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Here’s Your No Bullshit Guide To Figuring Out Which 4 Teams Are Making The College Football Playoff

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college football playoff

The official College Football Playoff rankings were released last night. There are no real surprises here considering the only top 10 team to lose a game last week was Michigan, but that doesn’t mean they’re not vastly important. Below are the last CFP rankings we’ll see from the committee before the College Football Playoff Final Four teams are announced.

1. Alabama
2. Ohio State
3. Clemson
4. Washington
5. Michigan
6. Wisconsin
7. Penn State
8. Colorado
9. Oklahoma
10. Oklahoma State

I said this would be a “no bullshit guide,” and I mean it. I know you’re busy studying and taking notes and dabbing on hoes (or whatever you college kids do these days), so I’m just going to give you the scenario each team needs in order to earn a CFP berth (barring some unforeseen circumstances/the committee going rogue) and any other pertinent information.

1. Alabama

What they need to do to make the playoff: Beat Florida in the SEC Championship Game.

Just kidding! They can lose that game and probably still make the playoff because Alabama is going to win it all like always and we’re foolish for thinking otherwise, even for a second. There’s almost no point in even having a playoff as long as Nick Saban is among the living (if he’s even human to begin with).

J-Bone’s Playoff Percentage for Bama: 99%

2. Ohio State

What they need to do to make the playoff: Considering their season is over, there’s not really anything they can do. They just need to sit back and hope for a few things.

a) That the committee doesn’t make this the year the CFP decides to put extra emphasis on conference championships.

b) That Wisconsin wins the Big Ten Championship Game. Having beaten Ohio State, Penn State has a much stronger case to take a playoff spot away from tOSU than Wisconsin does should Alabama, Clemson, and Washington all win their games (Wisco lost to tOSU in overtime). If Wisconsin wins the B1G Championship Game, it’s hard to imagine a reality in which Ohio State doesn’t make the playoff — unless the scenario referenced in a) happens.

J-Bone’s Playoff Percentage for tOSU: 93%

3. Clemson

What they need to do to make the playoff: Beat Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game. If they win, they’re in. If they lose, they’re out. Simple as that.

J-Bone’s Playoff Percentage for Clemson: 75%

4. Washington

What they need to do to make the playoff: Beat Colorado in the Pac-12 Championship Game and hope that the committee doesn’t put the winner of the B1G Championship Game in over them (which I don’t see happening, considering a 2-loss team hasn’t been ranked above Washington all season long).

J-Bone’s Playoff Percentage for Washington: 70%

5. Michigan

What they need to do to make the playoff: Like Ohio State, there is nothing that Michigan themselves can do to earn a playoff bid — except Michigan’s path is much more difficult and seemingly ill-fated.

Their only hope at getting into the playoff through the back door is if Clemson and Washington both lose, meaning the B1G champ would most likely jump to the #3 spot and Michigan has an outside shot at grabbing the #4 spot (meaning, yes, there would be three Big Ten teams in the College Football Playoff).

Other 2-loss teams who would be competing for that #4 spot in this scenario, however? The Pac-12 champion Colorado Buffaloes (Sko Buffs!) and the Big 12 champion Sooners/Cowboys. Considering how the committee likes to emphasize conference championships (see tOSU’s admittance into the inaugural playoff), I don’t see a legitimate route by which the committee can stick a 2-loss non-champ Michigan into the Playoff over a 2-loss conference champion in Colorado/the Big 12 champ. If you put Michigan into the playoff, though, you get the Michigan fan base’s money, so let’s not give the committee too much credit here.

J-Bone’s Playoff Percentage for Michigan: 3%

6. Wisconsin

What they need to do to make the playoff: Logic says that the Wisconsin Badgers should make the College Football Playoff with a win over Penn State this weekend and at least one of the following: a Washington loss, a Clemson loss. Out of those 2 possible scenarios, the only one in which the Badgers have real playoff spot competition is that Washington loss, because that would mean 10-2 Colorado finished out the season with a championship and a top 4 victory whereas Wisconsin will have done so with a championship as well, but only over a top-7 opponent. Could the Buffs jump the Badge? Unlikely, but possible. Everyone loves a Cinderella story (except Wisconsinites, in this exact possible future).

J-Bone’s Playoff Percentage for Wisconsin: 34%

7. Penn State

What they need to do to make the playoff: Everything I just said about Wisconsin, except for Penn State (who, again, has that absurd outside shot at knocking tOSU out of the playoff with Alabama, Clemson, and Washington victories).

J-Bone’s Playoff Percentage for PSU: 36%

8. Colorado

What they need to do to make the playoff: Beat Washington in the Pac-12 Championship Game and have Clemson lose the ACC Championship Game. This should assure that the Buffs nab the #4 spot unless the committee, for some reason, decides to stick an unimpressive Big 12 champ or Michigan in over them. Technically the Buffs could jump Wisconsin for that 4 spot if Clemson wins the ACC title game, but it’s unlikely.

J-Bone’s Playoff Percentage for Colorado: 19%

9. Oklahoma/10. Oklahoma State

What they need to do to make the playoff: Win the Bedlam game against this weekend and hope that the committee is full of a bunch of morons who would stick the champion of the worst power 5 conference with a comparatively unimpressive conference championship victory over Pac-12 champion Colorado for the 4th spot in a Final Four that looks like this: Alabama, Ohio State, Wisconsin/Penn State, Big 12 champ. Not gonna happen.

J-Bone’s Playoff Percentage for the Big 12 champion: <1% It's only fitting that the craziest season of college football in recent memory will have an even crazier post-season, and we're all lucky to be along for the ride. Oh yeah, and go Badge.

For more college football BS from the TFM team, check out our college football podcast Back Door Cover, which features my award-eligible segment “The Bone Zone.” Listen to the latest episode on Soundcloud below (The Bone Zone starts at 50:29), and get the pod sent right to your phone when it’s piping hot by subscribing on iTunes.

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Jared Borislow

Jared Borislow (né The DeVry Guy) is a Senior Writer for Grandex Inc and a 2015 graduate of the University of Wisconsin.

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