The Final Frame
Out with Mississippi State and Marshall. In with Baylor and a Florida State team that loses out (ie: loses to Georgia Tech). UCLA fell to Stanford and Arizona has capitalized on a season-ending victory over ASU to ascend to the Pac-12 Championship and even to become the #5 most likely playoff team (with a win).
Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, and now, finally, Oregon are all 100% IN, should they win this week.
If any of these teams should stumble, the following teams are ready to pick up the pieces:
Arizona, 86% chance with a win
Wisconsin, 76% chance with a win
TCU, 51% chance with a win
Missouri, 18% chance with a win
Georgia Tech, 7% chance with a win, and
Baylor, <1% chance with a win.
The Selection Committee
Of the conference leaders, Florida State actually looks the weakest. But, their unblemished record and decent OOC schedule has them as a near lock for the playoff. TCU looks the strongest among those teams not listed above as guarantees and is even ranked #3 in the Playoff Poll. They’ll need a loss by Baylor to give them the undisputed Big 12 crown as well as a loss among the guarantees to vault back into the picture.
Ohio State is currently outside the Playoff Committee’s Top 4, but expect them to be a smart pick should they win; TCU can’t gain much against Iowa State, and Baylor is burdened by their poor OOC scheduling. Likely the Committee will sort teams first by wins and then by Championships (regardless of their claims otherwise). If Baylor wins AND there are only 3 other teams with 1 or fewer losses, expect them to stay above 2-loss Arizona, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Georgia.
The dangerous result would be if 1 guarantee loses and the committee is forced to chose between TCU, Baylor, and the usurper. In order to avoid choosing between TCU and Baylor, the usurper (from any of the 4 conferences) could be a solid choice.
A Wild Card
Given TCU and Baylor both win, a season-ending game between the two of them might be the best way to resolve the conundrum of who to select. However, if all 4 guarantees win this week, such a wild-card game mightl only beat the drum louder for playoff expansion and further dilution of the college football regular season. Should TCU or Baylor not finish with 1-loss, a Wild Card game against Michigan State or Mississippi State would be an entertaining fifth game in a four-team race.