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The Mad Scientist: My Doomsday Scenarios For CFP Power 5

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Well, they came out, and let’s just say, the hypothetical scenarios have just begun. Last night, the College Football Playoff committee announced their first set of rankings, and let’s just say that the Big 12 and PAC-12 are not happy one bit, the SEC is smiling from ear to ear, the ACC is having a party, and the Big 10 is knocking on the door.

However, people seem to forget that there are 5 more weeks, where ANYTHING, and I mean ANYTHING (cue the “Miami Miracle”) can happen on the road to the playoffs.

With that being said, I have come up with “Doomsday” scenarios for each of the Power 5 conferences, which would cause anger, despair, angst, and more.

ACC – Plain and simple as day, if the Coastal Division champ wins the ACC title, whether it be Duke, North Carolina, Pitt, et al., that’s all folks for the ACC.

And if you don’t think “Coastal Chaos” can happen, just view the YouTube video above, when Miami just beat Duke with eight laterals in one of the worst-officiated games in the sport’s history, and well, “Clemsoning” still exists in the realm of college football.

Big 12 – Yes people, it could HAPPEN AGAIN!!! And if it were, you can bet your bottom dollar that Baylor’s Art Briles and TCU’s Gary Patterson will drive straight to CFP headquarters in Dallas, and well, let’s just say Bill Hancock may not leave in one piece.

Now, it is hard to imagine an undefeated Big 12 champ would be left out, but here’s why it could: You can have an undefeated LSU, an undefeated Clemson, an undefeated Big Ten champ AND a one-loss Notre Dame make a case for the top four teams in the country — especially if Notre Dame beats the Pac-12 champ, Stanford, on Nov. 28.

If that scenario happened, an undefeated Baylor gets in with non-conference wins against SMU, Lamar and Rice — three teams that have combined for a 9-15 record, and the Baylor version of “Little Sisters Of The Poor” scheduling — it would send a message (the wrong message mind you) to coaches and athletic directors everywhere to go ahead and schedule cream puffs, because, as long as you’re undefeated, you’re in, strength of schedule be damned.

And here’s the scary part, what gives TCU a slight edge over Baylor in the non-conference schedule would be Minnesota — again — and the Golden Gophers aren’t looking as strong as they did a year ago (plus losing Jerry Kill for the season may hurt worse down the road). So people, let’s face it, it could happen again.

Big 10 – Michigan wins the Big Ten. WHAT??? How could that be??

Well, I am glad you asked, because that scenario CAN happen. Look., it’s definitely not over in the Big Ten. You still have three undefeated teams, AND you have the possibility of a three-way tie in the East Division. Now, here is where this could get murky – Ohio State beats Michigan State, which is hardly a far-fetched result, Michigan wins out, then there will be a three-way tie between them, with each having lost to one another.

If that happens, then it comes down to which team is ranked highest by the selection committee on Dec. 1. And if it is Michigan, and they knock off an undefeated Iowa team to win the title, the committee would like the Wolverines. But alas fair people, would said committee like them enough to put a two-loss Big Ten champ in the top four?

Probably not if the other Power 5 conferences have produced an undefeated champ or one with one loss. And you can bet your bottom dollar the ghost of Schembechler will haunt Hancock’s headquarters for quite some time.

PAC-12 – Stanford loses to Notre Dame but wins the Pac-12 title. And cue, the Golden Dome Hatred……yes, you know who you are.

However, you have to look at it like this – the selection committee would have to choose between a two-loss conference champion (Stanford) and a one-loss team with the head-to-head win. And here is the interesting debate that will cause angst all across the boardroom – it would force the committee to reveal what it considers more valuable: a conference title or a head-to-head result.

Now, Stanford’s only two losses would be to non-conference opponents Northwestern and Notre Dame. It would have gone undefeated in league play. Notre Dame would have beaten the Pac-12 champ, though, and it’s only loss would have been on the road to what could be the ACC champ in Clemson.

It’s hard to see the committee ignoring the head-to-head result, especially considering it was their final tiebreaker last year when evaluating TCU and Baylor in the final ranking. So yes people, it is true, it is true that a one-loss Notre Dame team would trump a two-loss Pac-12 champ.

SEC – Ole Miss wins the SEC and Memphis goes undefeated. GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY, THE SEC NOT IN THAT PLAYOFFS! Maybe this is all it would take to see the CFP expand overnight! OK OK, but it COULD happen.

Now, the more realistic scenario is that Memphis would garner serious consideration for a playoff spot from the selection committee. The Tigers would have had a win over the SEC champs, not to mention a win over a ranked Houston team and possibly two wins over a ranked Temple team. That resume could trump a two-loss SEC champ that had lost to Memphis.

Well, there you have it ladies and gents, the possible doomsday scenarios for the Power 5 conferences. Will it happen? Who knows!

Could it happen – it’s college football, ya darn right it could! So, let’s strap in for 5 weeks of mayhem, and see where the final road takes us!


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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com

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