We went into Thanksgiving weekend with few questions about how the College Football Playoff was going to shape out. At least two of the Power Five conferences were basically locks into the Playoffs, well that has changed as there are now just SIX days till Selection Sunday. This weekend we saw TWO MAJOR UPSETS that basically formed a whole new playoff picture, and now nobody (including me) knows what the hell they are talking about. In this blog, I will go through each of the Power Five Conferences and Central Florida, who still has a chance to get into the Playoffs and try to make a case for all the teams that still remain in contention.
Atlantic Coastal Conference- ACC
The ACC had one of the two MAJOR UPSETS from this past weekend and it happened when most people were either too hungover from Thanksgiving or were out shopping, so it did not get as much attention as it should have. The number TWO ranked team in the country, Miami lost to Pittsburgh on the ROAD on Friday afternoon, thus ending their undefeated season. Miami had already clinched a berth in the ACC Championship game, so this game did not really affect their chances to win the conference, it did however affect their chances of getting into the Playoff.
Miami will be playing Clemson on Saturday night in Orlando for the ACC title, and both teams have ONE loss on the season. Unless if something crazy happens, the winner of that game is still a LOCK for the Playoffs for me. I cannot see a scenario in which the committee leaves out an 1-loss Power Five conference champion, so even though Miami lost this weekend, they can still get into the Playoffs if they are able to regain the momentum for the ACC Championship game.
The Big Ten Conference
The Big Ten playoff picture was murky going into last weekend, and not much has changed except for the fact that we know that the Big Ten champ can have either have ZERO losses or have TWO. Wisconsin beat up on rival Minnesota, to finish the regular season and are now the only remaining undefeated team in the Power Five. IF Wisconsin is able to win the Big Ten, then they will be a LOCK to make the Playoff. It will be interesting to see where Wisconsin is ranked when the committee releases its final rankings before Selection Sunday, if they are in the TOP TWO, then the committee does not take into account the weak schedule of Wisconsin. The playoff scenario is very simple for Wisconsin, if they WIN then they are IN.
The team that Wisconsin will face in the Big Ten Title game on Saturday night in Indianapolis is Ohio State, who had a convincing win over rival Michigan on the ROAD this weekend. Ohio State has TWO losses on the season, but they are not out of the Playoff picture yet. There has not been a two-loss team that has made the Playoff in its first three years of existence, but this year the committee might be forced to put in a TWO LOSS team unless if they want to big SPLASH. Ohio State has to go into the Big Ten Title game thinking that they STILL control their own destiny and if they are able to beat up on Wisconsin, then maybe they have enough quality wins to get IN to the Playoff.
The Big Twelve Conference- Big 12
The Big 12 playoff picture was not really affected by the games over the weekend, but they still have a REALLY GOOD chance of making the Playoff in my opinion. Oklahoma was ranked #3 in the rankings last week and with the TOP TWO teams losing over the weekend, there is a good chance they are moved up to #1 this week. IF they are moved up then they are basically a LOCK for the Playoff if they are able to win the Big 12 Title game. Oklahoma has the best player in the country, in Baker Mayfield, which will help them in any tiebreakers that they go through, because the committee would want to put College Football’s brightest STAR on the BIGGEST stage of the sport. Oklahama, like Wisconsin fully controls their own destiny, if they WIN then they are IN.
TCU will be facing Oklahoma in Jerry World on Saturday afternoon, and I CANNOT see a scenario in which they can make it to the Playoff. They have already lost to Oklahoma once this season and had a bad loss against Iowa State, so even beating Oklahoma in the Big 12 Title game will gave them enough quality wins to make a compelling case for the Playoff. TCU goes into the Big 12 Title game playing for pride and hoping to get a marquee bowl game.
The Pacific 12 Conference- Pac 12
I am going to make a BOLD prediction, that NO TEAM from the Pac 12 WILL make the Playoff. The minimum amount of losses that the Pac 12 champ can have is two, but the maximum is three. USC is the team with two losses in the conference, and even if they win the Pac 12 Championship game, they will not have enough QUALITY wins to make the Playoff. USC will be facing Stanford on Friday night in Santa Clara, this will only be a formality to see which team gets to go to a New Years’ Six bowl game. There is a 0.00001% chance that a team from the Pac 12 will make the Playoff, and in case that happens I will probably go cry in my closet.
The Southeastern conference- SEC
The SEC playoff picture was pretty clear going into Rivalry Weekend, but it has become very MURKY. Auburn beat Alabama on Saturday, thus ending their undefeated season. Auburn has TWO major QUALITY wins (Alabama and Georgia) and if Auburn does win the SEC, they have a compelling case to make the Playoff. As I said earlier, the committee has never put in a TWO LOSS team, so will they put in Auburn if they win the SEC, or will they put in an ONE LOSS Alabama team, who is the only team still in contention for the Playoffs that will not be playing this weekend, thus missing out on gaining more QUALITY wins.
Georgia and Auburn will face in Atlanta on Saturday afternoon for the SEC Championship and I PERSONALLY THINK that the winner of this game will get into the Playoff. The committee is not going to leave out an ONE LOSS conference SEC champion in Georgia or a TWO LOSS Auburn team that has the two biggest wins of the College Football season. There is a scenario in which if Georgia wins the SEC, and there are multiple TWO LOSS conference champions, then the committee will put in Alabama over a TWO LOSS team, so the SEC can be rest assured that they will have AT LEAST one team into the Playoff, and very well could have TWO.
The field of Non Power Five- basically just Central Florida
UCF got a big win over in state rival South Florida on Friday and are now one of TWO remaining undefeated tams in the FBS. IF things get murky in some of the Power Five conferences and IF UCF wins their lone remaining game, then the committee might put in UCF to create some BUZZ for the Playoff. In order for UCF to get in, at least THREE of the Power Five conferences would have to have a TWO LOSS conference champion.
All of the Power Five conferences except for the ACC have a TWO LOSS team playing in the Conference championship games this weekend. If FOUR of the Power Five conferences have a two loss champion, then UCF is basically LOCK for the Playoff in my opinion. UCF does not need to worry about the Playoff scenarios just yet, they need to focus on beating Memphis on Saturday afternoon at HOME to win the American Athletic Conference.
Those were the cases of all the teams still in contention for the College Football Playoff going into Championship weekend. If it were UP TO ME, the four teams that would get in would be Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Clemson, and Georgia, but hey what do I know? Check back NEXT SUNDAY right after the committee releases its rankings to get my thoughts on how the Playoff Picture turned out.