Prior to Saturday, Michigan’s destiny was in their own hands; it seemed simple. The #3 ranked Wolverines had to beat the Buckeyes, and then go win the Big Ten championship for a secured playoff berth to be a reality.
Michigan didn’t get the job done; they lost in Columbus, and now people are assuming that Jim Harbaugh’s chances of coaching in the playoffs this season are a lost dream — False! Michigan’s chances are very much alive, and are a lot better than you think they are!
The AP poll has Michigan at the #5 spot, and many believe that on Tuesday night, the CFB playoff committee will also have them at the #5 spot; some people believe that the Wolverines will still be ranked ahead of Washington at the #4 spot.
I believe that if Clemson wins the ACC with a win over Virginia Tech, and Washington wins the PAC 12 with a win over #9 ranked Colorado; then Michigan’s playoff spot will be officially dead.
Now let’s talk about if either Clemson or Washington were to lose…
In a perfect world for the Wolverines; Virginia Tech, Colorado, would win their conferences, and knock Clemson, Washington, out of playoff contention. Thus, creating the perfect cake walk for Michigan right into a playoff spot.
The problem with said scenario would be the way the rankings are looking as of right now, the situation would invite three Big Ten teams (OSU, Mich, & either Penn State or Wisconsin) into the playoffs, and you have to question if the committee would allow it.
Asking for both Clemson, and Washington to lose in their conference championship games would be a tall order, some would consider it far fetched.
Say that only Clemson, or Washington lose this weekend, not both; then the playoff committee comes to a tough decision that will never make everyone happy — do you put in the Big Ten champions who lost in Ann Arbor, or do you put in a Michigan team with 3 wins over top ten teams, and took the #2 ranked Buckeyes to double OT, and then lost in a way which many consider ‘controversial’?
Of course, you’ll wonder if the committee will strive to avoid devaluing conference championships, which they will already have to do with inviting Ohio State. Do they take Michigan, and Ohio State both over the Big Ten champions?
If Wisconsin can take down Penn State, the Badgers will have only two losses which are against two top ten teams (OSU, Mich). Wisconsin is chasing their first win over a current ranked top ten team.
Penn State already has their signature win over #2 Ohio State, and that is why they’re playing for the Big Ten title this Saturday.
This will all come down to what the committee values more: conference championships, or resumes. Ohio State, and Michigan are both 3-1 against the top ten this season, no team in the country has a better resume than these two Big Ten heavyweights — nope, not even Alabama.
Situations like these are one of the reasons we have a committee; to make these difficult decisions for college football, rather than the BCS computer system.
Tune into ESPN tonight at 7pm/ET for the playoff top 25 to be announced. May the chips fall where they fall.