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2019 CFB Conference Championship Preview - The Power Five Teams

Fourteen weeks, 130 teams have grinded and fought for the chance to play for a conference championship. In the end, it comes down to 10 teams, each of them looking to either solidify their playoff spot or potentially steal a spot in the final four. Starting December 6, the road to this year's College Football playoff really begins.

PAC-12 Championship: Oregon vs Utah

For Oregon, their playoff hopes were dashed by the hands of the Arizona State a little over two weeks go; Utah on the hand, could be a different story.

Coming into this game at 10-1, an impressive victory over the Ducks improves their record to 11-1, and depending on the result of the SEC championship, it would potentially sway the committed in giving the Utes that last playoff spot. This will not be an easy task, as they will be facing one of the top quarterbacks in the nation in Justin Herbert, and one of the best offensive lines in the nation, led by All-Americans Penei Sewell and NFL prospect, Shane Lemieux. For the Ducks offense, they will have the daunting task of neutralizing one of the top defensive units in college football. Herbert is likely to see a lot of pressure come his way in the form of defensive end Bradlee Anae, in addition to facing one of the best secondary groups in the conference with defensive back Julian Blackmon and cornerback Jaylon Johnson.


ACC Championship: Clemson vs Virginia

Many have already predetermined the outcome of this contest, as the undefeated defending National Champions Clemson Tigers, has been one of top overall teams in the nation for much of the season. Since their close call against North Carolina on September 28th, the Tigers have averaged over 50 points per game. The key to their success has been their quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who finished the season with 2,870 passing yards and 30 touchdowns. Their receiving group led by junior Tee Higgins and sophomore Justyn Ross, will be more than enough for the Cavaliers defense to handle.

For the Tigers defense will be facing a gifted, dual-threat quarterback in Bryce Perkins. In his previous performance against Virginia Tech, Perkins accounted for 457 yards of total offense. His ability to produce with both his arms and his legs will present an interesting puzzle for the Tigers defense to solve.


SEC Championship: Georgia vs LSU

One of the best college football stories in recent memory has been the rise of LSU. This season, the undefeated Tigers became the first team in over 32 years, to beat four AP top 10 teams in one season. LSU's dynamic offense is centered around arguably the nation's top quarterback in Joe Burrow. Burrow's historic run has included breaking LSU's touchdown record, breaking Tim Couch's SEC record for passing yards in a season, and he is on pace to break the NCAA's all-time completion percentage set by Colt McCoy back in 2008. His army of offensive weapon includes a 1000-yard rusher in Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and two 1000-yard receivers in Justin Jefferson and Ja'Marr Chase. Even with notes weaknesses on defense, LSU has overwhelmed the opposition all season with their offensive output. The outcome of this game will likely have little to no consequence on their current playoff position.

For Georgia, this could be an entirely different story. After suffering and embarrassing loss to South Carolina at home on October 12th, Jake Fromm and his Bulldogs have fought hard for the last month to gain a position in the playoff picture. For success against LSU, they will need to establish the run with D'Andre Swift, whose status is questionable after sustaining an injury against Georgia Tech. Freshman sensation George Pickens will be present, but only the second half of the contest, due to a suspension for fighting against Georgia Tech. There is a definite sense of urgency to win for Georgia; a loss combined with a Utah or Oklahoma win, could bump them out of their playoff position.


Big Ten Championship: Ohio State vs Wisconsin

No team in the nation has dominated opposing teams the way Ohio State has done this season. With few weaknesses on both sides of the ball, Wisconsin will likely prioritize trying to stop Chase Young from wreaking havoc on their offense; many teams have tried employing that strategy with little to no success. Yet the greatness of this Buckeyes team is also in their offense led by Justin Fields and running back J.K Dobbins, who posted his third straight 1000+ yard rushing season. In their previous matchup on October 26th, the Buckeyes relegated the Badgers offense to only seven points.

Since that contest, the Badgers have put together an impressive four-game winning streak, which saw legendary running back Jonathan Taylor produce three 200-yard rushing performance. For Taylor a victory over the Buckeyes would be the perfect exclamation mark to his historic collegiate career. On defense, the Buckeyes will, once again, face one of the best group of linebackers in the nation, led by Zack Baun and Chris Orr. After the embarrassment suffered in their first meeting, expect the Badgers to make this a challenging affair till the end.


Big 12 Championship: Oklahoma vs Baylor

This is matchup has the makings of an entertaining, offensive explosion. After a dismal 7-6 season in 2018, few would have imagined that Baylor would end the season at 11-1 and ranked in top 10. One of the big reasons for their success has been the play of junior quarterback Charlie Brewer. In addition to his passing 20 touchdowns, his completion percentage of 73.6 places him among the top quarterbacks in this category. One his favorite targets all season has been senior receiver Denzel Mims. Known of his acrobatic catches, Mims has been impressive, posting an average of 15.5 yards per reception.

For Oklahoma, their success begins with one person, quarterback Jalen Hurts. This season, the Alabama transfer ceased the starting quarterback position, and posted career highs in passing yards, yards per attempt, touchdowns, and rushing yards. In the absence of star receiver CeeDee Lamb, Hurts has carried the offense on his back during their four-game winning streak. With Lamb's status still in doubt, Hurts will lean heavily on sophomore running back Kenneth Murray and sophomore receiver Charleston Rambo.

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