College Football Playoff and bowl game selections are just days away, but before we get there, Championship Week must play out. And if it’s anything like the rest of the 2021 college football season has been to this point, it’s going to be wild. While there are two handfuls of games across Friday and Saturday that will determine conference champions, there’s six in particular that could directly affect the CFP race and New Year’s Six bowl assignments.
Two rematches are upon us with Oklahoma State and Utah looking to hold serve against Baylor and Oregon, respectively. While the Cowboys edged the Bears in a defensive slugfest earlier this season, the Utes absolutely crushed the Ducks a couple weeks ago. Oklahoma State appears to be in contention for a CFP spot if it wins the Big 12, while Baylor with a Big 12 win and Oregon with a Pac-12 victory would need a lot to go right — and go crazy — to find their way into the four-team field.
Cincinnati, which finds itself No. 4 in the CFP Rankings, must hold off Houston in the AAC Championship Game for the opportunity to become the first Group of Five team to play for a national championship in the modern era. Meanwhile, Georgia and Alabama are meeting in a clash of the titans. The Bulldogs would likely remain in the playoff field win or lose, while a second loss in the SEC Championship Game would make a berth far less likely for the Crimson Tide should everyone else hold serve.
In the nightcap, Michigan looks to maintain its momentum from crushing Ohio State during rivalry week as it looks to win its first Big Ten Championship Game in a battle with Iowa. The Wolverines have been revitalized with coach Jim Harbaugh being given a second lease on life in East Lansing, Michigan, and the result would be a certain CFP placement if they can take down the defensive-minded Hawkeyes.
While winning is all that matters for playoff and New Year’s Six contention, we care about whether these teams will cover their spreads. Be sure to stick with CBS Sports throughout the day for college football coverage from the opening kickoff onward. Let’s take a look at our expert picks for a loaded Championship Week to close out the 2021 season.
Odds via Caesars Sportsbook | All times Eastern
Pac-12 championship: No. 10 Oregon vs. No. 17 Utah
Featured Game | Utah Utes vs. Oregon Ducks
Friday, 8 p.m. | ABC, fuboTV (Try for free) — Oregon won’t be the bumbling wreck it was when these teams met the first time, but it’s fair to wonder how motivated the Ducks will be for this game. It’s a “been there, done that” spot for Oregon, which has won the last two Pac-12 title games. For Utah, this is a chance to reach a new frontier as it strives for its first conference championship game…