Their two losses were to Ohio State and MI in consecutive weeks and both wins were by seven points, plus they beat Nebraska and LSU. Now, Washington will battle Colorado for the Pac-12 championship at 9 p.m. on Saturday in Santa Clara, CA.
"The mission and the sole focus and objective of the selection committee is to rank the four very best teams in college football for inclusion into the playoff", Hocutt said. And a win this weekend against Oklahoma could have put them over the top into the CFP. Would a Watson-less Tigers still make the playoff in that hypothetical? However, Navy is at No. 19 and could make things interesting with a win against Temple in the AAC title game. Given the current order of the rankings, MI should feel confident over Colorado, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State, even if these teams were able to win their conference this weekend. It led to a crowded group of three-loss teams jockeying for New Year's Six bowl bids.
Clemson does need to take care of business against Virginia Tech in the ACC title game while Alabama is likely in regardless of what happens against Florida in the SEC championship. However, if the Gators shock the world, then chaos might not be a strong enough word. Ohio State clinches playoff spot as well. Not only would the Nittany Lions add another top-10 win to their résumé, but they'd lock up the Big Ten championship and have a head-to-head win over Ohio State, a game that was played on October 22 and not the first few weeks of the season. Wisconsin will face off against No. 7 Penn State in the Big Ten Championship Game.
Ohio State stays at No. 2
If that order holds - and there is no reason to think it won't because neither is playing - and Clemson goes to the playoff as the ACC champion, then Florida State will represent the conference in the Orange Bowl. Wisconsin's and Penn State's places in the rankings didn't change. After losing a controversial heartbreaker to No. 2 Ohio State, the Wolverines, lost the opportunity to control their own fate. The Buckeyes still have a chance to be left out if Penn State defeats the Wisconsin Badgers. What a potential dilemma. The Sooners and Cowboys were off last week, and their hopes fell flat as chaos reigned amid the top teams. He added the committee doesn't "look ahead" to the possibility of Penn State winning the conference champion in its ranking. If Clemson beats No. 23 Virginia Tech in Orlando for the ACC title and the rankings hold firm, FSU would get the ACC's spot in the Orange Bowl and a potential matchup with MI.
Even a win at Oklahoma won't get them there. The Tigers have the most favorable conference championship matchup as the Hokies are not ranked and have not looked good against most opponents this year.
The positioning is relevant because it shows the faith the committee has in the Wolverines for when the final rankings are revealed on Sunday.