Week 14 means it’s time to crown a champion in each of the eight FBS leagues that host a title game.
Other than that, it’s the Sun Belt and Big 12 mopping up the remainder of their regular-season slates – including the clash between (9) Oklahoma and (10) Oklahoma State, which will decide the conference title without being an official championship game.
All in all, 16 contests are on tap; two (the Pac-12 and MAC title games) on Friday night and 14 on Saturday.
Ranked vs. ranked action holds steady at five – the same number as last week but all the more impressive since there are fewer than 20 games this weekend.
As far as when to watch, the goodness is spread out – (8) Colorado vs. (4) Washington on Friday night on FOX, (10) Oklahoma State at (9) Oklahoma on Saturday in the 12:30pm ET time slot on FOX and (1) Alabama vs. (15) Florida at 4pm ET on CBS. On Saturday night, prepare to switch your remote between (3) Clemson vs. (23) Virginia Tech and (6) Wisconsin vs. (7) Penn State, both at 8pm ET on ABC and FOX respectively.
What’s unique about the 18 schools vying for a title in 2016 is that more than half of them (66% to be precise) are in a conference championship drought. Take a look.
Number of Years since Last Conference Title
5: (10) Oklahoma State (2011 – Big 12) and Louisiana Tech (2011 – WAC)
6: (23) Virginia Tech (2010 – ACC)
8: (15) Florida (2008 – SEC) and (7) Penn State (2008 – Big Ten)
15: (8) Colorado (2001 – Big 12)
16: (4) Washington (2000 – Pac-10)
23: Wyoming (1993 – WAC)
28: (17) Western Michigan (1988 – MAC)
48: Ohio (1968 – MAC)
122: Temple – has never won a conference championship, started playing football in 1894.
137: (19) Navy – has never won a conference championship, started playing football in 1879.
If nothing else, the 2016 regular-season will end with a huge bang for a lucky few fan bases, potentially enjoying long overdue celebrations.
OFF THIS WEEK (1)
- Army (plays Navy next Saturday)
RANKED vs. RANKED (5)
- (8) Colorado vs. (4) Washington
- (10) Oklahoma State at (9) Oklahoma
- (1) Alabama vs. (15) Florida
- (3) Clemson vs. (23) Virginia Tech
- (6) Wisconsin vs. (7) Penn State
FIRST-EVER MEETINGS (2)
- Georgia State at Idaho
- New Mexico State at South Alabama
LONGEST SERIES OF THE WEEK
(9) Oklahoma and (10) Oklahoma State play for the 111th time this Saturday, a series that dates back to 1904. The first meeting, on Nov. 6, was almost three years to the date before, on Nov. 16, 1907, the state of Oklahoma was admitted to the Union.
OLDEST SERIES OF THE WEEK
(3) Clemson and (23) Virginia Tech first hit the gridiron 116 years ago in 1900. Though the two have only squared off 33 times, they’ve met in every decade since they started with the exception of the 1910’s. The longest streak came in the 1980s, when they played consecutively from 1984-89.
STREAK OF THE WEEK
6: (4) Washington has won 6 straight over (8) Colorado.
HARDWARE UP FOR GRABS
The American Football Championship Trophy – Temple at (19) Navy – series started in 1988 – Navy leads 6-5-0. The two teams last played in 2014 and have never met in the postseason.
The American Athletic Conference began its operations in 2013, but it didn’t conduct a football title game until last season. Temple lost to Houston 24-13 in that game, making the Owls the only team to have made the championship in each of its two years.
Though Temple has won the AAC East twice, the MAC East in 2009 and the Middle Atlantic University Division in 1967, it’s never won a full-fledged conference title in history. Navy won it’s first-ever football title this season by virtue of winning the AAC West, but it’s also never won a league title. What’s held Navy back is its long run as an independent, a 135-year stretch that ended last season when it joined the AAC.
The ACC Football Championship Trophy – (3) Clemson vs. (23) Virginia Tech (at Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida) – series started in 1900 – Clemson leads 20-12-1 and has won three straight.
Though the title game itself dates back to 2005, the current ACC trophy was unveiled 2013. The ACC football, which is removed and given to the winner on the field, sits on top of a 32-inch base which is retained by the victorious school. After six straight years in Charlotte, North Carolina the game is Orlando for the first time.
Clemson beat North Carolina in last year’s ACC title game, but before that hadn’t ascended to the championship since 2011. That’s also the last time Virginia Tech won the Coastal division, falling to Clemson 38-10 in the title game.
Clemson is 2-0 in ACC championship play vs. Virginia Tech’s 3-2 mark. The Hokies played in five of the first six ACC title games, but haven’t won the whole enchilada since 2010.
All in all, Clemson has won 19 league titles (15 in the ACC, two in the Southern Conference and two in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association) vs. Virginia Tech’s 10 (four in the ACC, three in the Big East, one in the Southern and two in the South Atlantic Intercollegiate Athletic Association).
The Bedlam Bell and The Big 12 Football Championship Trophy – (10) Oklahoma State at (9) Oklahoma – series started in 1904 – Oklahoma leads 85-18-7 and has won 11 of the last 13.
Despite the Big 12 being the only Power league without a title game, this year’s championship will be decided in Norman, Oklahoma, making this the most meaningful Bedlam in history.
The original traveling prize for Bedlam was the clapper from the bell that hung in Old Central on the Oklahoma State campus. The first time the Cowboys (originally the Oklahoma A&M Aggies) ever beat the Sooners, in 1917, the bell was rung all night. The clapper was eventually absconded, changing hands until 1966, when the two schools agreed to use it as a trophy. It has since been replaced by a crystal bell.
