The College Football playoff bracket will be set in just about a month and with only a few weeks left of the college football season there are only a handful of teams with a realistic shot at this point. I see 9 teams that still have a chance to make the playoffs at this point with, in my opinion 5 teams that control their destiny, 3 teams that need a little bit of help and 1 team that needs a lot of things to go right. Below is the breakdown of those 9 teams and what they need to happen:
Alabama is the best team in the nation no doubt. If they win out they will be the #1 seed for sure. If for some reason they lose a regular season game and still beat Georgia in the SEC championship they are most likely in. That probably won’t happen as they will probably not lose a regular season game this year.
Clemson has possibly the easiest remaining path to make the playoffs. I think Alabama is more likely to make it but Clemson doesn’t have another game that should even be close. If the Tigers can take care of their business and win out they are in for sure. If they lose a close game but still win the ACC they may have an outside shot but that is unlikely at this point.
Notre Dame likely needs to win out to make it in. If they lose and have the Big12 champ with 2 or more losses as well as the PAC12 champ with 2 or more losses then they could still get in if their loss is close and to a good team (Likely Syracuse) but Notre Dame’s path to the playoff likely requires them to win out at this point.
Michigan has one of the simplest scenarios on this list. If they win out they are in and if they lose I don’t think they have any shot of making it. They will have to beat Ohio State on the road and then win the BigTen which isn’t going to be easy but the scenario is fairly straightforward
Georgia is the last team on this list that truly controls their destiny and their path is pretty simple as well. Win out and beat Alabama to win the SEC and you are in. Lose at any point and you are probably out unless a miracle can happen.
Oklahoma and West Virginia are pretty much in the same boat. Oklahoma needs to win out and hope Ohio State can beat Michigan or have Notre Dame or Clemson lose. Oklahoma will have to beat West Virginia in back to back weeks or West Virginia and then Iowa State potentially. If that happens then I think a 1 loss Oklahoma will pass a 1 loss Notre Dame or Clemson.
West Virginia, like Oklahoma has to go undefeated the rest of the way which would likely include beating Oklahoma the final week of the regular season and then potentially Oklahoma again, Texas again or a rematch with Iowa State. If they can pull this off and have Notre Dame or Clemson lose or a 2 loss BigTen champ then they likely get in.
I am not sure if I would say Ohio State controls their destiny or not, I think if they win out and beat Michigan convincingly they could jump a 1 loss Oklahoma or West Virginia but I don’t know if I would say its guaranteed. If whoever wins the Big12 has two losses then a 1 loss Ohio State would definitely get in ahead of them. If Notre Dame loses a 1 loss Ohio State could also jump the Fighting
This is the team that is a long shot to make it in. Washington State would have to win out and in convincing fashion the last few weeks and win the PAC 12 championship. The Cougars would also need Notre Dame to lose at some point and then have either the Big10 or Big12 champ to finish with 2 losses. For example, if Notre Dame loses the Cougars could jump them depending on the loss. Leaving Alabama and Clemson in the first two spots and then say Michigan at 3 with Washington State jumping a 2 loss Oklahoma or West Virginia team. This may still not be enough as the voters could put a 1 loss Notre Dame or a 2 loss Oklahoma ahead of the Cougars but it's definitely not out of the question at this point.