College Football: The Many Possible Chaos Scenarios of the College Football Playoff


We’re All set for conference championship week, but what happens if we end up with a bunch of one-loss teams?

As we approach conference championship weekend, the College Football Playoff landscape remains wide open with all four spots still up for grabs. Each team carries a potential path to the playoff, yet critical questions loom large over each contender. The weekend’s outcomes are poised to reshape the playoff picture significantly. Here is a breakdown of the current rankings and the conference championship games that will have a big impact on the College Football Playoff.

Current CFP Top 4 in

  1. Georgia (12-0)
  2. Michigan (12-0)
  3. Washington (12-0)
  4. Florida State (12-0)

Remaining 1-Loss Teams

  • 5. Oregon (11-1)
  • 6. Ohio State (11-1)
  • 7. Texas (11-1)
  • 8. Alabama (11-1)

Conference Championship Games With CFP Implications

Pac-12 Championship: No. 5 Oregon vs. No. 3 Washington

  • Date: Friday, Dec. 1
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • Location: Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, Nev.
  • TV Channel: ABC

Big 12 Championship: No. 18 Oklahoma State vs. No. 7 Texas

  • Date: Saturday, Dec. 2
  • Time: 12 p.m. ET
  • Location: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
  • TV Channel: ABC

SEC Championship: No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 8 Alabama

  • Date: Saturday, Dec. 2
  • Time: 4 p.m. ET
  • Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA.
  • TV Channel: CBS

Big Ten Championship: No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 16 Iowa

  • Date: Saturday, Dec. 2
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • Location: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • TV Channel: FOX

ACC Championship: No. 14 Louisville vs. No. 4 Florida State

  • Date: Saturday, Dec. 2
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • Location: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C.
  • TV Channel: ABC

First off, look how amazing a 12-team tournament would be this year:


Possible Scenarios And Outcomes

Now, the odds that Georgia, Michigan, Washington, and Florida State are all upset in their respective conference championship games are not high, but I do think all but Michigan have a serious test. So let’s start there. I don’t think that Iowa is beating Michigan, at all. Iowa’s team total for the game is 6.5. Their team total for the first half is .5. That’s wild. So let’s assume that Michigan wins, the other three lose, and Texas beats Oklahoma State.

That means that Alabama would have knocked off #1 Georgia, for the best win of the season. But, Alabama’s one loss is to Texas, another one-loss team who has the best regular season win, which actually gets better with a Bama win over UGA, which oddly hurts Bama. So is it somehow possible that the CFP would hold out a one-loss SEC Champ from the CFP? Presenting something that looks like this:

  1. Michigan 12- 0
  2. Oregon 12-1
  3. Texas 12-1
  4. Washington 12-1

Or would Bama be in for winning the SEC, and Washington gets shortchanged for losing the Pac-12 title, even though they would have a win over Oregon, who would be in?

  1. Michigan 12-0
  2. Oregon 12-1
  3. Texas 12-1
  4. Alabama 12-1

It’s Pure Chaos.

The one thing we know is that in the current rankings, Texas is above Bama and has a win over Bama, so the only way the Tide gets ahead of Texas is if Texas falls to Oklahoma State in the Big-12 title game. The other question is, does Georgia deserve to be in no matter what? They are the back-to-back national champs. If Bama beats them, do they somehow stay above Alabama? That seems impossible. But if you were to get both of them in, and Texas needs to be above Bama, then that leaves out the Pac-12 champ, and you can’t leave out an undefeated Pac-12 Champ in Washington. But that brings us back to the original question. Is there any way that Alabama can beat UGA and UGA still gets into the playoff?

And what about Ohio State? If their only loss is to the #1 undefeated team in the CFP, on the road, are they definitely out? They lost last year to Michigan in the same scenario and found themselves in, but there weren’t nearly as many one-loss teams. If Oregon avenges their one loss to Washington, it would be hard to put Ohio State above them. And if Texas’s one loss is to Bama, and Bama is a one-loss team who just beat the #1 team in the nation, it’s actually impossible to have a 4-team CFP without more than one team getting seriously screwed.

The reality is that the final year before the college playoff finally expands to 12 teams, maybe the year where we need a 12-team playoff the most. There is a realistic chance that we are left with one undefeated team and seven one-loss teams. Or two undefeated teams and 5 one-loss teams. So what the heck is going to happen? The only thing that seems 100%, is that there are going to be some very happy teams and very upset teams.

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