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The Spun’s 2020 College Football Staff Picks: Week 16/Conference Championships

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney talks with Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly ahead of a regular season college football game.

CLEMSON, SC - OCTOBER 03: (L-R) Head coach Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers talks to head coach Brian Kelly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish before their game at Clemson Memorial Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Conference Championship weekend is here, along with a slew of new and rescheduled games that make up a rare college football "Week 16." However things shake out, we'll know our four College Football Playoff teams at the end of this week of play.

At least two of the games have significant College Football Playoff ramifications, though it isn't totally clear how upsets might change the layout of this year's field. Down in the SEC, No. 1 Alabama is probably a near-lock, even with a loss. Could No. 7 Florida jump into the field with a win over 'Bama, even with a pair of losses to No. 5 Texas A&M, and most recently, 4-5 LSU on the resume? Some think it is possible.

The ACC has the more direct implications, though again, the outcome may not matter. No. 2 Notre Dame beat No. 3 Clemson earlier this year, albeit, at home without Trevor Lawrence playing. He's active for this weekend. If Clemson loses the game, they likely fall out with two separate losses to the Fighting Irish, this time at full strength. If ND loses, it may be fine. A Tigers blowout win, where Notre Dame looks totally outclassed, is the most fascinating outcome.

No. 4 Ohio State is a big favorite over No. 14 Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship. A loss would likely knock the Buckeyes out though, given how short and weak their schedule is. The Big 12 has some intrigue as well: No. 6 Iowa State will look to go 2-0 against an improving No. 10 Oklahoma, after winning 37-30 in early October. Even with two losses, the Cyclones have apparently impressed the selection committee based on their ranking. Could a Big 12 title help them jump A&M, should a spot open? Perhaps. The Aggies face a mediocre Tennessee team that probably won't aid their resume much.

We also have championships in the Pac-12, though an undefeated USC team isn't being viewed as much of a factor, and in the Group of Five leagues. The Sun Belt is especially interesting, with undefeated No. 12 Coastal Carolina facing No. 19 Louisiana, The two teams played a 30-27 classic in mid-October, the Ragin' Cajuns only loss this year.

Here's the full conference championship slate:

Friday, Dec. 18, 7:00 p.m. ET — Conference USA Championship: Marshall vs. UAB

Friday, Dec. 18, 7:30 p.m. ET — MAC Championship: Buffalo vs. Ball State (Ford Field, Detroit)

Friday, Dec. 18, 8:00 p.m. ET — Pac-12 Championship: No. 13 USC vs. Oregon 

Saturday, Dec. 19, 12:00 p.m. ET — Big Ten Championship: No. 4 Ohio State vs. No. 14 Northwestern (Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis)

Saturday, Dec. 19, 12:00 p.m. ET — Big 12 Championship: No. 6 Iowa State vs. No. 10 Oklahoma (AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas)

Saturday, Dec. 19, 3:30 p.m. ET — Sun Belt Championship: No. 12 Coastal Carolina vs. No. 19 Louisiana 

Saturday, Dec. 19, 4:00 p.m. ET — ACC Championship: No. 2 Notre Dame vs. No. 3 Clemson (Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C.)

Saturday, Dec. 19, 4:15 p.m. ET — Mountain West Championship: No. 24 San Jose State vs. Boise State (Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas)

Saturday, Dec. 19, 8:00 p.m. ET — SEC Championship: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 7 Florida (Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta)

Saturday, Dec. 19, 8:00 p.m. ET — AAC Championship: No. 9 Cincinnati vs. No. 23 Tulsa

Barring a huge collapse, Andrew McCarty is looking very good as we hit the homestretch, with a seven game lead in our picks contest. Here’s where things stand after last week’s picks:

1. Andrew McCarty: 239-80
2. Matt Hladik: 232-87
T-3. Dan Lyons: 231-88
4. Tzvi Machlin: 230-89
5. Alek Arend: 229-90
T-6. Matt Lombardi: 227-92
T-6. Chris Rosvoglou: 227-92
8. Andrew Holleran: 225-94
9. Steve Driscoll: 213-106

Here are our picks for Week 16 of the 2020 college football season:

The Spun staff picks for college football conference championship and Week 16 games.

The Spun

Each week, we pick every college football game involving Power Five and/or ranked teams. Check back as we update our standings.