UCF has a chance to make the playoffs, and the key is this weekend
Yes you read that right, UCF could jump up into striking distance of the top 4, and possibly into the playoffs if everything goes right this weekend. First lets look at the current CFP top 10:
A lock for the playoffs unless they lose to both Georgia and Auburn
A lock for the playoffs unless they lose to both South Carolina and Pitt
A lock for the playoffs unless they lose to USC
Need to beat Ohio State and Northwestern in order to stay in the playoffs
Needs to beat Alabama to jump over Michigan into the playoffs
Needs Notre Dame to lose, Michigan to lose, and Georgia to be blown out to make the playoffs
Needs Notre Dame to lose, Michigan to lose, Georgia to be blown out, and Oklahoma to lose
Needs Notre Dame to lose, Michigan to lose, Georgia to be blown out, and Oklahoma to lose, and LSU
We’ll get to this one
Needs to beat Michigan and Northwestern convincingly, and needs everyone ahead of the to either lose or barely win
So how can UCF make the playoffs? Well lets start in the SEC
Alabama and Georgia will meet in the SEC championship this year, and while the idea of Alabama losing to Georgia is attractive, UCF needs to be rooting for Alabama. If Georgia beats Alabama, that likely just pushes Michigan out of the playoffs and Georgia in. UCF needs Alabama to destroy Georgia. Right now Alabama is favored by 4 points, with a 64.7% to win according to the FPI. Alabama needs to win by at least 2 touchdowns for Georgia to fall down far. The other SEC game won’t be as complicated. LSU vs. Texas A&M. Texas A&M is a top 15 caliber team without question, and at home they have a solid chance of beating the Tigers. Currently they are favored by 3 and have a 59.9% chance of winning according to the FPI and a LSU loss would surely drop them out of the top 10.
Next up, the state of Washington.
Whoever wins Washington State vs. Washington this weekend wins the Pac-12 North, and will almost definitely go on to win the Pac-12. Washington is currently favored to beat Waashington State right now, and if they do, they gurantee Washington State drops out of the top 10.
The BIG 12
Oklahoma just needs to lose to West Virginia, or lose in the BIG 12 championship to most likely Texas. Both of which are very likely, and would drop them behind UCF and Ohio State.
Now here is where it gets complicated, Ohio State and Michigan play each other this weekend. UCF was previously ranked behind Ohio State until the Maryland game where UCF jumped one spot ahead. If Ohio State were to beat Michigan, and look like a collected team, they would most likely jump in front of UCF, and ruin any chance they had of making the playoffs. But if Ohio State loses, the top 4 remains unchanged. So how can Michigan lose, without Ohio State jumping ahead of UCF? Ohio State needs to win a close game, but not a good game, a terrible game. A disgusting, pathetic, sad, boring football game where both teams look terrible. This would ensure the Michigan drops out of the top 4, and the Ohio State does not jump ahead of UCF. Currently Michigan is favored by 5 and has a 54.4% chance of winning according to the FPI. But if all goes the way I’ve laid out here the standings should result like this.
This of course would also require UCF to win out. Using the FPI’s percentages, UCF has just less than a 2% chance to make the playoffs in this way. So almost impossible, but still possible. UCF will most likely win out and make a good bowl game, but unfortunately the playoffs are most likely not in the cards this year, no matter how much they feel that they “deserve” to be in.