Oklahoma has won 44 conference titles (nine in the Big 12, 32 in the Big Eight, one in the Missouri Valley and two in the Southwest Conference) vs. Oklahoma State’s 10 (one in the Big 12, one in the Big Eight and eight in the Missouri Valley).
The Conference USA Football Championship Trophy – Louisiana Tech at Western Kentucky – series started in 1939 – Louisiana Tech leads 4-2, the two played earlier this season, a game the Bulldogs won 55-52 in Ruston.
Though C-USA has been hosting a conference championship game since 2005, it unveiled a new trophy in 2015. Louisiana Tech has played in the C-USA title game once previously, in 2014, when it fell 26-23 to Marshall. WKU’s one and only appearance was last season, when it beat Southern Miss 45-28.
The two schools met for an even bigger title in 1973 – in a Camellia Bowl that also decided the D-II National Championship. The Bulldogs won that game 34-0.
Louisiana Tech has won 25 conference titles (two in the WAC, eight in the Southland, ten in the Gulf States, four in the Louisiana Intercollegiate Conference and one in the Louisiana Intercollegiate Athletic Association) vs. Western Kentucky’s 12 (one in the C-USA, one in the Gateway, nine in the Ohio Valley and one in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association).
The MAC Football Championship Trophy – Ohio vs. (17) Western Michigan (at Ford Field, Detroit, Mich.) – series started in 1939 – Western Michigan leads 32-28-1 and has won three straight.
The MAC dates back to 1947 and its championship game to 1997, making it the second oldest such game in the FBS. Ohio has made it to the title game three times (2011, 2009 and 2006), losing on all three occasions. Western Michigan has been there twice (2000 and 1999), also losing both times.
Ohio has won 11 all-time conference titles (five in the MAC and six in the Buckeye Intercollegiate Athletic Association). WMU has just three (two MAC and one Michigan Collegiate).
The Mountain West Football Championship Trophy – San Diego State at Wyoming – series started in 1978 – Wyoming leads 19-17-0, the two met earlier this season, a game Wyoming won 34-33 in Laramie.
The Mountain West title game dates back to 2013, making this year’s edition the fourth-ever. San Diego State made it’s one and only appearance in the MWC championship last season when it edged Air Force 27-23. Not only is it Wyoming’s first time to play in the conference championship game, it’s the Cowboys’ first opportunity to win a league title since capturing the WAC in 1993.
SDSU has 15 conference titles (two in the MWC, one in the WAC, five in the Big West, five in the California Collegiate Athletic Association and two in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic) vs. Wyoming’s 14 (seven in the WAC and seven in the Mountain States).
The Pac-12 Football Championship Trophy – (8) Colorado vs. (4) Washington (at Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif.) – series started in 1915 – Washington leads 9-5-1, the two haven’t met since 2014.
Weighing in at 58 pounds, the Pac-12 Trophy was unveiled in 2011, the same year the league hosted it’s first-ever title game. Designed by a UCLA grad, the trophy “begins with a 12-sided base to represent all 12 schools before rising up and splitting into an arched V-shape, with the two equal segments representing the North and South divisions.”
Neither Washington nor Colorado have ever played in the Pac-12 championship game. The Huskies last captured a piece of the Pac-12 (then Pac-10) title in 2000. The Buffaloes, who joined the league in 2011, haven’t won a league championship since conquering the Big 12 in 2001.
Washington has 15 all-time conference titles (11 in the Pac-10 and four in the Pacific Coast) vs. Colorado’s 26 (one in the Big 12, five in the Big Eight, four in the Mountain States, nine in the Rocky Mountain Athletic and seven in the Colorado Football Association).
The SEC Football Championship Trophy – (1) Alabama vs. (15) Florida (at the Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Ga.) – series started in 1916 – Alabama leads 24-14 and has won five straight.
Updated in 2013 to better display the conference logo, the SEC trophy features three stacked football players on a wooden base inscribed with the names of the league’s 14 members.
The SEC’s title game dates back to 1992, the oldest championship match in the FBS. Alabama has appeared in 10 SEC title games, are 6-4 all-time and have won two straight. Florida has 11 previous appearances, are 7-4, most recently losing to the Tide last season. The two schools have played for the title eight times with each team winning on four occasions. The Gators haven’t won since 2008, when they beat Alabama 31-20.
Overall, Alabama has 29 conference titles (25 in the SEC and four in the Southern) vs. Florida’s nine (all in the SEC).
The Stagg Championship Trophy – (7) Penn State vs. (6) Wisconsin (at Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Ind.) – series started in 1953 – Wisconsin leads 9-8, but Penn State has won four of the last five.
Up until 2011, the Big Ten’s football championship trophy was called the Paterno-Stagg Trophy, the Paterno tag dropped in the wake of the scandal at Penn State. Now the Stagg Trophy, it honors Amos Alonzo Stagg, who coached at the University of Chicago (then a Big Ten member) from 1892-1932. Not only did Stagg lead the football Maroons to national championships in 1905 and 1913, he coached the basketball team for one year and the baseball team for 19 seasons.
The Big Ten, the oldest FBS league, didn’t begin hosting a conference championship game until 2011. Wisconsin has made the title game three times, winning in 2011 and 2012, but losing in 2014. This is Penn State’s first appearance and it’s most recent opportunity to win the Big Ten since doing so in 2008.
Wisconsin has 14 conference titles (all in the Big Ten) vs. Penn State’s four (three in the Big Ten and one in the Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Football Association). The Nittany Lions were independents from 1881-1992, signing up with the Big Ten in 1993.