Nov 30, 2018

ACC & Big 12 Week 14 Preview: Results could have big impact on Camping World Bowl  

In the final week of the college football season, conference championship games take center stage. The Florida Citrus Sports Team Selection Committee will be watching the ACC and Big 12 title games and analyzing the trickle-down effects of the results on the bowl selection process.

Here’s a closer look at the Big 12 and ACC title games and what they could mean for the Camping World Bowl:

Big 12 Championship

No. 14 Texas (9-3, 7-2 Big 12) at No. 5 Oklahoma (11-1, 8-1 Big 12) – 12 p.m. on ABC

The Longhorns and Sooners are battling it out on the gridiron for the 114th time this weekend with the Big 12 title on the line for the first time in program history.

Saturday will also mark the first time since 1903 — and just the third time ever (1901) — that the schools will meet twice in the same season. Texas holds the all-time series lead 62-46-5 with its most recent victory coming from Week 6, when the Longhorns handed Oklahoma its only loss of the season in the annual Red River Showdown (48-45).

The Longhorns have already locked in their first nine-win regular season since 2009, which was also the last time Texas appeared in a conference title game. The Longhorns have five previous appearances in the Big 12 Championship and own a 3-2 record. The Sooners have an 8-1 record in the game, which is more wins than any other program in the conference has appearances.

Last season, Oklahoma defeated TCU 41-17 to take home the title and secure a CFP semifinal bid.

A Texas win on Saturday would earn it a spot in the Sugar Bowl and likely keep Oklahoma (currently ranked fifth) out of the College Football Playoff picture. Should Oklahoma lose but still qualify for a New Year’s Six bowl by staying in the Top 12 of the final CFP poll, No. 16 West Virginia and No. 23 Iowa State would be the two highest-ranked Big 12 teams eligible for Camping World Bowl consideration.

The Camping World Bowl would then pick second behind the Alamo Bowl once all the CFP bowls have been assigned.

If Oklahoma wins, it would remain a candidate for a spot in a College Football Playoff semifinal and could potentially enter the Top 4 if Clemson or the SEC Championship Game loser falls out. Should Oklahoma secure a semifinal berth, the Sugar Bowl would select the next highest-ranked Big 12 team to fill its Big 12 vacancy before the Alamo and Camping World Bowls make their picks.

Whether the Sugar Bowl team in that scenario is Texas, West Virginia or Iowa State depends on how the committee ranks the teams in the final poll.

ACC Championship 

No. 2 Clemson (12-0, 8-0 ACC) vs. Pittsburgh (7-5, 6-2 ACC) – 8 p.m. on ABC

The Clemson Tigers and Pittsburgh Panthers are headed to Charlotte this weekend for the ACC Championship Game at Bank of America Stadium.

While this will be the Tigers sixth appearance in a conference championship game — a Tigers win would make Clemson the first team in the ACC’s 66-season history to win four consecutive outright titles — Pitt will be making its conference championship debut.

Clemson and Pittsburgh only have two previous matchups under their belts, the first coming in the 1977 Gator Bowl, a 34-3 win for Pitt. The second contest happened to be Clemson’s only loss during the 2016 season, as Pittsburgh made a 48-yard field goal with six seconds left in the game to stun the Tigers 43-42. Clemson rebounded from the loss and went on to defeat Alabama 35-31 to win the national championship that year.

A win for Pittsburgh this weekend would knock Clemson out of the College Football Playoff semifinals and put the Panthers in the Fiesta Bowl or Peach Bowl as a displaced conference champion.

This outcome would likely not impact Camping World Bowl team selections, however, it could shift the VRBO Citrus Bowl’s pick window by taking away an at-large bid that would have otherwise been available for a Big Ten or SEC team in the latter part of the Top 12.

If Clemson were to defeat Pitt, on the other hand, the Tigers would move on to a College Football Playoff semifinal game while Pitt would fall to 7-6 on the year, leaving No. 20 Syracuse and North Carolina State as the two highest-ranked teams in the Camping World Bowl pick window.

Here’s a look at the rest of the ACC and Big 12 schedule this week:

East Carolina (3-8, 1-7 AAC) at NC State (8-3, 5-3 ACC) – 12 p.m. on ACC Network
Marshall (8-3, 6-2 C-USA) at Virginia Tech (5-6, 4-4 ACC) – 12 p.m. on ACC Network
Drake (7-3, 6-2 PFL) at No. 23 Iowa State (7-4, 6-3 Big 12) – 12 p.m. on Cyclones TV

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