Tired of trying to work through the ramifications of each of the conference races this year? Finding it hard to work out who needs to beat who and who needs to avoid a loss altogether? Fear not. CasinoReview has sat down and worked it all out for you and cut it into nice bite-size chunks.
Read on to see how the Automatic Qualifying conferences might pan out this season, then return on Friday to see what the non-AQ conferences have left in store.
ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE (ACC)
Florida State (9-1, 6-1 ACC) – A win over Maryland this weekend will see the Seminoles crowned division champions. A loss would leave the team hoping Clemson falls to NC State.
Clemson (9-1, 6-1 ACC) – Thanks to a loss to Florida State back in September, the only way Clemson can win the division would be a defeat of NC State coupled with a Florida State loss to Maryland. Anything else and the Seminoles take the division.
Duke (6-4, 3-3 ACC) – The Blue Devils actually have the future in their own hands. As fortune would have it, Duke plays its two nearest rivals – Miami (FL) and Georgia Tech – over the next two weeks. Wins in both games will secure the division. Losses in one or both game will eliminate the team from contention.
Miami (FL) (5-5, 4-3 ACC) – A win over Duke in the final week of the season will secure the division. A loss to Duke is acceptable, providing the Blue Devils defeat Georgia Tech this weekend.
Georgia Tech (5-5, 4-3 ACC) – A loss to the Hurricanes in September means the Yellow Jackets need to beat Duke this weekend and hope the Blue Devils knock-off Miami (FL) next weekend. Anything else and Georgia Tech is eliminated.
Kansas State (10-0, 7-0 Big 12) – Things couldn’t be more straightforward for the Wildcats. Win one of the last two and take home the Big 12 trophy. If Kansas State loses two, it will need Oklahoma to lose one of its last three.
Oklahoma (7-2, 5-1 Big 12) – The Sooners need to win out and hope that Kansas State loses its last two games.
Texas (8-2, 5-2 Big 12) – The Longhorns need to win out and hope Kansas State loses its last two games and Oklahoma loses its last three. That right there is the definition of a ‘long shot’.
Rutgers (8-1, 4-0 Big East) – Wins over Cincinnati (Nov. 17) and Louisville (Nov. 29) would give the Scarlet Knights the conference championship regardless of all other results. A loss to either will set-up one hell of a three-way-dance. Losses to both will effectively end Rutgers’ season.
Louisville (9-1, 4-1 Big East) – Taking care of business against Connecticut (Nov. 24) is the first piece of business for the Cardinals, who will then need to beat Rutgers in the last game of the season. A loss to Rutgers eliminates Louisville completely.
Cincinnati (7-2, 3-1 Big East) – A win over Rutgers this weekend puts Cincinnati in the driving seat having already beaten Louisville. From there, the Bearcats will need to match wins with both rivals to win the conference.
Nebraska (8-2, 5-1 Big Ten) – The Cornhuskers’ win over Michigan gives the team the advantage with just two games left. As long as Nebraska matches Michigan for wins, the Huskers will represent the Legends Division in the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis.
Michigan (7-3, 5-1 Big Ten) – The Wolverines need one more win than the Cornhuskers to take the title. That means winning out and hoping Nebraska drops an unlikely game to Minnesota or Iowa.
With Ohio State and Penn State both ineligible for postseason play, Wisconsin booked its place in the Big Ten Championship Game last week. However, the actual division title remains on the line.
Ohio State (10-0, 6-0 Big Ten) – For whatever it’s worth, one more win secures the Leaders Division for the Buckeyes. Two losses would leave it in the hands of Wisconsin and Penn State, who play in the last game of the season.
Wisconsin (7-3, 4-2 Big Ten) – Wins over Ohio State (Nov. 17) and Penn State (Nov. 24) coupled with a Buckeyes loss to Michigan would give the Badgers the title. Anything less isn’t good enough.
Penn State (6-4, 4-2 Big Ten) – A win over Illinois (Nov. 17) is first on the agenda for the Nittany Lions. Then the team will need a win over Wisconsin and a Michigan win over Ohio State.
Oregon (10-0, 7-0 Pac-12) – A win over Stanford this weekend is enough for the Ducks to take the North Division championship. A loss makes next week’s Civil War game against Oregon State a must-win, as if it wasn’t already.
Stanford (8-2, 6-1 Pac-12) – A win over Oregon this weekend keeps the Cardinal in the race. From there, the team will need to beat UCLA or, failing that, hope Oregon State can beat Oregon.
UCLA (8-2, 5-2 Pac-12) – A win over the Trojans this weekend in Los Angeles will give the Bruins the South Division title and a shot at the conference championship. A loss gives the title to USC, even if the Bruins defeat Stanford next week as the Trojans would own the head-to-head tiebreaker.
USC (7-3, 5-3 Pac-12) – A loss to UCLA this weekend hands the division title to the Bruins. A win crowns the Trojans. Simple.
SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE (SEC)
Georgia (9-1, 7-1 SEC) booked its place in the SEC Championship Game last week with a 38-0 drubbing of Auburn. Florida (9-1, 7-1 SEC) was victorious last weekend also, but he Bulldogs’ 17-9 win over the Gators on October 27 gives the team from Atlanta the tiebreaker advantage.
Alabama (9-1, 6-1 SEC) – In order to win the division, Alabama must defeat Auburn in the Iron Bowl, the last game of the season. A loss would see the Crimson Tide hoping Texas A&M loses to Missouri that same week.
Texas A&M (8-2, 5-2 SEC) – The Aggies need Alabama to trip up against Auburn. A win over Missouri would then set up Texas A&M for the division, providing LSU loses one of its last two remaining games.
LSU (8-2, 4-2 SEC) – LSU needs to win out to stand any chance of winning the division. The Tigers will have a jumpstart, playing their last game of the season on Friday, November 23. With two wins, LSU would then need Alabama to lose to Auburn and Texas A&M to beat Missouri. That would set up a three-way tie for the division lead, which plays right into LSU’s hands.
With all three sides posting a conference record of 6-2, it would take a tiebreaker to decide the division champion, which is where it gets interesting.
LSU beat Texas A&M but lost to Alabama. Alabama beat LSU but lost to Texas A&M. Texas A&M beat Alabama but lost to LSU. There’s no head-to-head separation there which would take us to the next tiebreaker: the record within the division. Alabama loses out here with a 4-2 record while the Aggies and Tigers would both have a 5-1 record. The tiebreak then reverts back to head-to-head record, and because LSU toppled A&M, the Tigers would head to Atlanta and the championship game.
And after all of that, there’s time to breathe.
So there you have it. All the ifs, ands, and buts measured up and served in (almost) easy to swallow pieces. Remember to come back on Friday for CasinoReview’s breakdown of the non-AQ conferences.