What to Know About Each Conference Championship Match-up

by Gregory Harvey

Photo courtesy of Notre Dame athletics

There was real doubt as to whether or not we would ever get here, but championship week is upon us.

Before the games kick off, here’s a quick glance at each of the 10 title games set for this weekend:

American Athletic Conference

No. 23 Tulsa (6-1, 6-0) at No. 9 Cincinnati (8-0, 6-0)

When: Saturday Dec. 19, 8 p.m. ET (ABC)

Where: Nippert Stadium (Cincinnati, OH)

Previous Appearances: Tulsa (N/A), Cincinnati (2019)

All-Time Match-ups: Tulsa leads 17-15-2 (No Previous Title Match-ups)

Intriguing Stat for Tulsa: Tulsa won four games this season in which it trailed by 14 points or more. The Golden Hurricane are the first team to accomplish that feat since UCLA did so in 2005.

Intriguing Stat for Cincinnati: The Bearcat defense has allowed just 0.19 points per play — the lowest out of all FBS teams this season.

Atlantic Coast Conference

No. 3 Clemson (9-1, 8-1) vs. No. 2 Notre Dame (10-0, 9-0)

When: Saturday Dec. 19, 4 p.m. ET (ABC)

Where: Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte, NC)

Previous Appearances: Clemson (2009, 2011, 2015-19); Notre Dame (N/A)

All-Time Match-ups: Clemson leads 3-2 (No Previous Title Match-ups)

Intriguing Stat for Clemson: The Tigers have won five straight conference championship games heading into this game — the longest active title streak out of all FBS teams.

Intriguing Stat for Notre Dame: Notre Dame can become the first ACC team to win the conference in its first season in the conference since Virginia Tech completed the feat in 2004.

Big 12 Conference

No. 10 Oklahoma (7-2, 6-2) vs. No. 6 Iowa State (8-2, 8-1)

When: Saturday Dec. 19, 12 p.m. ET (ABC)

Where: AT&T Stadium (Arlington, TX)

Previous Appearances: Oklahoma (2000, 2002-04, 2006-08, 2010, 2017-19); Iowa State (N/A)

All-Time Match-ups: Oklahoma leads 76-7-2 (No Previous Title Match-ups)

Intriguing Stat for Oklahoma: This will be the Sooners’ 12th appearance in the Big-12 title game. That’s equal to the combined total of all other current members in the Big 12. If they win this game, it will be their 50th conference championship — the most in the country.

Intriguing Stat for Iowa State: Iowa State can win its first conference championship since 1912 when it was a part of the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association. This is also the first season in school history in which the Cyclones have beaten both Oklahoma and Texas.

Big Ten Conference

No. 14 Northwestern (6-1, 6-1) vs. No. 4 Ohio State (5-0, 5-0)

When: Saturday Dec. 19, 12 p.m. ET (FOX)

Where: Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis, IN)

Previous Appearances: Northwestern (2018); Ohio State (2013-14, 2017-19)

All-Time Match-ups: Ohio State leads 63-14-1 (Previous Title Match-ups: Ohio State leads 1-0)

Intriguing Stat for Northwestern: If the Wildcats can pull off the upset, they would have their first outright conference title since 1995, when they went 10-2. They have the third best scoring defense in the country this season, allowing just 14.6 points per game.

Intriguing Stat for Ohio State: The Buckeyes have defeated Northwestern in 32 out of the last 33 match-ups. This season, their opponent rush play percentage is the lowest in the country (41.12%).

Conference USA

UAB (5-3, 3-1) at Marshall (7-1, 4-1)

When: Friday Dec. 18, 7 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network)

Where: Joan C. Edwards Stadium (Huntington, WV)

Previous Appearances: UAB (2018-19); Marshall (2013-14)

All-Time Match-ups: Marshall leads 8-2 (No Previous Title Match-ups)

Intriguing Stat for UAB: The Blazers are playing in their third consecutive Conference USA title game — the longest streak in the history of the Conference USA Championship. All three opponents have been different as 2018 featured Middle Tennessee and 2019 featured Florida Atlantic.

Intriguing Stat for Marshall: The Thundering Herd have had the best defense in the country this season statistically. They lead the country in scoring defense (13 points per game), opponent yards per play (four), and are second in opponent yards per game (266.4).

