There are four weeks left in the 2014 college football season, which means the light at the end of the tunnel is now becoming visible but we're still in that there's-plenty-of-football-left-to-be-played portion of the season. We discussed that earlier today in the post about Gary Patterson believing Baylor should win a tiebreaker over TCU should an 11-1 tie come to fruition. We're close enough to see it as a reality, but far enough away to know there are a million separate ways it could become a moot point.
With that in mind, we decided to have some fun with the different scenarios still on the table across the landscape. We tried to stay within the realm of possibility - for instance, Maryland can still win the Big Ten, but Ohio State would have to lose to Indiana for that to happen; Ohio State isn't losing to Maryland - while still teasing out the different possibilities that still remain. Like Will Muschamp winning the SEC.
How Florida can win the SEC East:
- Florida beats South Carolina in Gainesville on Saturday, and
- Georgia beats Auburn in Athens on Sautrday, and
- Tennessee beats Missouri in Knoxville on Nov. 22, and Mizzou loses to either Texas A&M (in College Station on Saturday) or Arkansas in Columbia on Thanksgiving Friday.
Florida, Georgia and Missouri would then be tied at 5-3, and the Gators would win the tiebreaker thanks to owning a better record versus the SEC East (5-1) than Georgia and Missouri (4-2). Will Muschamp's team would then need to beat the SEC West champion in Atlanta to claim the conference championship. And who would Florida play? How about Ole Miss?
How Ole Miss can win the SEC West:
- Alabama beats Mississippi State in Tuscaloosa on Saturday, and
- Georgia beats Auburn in Athens on Saturday, and
- Ole Miss beats Mississippi State in Oxford on Thanksgiving Saturday, and
- Auburn beats Alabama in Tuscaloosa that same night.
The Rebels, Bulldogs and Crimson Tide would then each be tied at 6-2, and Ole Miss would have head-to-head over each of them and win the tiebreaker. It's important that Auburn loses to Georgia in this scenario, because the Tigers would win the four-way tiebreaker in this scenario. The craziest thing about this? None of this is actually that crazy. Alabama is more than a touchdown favorite over Mississippi State, and Georgia is a 2.5-point favorite over Auburn. It's not crazy at all to think Ole Miss can beat Mississippi State in Oxford and, hey, Gus Malzahn has always managed to move the ball against Alabama...
How the Big 12 ends in a six-way tie:
- Baylor loses to Oklahoma State and Kansas State, and
- TCU loses to Texas and either Kansas or Iowa State (a major reach, yes, but we're on a roll here), and
- Kansas State loses to West Virginia and Kansas (see above), but beats Baylor on Dec. 6, and
- West Virginia beats Iowa State on Thanksgiving Saturday, and
- Texas beats Oklahoma State on Saturday, and
- Oklahoma wins out (at Texas Tech, vs. Kansas and vs. Oklahoma State)
In this (admittedly highly, highly unlikely) scenario, Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma, TCU, Texas and West Virginia would all finish at 6-3 in conference play. The Big 12 would then compare those six teams records against each other, and Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia would be dropped from consideration with a 2-3 record within the group. This would leave Baylor, Kansas State and TCU, who would each be 1-1 against the other two, and each be 2-1 against the second grouping of tied teams. In this case, I believe the tiebreaker would be determined via an academic decathlon between Bruiser the Bear, Willie the Wildcat and Super Frog. (In reality, the Big 12 title would be awarded to the highest-ranked team in the final College Football Playoff poll, but that would be subject to head-to-head results. For instance, if Kansas State was seventh, TCU eighth and Baylor 12th, TCU would take the crown thanks to its 41-20 win over Kansas State.)
How UCLA can make the College Football Playoff:
- The Bruins beat USC and Stanford, and
- Arizona beats Arizona State, placing the Bruins in the Pac-12 Championship, and
- UCLA beats Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship Game
Okay, so this wouldn't guarantee UCLA a spot in the Playoff, but they'd be pretty darned close. They'd be the champions of the first- or second-toughest conference in college football with wins over Oregon and Arizona State, plus likely bowl teams in USC, Stanford, Washington, Arizona, California, Texas, and Memphis. Texas beating TCU and Memphis holding on to win the AAC, plus mass chaos elsewhere, would certainly help, but the bet here is the Bruins would be no lower than sixth.
How Georgia Southern can win the Sun Belt and miss a bowl game:
How North Carolina wins the ACC Coastal:
- Duke loses to North Carolina and either Virginia Tech or Wake Forest, or
- Clemson beats Georgia Tech on Saturday, and
- Miami loses to Florida State, and then loses to either Virginia or Pittsburgh, and
- North Carolina wins out
Miami would fall to 4-4, while the Heels would be tied at 5-3 with Duke and Georgia Tech, but hold tiebreakers over both.
So, yes, we are in that wonderful time of year where a team that started 2-4 and allowed 50 points or more three times in a four-game losing streak is still eligible to knock off Florida State and play itself into the Orange Bowl.
What are some other crazy scenarios you've got in mind?