Let's take a look at some of the chaos that could happen with the College Football Playoff and does Tennessee have a legit shot?
Obviously, we’ll be watching Michigan–Ohio State because of its Big Ten and national title ramifications. But it’s highly likely that some game we’re assuming is an easy win for the favored team will have us on the edge of our seats and ultimately shake up the CFP picture. Arizona’s win against UCLA on Saturday was one of those games. There will be more and maybe nfl player stats will play a role in this as well.
The best part is none of us know which game or games will change everything. But that doesn’t mean we can’t run through the scenarios. Today, we’ll examine four (still theoretically plausible) scenarios that require some chaos to happen. Consider this your handy "User’s Guide to 2022 College Football Chaos."
To rank them, we’ll use the Nuts scale. In other words, how nuts is this if it happens?
The Pac-12 Makes The Playoff!
The Pac-12 hasn’t placed a team in the bracket since Washington in 2016. Even before Oregon’s loss to Washington and UCLA’s loss to Arizona on Saturday, USC probably was the league’s best hope for a CFP berth because it still has the chance to collect a decent non-conference win against Notre Dame. But after the events of Saturday night, USC now is the conference’s only hope.
Here’s what needs to happen for the Trojans to make the field.
USC needs to beat UCLA next week, beat Notre Dame the following week and then win the Pac-12 title game on Dec. 2. If the Trojans beat the Bruins, they’re in and UCLA is out. USC would play Oregon in the title game if the Ducks beat Utah and Oregon State in consecutive weeks. If the Ducks lose to Utah, it opens up the possibility of USC getting a rematch with the Utes, who beat the Trojans in Salt Lake City on Oct. 15. (The committee loves avenging sole losses.) If Utah beats Oregon but then loses to Colorado but Washington beats Colorado and Washington State, then USC would face the Huskies in Las Vegas.
Does your head hurt yet?
Georgia either needs to beat LSU in the SEC title game or the Tigers need to eliminate themselves prior to that game by losing to UAB or Texas A&M. The Bulldogs beating LSU in Atlanta obviously is the most likely option.
Ohio State needs to beat Maryland and Michigan and then win the Big Ten. The Trojans don’t need the Buckeyes losing to the Wolverines and then have to face a comparison to another one-loss team that beat Notre Dame.
Tennessee needs to lose to South Carolina or Vanderbilt. This may not be necessary if the next thing happens, though.
TCU needs to lose to Baylor or Iowa State or in the Big 12 title game. The Trojans probably don’t want to go head-to-head for the No. 4 spot with a 12-1 Big 12 champion TCU. If the Horned Frogs go 13-0, they’re in without question. If that happened, then USC probably would need that Tennessee loss because its wins wouldn’t be as good as Tennessee’s.
North Carolina or Clemson needs to lose a regular-season game and then win the ACC title game. It’s possible a 12-1 USC gets in over a 12-1 ACC champion anyway (or that other chaos allows both to get in).
If all of that happened, the top four could look like this:
TCU (if the loss wasn’t in the Big 12 title game)
If only one of the Tennessee or TCU scenarios happened, the top four could look like this:
Tennessee or TCU (depending on what manner of chaos ensued)
Nuts rating: 5 of 10.