Mid-American Conference

Ball State (5-1, 5-1) vs. Buffalo (5-0, 5-0)

When: Friday Dec. 18, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Where: Ford Field (Detroit, MI)

Previous Appearances: Ball State (2008); Buffalo (2008, 2018)

All-Time Match-ups: Ball State leads 9-2 (Previous Title Match-ups: Buffalo leads 1-0)

Intriguing Stat for Ball State: The Cardinals look for their first conference championship since 1996. They have never had an undefeated season in their 46-year history.

Intriguing Stat for Buffalo: The Bulls’ offense has been phenomenal this season as they lead the country in points per game (51.8), yards per play (eight), and rush yards per game (344.2). Running back Jaret Patterson leads the country with 205 rushing yards per game and is just the fourth player in NCAA history to average over 200 yards per game.

Mountain West Conference

Boise State (5-1, 5-0) vs. No. 24 San José State (6-0, 6-0)

When: Saturday Dec. 19, 4:15 p.m. ET (FOX)

Where: Sam Boyd Stadium (Las Vegas, NV)

Previous Appearances: Boise State (2014, 2017-19); San José State (N/A)

All-Time Match-ups: Boise State leads 14-0 (No Previous Title Match-ups)

Intriguing Stat for Boise State: The Broncos’ defense has played a key role in their impressive start to the season. They rank third in the country in opponent third down conversion rate (26.4%) and second in opponent completion percentage (50%).

Intriguing Stat for San José State: The Spartans will finish with their first winning season during their time in the Mountain West Conference. They look to win their first conference championship since 1991, when they were a part of the Big West Conference.

Pac-12 Conference

Oregon (3-2, 3-2) at No. 13 USC (5-0, 5-0)

When: Friday Dec. 18, 8 p.m. ET (FOX)

Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (Los Angeles, CA)

Previous Appearances: Oregon (2011, 2014, 2019); USC (2015, 2017)

All-Time Match-ups: USC leads 38-21-2 (No Previous Title Match-ups)

Intriguing Stat for Oregon: The Oregon offense leads the Pac-12 in yards per game as well as yards per play. They rank eighth in the country with 7.1 yards per play and 20th with 467 yards per game.

Intriguing Stat for USC: The Trojans have averaged three takeaways per game this season — second most in the country. That is more than double their average from last season (1.2)

Southeastern Conference

No. 7 Florida (8-2, 8-2) vs. No. 1 Alabama (10-0, 10-0)

When: Saturday Dec. 19, 8 p.m. ET (CBS)

Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta, GA)

Previous Appearances: Florida (1992-96, 1999-2000, 2006, 2008-09, 2015-16); Alabama (1992-94, 1996, 1999, 2008-09, 2012, 2014-16, 2018)

All-Time Match-ups: Alabama leads 25-14 (Previous Title Match-ups: Alabama leads 5-4)

Intriguing Stat for Florida: Kyle Trask only needs 180 pass yards to break Rex Grossman’s school record set in 2001 (3,896). He already has set the new school record for pass touchdowns in a season by throwing for 40 this year.

Intriguing Stat for Alabama: The Crimson Tide are just the third team ever to start 10-0 by scoring at least 38 points in every game, joining Florida State (2013) and Oregon (2012). They have scored 49.5 points per game — their highest total in a season over the past 20 years. 

Sun Belt Conference

No. 19 Louisiana (9-1, 7-1) at No. 12 Coastal Carolina (11-0, 8-0)

When: Saturday Dec. 19, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Where: Brooks Stadium (Conway, SC)

Previous Appearances: Louisiana (2018-19); Coastal Carolina (N/A)

All-Time Match-ups: Coastal Carolina leads 2-1 (No Previous Title Match-ups)

Intriguing Stat for Louisiana: The Ragin’ Cajuns have now appeared in all three Sun Belt Conference Championship games. They look to win their first outright FBS conference championship in school history.

Intriguing Stat for Coastal Carolina: Coastal Carolina has committed just 3.3 penalties per game — the fewest in the country. The Chanticleers have made a significant improvement from last year, when they averaged 5.9 penalties per game.

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