• Can Jalen Milroe take down the Dawgs? The Alabama quarterback looks much more comfortable in the pocket than he did at the start of the year, but he has never faced a defense like this. He enters the game with a 91.4 overall grade and an 85.0 passing grade, top-15 marks in the FBS.
• Michigan is another step closer: Michigan needs to do what it has done all season: win the trenches, run the football and limit turnovers. They will clinch their spot in the College Football Playoff if they can do that.
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
ACC: Louisville Cardinals vs. Florida State Seminoles
Player to watch for Louisville: Edge Ashton Gillotte (86.6 PFF Grade)
Not only is Gillotte the Cardinals’ best defensive player, but he is one of the best edge rushers in the nation, with his 59 quarterback pressures good for fourth in the country entering championship weekend. It’ll be crucial to get pressure on FSU’s backup QB, who will have never faced a defensive end like Gillotte before.
Player to watch for Florida State: QB Tate Rodemaker (73.3)
The weapons on this Seminoles offense are still elite, but points won’t come as easy without Jordan Travis under center. This puts pressure on Tate Rodemaker, who earned a 63.8 grade and averaged just 5.4 yards per attempt against Florida last week. He will certainly have to tap into another level to beat a Louisville defense that has earned a 90.4 team defense grade in 2023.
Keys to a Louisville victory
Getting pressure on the quarterback will be vital to the Cardinals winning this game. Their chances certainly increased when Jordan Travis went down, so it’ll be important for Louisville’s defense not to let Rodemaker get into a rhythm early on in this one. If they can rattle Florida State’s offense, they could be in a position to pull off the upset.
Keys to a Florida State victory
This is a win-and-you’re-in game for a Florida State team that is currently ranked fourth in the CFP. The Seminoles will have to rely on their stars — running back Trey Benson and wide receivers Keon Coleman and Johnny Wilson — to take the pressure off their inexperienced signal-caller.
Big Ten: Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Michigan Wolverines
Player to watch for Iowa: CB Sebastian Castro (90.6)
The Iowa Hawkeyes' defense is one of the best in the country, and it is filled with NFL-caliber talent. Castro has been a huge difference-maker in the secondary this season, allowing only a 38.9 passer rating to opposing quarterbacks.
Player to watch for Michigan: RB Blake Corum (83.2)
For two years running, Corum has carried the load offensively for Michigan. Nobody seems to be able to stop him in short-yardage situations, and he leads the country in rushing touchdowns with 22.
Keys to an Iowa victory
Forcing turnovers will be the only way for Iowa to have a chance in this game. Points are hard to come by for this Hawkeyes offense, and it won’t be any easier against the nation’s top-scoring defense.
Keys to a Michigan victory
Michigan needs to do what it has done all season: win the trenches, run the football and limit turnovers. They will clinch their spot in the College Football Playoff if they can do that.
Big 12: Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Texas Longhorns
Player to watch for Oklahoma State: RB Ollie Gordon II (82.3)
You could make a case that Gordon is the best running back in college football. He is leading the nation in rushing yards (1,580) while ranking second in both yards after contact (925) and touchdowns (20). Gordon means everything to this Cowboys offense, and they will go as far as he does.
Player to watch for Texas: DI T’Vondre Sweat (91.6)
Here’s the big 362-pounder Gordon will be going up against in the run game. Nose tackles should not be able to move the way Sweat does — he leads the FBS in run-defense grade (91.7) and is 11th in run stops (25).
Keys to an Oklahoma State victory
The Cowboys desperately need a fast start on offense, as they have found themselves in a hole early in each of their last three games. You cannot let that happen and expect to fight back against Texas, as the Longhorns defense is allowing just -0.156 expected points added (EPA) per play, the ninth-best mark in the Power Five.
Keys to a Texas victory
Stopping the run — as they always do — will be pivotal to a Longhorns victory. The front seven, led by T’Vondre Sweat (91.7 run-defense grade) and Byron Murphy II (74.5), will have their hands full with Ollie Gordon, but they are well-equipped to keep him in check.
Offensively, Texas needs to stay balanced on their playcalling and limit any turnovers from Quinn Ewers, who has earned an 81.7 PFF passing grade since returning from injury.
Pac-12: Oregon Ducks vs.Washington Huskies
Player to watch for Oregon: QB Bo Nix (93.0)
There’s a realistic chance that Nix will win the Heisman if he wins this game.
Nix's 92.8 passing grade and 85.7 adjusted completion percentage lead the nation, but he is 0-2 vs. Washington, a team that has been the only thorn in his side since his arrival in Eugene. It will take a Heisman-like performance to pull off a victory in what is by far the biggest game of his college career.
Player to watch for Washington: QB Michael Penix Jr. (90.7)
Penix’s Heisman hype may have cooled off due to some inconsistent play over the last month, but he is still very much in the running. Penix's 3,976 passing yards is still a nation-leading mark, and he is third in big-time throws with 30.
Keys to an Oregon victory
Dan Lanning is one of the best coaches in America, and it will be crucial to see an aggressive game plan out of this Oregon offense. I expect them to try to take the top off a Washington defense that ranks 31st in the Power Five in explosive pass play rate allowed since Week 10.
Keys to a Washington victory
It will take a miraculous effort, offensively and defensively, for the Huskies to defeat Oregon twice. Penix will need to rely heavily on wide receivers Rome Odunze, Ja'Lynn Polk and Jalen McMillan, who are finally healthy.
SEC: Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Georgia Bulldogs
Player to watch for Alabama: QB Jalen Milroe (91.4)
Has any player improved more throughout the season? Milroe has gone from getting benched to possibly receiving an invitation to the Heisman ceremony.
The Alabama quarterback looks much more comfortable in the pocket than he did at the start of the year, but he has never faced a defense like this. He enters the game with a 91.4 overall grade and an 85.0 passing grade, top-15 marks in the FBS.
Player to watch for Georgia: S Malaki Starks (83.3)
Starks has two interceptions and six forced incompletions on the season. The Bulldogs haven't lost since they allowed 421 passing yards to the Crimson Tide offense back in 2021. Starks must set the tone for this secondary and bring his A-game to avoid letting that happen again.
Keys to an Alabama victory
This game feels eerily similar to the 2021 SEC title game, where Bryce Young carved up Georgia’s defense. Milroe is certainly not the passer Young was, but he’s a far better rusher and might be good enough to make a significant impact in the running game.
Keys to a Georgia victory
Georgia needs to win the battle of the trenches and not turn the ball over. They will win this football game if they can hold Milroe in check and not let him run wild outside the pocket.