After a crazy week that included five top-10 losses, few saw coming what happened in the College Football atmosphere today, especially in the Big Ten. No. 3 Michigan was taken down by No. 2 Ohio State in Columbus in double overtime after a questionable 4th-and-1 placement. No. 6 Wisconsin pulled off a 31-17 victory to retain the Axe against Minnesota. No. 7 Penn State clobbered Michigan State 45-12 to make it into the Big Ten Championship game.
Elsewhere, top teams took care of business. No. 1 Alabama beat No. 13 Auburn 30-12, and on Friday, No. 5 Washington crushed No. 23 Washington State 45-17. No. 4 Clemson beat South Carolina handily, 56-7.
The College Football Picture is now more complicated then ever. Let us break it down for you.
Alabama, the only undefeated team in the NCAA besides Western Michigan, will make the CFP regardless of the result of the SEC Championship game against Florida. They’ve looked dominant all season.
Interestingly enough, even though they won’t even get the chance to play for a championship, Ohio State should make the CFP at 11-1, with their only loss coming to No. 7 Penn State. They pulled off a huge win over Michigan, and because of the way tiebreakers work, they’re done for the regular season.
“Last Three In”: Teams That Control Their Own Destiny
With Michigan’s loss, the No. 3-5 spots are looking much clearer.
Clemson will face a tough Virginia Tech team in the ACC Championship. If they win, they’re in the CFP.
Wisconsin, after pulling off the Minnesota win, will face Penn State in the Big Ten Championship. Additionally, Washington will face Colorado in the Pac-12 championship. Washington currently ranks ahead of Wisconsin in the CFP standings, but pending the outcome of both championship games, things may become clearer. If both win, the CFP committee will have to choose whether they will leave out the champion of arguably the best conference in College Football (with two losses) in favor of a one-loss Washington team.
Although Michigan only has two losses on the season, it would be hard to envision a scenario where they make it in – some combination of Wisconsin, Washington, Clemson, and a few others would likely have to lose.
Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will play next weekend for the Big 12 championship. The winner will A) win the division and B) have only two losses. Though the conference itself has looked weak this year, if enough teams above them lose, either one could find their way into the playoff – though Oklahoma is much more likely than Oklahoma State to get in.
Penn State would need to beat Wisconsin, and then either have Washington or Clemson lose in order to make it – they may be the closest of the “Other Contenders” group to seeing their way into the CFP.
Colorado, whose only losses on the season are to Michigan and USC, could conceivably make it in if they beat Washington in the Pac-12 Championship, and had enough teams above them lose.