There is only one week left in the College Football regular season, before we go into Championship weekend which leads right into Selection Sunday. The College Football Playoff has no real locks as of now as there are at least ten teams who can make a legitimate argument that they belong in the Playoffs. I will go through each of the Power Five conferences individually and the remaining teams, which is just UCF at this point and provide what needs to happen for that team to get in.
Atlantic Coast Conference- ACC
The ACC is pretty straightforward at this point, in that they control their own destiny. Miami is undefeated on the season, while Clemson has one loss. The two teams will play each other in the ACC Championship game two weeks from now in Charlotte, the winner of that game WILL be lock for the Playoffs. The ACC has two of the best teams in the country, so their Championship game is a defacto National Quarterfinal game, both teams have already clinched a spot in the Championship game, so nothing can happen this week to change the playoff landscape of the ACC.
The Big Ten Conference
The Big Ten is one of the most murky playoff pictures right now, but it got a little bit more clear this weekend. Wisconsin beat Michigan to earn a quality win and have the best chance to make the Playoffs out of the Big Ten. They will be playing Ohio State in the Big Ten Title game and if Ohio State wins, then the picture gets murky again. Ohio State has two losses on the season and very well could have three losses by the time the Title game rolls around, so will the Committee put in a 2 or possibly 3-loss Ohio State team over an 1-loss Wisconsin team? That is the big question in the Big Ten right now. The Big Ten is hoping that Wisconsin wins the two remaining games in their schedule so that there is no discussion on if the Big Ten champion should get into the Playoffs. Michigan and Minnesota can win their respective games this weekend and make things a hundred times more murky in the Big Ten.
The Big Twelve Conference- Big 12
The Big 12 has put all of its eggs into the basket of Oklahoma once again. The Sooners are the only one loss team in the conference, but they have two games coming up against ranked opponents before Selection Sunday, if they win both games than they are IN, but if they lose either of those games than things get murky in the Big 12 as well. The Sooners will most likely face TCU in the title game, so if Oklahoma does not win the Big 12, then it will be a two loss champion in either TCU or West Virginia if some crazy things happen this weekend. The Big 12 should feel confident about getting a team in the Playoffs, but they have been left out of the big party two of the last three years, so they are not fully confident just yet. The fate of the Big 12 rides on the arm of future New York Jet Baker Mayfield, which is such a wild thing to say.
The Pacific Twelve conference- Pac 12
The Pac 12 is the conference that is most likely going to be left out of the big party unless if crazy things happen. The Pac 12 champion will have at least two losses on the season and possibly more and the Committee has shown that they do not like putting in two loss team so nobody from the Pac 12 will be getting in unless things go haywire this weekend. IF Michigan beats Ohio State, Minnesota beats Wisconsin, and Ohio State beats Wisconsin in the Big Ten Title game, then the Pac 12 champ could possibly get into the big party.
That is just one scenario that has happen to for the Pac 12 to get in, the other scenario is way less likely than the first one, which only has like 0.003% chance of happening. The second scenario in which the Pac 12 can get in is IF West Virginia beats Oklahoma, Baylor beats TCU, and West Virginia beats Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship game, I would put the likely hood of this scenario at like 0.001%, so neither scenario is great for the Pac 12. If only the Pac 12 had not put their teams in bad positions by scheduling games on a Friday, then they would have a better case to get into the Playoffs.
The Southeastern Conference- SEC
The SEC has three teams in play right and most likely one of those teams will be a LOCK for the Playoffs. There is a still a scenario in which two SEC teams can get in but some things would need to happen in other conferences for that to happen. Alabama travels to Auburn to play the Iron Bowl this weekend, the winner of that game will play Georgia in the SEC Championship game in two weeks. If Auburn wins the Iron Bowl and defeats Georgia, then there is like 0.0001% chance that the committee leaves out the SEC champ.
For that to happen three things would need to happen, Wisconsin wins the Big Ten as undefeated, Oklahoma wins the Big 12 with one loss, and Clemson wins the ACC with one loss. If all of those things happen than I can see the committee putting in an undefeated Wisconsin, an 1-loss Oklahoma, Clemson, and Miami over a two loss Auburn, that is the only scenario in which the SEC is left out. The ideal scenario for the SEC to get two teams into the Playoffs would be if Alabama wins the Iron Bowl but loses to Georgia in the Championship game AND Ohio State wins the Big Ten at two or possibly three losses, than I can see the committee putting in two 1-loss SEC teams over a 2-loss minimum Ohio State, I would put the scenario at like a 30% right now. No matter what happens in the next two weeks the SEC will MOST LIKELY have a team in the Playoffs.
The Field of Non Power Five- basically just UCF.
Central Florida is one of four undefeated teams in the country, but the only school that is not in the Power Five conferences. IF things go fully haywire than UCF can possibly get into the Playoffs. UCF has basically clinched a New Years’ Six game berth as of now, so this season is already a success for them, but it could get better for them. The only real scenario in which UCF could get into the Playoffs is if both the Big Ten and Pac 12 have 3-loss conference champions, then the committee might put in UCF to steal some headlines and make a spark, but the likelyhood of this happening is at like 0.0001%, so I would not hold my breath if I am UCF. As much as I would love to see chaos and UCF being in the conversation going into Selection Sunday, I do not think the committee has the guts to put in a non Power Five team over two Power Five conference champions.
IF the final rankings came out today, then I would have Alabama, Miami, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma as IN to the Playoffs, but that could change going into Rivalry week and certainly after Championship weekend. Check back here next week to see a (hopefully) clearer picture of the College Football Playoff going into the last game of the season for all teams in contention.