Believe it or not, there are just two weeks left in the 2023 college football regular season. Time has flown.
With the end of the season approaching, the race for conference title games are heating up. Or, in some cases, they’re over. The SEC title game was set on Saturday along with the matchup for the Conference USA championship game.
Every other conference has pivotal games remaining in its title races. Here’s a look at where each conference championship race stands after Week 11.
*Teams who have clinched a berth are in bold.
Contenders: Tulane, SMU, UTSA, Memphis
The AAC could end up with two undefeated teams in the conference title game. Both Tulane and SMU are 6-0 and don’t play each other. UTSA is 6-0 too after beating Rice on Saturday night. The Roadrunners play the Green Wave in the final week of the season while Memphis is lurking at 5-1 in the conference and hosts SMU in Week 12. It’s likely the winner of that game will meet the winner of Tulane vs. UTSA in the title game.
Florida State vs. Louisville or North Carolina
The undefeated Seminoles are done with their conference schedule and have North Alabama ahead of their annual rivalry game vs. Florida. All Louisville needs to do to join FSU in the title game is to win at Miami in Week 12. If the Cardinals lose, then North Carolina can sneak into the title game with wins over Clemson and NC State. Since UNC and Louisville don’t play each other in 2023, UNC would win the tiebreaker with one loss against common opponents (Virginia) compared to Louisville’s two (Pitt, Miami).
Contenders: Texas, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Oklahoma
The Longhorns had a close win over TCU on Saturday while Oklahoma State’s margin for error took a huge hit with a blowout loss to UCF. Texas is a game or more ahead of everyone else in the conference and the Cowboys have the edge over both Kansas State and Oklahoma thanks to head-to-head wins. But OSU now has to win at Houston and at home against BYU to clinch a spot in the title game.
Ohio State or Michigan vs. Iowa (probably)
We’ll start with the East. Thanks to Michigan’s win over Penn State, the Big Ten East comes down, once again, to Michigan vs. Ohio State. This year’s game is in Ann Arbor. We’ll see if Jim Harbaugh is on the sidelines.
The simplest scenario in the West is an Iowa win over either Illinois or Nebraska. The Hawkeyes sit at 5-2 and are two games ahead of five other teams at 3-4. If Iowa loses to both the Illini and the Cornhuskers — not likely, but also not impossible — and there are more than two teams at 5-4, there will be a lot of tiebreakers and Iowa would have losses to Minnesota, Illinois and Nebraska.
New Mexico State at Liberty
The Aggies clinched a spot in the title game with a 38-29 win at Western Kentucky on Saturday. With Jacksonville State ineligible for the conference title game, NMSU will play at undefeated Liberty for the Conference USA title.
Toledo vs. Miami (Ohio) or Ohio or Bowling Green
The Rockets won the West Division with an easy victory over Eastern Michigan on Wednesday night. Miami (Ohio) leads the East at 5-1 and has wins over both Ohio and Bowling Green. A win over either Buffalo or Ball State wins the division for the RedHawks. If Miami loses both of those games, Ohio is in with wins over Central Michigan and Akron. Bowling Green needs to win out, have Miami lose out and have Ohio lose at least once.
Contenders: Air Force, UNLV, Fresno State, Boise State and San Jose State
The winner of next week’s game between Air Force and UNLV will be in a great position to get to the conference title game. And it’s likely that either Air Force or UNLV will play Fresno State. The Bulldogs are big favorites the rest of the season as their final two games are against New Mexico and San Diego State.
Contenders: Washington, Oregon, USC, Oregon State and Arizona
After taking care of business against Utah on Saturday, Washington clinches a spot in the Pac-12 title game with a win over Oregon State in Week 12. If Washington wins next week, Oregon will get a rematch in the title game with wins over USC and Arizona State. The Beavers are in the thick of things with a win over the Huskies and Arizona likely needs to have a better record than Oregon.
Georgia vs. Alabama
This one was settled on Saturday. Alabama clinched a spot in the title game with a drubbing of Kentucky while Georgia won the East before it beat Ole Miss thanks to Missouri’s win over Tennessee. This game is lining up to be a de facto College Football Playoff quarterfinal.
