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Utah’s Path To The College Football Playoff

After the chaos that was week 11 in the college football season, Utah’s chances at the college football playoff went from none, to slim, but slim is better than none. While the prospect of a Rose Bowl berth despite a loss in a Pac 12 championship game to a college football playoff bound Washington took a hit with the Huskies falling to USC, a college football playoff berth, while still a long shot, is a bit more realistic.

1. Alabama (10-0) vs Chattanooga, vs Auburn, SEC Championship game
Alabama can lose to Auburn and still get in. Even if they lose the SEC championship game, they’re getting in. Best case is for them to just win out, grab the #1 seed and make that cut and dry.
2. Clemson (9-1) at Wake Forest, at South Carolina, likely ACC Championship Game (likely vs Virginia Tech)
A loss to Wake Forest would be better for the Utes as it would knock Clemson out of the ACC Championship game and likely out of the playoff discussion. Let’s be honest though; Clemson won’t lose to Wake. Best bet is a loss to the Gamecocks.
3. Michigan (9-1) vs Indiana, at Ohio State, possible Big 10 Championship Game (likely vs Wisconsin)
A loss by Michigan would likely eliminate them, but not definitively. A loss to Ohio State would keep them alive only if Buckeyes win conference title.
4. Washington (9-1) vs Arizona State, at Washington State, possible Pac 12 Championship Game (must be vs Utah)
Utah needs the Huskies to win out and then lose to Utah in the Pac 12 title game. Very simple.
5. Ohio State (9-1) at Michigan State, vs Michigan, possible Big 10 Championship Game (likely vs Wisconsin)
Penn State needs to lose one more game. Even if they don’t win their division, a 1 loss Buckeyes team is getting in over 2 loss Pac 12 Champion Utah
6. Louisville (9-1) at Houston, vs Kentucky, possible ACC Championship Game (likely vs Virginia Tech)
Any loss by Louisville will likely eliminate the, but not definitively.
7. Wisconsin (8-2) vs Purdue, vs Illinois, Big 10 Championship Game (vs Penn State, Ohio State, or Michigan)
Any loss by Wisconsin will eliminate them. Most likely loss is Big 10 Championship Game.
10, Penn State (8-2) at Rutgers, vs Michigan State, possible Big 10 Championship Game (likely vs Wisconsin)
Any loss by Penn State will eliminate them. If Ohio State beats Michigan and Penn State wins out, the Nittany Lions will win their division.
11. Oklahoma 8-2) at West Virginia, vs Oklahoma State
Any loss by the Sooners will eliminate them. Best case is at West Virginia
12. Colorado (8-2) vs Washington State, vs Utah
The Buffs need to lose to Utah. A win or a loss vs Wazzu doesn’t really matter, but a win would help the Utes.
13. Oklahoma State (8-2) at TCU, vs Oklahoma
Any loss by Oklahoma State will eliminate them. Best case is vs Oklahoma
15. Utah (8-2) vs Oregon, at Colorado, Pac 12 Championship Game (Washington is preferable)
The Utes need to win out, including in the Pac 12 Championship game, preferably against a 1 loss Washington team,
16. West Virginia (8-1) vs Oklahoma, at Iowa State, vs Baylor
Any loss by West Virginia will eliminate them. Best case is vs Baylor

Best case realistic-ish scenarios:

SEC
Alabama is in. It’s done.

ACC
Either Clemson or Louisville need to lose

Big 10
Michigan wins out
Ohio State loses to Michigan
Penn State doesn’t matter at this point
Wisconsin loses to Michigan in Big 10 Championship
Michigan is Big 10 Champ and makes playoff

Big 12
Oklahoma loses to West Virginia
Oklahoma State loses to Oklahoma
West Virginia loses to Baylor
All Big 12 Teams eliminated from playoff

Pac 12
Colorado beats Washington State but loses to Utah
Washington beats Washington State, but loses to Utah in Pac 12 Championship game
Utah wins out and beats Washington in Pac 12 Championship Game

Projected College Football Playoff rankings if this happens:
1) Alabama
2) Michigan
3) Utah
4) Clemson or Ohio State or Penn State

Another Possible Scenario
SEC
Alabama is in. It’s done.

ACC
Louisville loses to Houston
Clemson wins out and wins ACC Championship

Big 10
Ohio State beats Michigan
Penn State loses to Michigan State
Ohio State/Wisconsin winner is in College football playoff

Big 12
Oklahoma loses to West Virginia
Oklahoma State loses to Oklahoma
West Virginia loses to Baylor
All Big 12 Teams eliminated from playoff

Pac 12
Colorado beats Washington State but loses to Utah
Washington beats Washington State, but loses to Utah in Pac 12 Championship game
Utah wins out and beats Washington in Pac 12 Championship Game

Projected College Football Playoff rankings if this happens:
1) Alabama
2) Clemson
3) Big 10 Champ (Ohio State would be #2 if they win out)
4) Utah

There are other scenarios that could change the rankings, who gets in from the ACC, or Big 10. The long and short of this is that Utah needs each Big 12 team (Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and West Virginia to lose one more team), and Ohio State to lose one more time at any point or Penn State to lose one more time in the regular season. A loss by both Louisville and Clemson would be very helpful as well as would more wins by USC.


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