College Football Playoff Scenarios (Week 14)

College Football Playoff Scenarios (Week 14)

We have reached championship weekend in college football. A lot is on the line across the country. Only one team has likely secured its spot in the second ever College Football Playoff. All the other entries remain up for grabs.


The Cream of the Crop:

Clemson (12-0): If Clemson wins the ACC championship, it is the number-one seed in the College Football Playoff. The interesting thing happens if it doesn’t.

Alabama (11-1): It’s Alabama or bust for the SEC this season, which is amazing considering how many highly ranked teams the conference had to start the season. If the Crimson Tide wins the SEC championship, it is in the playoff. If it loses, no SEC teams are in the playoff. It’s safe to say SEC domination at least took a year off if it isn’t gone for good.

Oklahoma (11-1): Oklahoma is the only team in the country to have (essentially) clinched its spot in the playoff. Not having a Big 12 championship actually benefits the Sooners this season. With no more games to play, Oklahoma is in and in no fear of dropping out or being passed by anyone.

Iowa (12-0) or Michigan State (11-1): Things are pretty simple out in the Big 10. Whoever wins the Big 10 title makes the playoff. The loser does not. It’s essentially a play-in game or a round-one playoff game if you will.


On the Outside Looking In:

Stanford (10-2)

Ohio State (11-1)

North Carolina (11-1)

It seems nearly impossible to separate these next three in terms of who would grab the first available playoff spot. First, qualifications are necessary. If Stanford or UNC lose their respective conference championship, they are immediately eliminated from playoff contention. The hard part comes when comparing a future 11-2 Stanford to 11-1 Ohio State to 12-1 North Carolina.

Stanford will have the best schedule with the best wins. How far does that second loss knock them down? Is it better to have played a much harder slate, losing twice, than it is to traverse an easy road, losing once? I say yes. I would have Stanford in the playoff if either Alabama or Clemson lose.

Ohio State’s season is over. The Buckeyes failed to make the conference championship game, so they’re essentially just in a holding pattern. Unfortunately, they may be the third of three teams here. If two spots open, one team is still going to be left out. That may be the defending national champions. Having to debate this possibility would be the committee’s worst-case scenario but the most fun outcome for fans.


Dead and Buried:

Everyone else: Only eight teams are alive for a spot in the four-team playoff. Don’t take this as a sign that the field should be expanded to eight teams though, because four of these eight squads are playing each other this weekend, eliminating one quarter of the participants in the process.

Notre Dame (10-2): Notre Dame had a really good year. The Irish beat Navy, USC, Temple and some other quality foes. Their only two losses came against two of the top teams in the country, Clemson and Stanford. Yet, because of not having a conference to win, there is nothing left to vault ND over any of the top eight teams vying for playoff berths. It obviously can’t be pushed over Clemson or Stanford, which would be two of the teams up for debate should playoff spots open in the first place. Even if the Tigers lose the ACC title game, they would probably remain ahead of ND in the rankings.

Florida (10-2): Florida can still beat Alabama and win the SEC championship. That would be quite a feat. It wouldn’t matter in respect to the College Football Playoff though. Florida has no chance after the beating it took at the hands of Florida State, which backed up the overtime game against Florida Atlantic.