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College Football Upset Watch for Week 14: A Playoff Contender Could Fall on Saturday

USC controls its own destiny but the defending Pac-12 chaps are standing in the Trojans' way.

Welcome to the championship weekend edition of the college football "upset watch" here at Athlon Sports!

Normally we will highlight five teams every week who are at risk of being upset. With the limited number of games this coming weekend – combined with the quality of the teams involved – we're going to trim the list to three.

As has been the case all season long, if your team makes this list, you should be nervous.

Which teams could be in danger in their conference championship games? Let's take a look at the three teams on "upset watch" for this weekend.

Note: All games are on Sat., Dec. 3 unless otherwise noted. The rankings listed are per the latest College Football Playoff rankings.

No. 9 Clemson (vs. No. 23 North Carolina)

8 p.m. ET on ABC, live stream on fuboTV (Start your free trial)

Players go to Clemson for two reasons: play for a national title and get to the NFL. Newsflash: the Tigers are already all but eliminated from College Football Playoff contention. Now a roster full of kids with NFL aspirations is left to negotiate their own futures internally. Do they put it all on the line and give it all for an ACC title? Or do they play it safe and go through the motions, hoping it's enough? North Carolina has limped into this game on the back of two straight losses. The Tar Heels have something to prove, and winning the ACC crown would be considered a hugely successful season in Chapel Hill.

No. 4 USC (vs. No. 11 Utah)

4:30 p.m. ET on FOX (Fri.), live stream on fuboTV (Start your free trial)

The Trojans may only be a field goal favorite, but they are favored nonetheless. Sitting at No. 4 in the most recent rankings, USC controls its own College Football Playoff destiny and winning the Pac-12 Championship Game will secure a spot in the four-team tournament. The pressure is all on Lincoln Riley's team in this one. The Trojans are coming off an impressive performance against a physical Notre Dame team in a rivalry game. Now they turn around one week later and face a Utah squad that is as physical as any team in the country. This is the entire season for the Utes. This is their championship, which they won last season on the same field (Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas). The Trojans had better be locked in.

No. 1 Georgia (vs. No. 14 LSU)

4 p.m. ET on CBS, live stream on fuboTV (Start your free trial)

There have been people who have said that Georgia still gets into the playoff if the Bulldogs lose this game. As long as it's not an embarrassing loss, I tend to agree. The goal for the Bulldogs is to repeat as national champions. Is Kirby Smart willing to put it all on the line and risk injuries to his best players to win the SEC championship? It's a real conversation. Aside from that, removing all playoff implications, this was already going to be a competitive contest depending on which LSU squad shows up. If the version of the Tigers who beat Ole Miss and Alabama in back-to-back games shows up, this one was always going to be a coin toss, despite the 17.5-point spread in favor of Georgia.

Podcast: Complete Week 14 Preview, Predictions & Picks Against the Spread

— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. His work has appeared on,, Yahoo! SBNation and Bleacher Report. He is a three-time FWAA writing contest award winner. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.