2021 Conference Championship Preview: The Power Five Edition






The 2021 college football season was one for the ages, and there is no better way to end the regular season than with some of the most compelling conference championship matchups in recent history. For many of these teams, winning the conference championship may have serious National Championship Playoff implications. With the stakes higher than ever before, these teams will do everything it takes to come away victorious.

Pac-12 Championship Game - (11) Oregon vs. (19) Utah


For a third straight season, this year's PAC-12 Championship Game will feature Mario Cristobal's Oregon Ducks as they face the surging Utah Utes in a rematch of the 2019 title game, which saw Oregon beat Utah, 37-15. Oregon comes into this game as the favorites, as they finished the season with an 11-2 record while averaging 33.2 points per game. Utah, however, comes in as one of the hottest teams in the nation, recording five straight wins, averaging 40 points per game. Even with a win, Oregon's playoff chances are slim, but anything can happen in this sport.


Notable Players


Oregon -

QB Anthony Brown, DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, LB Noah Sewell, RB Travis Dye, and CB Verone McKinley III


UTAH -

QB Cameron Rising, LB Devin Lloyd, DE Mika Tafua, TE Brant Kuithe, and CB Clark Phillips III


SEC Championship Game - (1) Georgia vs. (3) Alabama


The undisputed No. 1 team in the nation comes into this year's SEC Championship game with one of the best defensive units in college football history. With a roster filled with future NFL prospects, Georgia is not only the favorite to win this year's conference, they are also the favorites to win this year's National Championship. Standing in their way is an Alabama team that had a tougher road to get to this point. With this noted, one should not underestimate Nick Saban's team, with an offense that averaged 42.7 points per game this season. This one will be a clash of titans on opposite sides of the ball. The question is, who will come through in the end?


Notable Players


ALABAMA -

QB Bryce Young, WR Jameson Williams, WR John Metchie III, LB Will Anderson, and DB Kool-Aid McKinstry


GEORGIA -

DT Jordan Davis, DL Travon Walker, RB Zamir White, LB Nakobe Dean, and TE Brock Bowers


Big Ten Championship Game - (5) Michigan vs. (16) Iowa


Jim Harbaugh and his Michigan Wolverines capped off a memorable regular season with a big win over their conference rivals, Ohio State. With a win, the Wolverines have a real chance of clinching a spot in the National Championship Playoffs.


The once promising Iowa Hawkeyes saw their playoff hopes dwindle after back-to-back losses to Purdue and Wisconsin. Yet, they can play playoff spoiler with a win over Michigan by winning the conference championship. Iowa comes into the contest with the 13th-ranked defensive unit in the nation. Michigan will try to counter it with their ground attack, which finished 9th in the nation in total yards. This will be a matchup between two physical teams looking to impose their will on each other.


Notable Players


Michigan -

RB Hassan Haskins, RB Blake Corum, DE Aidan Hutchinson, and LB David Ojabo


IOWA -

RB Tyler Goodson, C Tyler Linderbaum, DB Dane Belton, and DB Zack Vanvalkenburg

ACC Championship Game - (17) Pitt vs. Wake Forest


If you like offense, this game will feature two of the most productive offensive units in the nation. This past season, the Pittsburgh Panthers averaged 42.8 points per game, with only 279 points scored against them. On the other hand, Wake Forest's offense finished 3rd in the nation with 42.9 points per game, just slightly better than Pittsburgh. Since joining the ACC in 2013, Pittsburgh has never won their conference; Wake Forest's last conference title came in 2006.


Notable Players


PITTSBURGH -

QB Kenny Pickett, WR Jordan Addison, DL Habakkuk Baldonado, and DB/LB John Petrishen


WAKE FOREST -

QB Sam Hartman, WR A.T. Perry, WR Jaquarii Roberson and DL Rondell Bothroyd


Big 12 Championship Game - (7) Oklahoma State vs. (8) Baylor


Oklahoma State comes into this year's conference championship as the top team in the Big 12. There is no denying that their defensive unit is arguably the best in college football, allowing only 16.7 points per game, ranking them 5th in the nation in this category. The Baylor Bears are a resilient bunch, with an underrated offense that averaged 33.4 points per game. For Oklahoma State, the stakes are huge as a win combined with a loss to any of the top 4 teams could mean a potential spot in this year's National Championship Playoffs. This being noted, Baylor should not be overlooked by any means.


Notable Players


OKLAHOMA STATE -

RB Jaylen Warren, QB Spencer Sanders, WR Tay Martin, DE Collin Oliver, and S Kolby Harvell-Peel


BAYLOR -

RB Abram Smith, RB Trestan Ebner, WR Tyquan Thornton, LB/S Jalen Pitre, and LB Terrel Bernard

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