The Journal Gazette
Monday, November 29, 2021 1:00 am

Bowl bids on line in championship tilts

ERIC OLSON | Associated Press

Conference champions will be crowned, bowl selection pecking orders will be locked in and more clarity will emerge about which teams will and won't be among the four picked for the College Football Playoff.

It's Championship Week, and while the matchups for the conference title games Friday and Saturday include many of the usual suspects, there are some joining the party for the first time – or the first time in a while.

Start with Michigan, which had zero appearances in the previous 11 Big Ten championship games. The Wolverines are in after knocking off Ohio State to win the East Division. Their opponent, Iowa, is in for the second time and the first since 2015.

Oklahoma State clinched its first appearance in the Big 12 championship game a week before its breakthrough win over six-time defending league champion Oklahoma.

Wake Forest is back in the Atlantic Coast Conference game for the first time since 2006.

In the Group of Five, UTSA will make its debut in the Conference USA game, Kent State is back in the Mid-American Conference game for the first time since 2012 and Utah State is in the Mountain West game for the first time since 2013.

Here's a primer on the biggest conference championship games that will determine the College Football Playoff competitors:


No. 4 Alabama (11-1, 7-1) vs. No. 1 Georgia (12-0, 8-0)

When: 4 p.m. Saturday (CBS)

Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta

Last meeting: Alabama won 41-24 on Oct. 17, 2020

Series: Alabama leads 41-25-4

Stakes: Winner to CFP. Loser could be in line for CFP spot depending on score margin and results of other conference championship games.

Big Ten

No. 15 Iowa (10-2, 7-2) vs. No. 2 Michigan (11-1, 8-1)

When: 8 p.m. Saturday (Fox)

Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

Last meeting: Michigan won 10-3 on Oct. 5, 2019

Series: Michigan leads 42-15-4

Stakes: Michigan to CFP if it wins; Iowa in line for Rose Bowl bid if it wins.

American Athletic

No. 16 Houston (11-1, 8-0) vs. No. 3 Cincinnati (12-0, 8-0)

When: 4 p.m. Saturday (ABC)

Where: Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati

Last meeting: Cincinnati won 38-10 on Nov. 7, 2020

Series: Houston leads 15-12.

Stakes: Cincinnati in line for CFP spot if it wins; Houston will go to bowl win or lose.

Big 12

No. 9 Baylor (10-2, 7-2) vs. No. 5 Oklahoma State (11-1, 8-1)

When: Noon Saturday (ABC)

Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas

Last meeting: Oklahoma State won 24-14 on Oct. 2.

Series: Oklahoma State leads 22-18

Stakes: Oklahoma State to CFP or Sugar Bowl if it wins; Baylor to Sugar Bowl if it wins.

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