Championship picks: Georgia over Tide, Michigan over Iowa

Nov 30, 2021, 9:07 PM | Updated: Dec 1, 2021, 12:43 pm
Georgia tight end Brock Bowers looks over his shoulder at Georgia Tech defenders as he heads to the...

Georgia tight end Brock Bowers looks over his shoulder at Georgia Tech defenders as he heads to the end zone for a touchdown reception during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

(Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Those conference championship upsets with the potential to create College Football Playoff chaos scenarios never actually happen.

As AP Top 25 college football poll voter Brett McMurphy of Action Network pointed out, only six teams that went into championship weekend holding a top-four spot in the selection committee’s rankings did not end up making the field.

In five of those cases, that team lost its conference championship game. Four of those five teams (Georgia in 2018, ’19, Auburn in 2017 and Iowa in 2015) lost to teams that made the playoff and the other, Wisconsin in 2017, lost to an Ohio State team that finished fifth in the rankings that determine which four teams play for the national title.

The only team that won its final game of the regular season and fell out of playoff position was TCU in 2014. The Horned Frogs were third in the final rankings, blew out an Iowa State team that did not win a Big 12 game that season but ended up out after Ohio State won the Big Ten title against Wisconsin.

Back then there was no Big 12 championship game and Baylor and TCU “shared” the conference title, though Baylor beat the Horned Frogs in the regular season.

The committee, clearly torn over Baylor and TCU, found another option in Ohio State, which went on to win the national championship — though fans of those Big 12 teams are still chafed about the decision.

One notable upset came in 2019, when Utah was fifth heading into its Pac-12 title game against Oregon. The Utes weren’t a slam dunk for the final spot, but with LSU and Georgia ahead of them and playing in the SEC title game, they had to be feeling good about their chances.

The Ducks won 37-15. After LSU beat Georgia, Oklahoma took the last spot in the CFP by winning the Big 12 title.

Heading into this weekend, No. 1 Georgia (12-0) appears to be in the field no matter what happens in its SEC championship game against Alabama. The Crimson Tide (11-1) is third in the CFP, but could in danger of falling out of playoff position with a loss to the Bulldogs.

Who are the agents of chaos? No. 15 Iowa, which faces No. 2 Michigan in the Big Ten title game, No. 16 Houston, which plays at CFP No. 4 Cincinnati for the American Athletic Conference championship, and No. 9 Baylor, the opponent for No. 5 Oklahoma State in the Big 12 championship.

Both the Hawkeyes and Cougars are 10 1/2-point underdogs, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. The Bears are a 4 1/2-point dog.

The picks:


No. 10 Oregon (plus 2 1/2) vs. No. 14 Utah, Pac-12 championship at Las Vegas

Utes hammered the Ducks in Salt Lake City two week ago … OREGON 28-24.

Western Kentucky (minus 2 1/2) at UTSA, Conference USA championship

WKU QB Bailey Zappe has thrown 52 TD passes and is 32 yards shy of 5,000 for the season … WESTERN KENTUCKY 31-28.


No. 1 Georgia (minus 6 1/2) vs. No. 4 Alabama, SEC championship at Atlanta

Bulldogs have lost six straight to the Tide, including two SEC title games and a national championship game … GEORGIA 31-20.

No. 2 Michigan (minus 10 1/2) vs. No. 15 Iowa, Big Ten championship at Indianapolis

First Big Ten title game appearance for the Wolverines, who have not won the conference since 2003 … MICHIGAN 31-17.

No. 16 Houston (plus 10 1/2) at No. 3 Cincinnati, AAC championship

Bearcats try to make it back-to-back AAC championships … CINCINNATI 34-21.

No. 5 Oklahoma State (minus 4 1/2) vs. No. 9 Baylor, Big-12 championship at Arlington, Texas

Cowboys beat the Bears in early October, 24-12 … OKLAHOMA STATE 23-20

No. 17 Pittsburgh (minus 2 1/2) vs. No. 18 Wake Forest, ACC championship at Charlotte, N.C.

Panthers have never won the ACC; the Demon Deacons last did in 2006 … WAKE FOREST 38-37.

Utah State (plus 5 1/2) at No. 19 San Diego State, Mountain West championship

Aztecs have allowed more than 21 points twice this season, and once was in an overtime game … SAN DIEGO STATE 24-14.

Appalachian State (minus 2 1/2) at No. 20 Louisiana-Lafayette, Sun Belt championship

Ragin’ Cajuns won the regular-season meeting 41-13 … APPALACHIAN STATE 27-24.

Kent State (minus 3 1/2) vs. Northern Illinois, MAC championship in Detroit

Golden Flashes beat the Huskies 52-47 in the regular season … NIU 38-36.


Last week: 17-12 straight; 12-17 against the spread.

Season: 193-89 straight; 150-132 against the spread.


Follow Ralph D. Russo at and listen at


More AP college football: and Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter:

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Confederation of African Football (CAF) President Patrice Motsepe speaks during a news confe...
Associated Press

Guinea removed as host of 2025 African Cup in latest switch

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — The African soccer confederation has removed Guinea as host of the 2025 African Cup of Nations because of inadequate infrastructure, the latest in a series of switches and delays for the continental championship over the last 10 years. The decision was announced late Friday night and after Confederation of […]
1 day ago
Gold medalists the United States hold their trophy as they celebrate on the podium after defeating ...
Associated Press

US women win fourth straight gold at World Cup, top China

SYDNEY (AP) — The names on the U.S. team have changed, the Americans’ dominance has not. A’ja Wilson scored 19 points, Kelsey Plum added 17 and the United States beat China 83-61 on Saturday to win its fourth consecutive gold medal at the women’s basketball World Cup. “It feels great,” said Wilson, who was selected […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Brumfield TD run sparks UNLV over New Mexico 31-20

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Doug Brumfield threw for 233 yards and ran for a second-half touchdown as UNLV scored 24 unanswered points and beat New Mexico 31-20 on Friday night. Brumfield rolled to his left before diving over a defender and into the end zone from six yards out to tie the game 17-17 midway […]
1 day ago
UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (1) stiff-arms Washington linebacker Carson Bruener durin...
Associated Press

Thompson-Robinson leads UCLA past No. 15 Washington, 40-32

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Dorian Thompson-Robinson had read and heard the comments about UCLA’s unbeaten start not meaning much due to the quality of opponents it played. On Friday night, Thompson-Robinson and the Bruins made sure to make a statement with their first victory over a top-15 team since 2014. Thompson-Robinson passed for 315 yards […]
1 day ago
Fans watch as New York Yankees' Aaron Judge comes to bat during the third inning of the team's base...
Associated Press

Yankees star Judge tries again for AL-record 62nd home run

A look at Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees as he approaches major home run milestones: Season HR Total: 61 Friday’s Game: Went 1 for 2 with two walks in a 2-1 loss to Baltimore. Judge also is bidding for the first Triple Crown since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012. Judge leads the AL […]
1 day ago
San Francisco Giants' Evan Longoria (10) celebrates with Mike Yastrzemski (5) after hitting a two-r...
Associated Press

Longoria 2 HRs, 5 RBIs, Giants win 10 of 11, beat Dbacks

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Evan Longoria homered twice and drove in five runs as the San Francisco Giants beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 10-4 Friday night for their 10th win in 11 games. Mike Yastrzemski and Austin Wynns also went deep as San Francisco (79-78) moved above .500 for the first time since Aug. 17. The […]
1 day ago
Championship picks: Georgia over Tide, Michigan over Iowa