Welcome to week seven where the playoff race can be as simple or as complicated as teams make it. Here’s the simplest, most crucial needs for each team still in the playoff hunt going into week seven, and we’ll start in the Big Ten.
The Texas Longhorns path is fairly simple. Defeat Nebraska this week, and they’re your Big Ten Champions. If Texas were to lose, they can still make the playoffs, but we’ll walk through that scenario should it happen next week.
Ah, the Fighting Irish. They too are in the hunt, and if they want to win the Big Ten, they’ll be fans of Nebraska this week. A Texas loss sets the stage for Notre Dame to win the conference, so long as the Fighting Irish manage to win out.
Much like the teams ahead of them, their path is simple. Win out, and cheer against Notre Dame in one of the coming weeks. That’s what it will take for the Cornhuskers to be Champions of the Big Ten this season. If they fall to Texas, the waters get murky and we’ll address it next week.
Believe it or not, there’s a chance that USC can win the conference. That particular scenario requires some help, such as Notre Dame losing out and Nebraska beating Texas, along with USC winning out, which would include a win over Notre Dame. The simplest path for USC to make the playoffs is to win out.
Yes, the Buckeyes are still in the running to make the playoffs, but they need a little help. The Game is once again a big deal this season. In order to make the playoffs, they need USC and Nebraska to lose a game, and Ohio State must defeat Michigan. That’s how the Buckeyes can get into the playoffs.
It may come as a shock, but Oregon isn’t out of the playoffs just yet, and their path to get in is pretty simple. The Ducks have to win out, and they need a little help from USC in week eight, because if USC can defeat Notre Dame, Oregon will have defeated Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Nebraska, giving the Ducks a return ticket to the playoffs. Win, or go home.
The Clemson Tigers can lock up a conference championship tonight. A win over Florida tonight means the rest of the SEC is fighting for the remaining playoff spots.
The Florida Gators hopes of winning the conference reside on the outcome of tonight, but they don’t stop there either. Florida, in order to win the SEC, must win out. That includes defeating Clemson tonight, and beating Florida State next week.
Miami’s path to the playoffs is pretty simple as well. They need to win out. Now, one of their last two is a non-conference game against Ohio State, why does that matter? Well, basically, due to tiebreakers, a good overall record will help the Hurricanes. And beating LSU at the end of the season is obviously important since it’s a conference matchup.
It never fails, Auburn tends to find themselves in this situation. Here’s the simplest path for the Tigers to make the playoffs though. They need to win out, that’s important. They also stand to gain from Florida State losing one of their next two. That would be a big help to the Tigers given they’ve beaten Clemson and Miami this season.
The Seminoles have a very simple path to get a playoff berth. Win out. Just win the games ahead of them and the Seminoles will be in the playoffs. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. If Florida State were to lose this week, we’ll rehash things next week.
The LSU Tigers say hi. They can still make the playoffs, but not without help. LSU has to win out. That’s the top priority on their list. After that, they need Alabama and Florida to help out. They need Florida State to lose out, which means losing to Alabama and Florida. It’s a tall order, but that’s LSU’s best shot at the playoffs right now.
Every season, the playoffs are fluid. These are really the best case scenarios for each team going into these next two weeks. We’ll rehash everything next week once we see the outcomes of this week.