Any chance the Pac-12 has of reaching the College Football Playoff lies in the hands of the No. 12 Washington Huskies.
UW (8-1, 5-1 Pac-12) is the only one-loss team in the conference and is in an interesting position after Saturday. Both the Pac-12 and UW received some help. A few teams ranked ahead of the Huskies in the CFP rankings lost. UW took care of business with a 38-3 over rival Oregon at Husky Stadium.
The new CFP rankings will come out Tuesday but for now, let’s assess the Huskies’ chances of making a consecutive playoff appearance.
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Nothing changed with this group. Alabama, Central Florida, Georgia, Miami and Wisconsin each won their respective games.
No. 1 Georgia and No. 2 Alabama might switch places. No. 10 Miami is likely to go up a few spots while the same should be expected for No. 9 Wisconsin. No. 18 UCF should rise too but it’d be surprising to see the Knights crack the Top 10.
Alabama and Georgia are on pace to meet in the Southeastern Conference championship game. It could all change should Auburn run the table. Auburn hosts Georgia on Saturday and ends the regular season at Alabama on Nov. 25. Even if Auburn wins one of those games, it creates a SEC title game with at least one one-loss team. UW, in terms of a perfect world scenario, would benefit from Auburn beating Alabama and Georgia. If so, it means the SEC would have a one-loss team instead of one undefeated team and a one-loss team contending for a spot.
Miami’s path is also tricky. The Hurricanes host No. 3 Notre Dame this weekend. A Miami win would give Notre Dame two losses and knock the Irish out of the discussion. But if the Irish win, it could see them potentially climb into the No. 2 ranking. Also, it leaves the Hurricanes with a loss. If Miami can win the rest of its regular season games, it creates a likely meeting against Clemson in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game.
UCF, barring a massive shakeup, is essentially playing to reach a New Year’s Six game.
Ohio State, Oklahoma State and Penn State were all thought to be challengers. Not anymore.
All three lost and no two-loss team has ever reached the playoffs. Considering the field, it does not seem like this would be the year a committee would admit a two-loss team. One would assume these losses move the Huskies up at least three spots into No. 9.
UW, provided it beats Stanford, should climb after next Saturday since Notre Dame will play Miami and because of Oklahoma-TCU. Two of those teams will have a second loss and it only improves UW’s chances of being in the discussion.
It could leave six teams ahead of UW in the CFP rankings by the Nov. 14 rankings.
UW’s mission does not change. Nor will it. If the Huskies seek a return to the CFP semifinal, they need to win the rest of their regular season games, capture the Pac-12 title and watch things play out.
The SEC figures to have one school in either Alabama or Georgia. The Big Ten’s best chance would be an undefeated Wisconsin. The ACC could come down to Clemson and Miami. The Big XII could be decided Saturday between Oklahoma and TCU. Notre Dame remains the wild card given it beats Miami and potentially runs the table.
Compared to a week ago, UW’s odds have improved. They’ll only continue rising should the Huskies win. If not, the best case scenario UW can hope for is a New Year’s Six.
Ryan S. Clark: @ryan_s_clark