This is it. It comes down to this — championship weekend.
Yet, winning a conference championship is the least on the mind of some of the teams at the moment. Teams like Oklahoma, Clemson, Wisconsin and Auburn are in the position where if they win, they are in. Teams like Georgia, Miami and Ohio State need to win their conference over their opponents that are already in the top four.
Meanwhile, Alabama, a team that won’t be in the SEC championship after losing to Auburn, will have to play the waiting game and hope anyone in the top four loses that day, so it could be next in line.
Here are my picks for championship Saturday:
Big 12 championship
No. 11 TCU vs. No. 3 Oklahoma, 10:30 a.m. on ABC
Oklahoma will seal its spot in the playoffs if it defeats TCU in the Big 12 championship. It's only been a few weeks since these two last met. On Nov. 11, the Sooners, who were ranked No. 5 at the time, pulled out a victory 38-20 over the Horned Frogs, who were ranked No. 6. The stakes are higher now. If TCU is somehow victorious over the Sooners, the Horned Frogs would be taken under consideration in the final polls. The Sooners’ quarterback and Heisman front-runner Baker Mayfield can make his case if he puts up big numbers on TCU’s defense. The last time, Mayfield threw for 333 yards and three touchdowns. If he puts up similar numbers, if not better, it’s no question who wins the Heisman Trophy.
Prediction: Oklahoma 34, TCU 27
No. 6 Georgia vs. No. 2 Auburn, 2 p.m. on CBS
The last time these two faced each other, on Nov. 11, Auburn gave the Bulldogs a beatdown. Georgia was No. 1 at the time before its 40-17 loss to the Tigers. Now ranked No. 6, Georgia has a second chance to make its case for getting in the playoff polls. As for Auburn, it was clearly the biggest winner of last Tuesday's rankings, moving up to No. 2. Even with a 10-2 record, you can’t deny defeating two former No. 1 teams in one season. We knew the Tigers were trying to sneak their way to the top, but now at No. 2 with an impressive resume, it’s no question Auburn deserves to be in the CFP.
Prediction: Auburn 20, UGA 13
No. 7 Miami vs. No. 1 Clemson, 6 p.m. on ABC
Miami needs the win more than anyone in the top 10 after an upset loss to Pittsburgh last Saturday. There are a couple of concerns for the 'Canes that can affect their chances in winning the ACC for the first time in school history after joining the conference in 2003: One, will the team still be hung over after a tough loss to Pittsburgh? Two, can the offense execute with Malik Rosier at quarterback? The 'Canes proved that when their backs are against the wall and facing a top-ranked team, Miami comes out on top: Just ask Notre Dame and Virginia Tech.
Prediction: Clemson 31, Miami 7
Big Ten championship
No. 8 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Wisconsin, 6 p.m. on FOX
Wisconsin, one of the only undefeated teams left in college football, is finally getting the respect it deserves, being ranked at No. 4. Granted, the Badgers don’t have the resume like the other teams that are fighting for the playoff spot. But all of that will change if the Badgers pull a win over the eighth-ranked Buckeyes. As for the Buckeyes, a win over the Badgers can give them the last boost they need to get back in the top four.
Prediction: Ohio State 31, Wisconsin 27
My predicted Final Four playoff rankings: