Saturday, January 22

10 College Football Playoffs Scenarios, From Chalk to Complete Two-Loss Mayhem


Final rankings for the college football playoffs will be announced Sunday.

The 2021 college football season has been full of unexpected surprises and training moves, but the picture of the playoffs has come into focus. With conference championship week here, there are several intriguing playoff scenarios.

Four conference championship games will help clarify that picture. These are the games to watch:

  • Big 12: Oklahoma State v Baylor, 12 pm (ABC)
  • SECOND: Alabama vs. Georgia, 4 p.m. (CBS)
  • AAC: Houston vs. Cincinnati, 4 p.m. (ABC)
  • Big ten: Iowa v Michigan, 8 p.m. (FOX)

MORE: Picks Against Spread for Championship Week

Those games will help fit the pieces of the puzzle. Here’s a look at the various scenarios that could play out based on the results:

College football playoff scenarios

Playoff stage n. 1: Chalk wins

– Oklahoma state beats Baylor

– Georgia beats Alabama

– Cincinnati defeats Houston

– Michigan beats Iowa

1. Georgia (13-0)

2. Michigan (12-1)

3. Cincinnati (13-0)

4. State of Oklahoma (12-1), Notre Dame (11-1) or Alabama (11-2)

In this scenario, we believe that Alabama, with two losses, is withdrawing from the discussion. Oklahoma State could take this spot given the Cowboys would have back-to-back victories against top-10 opponents in the past two weeks and a conference championship. Notre Dame would also be considered here based on strong play since the loss to Cincinnati. Would Brian Kelly’s decision to go to LSU be part of this decision? It shouldn’t be that way, but the CFP committee dropped a clue by putting the Cowboys ahead of the Irish this week.

MORE: Brian Kelly won’t coach ND if he makes the playoffs

Playoff stage n. 2: Made-for-TV playoff

– Baylor beats Oklahoma state

– Alabama beats Georgia

– Houston beats Cincinnati

– Michigan beats Iowa

1. Alabama (12-1)

2. Michigan (12-1)

3. Georgia (12-1)

4. Notre Dame (11-1)

You can imagine? Conference championships create chaos that knocks out the Cowboys and Bearcats. Alabama wins and gets Notre Dame in a rematch of last year’s semifinal matchup against an interim coach. Michigan faces Georgia in a battle between two blue bloods who seek to end the prolonged droughts of the national championship. These are four of the schools that generate the most income. The qualifications would be huge, but who trains the Irish?

MORE: Updated College Football Playoff Standings

Playoff stage n. 3: Bama wins by a bit

—The state of Oklahoma beats Baylor

—Alabama beats Georgia

—Cincinnati beats Houston

—Michigan beats Iowa

1. Alabama (12-1)

2. Michigan (12-1)

3. Georgia (12-1)

4. Cincinnati (13-0) or Oklahoma State (12-1)

It is the same board. Alabama, Michigan and Georgia would be locks, and Cincinnati fans would have to sweat to be hit by the state of Oklahoma. We still think the Bearcats hold their place, and you get the David vs. Goliath angle with Crimson Tide vs. Bearcats.

Playoff stage n. 4: Bama wins by a lot

(Fake images)

– Oklahoma state beats Baylor

– Alabama beats Georgia

– Cincinnati defeats Houston

– Michigan beats Iowa

1. Alabama (12-1)

2. Michigan (12-1)

3. Cincinnati (13-0)

4. State of Oklahoma (12-1), Georgia (12-1) or Notre Dame (11-1)

Let’s say Alabama beats Georgia in one of those patented SEC championship blowouts, like a 38-7 destruction. As unlikely as it is, he could knock out the Bulldogs if Oklahoma State is impressive in the Big 12 championship. Georgia’s resume isn’t exactly loaded with quality wins. Kentucky (9-3) and Clemson (9-3) are the best opponents he has faced. At the very least, create a big debate for that fourth place.

Playoff stage n. 5: surprise at the big 12

– Baylor beats Oklahoma state

– Georgia beats Alabama

– Cincinnati defeats Houston

– Michigan beats Iowa

1. Georgia (13-0)

2. Michigan (12-1)

3. Cincinnati (13-0)

4. Notre Dame (11-1) or Alabama (11-2)

This would put the Big 12, Pac-12 and ACC out of the CFP. That’s two-thirds of the Alliance and Power 5 conference Oklahoma and Texas are losing. Giving fourth place in the playoffs to an independent or two-loss SEC team would only make those calls the loudest. Would the committee accept a rematch with Alabama? It could be if the SEC championship game was an instant classic. The Irish, even without Brian Kelly, are the best bet here.

MORE: Bowl Screenings Include Georgia-Michigan Title Game

Playoff scenario No. 6: UC loses

– Oklahoma state beats Baylor

– Georgia beats Alabama

– Houston beats Cincinnati

– Michigan beats Iowa

1. Georgia (13-0)

2. Michigan (12-1)

3. State of Oklahoma (12-1), Notre Dame (11-1) or Alabama (11-2)

4. State of Oklahoma (12-1), Notre Dame (11-1) or Alabama (11-2)

Take that, Group of 5. That would leave two spots open for the state of Oklahoma, Notre Dame and, yes, Alabama. The Cowboys would likely take third place in this scenario, and Notre Dame would come in for a showdown with Georgia.

Playoff scenario # 7: Michigan (and the Alliance) lose

– Oklahoma state beats Baylor

– Georgia beats Alabama

– Cincinnati defeats Houston

– Iowa beats Michigan

1. Georgia (13-0)

2. Cincinnati (13-0)

3. State of Oklahoma (12-1), Notre Dame (11-1), Iowa (11-2) or Alabama (11-2)

4. State of Oklahoma (12-1), Notre Dame (11-1), Iowa (11-2) or Alabama (11-2)

Who wants a Hawkeyes team with two losses in the CFP? Iowa is ranked No. 13, so that would be a monstrous leap. We still think the Cowboys and Irish would be the teams here, but this scenario leaves out the Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12. Remember, Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta is the committee chair.

Playoff scenario No. 8: SEC and Big Ten upheaval

– Oklahoma state beats Baylor

– Alabama beats Georgia

– Cincinnati defeats Houston

—I owa beats Michigan

1. Alabama (12-1)

2. Cincinnati (13-0)

3. Georgia (12-1)

4. State of Oklahoma (12-1) or Notre Dame (11-1)

We go back to the debate between the state of Oklahoma and Notre Dame, and most of these scenarios end with that debate. The Georgia-Cincinnati rematch would be fun with the Bearcats as seeded.

Playoff Scenario # 9: We want an 8-team playoff now!

– Baylor beats Oklahoma state

– Alabama beats Georgia

– Cincinnati defeats Houston

– Iowa beats Michigan

1. Alabama (12-1)

2. Georgia (12-1)

3. Cincinnati (13-0)

4. Notre Dame (11-1)

In this scenario, Cincinnati could theoretically lose and still enter based on a head-to-head victory against Notre Dame. But the problem is that there are four Power 5 conferences left out. The champions would be all teams with two or three losses in Iowa (11-2), Wake Forest / Pitt (11-2), Oregon (11-2) or Utah. (10-3) and Baylor (11-2). .

Playoff scenario No. 10: WTH just happened

– Baylor beats Oklahoma state

– Georgia beats Alabama

– Houston beats Cincinnati

– Iowa beats Michigan

1. Georgia (13-0)

2. Notre Dame (11-1)

3. Baylor (11-2)

4. Iowa (11-2), Cincinnati (12-1), Alabama (11-2), Wake Forest or Pitt (11-2), Oregon (11-2)

Actually, this is the craziest scenario of all because it would create a three-seat match. Notre Dame could jump to No. 2 because the Bearcats wouldn’t have a conference championship with a Group 5 schedule. We’re pretty sure Baylor would stick with third place, but look at the possible mess underneath them. This is the only way ACC and Pac-12 can also participate in the final discussion. How would the committee stack that mess? They would probably take Iowa, the Big Ten champion. So who’s ready for Georgia-Iowa and Notre Dame-Baylor?




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