So I'm here to switch up things a bit in my weekly college football article. Due to lack of marquee games this week, I'll be breaking down the college football playoff picture instead of doing a week 12 preview. But before I get to that, here's MY current top 10 ballot.
WEEK 12 TOP TEN
10. USC (last week: NR)
9. Notre Dame (last week: 4)
8. Ohio State (last week: NR)
7. Wisconsin (last week: 9)
6. Georgia (last week: 2)
5. Auburn (last week: 8)
4. Oklahoma (last week: 5)
3. Clemson (last week: 3)
2. Miami (last week: 6)
1. Alabama (last week: 1)
PLAYOFF PICTURE BREAKDOWN
So Alabama is in, so where does that leave us as far as the other 3 playoff spots are concerned?
There are a total of 6 teams that currently control their own destiny, meaning if they win out then they are in. Miami, Clemson, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Auburn and Georgia are the 6 teams vying for 3 remaining playoff spots, if they win out then they punch their ticket but if they lose than they are all but out of it, and a few teams may end up playing each other in what could amount to elimination games. Miami vs Clemson is set for the ACC title game, and there’s a possibility that Auburn vs. Georgia could meet in the SEC title game, so championship weekend could shape up to be a playoff weekend in itself.
The other 3, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Auburn, are all in a win out or be out situation.
Auburn has a shot to be the first ever 2 loss team to make the playoff. If they beat Alabama then go to the SEC championship game and beat Georgia(again) then there's no way that the committee can leave them out despite the 2 losses on their schedule. But at the same time, one loss the rest of the way and they are done so they would need to run the table and beat UL-Monroe, Alabama and then Georgia in order to get in.
This is the situation with Wisconsin and why I haven't given them much credit and still have them at #7 in my top 10 ballot, it's not so much their lack of schedule strength as it is their lack of impressive wins. I don't fault Wisconsin for their schedule for the most part, they can only control their non-conference schedule so the fact that the Big Ten schedule rotation got them to avoid Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan State while getting Michigan at home along with the B1G West being down right now is not on Wisconsin. The problem that I have with Wisconsin is that when they play these bad teams, they aren't really showing that dominance the other teams show when they play bad teams. 33-24 to Northwestern, 38-17 to Nebraska, 17-9 to Purdue, 38-13 to Maryland and 24-10 to Illinois doesn't jump out as a team that can take on an Alabama or Clemson and put up a fight for the national title. Their opportunity to show it is coming though, if they can run the table and end up 13-0 in a power 5 conference then there's no chance of them being left out.
Then there are a few teams that are still alive in the playoff hunt, but need to win out plus get some help in order to make the final 4. Ohio State, Notre Dame, Penn State and USC are all still in the running, but destiny is out of their hands.
So there you have it, a complete breakdown of what teams need in order to make the playoffs. The playoff picture is becoming clear, but knowing college football means knowing to expect chaos these next few weeks.