For the most part, Championship Week was a series of blowout wins by the soon-to-be champions of many of the conferences. That was not the case at the Big 12 Championship Game. On their last attempt, OSU tried for the go-ahead touchdown but fell inches short. Baylor would become the 2021 Big 12 Champions.
No other conference championship game came this close. Cincinnati had a one-point lead at the half, but then they had a dominant second half. Alabama dominated Georgia in the SEC championship, and Michigan made a statement in their game. We now know the four teams that will be in the playoffs. #1 Alabama will face #4 Cincinnati in the Cotton Bowl in Arlington, and #2 Michigan will face #3 Georgia in the Orange Bowl in Miami Gardens.
Here is a look at some of the championship games:
Big 12 Championship
#5 Oklahoma State (11-2) vs #9 Baylor (11-2)
Baylor wins 21-16
Baylor was up early and dominated the first half. The Bears intercepted OSU twice, leading to 14 points. Baylor missed a field goal to end the half, which would come back to scare all Bears' fans at the end of the game. Baylor was shut out in the second half. In the meantime, OSU was determined to make it a game. It came down to OSU with a 4th and goal from the one with 0:35 to play. Dezmon Jackson rushed to the left, and at first, it looked like he had a clear path into the end zone. Jairon McVea wouldn’t have it and stopped him just inches from the goal line.
#10 Oregon (10-3) vs #17 Utah (10-3)
Utah wins 38-10
Championship Week started on Friday night in Vegas. It was a rematch from just two weeks ago. In the first meeting, the Utes, at home, dominated the Ducks and won 38-7. Could they do it again, this time, at a neutral site? They sure did, even almost matching the score from the first game. Utah is now headed to their first-ever Rose Bowl.
#1 Georgia (12-1) vs #3 Alabama (12-1)
Alabama wins 41-24
The Dawgs dominated all season long. Their defense was impressive every game, allowing the fewest points per drive ever. However, the Bama defense made a statement in this game. Georgia started with a 10-0 lead on their way to a #1 seed in the CFP. Alabama came back to score 17 straight points and a 24-17 lead at halftime. The second half was all Bama. It wasn’t even close.
#4 Cincinnati (13-0) vs #21 Houston (11-2)
Cincinnati wins 35-20
History was made at Nippert Stadium. A Group of Five team broke the glass ceiling. Cincinnati will be the first G5 team to make it to the College Football Playoffs. The Bearcats knew they had to make a statement. They only had a one-point lead at the half (14-13). Desmond Ridder led his team to a dominant second half and a massive celebration on the field after securing the victory.
#15 Pittsburgh (11-2) vs. #16 Wake Forest (10-3)
Pittsburgh wins 45-21
It was the first ACC Championship game in years to not have Clemson as one of the teams. The game started as a back-and-forth affair with Wake Forest scoring matching touchdowns each time Pitt would score one. Pitt took a 3-point lead to the half and then shut out Wake in the second half to not make it even close.
Big Ten Championship
#2 Michigan (12-1) vs. #13 Iowa (10-3)
Michigan wins 42-3
A week after beating Ohio State, could Michigan have the energy for another big win? Michigan started the first quarter making a big statement with two big plays. Blake Corum rushed for a 67-yard touchdown to put the Wolverines on the board. Then, less than two minutes later, Donovan Edwards threw a 75-yard touchdown pass to Roman Wilson. After that, Michigan did not look back and gave Jim Harbaugh his first conference title.
Other Championship Games
Conference USA Championship
UTSA (12-1) beats Western Kentucky (8-5) 49-41
Northern Illinois (9-4) beats Kent State (7-6) 41-23
Mountain West Championship
Utah State (10-3) beats #19 San Diego State (11-2) 46-13
Sun Belt Championship
#24 Louisiana (12-1) beats Appalachian State (10-3) 24-16
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