Last week, we went over the absurd amount of scenarios that could get any of the AP top 9 schools into the College Football Playoff. Close wins from Michigan and Ohio State, victories for Washington, Washington State, and Colorado (!), and a horrible 31-10 loss by Louisville have added some intriguing storylines to an already crazy college season.
When all is said and done, week 13 really comes down to two conferences: the Big 10 and Pac-12. We already expect wins for #1 Alabama and #2 Clemson, which will all but seal CFP bids for them, as they should both have a handle on their conference championship games on December 3. The intrigue comes from a few select Big 10 and Pac-12 games, which will determine the teams playing in their respective conference title games and will surely have an impact on the final two CFP spots.
#2 Ohio State vs. #3 Michigan
This is set up to be one for the history books. This game is the epitome of college football saving the best for last. The country couldn’t ask for a more high stakes game between these two, one that has implications for the two teams involved and also other Big 10 teams hoping for a CFP bid.
Three teams, the two mentioned and Penn State, all sit at 7-1 in the Big 10 East. This game will determine which of the three teams heads to the conference title game in Indianapolis. Because of their division record and win over Penn State, a Michigan win would place them in the title game and likely into the Playoff.
An Ohio State win would mean no title game for Michigan and a title game for Penn State, as it holds the tiebreaker over Ohio State. A Michigan loss likely puts them out of CFP contention, but it also means that Ohio State would have a shot at an at-large bid even though they wouldn’t be heading to the Big 10 championship.
Ohio State losing all but puts them out of the CFP and the same could be said for Penn State. For the shot at multiple Big 10 teams in the CFP, the conference should be pulling for Ohio State in this one.
#8 Penn State vs Michigan State
This is still a game to watch, despite the unranked, disappointing Michigan State Spartans. As stated above, Penn State has a good shot at the title game and CFP. But they have to close out State first to make sure they can head to the title game. You can bet they’ll be watching that Noon ET matchup between Ohio State and Michigan as closely as they can before their 3:30 ET game.
#7 Wisconsin vs. Minnesota
As it stands currently, only Wisconsin or Nebraska could come out of the West division of the Big 10. That is, if at least one of them wins. There is a weird scenario where we could see a four-way tie at 6-3 if they both lose, but we won’t go into that.
If the Badgers take care of Minnesota on Saturday, they are in the title game as the West division champs. If they lose and Nebraska wins, however, it’s the Huskers that will have a shot at the conference title and, possibly, a chance of a CFP bid.
It’s poised to be a great game and one you surely won’t want to miss.
#6 Washington vs. #22 Washington State
It’s winner take all in this battle for the Pac-12 North division title. A win for Washington means they are through to the title game and still have a great shot at a CFP bid. A win for Washington State means a shot at the title and dashing any hope for Washington’s Playoff hopes.
It’s a Black Friday showdown at 3:30 ET and you can bet that Alabama and Clemson will be watching closely to see if Washington will be another possible CFP opponent.
#10 Colorado vs. #12 Utah
A win for Colorado here means a South division championship and a shot at Washington or Washington State. What’s amazing is that Colorado, technically, has a shot at the CFP if they beat the Utes and come out victorious in the Pac-12 title game. It’s a long shot, but this could truly be a cinderella story for a team that wasn’t on a lot of people’s preseason radars.
A loss for Colorado means USC will take the South division, thanks to the Trojans win over the Buffaloes back in October. It would also completely rule out a CFP bid for them, so Buffaloes fans will be hoping for a sound win over Utah.
North Carolina vs. South Carolina
Another rivalry game to round out the regular season. A win for UNC on Friday means they’ll be watching, hoping for Virginia Tech to lose to Virginia on Saturday at Noon.
Any other scenario besides a UNC win and Va. Tech loss, and the Hokies are Coastal division winners. They hold the tiebreaker over UNC because of the 34-3 drubbing during October’s hurricane weekend.
NOTE: Clemson clinched the ACC Atlantic division by beating Wake Forest last week. They hold the tiebreaker thanks to their win over Louisville earlier in the season.