College football tournament, bad predictions: The path that the remaining eight candidates must follow in 2021

A Big Eight remains. That is, eight teams that lose one or not lose will have a place to advance to the College Soccer Round as they enter the penultimate week of the 2021 season.

Unlike most years, at least some of those teams with Cincinnati, Michigan and Oklahoma State never arrived. College football The knockout round. The remaining five positions have filled 17 of the 28 previously available positions.

Cincinnati would be the only real party spoiler. No Five Group schools have ever been represented in the last four schools. Based on Tuesday’s latest CFP Leaderboards, one landing is so close to the Bearcats that they could almost start selling tickets.

As with everything in college football, nothing is absolute. Possible disaster scenarios (more on that below). Now, let’s analyze those top eight contenders.

1 Georgia (11-0): The closest thing to locking in the process. The Bulldogs (-35) just need to beat Georgia Tech to claim a spot. Georgia entered the SEC Championship Game having won SEC East. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where Georgia beats the Yellow Jackets, loses to Alabama – even in one loss – and drops out of the top 4. Being the only Power Five left unbeaten with an average win score of 33 in one game. the nation’s toughest conference, Dawgs won that right. Unless the Yellow Jackets raid the transfer portal this week, it’s a done deal.

Ohio State No. 2 (10-1): It’s simple but not easy: beat Michigan and win the Big Ten Championship Game. As good as the Buckeyes looked, they have an arduous road to the knockouts. Win those games, and they’re in. No controversy. The last time this road opened up for Ohio State was 2019. That year, the season ended with the Buckeyes playing four top 13 teams in a row. Reason for pause: Ohio State last won Michigan, Big Ten and national championships (as claimed by AP) in 1957. The most likely opponent in Indianapolis would be 14 Wisconsin (8 (8). -3) , but Minnesota and Iowa are Discuss.

Number 3 Alabama (10-1): Another no-lose scenario, simple but not easy: beat Auburn and then Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. Not a sure thing. Bama recently did not play well on The Plains, losing the last 3/4 matches at Jordan-Hare Stadium. If the Crimson Tide passes both, that result would see it disqualified by the SEC in the playoffs. In addition, the Alabama team’s chances of going through with two losses are very remote (see below). First, Tide won’t deserve it. They lost as two-fight favorites at Texas A&M, who were playing as a backup quarterback. Bama gave 41 points for doing that. Second, only one team that lost two games won the championship in college football history. That will be LSU in 2007, and heaven and earth must collide for that to happen.

Number 4 Cincinnati (11-0): Cinderella wears black. One of only three undefeated FBS teams, the Bearcats finally earned respect from the CFP Selection Committee. Again, it’s a win out scenario. They have to win at East Carolina this week, then beat Houston in the AAC Championship Game. If that happens, it’s hard to imagine the committee holding them back. If they did, Mike Aresco could spontaneously ignite.

No. 5 Michigan (10-1): There is no gray area for Maize & Blue. Win, and they will join. That includes beating Ohio State for the first time in 10 years and only the second since 2003. One of the three aforementioned teams will be waiting in the Grand Championship Game. I don’t want to say it’s been two big weeks for Jim Harbaugh, but he could make $1.5 million in prize money alone ($500,000 to make Big Ten title game, $1 million more) to win the Big Ten).

No. 6 Notre Dame Cathedral (10-1): That loss to Cincinnati was like a sprained ankle. The Fighting Irish needed a lot of the above turbulence to make it into the top four. It started with a season-ending win over Stanford and then with hopes of losing to Cincinnati, Ohio State, Michigan and Alabama. Even that might not be complete because Notre Dame isn’t playing in a conference championship game, and a loss to Cincy would make its previous loss worse.

Oklahoma State No. 7 (10-1): The Big 12’s best hopes are in next week’s Big 12 Championship Game, win or lose against Oklahoma in Bedlam. It will help the Big 12 if the Cowboys win. They are ranked higher and will have less trouble getting into the top four. It would help OSU even more if Georgia wins the SEC and everyone in the Big Ten ends up with at least two losses. Mike Gundy’s generational defense should be trusted by the committee. Who would have thought all that from a show that has reached the top 5 twice in its entire history?

Number 10 Oklahoma (10-1): The Sooners can win the Big 12 for the seventh year in a row. Surname need to win the Big 12 for a chance to sniff the playoffs. Second loss on Saturday or in the Big 12 title game, all but Oklahoma’s chance. If it gets in, the OU will return from as far back as location 13 (before Tuesday night). The only playoff teams to come from further afield are Ohio State (16th place in 2014) and Oklahoma itself (15th place in 2015).

For the sake of full disclosure – and just for giggles – a nightmare scenario is possible where all the candidates end up with at least two losses. Again, no team with such a record has ever made it to the CFP. However, if every team – or all but a few – has two losses, suddenly teams like Baylor, Oregon, Wake Forest, Ole Miss, BYU, Iowa and Wisconsin (three losses) can at least enter the competition. join the conversation. Who will play for the national championship if that happens?

1. Alabama (11-2) will lose to Auburn and beat Georgia.

2. Georgia (11-2) will lose to Georgia Tech and beat Alabama.

3. Big Ten slot: The committee will decide between Iowa (11-2) or Wisconsin (10-3), which team will win the conference, or Ohio State (11-2) or Michigan (11-2) beat the other and lose the title game tournament.

4. Big slot 12: The committee will decide between a non-champion Oklahoma (11-2) 1-1 draw against Oklahoma State in two weeks, a non-championship Cowboys (11-2) defeating the Sooners but losing the championship to Baylor ( split the series 1-1), or the Bears tournament champion (11-2) beat Oklahoma State (1-1 season split).

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