Championship Week in college football is upon us, though it took a littler longer to get here in this insane year. Conference champions will be crowned throughout the college football world Friday and Saturday, which will set up the College Football Playoff and the bowl matchups throughout the country.
It's never too early to break down those pivotal matchups, and oddsmakers have provided us a glimpse of what's to come. William Hill Sportsbook released its opening lines Sunday for next weekend's championship games. Let's a take a look at how the folks in Las Vegas see this weekend shaking out.
No. 1 Alabama (-17) vs. No. 6 Florida: The Gators were stunned by LSU on Saturday night, but can still win a ring and regain some pride with an upset win over the Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Oddsmakers don't exactly think they have a chance. It'll be interesting to see how this line moves throughout the week.
No. 2 Notre Dame vs. No. 3 Clemson (-10.5): I did a double take when I saw this one. The Fighting Irish won a classic over the Tigers earlier this season, but are double-digit underdogs in the rematch in the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte, North Carolina. Granted, Clemson's defense has gotten healthier over the last month. But its running game hasn't exactly been a strength. There's no doubt that Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly will post this spread in the locker room.
No. 7 Iowa State vs. No. 11 Oklahoma (-6): It's a revenge game in the Big 12 Championship Game for the Sooners after the Cyclones sprung the upset earlier this season. Matt Campbell has the 'Clones playing well on both sides of the ball, but that'll get tested this weekend by the dynamic Sooners offense and a defense that has progressed through the the year.
No. 4 Ohio State (-20.5) vs. No. 14 Northwestern: The Buckeyes have a chance to make a last impression in the conference title game after the Big Ten eliminated its minimum games played requirement. The CFP selection committee has suggested the number of games played has influenced their mid-season rankings. A few style points wouldn't be a bad idea for Justin Fields and the Buckeyes.
No. 8 Cincinnati (-15) vs. No. 24 Tulsa: The Bearcats have the inside track for the Group of Five's automatic bid to a New Year's Six bowl, and oddsmakers clearly think that they'll get there by winning the AAC Championship Game. This line also suggests that there will be style points on the table for Luke Fickell's crew just in case they need them. After all, there's still an outside shot that they make the CFP.
Oregon at No. 15 USC (-3): The Ducks have replaced Washington in the Big 12 Championship Game, and oddsmakers clearly think that they'll provide a challenge to the undefeated Trojans. USC still has an outside shot at making the College Football Playoff, so it'll need to make a statement on Friday night