The Path to the College Football Playoff: There’s still a shot, but now the Buffs need some help. They have to win out – starting with a trip to Washington – and go 12-1 with a Pac-12 title. Don’t believe the hoo-ha … a 12-1 Pac-12 champ will end up gettin in. But …
What Will Happen: The ganged up Buffs won’t get by the Huskies, and even if they do, they’re not beating Washington State, and Utah, and if all of that happens, whatever comes out of the Pac-12 North.
The Path to the College Football Playoff: Win out, almost certainly get in. Getting a Notre Dame loss might be a must, and the Big 12 champion needs to have two losses, and it would be a huge help if there’s a stunner in the Big Ten and/or ACC championships, and … go 12-1, and at worst there’s a Rose Bowl trip.
What Will Happen: The lack of a good non-conference will sting, but that won’t be as big a problem as a slate with trips to Washington State and Utah. The Ducks will lose once more, but they’ll still get to the Pac-12 title game and end up in Pasadena.
Washington State (5-1)
The Path to the College Football Playoff: Just like Colorado and Oregon, win out, and hope for a Notre Dame loss and some help from the other Power Five conference championships. In a these-things-work-out sort of way, a 12-1 Pac-12 champ is going to find its way into the big four.
What Will Happen: Shhhhhhh, the Cougars are a sleeping factor in this race. They have to go to Stanford and Colorado, but they get Oregon and Washington at home. They’re just good enough to win most of those, but not all of them. They’ll get a strong bowl game, but they won’t go the rest of the way unscathed.