The Associated Press has been honoring college football’s best with an All-America team since 1925. This season, the AP released its first preseason All-America team and its first midseason team. The full three-team All-America selections are announced in December. The final installment of the weekly All-America watch features matchups to watch in each of this weekend’s championship games. The AP All-America team will be released Dec. 11.
Southeastern Conference championship: No. 4 Auburn vs. No. 6 Georgia
Braden Smith, OG, Auburn vs. Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
Auburn’s offensive line is one of the best in college football, named a semifinalist for the Joe Moore Award that goes to the nation’s best line. Smith is the leader. He has been contributing since his freshman year and his next start will be his 38th consecutive. Georgia’s Smith is a finalist for the Butkus Award, which goes to the nation’s top linebacker and the Bulldogs’ leading tackler with 100.
Atlantic Coast Conference championship: No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 7 Miami
Tyrone Crowder, OG, Clemson vs. R.J. McIntosh, DT, Miami
Clemson has the ACC’s best offensive line with Crowder and offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt both among the best in the country at their positions. They lead a running game that ranks third in the conference in yards per carry (5.11) and first in rushing touchdowns (36). Miami’s defensive line doesn’t get quite the acclaim that Clemson’s does, but the Hurricanes feature a bunch of future pros, too, led by McIntosh. The junior lead the teams with 11 ½ tackles for loss. The Hurricanes have allowed only six rushing touchdowns.
Big 12 championship: No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 10 TCU
Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma vs. Mat Boesen, DE, TCU
Brown is massive (6-foot-8, 345 pounds), athletic and a potential high first-round draft pick. He protects Baker Mayfield’s blindside. Brown will be protecting the Heisman Trophy front-runner from the reigning national defensive player of the week. Boesen set a school and Big 12 record with 5 ½ sacks against Baylor on Saturday. He leads the conference with 11 sacks on the season.
Big Ten championship: No. 3 Wisconsin vs. No. 8 Ohio State
David Edwards, OT, Wisconsin vs. Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Edwards is a former option quarterback who moved to tight end in Madison and has grown into a 315-pound right tackle. Ohio State has four excellent defensive ends but Bosa, the brother of former first-round draft pick Joey, is the best. He leads the team with six sacks and 12 ½ tackles for loss.
Pac-12 championship: No. 11 Southern California vs. No. 14 Stanford
Sam Darnold, QB, USC vs. Justin Reid, S, Stanford
What was expected to be a Heisman-worthy season for Darnold has not quite worked out. Too many interceptions (12) have been the biggest problem, but Darnold is also second in the Pac-12 in efficiency rating (147.44) and leads in yards per attempt (8.4). Reid has been everywhere for Stanford, leading the team in both interceptions (five) and tackles (88).
American Athletic Conference championship: No. 12 UCF vs. No. 16 Memphis.
Mike Hughes, CB, UCF vs. Anthony Miller ,WR, Memphis
Hughes made the play of the day last week against USF on special teams with a kickoff return for the decisive touchdown. He is a really good cornerback, too, leading the AAC in passes defended with four picks and 11 broken up. Miller is the conference’s leading receiver with 1,212 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP