We’re down to only 7 teams left in the chase for the College Football Playoff. Here is the rundown on how every team can (and can’t) make the final four.
1. Alabama (SEC, 12-0)
Alabama enters conference championship week with the best possible chance to make the playoff. Their offense is the best that Nick Saban has ever coached with QB Tua Tagovailoa accounting for most of the damage.
CHANCES: Locked in. Win or keep it close against Georgia. Even in a blowout loss scenario, the Tide still have a strong case for a playoff spot.
SEC Championship vs #4 Georgia (Saturday, December 1 @ 4:00 PM on CBS)
2. Clemson (ACC, 12-0)
The Tigers have been demolishing teams in the ACC all season. Their opponent in the conference championship is Pitt, who is coming off a blowout loss to Miami. Clemson should take care of business, but it will be an interesting battle between Pitt’s run game and Clemson’s defense line.
CHANCES: Practically a lock. A win obviously keeps them in, but a close loss could also keep them in for what they’ve accomplished all season long. The Committee has continually said the disparity between Alabama and Clemson is not as big as some might have come to think. However, a blowout loss to Pitt could propel someone else into the top four.
ACC Championship vs (unranked) Pitt (Saturday, December 1 @ 8:00 PM on ABC)
3. Notre Dame (Independent, 12-0)
The Irish have done everything they needed to do this season. They don’t play in a conference, but they went undefeated and beat a few quality opponents. Now, some of the teams on their schedule are simply having down seasons, but the Irish can sit back and relax this week.
CHANCES: Locked in. An undefeated Notre Dame will not be denied a spot in the final four. Whether they can compete with teams in the playoff is yet to be determined.
4. Georgia (SEC, 11-1)
Georgia knew their fate in the conference for weeks now, but Alabama is still a formidable opponent on film and on paper.
CHANCES: Need to win. The Bulldogs need to win to get into the CFP. A loss would surely eliminate them from contention, unless it is awfully close and Oklahoma or Ohio State don’t look as dominant this weekend.
SEC Championship vs #1 Alabama (Saturday, December 1 @ 4:00 PM on CBS)
5. Oklahoma (Big XII, 11-1)
The Sooners and QB Kyler Murray are about as good as it can get on offense for a collegiate football team. Their defense is abysmal but they continue to win games, and that’s all that matters.
CHANCES: High chance. An Alabama victory would most likely put Oklahoma in the playoff at the 4-spot. If Oklahoma can avenge their early season loss to Texas, they would have a nice resume. What can’t happen is a close win against Texas in which the defense looks helpless as Ohio State crushes Northwestern and shows their defense can stop opponents. But even so, Oklahoma has a great chance at making the final four.
Big XII Championship vs #14 Texas (Saturday, December 1 @ 12:00 PM on ABC)
6. Ohio State (Big Ten, 11-1)
The Buckeyes always find themselves in the mix for the playoff year in and year out. They usually are a controversial topic amongst college football fans, and this season is no different. QB Dwayne Haskins is playing really smart football and his play makes the offense and defense look a lot better.
CHANCES: Low chance. First things first, Ohio State needs to look good against Northwestern – both offensively and defensively. Secondly, Alabama needs to beat Georgia or Clemson needs a big time loss to Pitt (as is the case for every team outside the top four). Thirdly, Oklahoma probably needs to lose to Texas. If all that happens, the Buckeyes are probably good to go.
Big Ten Championship vs #21 Northwestern (Saturday, December 1 @ 8:00 PM on Fox)
7. Michigan (Big Ten, 10-2)
8. UCF (American, 11-0)
The Knights are still undefeated and looking strong to close out the season. The bad news? QB McKenzie Milton is done for the season after an awful leg injury.
CHANCES: Slim. The Knights need everything that Ohio State needs plus Ohio State to lose to Northwestern. If all of that happens, they can make the playoff. It’s an unlikely chance, but it would be interesting to see if they still claim a national championship if Alabama or Clemson win the title as an undefeated team.
American Conference Championship vs (unranked) Memphis (Saturday, December 1 @ 3:30 PM on ABC)