CFP and BoW rankings, with difference in ranking between outlets listed in between team names:
|8||Oklahoma State||0||Oklahoma State|
|9||Louisiana State||0||Louisiana State|
|13||Michigan State||3||Texas Christian|
|16||Florida State||-10||Southern California|
|17||Mississippi State||-2||North Carolina|
My formula likes both Stanford and Northwestern more than the committee does (Northwestern’s rank no doubt helped by Stanford’s high mark), and my formula does not take into account head to head results (hence Northwestern is ahead of Michigan, but the margin is extremely small). My formula can see right through the weak strength of schedules of Baylor, Florida State, and Temple, and gives respect to the Ole Miss and USC schedules, despite each having 3 losses. Nice to see North Carolina make an appearance this week, though they have a long way to go to reach the playoff, and even winning out (and beating #1 Clemson) may not be enough.
Paths of Least Resistance
Each week, I will highlight the least convoluted path a team can take to get into the playoff. Granted, many alternate scenarios could result in the same outcome for a given team. In the interest of keeping this concise and easy-ish to follow, I’ll only give the clearest scenario and whether or not the team can afford a loss and still make the field of 4.
Clemson: Win out, including ACC CG. Can they lose? Maybe,
but definitely not to Florida St since the loser of that game is likely out of the ACC CG. Clemson’s win over Florida State provided some breathing room so a loss wouldn’t be a certain death knell.
Ole Miss needs to lose 1 more SEC game. Ole Miss lost, so it’s a clear path to the playoff if Alabama wins out. Still cannot afford a loss.
Ohio St: Win out, including Big Ten CG. Can they lose? Yes, but not to Michigan St.
Either 1 of the top 3 OR The Big 12 champ needs to lose a game. T he LSU/Alabama loser will open a spot for them, but Baylor would jump them if they win out.
Iowa: Win out, would replace Ohio State.
Baylor: Win out, would jump ND and the LSU/Alabama loser.
Stanford: Need Big 12 champion to lose a game. Same scenario as Notre Dame, except Big 12 already in front of them.
Oklahoma St: Win out, Baylor scenario applies.
LSU: Win out, including SEC CG.
Can they lose? Yes, but not to Alabama or Ole Miss. Needs Alabama to lose.
Utah: Stanford needs to beat Notre Dame AND Big 12 champ needs to lose one.
Florida: Win out, would replace winner of LSU/Alabama.
Oklahoma: There can’t be 3 unbeaten Power 5 champions and a 1 loss Notre Dame.
Michigan St: Win out,
would take Ohio State’s spot. AND 2 of the following need to have 2 losses: SEC champ, Big 12 champ, ACC champ, Notre Dame, PAC 12 champ
Michigan: Michigan State needs to lose
twice once AND 2 of the following need to have 2 losses: SEC champ, Big 12 champ, ACC champ, Notre Dame, PAC 12 champ (can’t be Utah). AND Memphis needs a loss.
All of the teams below cannot get to the top 4 (without Mass Chaos, see below), either due to too many losses, too weak a schedule, no chance to win their division, or a combination of any/all of these.
If your team is currently below the threshold to get in the playoff without mass chaos, here is a chart of the most probable game results needed to create the amount of chaos necessary to completely blow up the paths outlined above. If all of the following happened, there would be zero Power 5 teams with fewer than 2 losses. Some hypothetical game results may seem unlikely, but none would be close to the biggest upset of the season. Bold lettered games indicate a loss to a team not in the current CFP Top 25.
|Week 11||Oklahoma loses at Baylor||Oklahoma St loses at Iowa St|
|Week 12||Baylor loses at Oklahoma St||TCU loses at Oklahoma|
|Week 13||Baylor loses at TCU||Oklahoma St loses to Oklahoma|
|Week 13||Clemson loses at South Carolina||UNC loses at NC St||Notre Dame loses at Stanford|
|Week 14||Clemson loses ACC CG|
|Week 11||Ohio St loses at Illinois||Iowa loses to Minnesota|
|Week 12||Michigan St loses at Ohio St|
|Week 13||Ohio St loses at Michigan||Iowa loses at Nebraska|
|Week 14||If Ohio St or Iowa wins in Week 11 , that team loses Big Ten CG|
|Week 12||Utah loses to UCLA|
|Week 14||Stanford loses PAC12 CG|
|Week 11||Alabama loses at Miss St|
|Week 12||LSU loses at Ole Miss|
|Week 13||Florida loses to Florida St|
|Week 14||If Alabama, LSU, or Florida win their week 11-13 game, then that team loses the SEC CG|
Important game in Week 11:
Oklahoma at Baylor
The loser is almost certainly out of the running for the playoffs. Chaos is calling for Oklahoma to lose since it gives them a 2nd loss and eliminates any chance that they can get to the top 4, and Baylor still has 2 road games against ranked teams.