowl eligible. The Mountaineers are already guaranteed to finish the season at no better than 7-5 which would tie for their worst record since entering the FBS in 2014 when they also went 7-5.

Bowl eligible (5):
Coastal (9-1, 6-1), Marshall (7-4, 4-3), App State (6-5, 3-4).
WEST: Troy (9-2, 6-1), South Alabama (9-2, 6-1).

Still bowl possible (3):
Georgia Southern (5-6, 2-5).
WEST: Southern Miss (5-6, 3-4), Louisiana (5-6, 3-4).
Ineligible (Transition season): JMU (7-3, 5-2)


The last of the 119 FBS vs. FCS matchups this season will took place on Saturday with Austin Peay losing 34-0 at Alabama, Utah Tech falling 52-26 at BYU, ETSU getting smacked 56-0 at Mississippi State, and North Alabama losing 59-0 at Memphis.

116 of the 131 FBS schools played at least one such game while with Appalachian State, Army and Marshall each played two.

The FBS was 111-8 (.933) vs. the FCS this year, and is now 1,685-148 (.919) since we began tracking this in 2003.

Here are the FCS wins in 2022:
September 2: William & Mary 41, Charlotte 24
September 3: Delaware14, Navy 7
September 10: Weber State 35, Utah State 7
September 10: Incarnate Word 55, Nevada 41
September 10: Holy Cross 37, Buffalo 31
September 10: Eastern Kentucky 59, Bowling Green 57 (7 OT's)
September 17: Southern Illinois 31, Northwestern 24
September 24: Sacramento State 41, Colorado State 10

Streaks - Current FBS Longest

CLEMSON - Won 40 straight home games.
Last: Won 40-10 at home over Miami on Saturday, November 19.
Next: Hosts South Carolina on Saturday, November 26.

MICHIGAN - Won 13 straight conference games.
Last: Won 19-17 at home over Illinois on Saturday, November 19.
Next: Visits Ohio State on Saturday, November 26.

GEORGIA - Won 11 straight true road games.
Last: Won 16-6 at Kentucky on Saturday, November 19.
Next: Hosts Georgia Tech on Saturday, November 26.

NORTHWESTERN - Lost 10 straight over-all, and 7 straight at home - both are current FBS longest.
Last: Lost 17-9 at Purdue on Saturday, November 19.
Next: Hosts Illinois on Saturday, November 26.

AKRON - Lost 12 straight conference games (tied for most with USF). Lost 9 straight over-all (tied with USF and Nevada for 2nd-most over-all),
Last: Game at Buffalo was cancelled due to heavy snow on Saturday, November 19. Has been rescheduled for Friday, December 2.
Next: Visits Northern Illinois on Saturday, November 26.

USF - Lost 12 straight conference games (tied with Akron).
Last: Lost 48-42 at Tulsa on Friday, November 18.
Next: Hosts UCF on Saturday, November 26.

MASSACHUSETTS - Lost 14 straight to FBS schools, and 24 straight road games.
Last: Lost 20-3 at Texas A&M on Saturday, November 19.
Next: Hosts Army on Saturday, November 26.