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How Michigan and Ohio State can both make the CFB Playoff

Michigan vs. Ohio State Football Game, Michigan Player squatting with football in hand.

By: Nick Peres

The season so far

This College Football season has been nothing but pandemonium, Tennessee is a top five team. Alabama sits with two losses on the season and Clemson is simply not good anymore. It's the first time since 2020 that won't see Alabama in the CFB Playoff. Meanwhile, Clemson is set to miss the CFB Playoffs for the second straight year.

We are finally seeing some disparity go away in College Football. Teams that were once considered unbeatable are beatable, which has allowed the opportunity for more schools to earn a spot in the National Championship game.

The big storyline of course is who's going to end up in the top four at the end of the season. Could we see two Big Ten teams in the College Football Playoff for the first time ever? Michigan and Ohio State are both 10-0 for the first time since 2006, and they are set to face off on Nov. 26th, 2022 at Ohio Stadium. We all know the winner of the game gets the bid to the College Football Playoff. While that is true in most cases, there are still other ways that a one-loss Michigan or Ohio State team could sneak into the playoff at the fourth spot.

A series of fortunate events

For Michigan or Ohio State to sneak their way into the CFB Playoffs, a few things need to happen. The first thing that would have to happen is Tennessee needs two losses or the Pac-12 champ and TCU (Texas Christian University) need to have either one or two losses. If TCU loses a game they are automatically out. The only reason people are talking about them as a contender is because they have yet to lose a game. TCU is a good team but the Big 12 is not having its best year and TCU has struggled against some easy opponents.

This would leave Georgia at No. 1 (assuming they win the SEC), and the Big Ten champ at No. 2. Now, assuming the Pac-12 Champ has only one loss they are in at No. 3. Who do you put in at No. 4? The teams in the conversation would be a one-loss TCU or a one-loss Michigan and Ohio State. I think the committee would easily favour Michigan or Ohio State over TCU. Merely because of the Conferences and the fact that Michigan or Ohio State's loss will come against a Top five opponent. TCU’s loss will not come against a Top five opponent let alone even a ranked opponent.

This is the only possibility where two Big Ten teams could make the CFB Playoff. If TCU and the Pac-12 champ win out, they are easily taking the 3rd and 4th spots. This then leaves the SEC Champ and Big Ten champ at No. 1 and No. 2. Also, a one-loss Pac-12 champ will get into the playoff over a one-loss Big Ten team that didn't win their conference. The way I see the CFB Playoff turning out is the SEC Champ at No. 1, the Big Ten champ at No. 2, and either the Pac-12 champ or TCU at No. 3 or No. 4.

This is assuming TCU stays undefeated and the Pac-12 champs win every game from here on out because it looks like either USC or Oregon will be the Pac 12-champs and they both have one loss each so they cannot lose another or they are out of the playoff conversation.

The end result

Overall, a lot needs to happen for two Big Ten teams to be in the college football playoff. Tennessee needs two losses, TCU needs to lose and the Pac-12 Champ needs to have two losses for two Big Ten teams to get into the playoff. While this is not impossible, the chances of this happening are very slim!


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