This weekend offers several college football conference championship games in sold-out stadiums from Atlanta to Eugene, OR. Still, the outcomes of the games probably won’t impact the national championship race, thanks to the Bowl Championship Series standings.
No. 1 Louisiana State will play No. 12 Georgia on Saturday, December 3, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta for the Southeastern Conference championship.
Win or lose, LSU (12-0) will still likely play in the BCS title game January 9 against another SEC rival, No. 2 Alabama (11-1). The two teams met November 5 in Tuscaloosa, AL, with LSU winning 9-6 in overtime.
The other major one-loss teams — No. 3 Oklahoma State, No. 4 Stanford and No. 5 Virginia Tech — probably can do little to stop a ‘Bama-LSU rematch for college football’s ultimate prize. The final BCS standings and bowl pairings will be announced Sunday night, December 4.
Despite what could be an anticlimactic finish, demand is strong for tickets to the major conference title contests, which include inaugural championship games for the Big Ten and Pacific-12.
According to StubHub.com’s current demand-based ranking of the title games, the SEC tops the list. The second-ranked title game is the Atlantic Coast Conference (Clemson vs. Virginia Tech Saturday in Charlotte, NC).
Ranked third is the Big Ten (Wisconsin vs. Michigan State Saturday in Indianapolis), followed by the Pac-12 (Oregon hosting UCLA on December 2) and Conference USA (unbeaten Houston hosting Southern Mississippi on December 3).
Additionally, third-ranked Oklahoma State hosts Big 12 rival Oklahoma in their annual “Bedlam” match-up. Though technically not a conference championship game, it actually stands ahead of the Pac-12 game in StubHub’s rankings.
With the Big 12 down to 10 teams, the conference scrapped its title game, but with the Big 12 title on the line, Oklahoma-Oklahoma State amounts to essentially the same thing. And OSU has an outside shot of impacting BCS voters with an impressive victory.
The game is SeatGeek.com’s highest average-priced college football ticket on the secondary market this week at $420 each. Tickets to the SEC title game are next on the ticket search site at $415.
The first Big Ten title game, pitting Legends Division winner Michigan State against Leaders Division winner Wisconsin, is the biggest college football game ever at Lucas Oil Stadium. Nine weeks from now, the stadium will host an even bigger game: Indianapolis’ first Super Bowl.
The average price for a ticket to the Big Ten title game is $144 on SeatGeek. MSU won the regular season meeting against visiting Wisconsin on a Hail Mary pass. A Rose Bowl berth goes to the winner December 3.
UCLA limps into the inaugural Pac-12 game at 6-6, coming off an embarrassing 50-0 loss last week to crosstown rival USC. Still, the Bruins are the de facto Pac-12 South champions because USC is banned from postseason play due to NCAA sanctions.
UCLA fired coach Rick Neuheisel on November 28, but he will still coach the team December 2 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, where the Bruins lost to Oregon 60-13 last year. The Bruins are 31-point underdogs this time around, and SeatGeek’s average resale ticket price has dropped to $82.
Virginia Tech has the potential to clinch an Orange Bowl berth if it manages an ACC title game victory over Clemson ($215 average on SeatGeek).
And Houston (12-0), with the highest-scoring offense in the country led by quarterback Case Keenum, may remain undefeated if it’s victorious in the Conference USA title game ($164 average on SeatGeek).