What's at stake in conference title races ahead of the final week of the 2021 college football season

·4 min read

With the final week of the 2021 college football regular season upon us, there are still a lot of conference championship spots up for grabs. Just 11 of the 20 conference title game bids are clinched heading into Week 13.

Here's a look at the conference races ahead of the final week and what you need to know before you eat a lot of food and watch a lot of football this weekend. 


  • Houston vs. Cincinnati

Both teams are two games up in the loss column on everyone else in the conference. Houston is done with its conference schedule. If Cincinnati wins Friday at East Carolina it will host the AAC title game. If the Bearcats lose, it’s in Houston.


  • Wake Forest or N.C. State or Clemson vs. Pitt

Wake Forest wins the Atlantic division with a win over Boston College on Saturday. If the Demon Deacons lose, things can get tricky. If Wake loses and N.C. State beats North Carolina, Wake, N.C. State and Clemson will be tied at 6-2 in the conference. N.C. State then wins the tiebreaker with a head-to-head win over Clemson because Wake Forest’s two losses came inside the Atlantic division. If the Wolfpack lose to North Carolina and Wake Forest also loses, Clemson will play Pitt.

Big 12

  • Oklahoma State vs. Baylor or Oklahoma

The Cowboys clinched a spot in the Big 12 title game with a win over Texas Tech. If Oklahoma beats Oklahoma State on Saturday, we get a rematch. If Oklahoma State wins, the Cowboys will play Baylor.

Big Ten

  • Michigan or Ohio State vs. Wisconsin or Iowa or Minnesota

Let’s start with the East, where it’s the simplest. The winner of Michigan and Ohio State wins the division and goes to the Big Ten title game. If Wisconsin beats Minnesota, the West is straightforward too as the Badgers would win the division. If the Gophers win and Iowa beats Nebraska, Iowa wins the division. If Minnesota wins and Iowa loses, the Gophers are in as long as Purdue beats Indiana.

Conference USA

  • Western Kentucky or Marshall vs. UTSA

The Roadrunners will assuredly host the C-USA title game as they're ranked in the CFP top 25. Western Kentucky is 6-1 in C-USA and Marshall is 5-2. The two teams play at Marshall on Saturday. The winner goes to UTSA.


  • Miami or Kent State vs. Northern Illinois

Miami leads Kent State by a game in the East division. The two teams play Saturday at Kent State. The winner heads to the title game. Northern Illinois clinched the West in Week 12 with an overtime win over Buffalo.

San Diego State coach Brady Hoke watches during the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against UNLV on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Chase Stevens)
San Diego State coach Brady Hoke watches during the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against UNLV on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Chase Stevens)

Mountain West

  • Boise State or Utah State or Air Force vs. San Diego State or Fresno State

Boise State and San Diego State kick off at 9 a.m. PT on Black Friday. Fresno State plays San Jose State on Thanksgiving. Fresno State is Boise State’s biggest fan. If Fresno State beats San Jose State and Boise beats SDSU, the Bulldogs are in the MWC title game. If SDSU wins or Fresno loses to SJSU, San Diego State wins the West.

The Mountain is less straightforward. Boise State, Utah State and Air Force are all tied at 5-2. Utah State plays New Mexico on Saturday while Air Force plays UNLV on Friday. Utah State beat Air Force who beat Boise State who beat Utah State. If the three-way tie atop the division remains after the final week, Air Force wins the division.


  • Oregon or Washington State or Oregon State vs. Utah

The Utes clinched the South with the win over Oregon. The Ducks win the North by beating Oregon State as they’re a game ahead of Oregon State and Washington State. If the Beavers win and there’s a three-way tie between Washington State, Oregon and Oregon State, Washington State wins the division thanks to a better division record. If Oregon State wins and Washington State loses to Washington, the Beavers win the division.


  • Alabama vs. Georgia

The Crimson Tide clinched the division against Arkansas while Georgia has had the East wrapped up since the end of October.

Sun Belt

  • Appalachian State vs. Louisiana

Appalachian State can afford to lose to Georgia Southern in the final week of the regular season because it beat Georgia State and Coastal Carolina. Louisiana is a remarkable five games up on the other four teams in the West division.

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