The Path to the College Football Playoff: Win out, and hope for at least one other Power Five conference champ to have a loss. No one will like or respect the 13-0 Buffaloes without a good non-conference win, but no chance an unbeaten Power Five champ is left out. 12-1 with a Pac-12 championship? That gets dicey.
What Will Happen: If they don’t lose at USC, they’ll lose at Washington. They still have to get through at Arizona, Washington State, Utah and at Cal, and even if they do get to the Pac-12 title game at 11-1, they’re not beating whatever comes out of the North.
The Path to the College Football Playoff: The loss to Stanford hurts, but if they win out, that will mean they’ll have beaten Washington, at Washington State, at Arizona, at Utah, Arizona State, and then whatever comes out of the South. They’ll need help – they’d lose out to a one-loss ACC, Big Ten or Big 12 champion, and probably a 12-0 Notre Dame – but there has yet to be a 12-win Power Five champion left out of the fun.
What Will Happen: They’ll drop either the Washington or the game at Washington State the next week to end the run, but the Ducks will stay in the Pac-12 title race until the end.
The Path to the College Football Playoff: Even with the loss to Auburn, and even though the Tigers are struggling, the Huskies are likely to get in going 12-1. They haven’t been amazing, but the resume would be just good enough, and they’d get just enough love to get in if there aren’t other strong options. They’d need some help, though – they’d be behind a one-loss ACC or Big 12 champ.
What Will Happen: They’ll drop another game along the way against someone they shouldn’t – like, at Cal – to end the CFP discussion, but they’ll get to the Pac-12 title game and win it.
Washington State (5-1)
The Path to the College Football Playoff: Even with the loss at USC, they’re still alive. They beat Utah, to go unbeaten they’ll have beaten Oregon, at Stanford, at Colorado and Washington, and they might get to avenge the USC loss in the Pac-12 title game if that happens.
What Will Happen: They’re really, really good, but they’ll drop another game either on the road against Stanford and Colorado or to Oregon and/or Washington.