Coastal Carolina or Appalachian State or Georgia Southern vs. Troy
If James Madison was eligible for the conference title game, this matchup would be set as Troy clinched the West this week. Coastal Carolina has a half-game lead over Appalachian State and Georgia Southern, but plays JMU to end the season. CCU beat App State and lost to Georgia Southern. Appalachian State plays James Madison in Week 12 before Georgia Southern in Week 13. If James Madison wins both those games, Georgia Southern is in the title game with wins over Old Dominion and App State.
Here are Week 11’s winners and losers:
Georgia: Georgia is getting better and better as the season progresses. The Bulldogs, the two-time defending national champions, put up 611 yards of offense in a 52-17 win over No. 9 Ole Miss on Saturday night. It was a dominant performance as Carson Beck threw for 306 yards and UGA combined for 300 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Georgia is now 10-0 on the season and has clinched the SEC East title with road games against Tennessee and Georgia Tech to go.
LSU QB Jayden Daniels: Jayden Daniels’ incredible season continues. The LSU quarterback put up ridiculous numbers in the Tigers’ 52-35 victory over Florida on Saturday night. Daniels threw for 372 yards and three touchdowns and also rushed for 234 yards and two more scores. In the process, Daniels became the first player in FBS history to have 350-plus passing yards and 200-plus rushing yards in a single game. LSU is 7-3 on the season, well below preseason expectations, but Daniels is still having a Heisman Trophy-caliber season. Following Saturday’s performance, he’s up to 3,164 yards and 30 touchdowns passing along with 918 yards and eight TDs running.
Missouri: No. 14 Missouri is having its best season in nearly a decade. The Tigers won back-to-back SEC East titles in 2013 and 2014 but have been mediocre in the years since. In Eli Drinkwitz’s first three seasons as head coach, the Tigers went a combined 17-19 and never finished with a winning record. The 2023 season has been a different story. The Tigers improved to 8-2 by trouncing No. 13 Tennessee 36-7 on Saturday. In the win, running back Cody Schrader had 321 total yards (205 rushing, 116 receiving) and a touchdown. Could the Tigers get to a New Year’s Six bowl game?
Iowa: No. 22 Iowa is often a deserved punchline for its anemic offense, but it also deserves credit for finding ways to win games. The Hawkeyes shut out Rutgers 22-0 on Saturday and are now 8-2 overall and 5-2 in Big Ten play. It was the best offensive performance of the season from Iowa, which gained 402 total yards and is now a game away from clinching the Big Ten West. The Hawkeyes put up 400 yards for the first time in 31 games. They had not done that since an Oct. 1, 2021 win over Maryland.
Northwestern: Speaking of the Big Ten West, Northwestern is now a win away from bowl eligibility. The Wildcats improved to 5-5 with a 24-10 road win over Wisconsin. When the season began, the Wildcats were embroiled in a hazing scandal that saw longtime coach Pat Fitzgerald lose his job. David Braun, the newly hired defensive coordinator, took over as interim head coach and has done an excellent job. Northwestern has a home game vs. Purdue and a trip to Illinois remaining on its schedule. Will NU get to a bowl game?
New Mexico State: Not only is New Mexico State bowl eligible again, but NMSU will play for the Conference USA title. The Aggies went on the road and upset Western Kentucky 38-29 on Saturday to notch their sixth consecutive victory and clinch a spot in the C-USA title game versus undefeated Liberty. NMSU is now 8-3 overall and 6-1 in C-USA play. Before Jerry Kill arrived in Las Cruces, NMSU had played in just one bowl game since 1960 and had one winning season since 2002. Kill is now 15-9 in two seasons running the program.
