The Path to the College Football Playoff: Get revenge. If they keep the offense going, get more out of the defense after the coordinator change, and roll through the rest of the schedule with a Big 12 Championship win over Texas, they’ll at least be on the doorstep. However, they’re in trouble if Ohio State, Clemson, and the SEC champ are unbeaten, and they’re out if 12-0 Notre Dame is in the mix.
What Will Happen: They’ll rip through the rest of the schedule – including a win at West Virginia – but even at 12-1, they’ll be out. The overall schedule won’t be strong enough compared to the Big Ten and SEC champ, and the call will be that the SEC championship loser and Clemson will find their way in.
The Path to the College Football Playoff: And now it’s Game On. Unlike Oklahoma, if Texas wins out and goes 12-1, that season-opening loss to Maryland will be totally blown off. The Longhorns would be the hot team that beat Oklahoma – possibly – twice, and with a win over West Virginia if that happens. Realistically, win out, get in.
What Will Happen: The Longhorns might be playing well, but there’s going to be another loss at some point. Either at Oklahoma State, at Texas Tech, or even at home to West Virginia or Iowa State. And if there’s a rematch against Oklahoma, they’re not going to beat them twice.
West Virginia (5-0)
The Path to the College Football Playoff: Win out, and realistically, get in. There won’t be an unbeaten Power Five conference champion left out of the equation, and there won’t be five of those and an unbeaten Notre Dame. Realistically, if West Virginia goes 12-0 with wins at Texas, TCU, at Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and then a Big 12 Championship victory to close things out … in.
What Will Happen: The Mountaineers might get to the Big 12 title game, but they’ll lose at least once along the way, and they’ll lose the championship game if they get there.