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Alabama and Georgia could clinch slots in the SEC Championship on Saturday

Alabama head coach Nick Saban walks the field in warmups before an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
Vasha Hunt/AP
FR171624 AP
Alabama head coach Nick Saban walks the field in warmups before an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

It's that time of the college football season when clarity comes to many of the conference races. Number one ranked Georgia and number eight Alabama are on the cusp of clinching spots in the SEC title game. The Bulldogs host Mississippi and the Crimson Tide are at Kentucky. Two-time defending Pac-12 champion Utah is fighting for survival as it heads to Washington (5,) Penn State (9) hosts Michigan (2) in the top matchup on Saturday. Number 11 Louisville would take another step toward the ACC title game with a win over Virginia Thursday.

If Tennessee wins and Georgia loses — which would end its 37-game regular-season win streak — it would set up a huge East showdown in Knoxville next week.

Washington can take a big step toward its first Pac-12 championship game (and title) since 2018 with a win over Utah (13) in Seattle. The Utes would be out of the race with a loss. Oregon (6,) which hosts Southern California, has the inside track for the second spot in the Pac-12 title game.

If Louisville (11) beats Virginia at home Thursday, the Cardinals will move closer to a matchup with Florida State (4) in the ACC championship game. The Seminoles host Miami, which would be eliminated with a loss or a Louisville win.

Texas (7) and Oklahoma State (15,) the Big 12 co-leaders, both have manageable remaining games and are on a collision course to meet for the championship. The Longhorns visit TCU and the Cowboys are at UCF.


Michigan at Penn State (8-1, 5-1, No. 10), Saturday, noon ET (Fox)

This top-10 matchup is part of the three-team round robin that will decide the East champion, assuming there are no upsets.

Michigan has kept rolling off wins amid the sign-stealing scandal threatening to blow up its season. This will be the toughest test to date for the Wolverines, whose best-in-the-nation defense will be tasked with stopping an offense averaging better than 40 points per game.

If Michigan wins, the East would come down to the Wolverines' home game against Ohio State (3) on November 25. If Penn State wins and Ohio State beats the Wolverines, the Buckeyes win the division outright.

If Penn State wins out and Michigan beats the Buckeyes, the three teams would be tied and the East representative in the Big Ten title game would be determined by a comparison of non-divisional opponents' conference records. Penn State currently holds that tiebreaker.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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