UNLV: UNLV’s incredible season continues. UNLV, in Year 1 under Barry Odom, is headed to a bowl game for just the second time since the 2000 season and is now in serious contention for the Mountain West title. The Rebels beat Wyoming 34-14 on Friday night to improve to 8-2 overall and 5-1 in MWC play. The Rebels finished with a losing record in 18 of the last 19 seasons but will now meet Air Force for first place in the conference next week
John Matocha, Colorado School of Mines: John Matocha threw for three touchdowns and ran for another to help Colorado School of Mines clinch the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference title. In the process, Matocha set the all-time NCAA record for career touchdowns. He’s now accounted for 181 total touchdowns — 155 passing, 25 running and one receiving. Matocha’s 155 passing TDs is tied with Case Keenum for No. 3 all time.
Penn State: Penn State continues to come up short in big games. The Nittany Lions are now 0-6 against Big Ten East rivals Ohio State and Michigan over the last three seasons. This year, the PSU offense turned in ugly performances in the road loss to OSU last month and then Saturday’s 24-15 loss to Michigan at home. The Nittany Lions had just 238 yards, and 75 of those yards came on a garbage time TD drive in the final minutes. The offense has completely lacked explosiveness all season, even in games PSU has won handily. James Franklin is now 4-16 vs. OSU and Michigan during his time at PSU and this year’s team is wasting one of the nation’s best defenses with a directionless offense.
Oklahoma State: The Bedlam hangover was way too real for Oklahoma State. After beating rival Oklahoma last week, the Cowboys went on the road and got trounced 45-3 by UCF. UCF put up 592 yards of offense while Oklahoma State turned it over four times and got only 25 rushing yards from Ollie Gordon, the nation’s leading rusher. The loss snapped Oklahoma State’s five-game winning streak and made its path to the Big 12 title game much more difficult.
Nebraska: Nebraska’s quest to break its seven-year bowl drought is not going well. After a stretch where they won five of six, the Huskers have now dropped back-to-back games to fall to 5-5. They lost 20-17 at Michigan State last week, and Saturday’s 13-10 home loss to Maryland was an ugly one. The Huskers turned the ball over five times, including on three consecutive fourth-quarter possessions. The final turnover was an interception thrown in the end zone when the game was tied with just 3:37 to go. After that INT, Maryland drove 75 yards and kicked the game-winning field goal.
Arkansas: Arkansas snapped a six-game losing streak with an overtime road win over Florida last week that followed a bye week and an offensive coordinator change. Any good vibes that came with the win in Gainesville evaporated Saturday with an ugly 48-10 home loss to Auburn. The Razorbacks, who allowed 354 rushing yards in the loss, are now 3-7 overall and 1-6 in SEC play. Head coach Sam Pittman could be in some trouble.
Colorado: Colorado opened the Deion Sanders era by winning its first three games. Since then, CU has dropped six of its last seven to fall to 4-6 on the year. The latest loss came on Saturday at home to No. 21 Arizona. Colorado played its best game in weeks, but just could not get the stops needed to get the win as the Wildcats won 34-31 with a field goal as time expired. Colorado now has to beat both Washington State and Utah on the road to become bowl eligible.
Minnesota: Last week, Minnesota lost to Illinois at home by one point by allowing the Illini’s backup QB to throw a 46-yard touchdown pass in the final minute. This week, the Gophers lost 49-30 to Purdue, a team that hadn’t won a game since September. To make matters worse, the Minnesota defense gave up a whopping 604 yards, including 353 yards on the ground. Purdue hadn’t even rushed for 200 yards in a single game this year, but the Gophers allowed Devin Mockobee and Tyrone Tracy to combine for 275 yards and three TDs. Will Minnesota reach a bowl game? Now 5-5, the Gophers go to Ohio State next week and then will close out the season at home vs. Wisconsin.
Louisiana Tech: It’s been an ugly two seasons for Sonny Cumbie at Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs went 3-9 in his first season and are now 3-8 in his second season following an ugly home loss to Sam Houston. It marked the first-ever FBS win for Sam Houston and the fifth consecutive loss for Louisiana Tech. For that performance to come on the heels of Cumbie apparently banning a team site reporter from practice for not being “supportive enough” is not a good look for the second-year head coach.