Updated: Dec 16, 2019
Conference Championship weekend, an occasion when teams hope to see their journeys which started in the Spring, result in lifting a conference championship trophy at the end.
Yet for some teams there was more at stake, specifically the chance to play in this year's
National Championship playoffs. For Oklahoma, Utah, and Georgia, anything short of a victory would signal the potential end of their playoff hopes, making this year's conference championship, one of the most intriguing in recent memory.
Conference Championship Recap:
Oregon's Pac-12 Championship victory was painful for both teams. To Oregon, it was a reminder of what could have been if they did not lose to Arizona State. For Utah, it signaled an end to their playoff hopes. Ultimately, the biggest loser is the Pac-12 Conference, as it is unlikely that any of their teams will be participating in this year's National Championship playoffs. If there is any consolation, Oregon earned a trip to the Rose Bowl.
One year ago, Jalen Hurts was a backup quarterback in Alabama behind Tua Tagovailoa. Over a year later, he not only led his team to the Big 12 Championship he may have earned his team a playoff appearance. His redemption story is the type one would see in a Hollywood movie. For Baylor, they have a bright future after a fantastic season. We also learned that they have a real gem in quarterback Jacob Zeno.
Clemson has been arguably the most unappreciated team in college football, to the point where many have forgotten that they are the defending National Champions. By thoroughly beating Virginia, they won their fifth consecutive ACC Championship, while becoming only the 5th team to score at least 60 points in a conference championship game. Unless the nation forgot about Clemson, this game was a reminder of how dominant they can be.
Georgia vs. LSU was a tale of two quarterbacks. LSU's Joe Burrow not only set a new conference touchdown record, he was efficient all game long. Georgia's Jake Fromm was the very opposite, as his offense struggled to generate points. Burrow's season has been resounding success, as he likely sealed his Heiman Trophy with this performance in this game. As for Georgia, their poor performance may have cost them their playoff spot.
Ohio State vs. Wisconsin part two had an unexpected beginning. Wisconsin came into this contest ready to shock the nation and looked that way in the first half, as they shut down Ohio State's offense took a commanding 21-7 lead. Then came the third quarter, where Ohio State made their move; 17 unanswered points to take a 24-21. From what point onwards, they took over the game and completely shutout Wisconsin. For Ohio State, winning the conference championship was the exclamation mark to their most successful season in recent history. The only question that remains is which team they will face in the playoffs.
Memphis capped off an incredible 2019 season with a 29-24 win, in a thrilling contest against Cincinnati. Though a playoff spot is unlikely, their impressive performance this season makes them a team to watch in the playoff mix next year.
Boise State claimed their third Mountain West Conference Championship with a convincing victory over Hawaii
All-Conference Championship Team
CJ Verdell - Running back (Oregon) Joe Burrow - Quarterback (LSU)
Kenneth Murray - Linebacker (Oklahoma) Tee Higgins - Wide Receiver (Clemson)
Kayvon Thibodeaux - Defensive End (Oregon) Desmond Ridder - Quarterback (Cincinnati)
CeeDee Lamb - Wide Receiver (Oklahoma) Darrynton Evans - Running Back (App State)
Damonte Coxie - Wide Receiver (Memphis) Trevor Lawrence - Quarterback (Clemson)
Levi Lewis - Quarterback (Louisiana) J.K. Dobbins - Running back (Ohio State)
Sonatane Lui - Defensive line (Boise State) Derek Stingley Jr.- Cornerback (LSU)
Brady Breeze - Safety (Oregon) Jonathan Taylor - Running back (Wisconsin)
Isaiah Simmons - Linebacker (Clemson) James Lynch - Defensive Tackle (Baylor)
Justin Jefferson - Wide Receiver (LSU) Jalen Hurts - Quarterback (Oklahoma)