Photo courtesy of Matt Lunsford/Western Kentucky athletics
It would have been unthinkable 30 years, but each of the 10 FBS conferences now hold a conference championship game.
The first to do so was the SEC in 1992. Since then, others have slowly followed suit.
When it comes to conference title games, there have been some great ones and some laughers. Over the next two days, we’ll be looking at the highest and the lowest-scoring conference title games.
We begin with the five highest-scoring title games ever:
5. 2018 American Athletic Championship (97)
Memphis 41, (8) UCF 56
Date: Dec. 1, 2018
Location: Orlando, FL
Summary: In a rematch of the prior year’s American Athletic Conference Championship, the result was the same. Undefeated UCF was riding a 24-game winning streak, but found itself down by 17 at halftime. The Knights outscored Memphis 35-3 in the second half. In just his second career start, UCF quarterback Darriel Mack Jr. accounted for more than 400 total yards and six total touchdowns, including three touchdown runs in the final quarter. Darrell Henderson Jr. rushed for 210 yards and three scores for Memphis. Henderson threw another touchdown. The teams combined for nearly 1,300 yards of offense.
T-3. 2012 Big Ten Championship (101)
(14) Nebraska 31, Wisconsin 70
Date: Dec. 1, 2012
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Summary: A 12-point underdog, Wisconsin emerged as a 39-point victor in just the second-ever Big Ten Championship. After a Nebraska field goal made it 14-10 in the first quarter, the Badgers exploded for 35 straight points. Wisconsin finished with 539 yards rushing in a contest where the teams combined for more than 1,100 yards. Melvin Gordon and Montee Ball each rushed for over 200 yards in the win. James White added 109 yards rushing and four touchdowns. The trio combined to find the end zone eight times.
T-3. 2013 SEC Championship (101)
(5) Missouri 42, (3) Auburn 59
Date: Dec. 7, 2013
Location: Atlanta, GA
Summary: Missouri reached the SEC Championship in just its second season as a member of the conference, but was no match for Auburn. Missouri was within one at halftime and three after three quarters, but a pair of touchdown runs by Tre’ Mason in the fourth quarter put the game away. Auburn finished with 545 yards rushing in a game where the teams combined for more than 1,200 yards of offense. Mason rushed for 304 yards and four touchdowns in the victory. James Franklin passed for 303 yards and three scores from Missouri in the loss. Auburn would go on to fall to Florida State in the BCS National Championship.
2. 2016 Conference USA Championship (102)
Louisiana Tech 44, Western Kentucky 58
Date: Dec. 3, 2016
Location: Bowling Green, KY
Summary: Western Kentucky’s second straight Conference USA title came with 58 points and 656 yards of total offense. The Hilltoppers briefly trailed in the third quarter on Kameron McKnight’s 1-yard touchdown run, but Louisiana Tech was held to just a field goal over the final 25-plus minutes. Anthony Wales finished with 209 yards rushing and four touchdowns, including the 15-yard scamper that put Western Kentucky on top for good. Mike White passed for 421 yards and three touchdowns in the victory. Ryan Higgins threw for 502 yards and three scores for the Bulldogs in the loss.
1. 2017 American Athletic Championship (117)
(20) Memphis 55, (14) UCF 62 (Double-Overtime)
Date: Dec. 2, 2017
Location: Orlando, FL
Summary: The same match-up that began the list also ends it. In a contest that saw nearly 1,500 yards of total offense, undefeated UCF outlasted Memphis in overtime to reach the Peach Bowl. Memphis overcame a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit and had a field goal attempt at the end of regulation that would have won the game. After trading touchdowns in the first overtime, UCF went ahead for good on Otis Anderson’s short touchdown run. Tre Neal intercepted Memphis quarterback Riley Ferguson to end the contest. Ferguson passed for 471 yards and four touchdowns in the loss. UCF’s McKenzie Milton threw for 494 yards and five touchdowns. The contest also featured four 100-yard receivers and three 100-yard rushers.