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2023 College Football Conference Championship Recap

Conference championship weekend. The period of the season that divides bowl teams from playoff teams.

As the 2023 season draws to a close, we can't help but imagine how spectacular the 12-team college football playoffs might be in 2024. But this weekend offered clubs a chance to potentially secure a postseason berth this year, with a lot on the line.

Let us take a look back at the results from this year's conference championship games.


PAC 12 Championship - Washington Beats Oregon, 34-31

After their thrilling Week 6 encounter, there was a lot of anticipation for this game and a lot of offensive production.

Since quarterback Michael Penix Jr. and the Washington Huskies scored on nearly every offensive play in the first half, it didn't appear to be the case at first. Conversely, the Oregon Ducks had a difficult time getting going for the majority of the half until Bo Murphy orchestrated a touchdown drive to trim the Huskies' lead to 10 points.

The Ducks promptly closed the deficit to three in the second half with a touchdown drive. James Jordan's touchdown run two series later, following Penix's interception, would give them the lead. The Penix regained composure in the fourth quarter and orchestrated two touchdown drives to reclaim their double-digit lead, which proved to be too much for the Ducks to overcome and ultimately determine the game.


Big 12 Championship - Texas defeated Oklahoma State, 49-21

Quinn Ewers and the Texas Longhorns offense dominated this contest.

Before halftime, the Longhorns had amassed 430 total offensive yards and five touchdowns, which puts their performance into context. Ewers became the first player in Big 12 Championship history to record 354 throwing yards and four touchdowns in the first half.

Ollie Gordon II, the star running back for Oklahoma State, was only able to muster 34 rushing yards thanks in part to the Longhorns defense. Cowboys quarterback Alan Bowman, who finished with 250 yards and three touchdowns, tried his hardest to keep his team in the contest. From the first snap of the game, this was generally a mismatch, and the Longhorns proved why they are the best team in the Big 12.


SEC Championship - Alabama defeated Georgia, 27-24

What many believed was impossible became a reality.

Alabama defeated the reigning national champions in front of a sellout crowd at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, making history as the first team to do it in nearly two years. Ironically, that defeat came at the hands of the Crimson Tide.

Quarterback Jalen Milroe rose to the occasion, finishing the game with 221 total yards and two touchdowns. Running backs Jamarion Miller and Roydell Williams each contributed a touchdown, as well a receiver Jermaine Burton. On defense, the Crimson Tide was stout upfront, led by Dallas Turner, who finished the game with four tackles and a sack. In the secondary, defensive back Terrion Arnold was a standout with a six key tackles and a pass deflection.


Big Ten Championship - Michigan defeated Iowa, 26-0

If only Iowa had offensive skill.

With the exception of the Hawkeyes' inability to score points, the conference championship this year was essentially a reenactment of the match between the two teams in 2021. The Michigan Wolverines defeated the Hawkeyes on both ends of the ball with Jim Harbaugh back on the sidelines.

Despite how poorly the game turned out for the Hawkeyes on offense, their defense came to play, as they registered four sacks and relegated Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy to just 147 passing yards. Speaking of the Wolverines, their defense was just as formidable, as they registered four sacks and three turnovers. Senior defensive back Mike Sainristil led the way with a sack and two forced fumbles.

Michigan will certainly be a team no one wants to play against in this year's college football playoffs.


ACC Championship - Florida State defeats Louisville, 16-6

Brock Glenn, Florida State's third-string quarterback, started the game against the formidable Louisville Cardinals. Despite the game's ugliness, the Seminoles took the necessary steps to defeat the Cardinals.

The Seminoles' offensive highlight was running back and game MVP Lawrance Toafili, who finished with 118 rushing yards and the team's lone touchdown. Glenn was limited to only 55 passing yards by the Cardinals defense, which also recorded four sacks and five tackles for loss.

Unfortunately for the Cardinals offense, they had to deal with first-team All-ACC pass rusher Jared Verse, who was a one-man wrecking crew. He would finish with two sacks and three tackles for loss. His teammate, Braden Fiske, was even more impactful, finishing the game with three sacks and four tackles for loss. Considering the obstacles this team faced in the last two weeks, it was an impressive victory.


Group of Five Results -

  • C-USA Championship - Liberty defeated New Mexico State, 45-35

  • Mid-American Conference Championship - Miami(OH) defeated Toledo, 23-14

  • Mountain West Championship - Boise State defeated UNLV, 44-20

  • AAC Championship - SMU defeated Tulane, 26-14

  • Sun Belt Championship - Troy defeated Appalachian State, 49-23


Week 14 Top Performers

- Offense -

RB Kimani Vidal - Troy

QB Quinn Ewers - Texas

RB Lawrance Toafili - Florida State

RB Dillon Johnson - Washington

QB Kaidon Salter - Liberty

QB Jalen Milroe - Alabama

QB Taylen Green - Boise State

QB Diego Pavia - New Mexico St.

WR Jalon McMillan - Washington

WR CJ Daniels - Liberty

QB Bo Nix - Oregon

WR Trent Hudson - New Mexico St.

- Defense -

DB Terrion Arnold - Alabama

LB Jalon Walker - Georgia

DL Jared Verse - Florida State

DB Mike Sainristil - Michigan

DB Nikko Reed - Oregon

LB Anthony Hill Jr. - Texas

DL Braden Fiske - Florida State

DE Jaylen Harrell - Michigan

DE Isaiah Smith - SMU

LB Nicholas Martin - Oklahoma State

DE Devean Deal - Tulane

CB Cam Smith - Oklahoma State

S Alexander Teubner - Boise State

S Dell Pettus - Troy


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