CFP projections: How conference championship games will shape the top four

If you were under the impression that Rivalry Week would somehow clear up the College Football Playoff picture, you were only a week off.

With all but the top teams in each conference watching from home this weekend, Champ Week is sure to settle the issue of which teams will be playing in the CFP semifinal Jan. 1.

Some scenarios are simpler than others: If all four current unbeaten teams — Georgia, Michigan, Washington, Florida State — win their conference championship, they’ve surely secured a spot in the playoff. A loss by any of them, on the other hand, could mean some hard decisions by the selection committee Sunday.

According to the Allstate Playoff Predictor, entering conference championship weekend there are seven (seven!) teams with at least a 25% chance to reach the CFP and eight teams with at least a 5% chance.

As much as the committee says it looks for the four “best” teams, 32 of the 36 playoff teams in the CFP era have been in the top four of Strength of Record. Here are the current SOR rankings, with Michigan now at No. 1 after beating Ohio State.

Two shakeup scenarios

What happens in the scenario where Michigan, Florida State, Oregon, Texas and Alabama all win?

According to the Allstate Playoff Predictor, that would set up a very close battle between Texas and Alabama for the final spot (after Michigan, Florida State and Oregon). In that situation, the predictor gives Texas a 57% chance to reach the CFP and Alabama a 44% chance.

What if, in the above scenario, Georgia wins instead of Alabama? Then Georgia and Michigan would clearly take spots, and the final two places would be between Florida State (92%), Oregon (85%) and Texas (23%).

Fear the Buckeyes?

Which bubble team should other playoff teams not want to get in? If we’re counting the Buckeyes, that’s the answer: Ohio State still ranks No. 1 in FPI and would be a huge threat if it got into the playoff. But their chances are slim to earn a berth.

The other answer is Oregon, which ranks third in FPI currently, behind only Ohio State and Michigan.

This post was originally published on ESPN

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