The University of Alabama attempts a field goal and misses during the first half of the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship game at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on Monday, January 8, 2018. (Photo/Kristin M. Bradshaw, k@kristinmbradshaw.com)

With college football facing the last week of the regular season, The Red & Black explores some potential College Football Playoff scenarios. Each scenario is given a Chaos Score. A score of "1" means predictable, while a "10" means earth-ending madness.  

Scenario 1


Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) makes the game-winning pass to Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) in overtime of the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on Monday, Jan. 8, 2018. (Photo/Casey Sykes, www.caseysykes.com)

The four teams in: 

1. Alabama

2. Clemson

3. Michigan

4. Notre Dame

What happens: 

This scenario represents what would play out if things went generally as expected. Alabama would end the regular season undefeated and beat Georgia in the SEC championship game to force the Bulldogs out of playoff contention. Clemson would also close out the season undefeated with wins over South Carolina and Pittsburgh in the ACC championship game.

Michigan would finally beat Ohio State and win the Big 10 championship game over Northwestern to boost its resume in comparison to Notre Dame, which would end the regular season undefeated with no championship game under its belt. If you're a fan of chaos, this isn't the scenario for you, but there's a good chance this is how the season will play out with minimal drama. — Janey Murray 

Chaos Score: 1


Georgia wide receiver Mecole Hardman (4) runs with the ball after a return kicks the ball from Oklahoma during the College Football Playoff Semifinals between the University of Georgia Bulldogs and the University of Oklahoma Sooners at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California, on Monday, January 1, 2018. (Photo/Reann Huber, www.reannhuber.com)

Scenario 2

The four teams in: 

1. Alabama

2. Clemson

3. Notre Dame

4. Oklahoma

What happens: 

After Ohio State needed overtime to defeat Maryland last Saturday, this situation is centered on the Buckeyes defeating No. 4 Michigan during rivalry week. At the same time, the top three teams win out. A loss to the Buckeyes would kick the Wolverines out of the Big 10 championship game and hand them their second loss of the season, which would also push them far outside the playoff committee’s top four teams.

While a win over Michigan would render a possible conference championship well within grasp for the Buckeyes, it’s the Oklahoma Sooners that would slide into the Wolverines’ playoff spot for the second consecutive season, assuming it takes care of its business in the Big 12. — Tommy Boyd

Chaos Score: 3


Georgia head football coach Kirby Smart communicates with the defense during the second half of a game against Auburn University at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. The Georgia Bulldogs won against the Tigers 27-10 for their tenth game of the season. The Georgia football team is now 9-1, and they play the Massachusetts Minutemen football team on Nov. 17, 2018. (Photo/Tony Walsh)

Scenario 3

The four teams in: 

1. Clemson

2. Notre Dame: 

3. Georgia 

4. Alabama 

What happens: 

Anyone whose not a fan of the SEC should look away now. If Clemson and Notre Dame cruise to undefeated seasons, they will be in the playoff, no doubt about it. The SEC title game has the chance to complicate the bottom half of the rankings. If Georgia is able to beat the behemoth that is Alabama, the Bulldogs would certainly be in as 12-1 SEC champions. 

Now, what will the committee do with Alabama? As dominant as the Crimson Tide have been, it will be hard to leave them out of the playoff. If Michigan loses to Ohio State, Alabama could slide into the playoff via the back door. Even if the Buckeyes win the Big 10 championship, it's not outside the realm of possibility for the committee to favor Alabama's season-long dominance over Ohio State's resumé, which includes a beatdown at the hands of Purdue. — Alex Soderstrom 

Chaos Score: 5

Scenario 4

The four teams in: 

1. Clemson

2. Notre Dame

3. Washington St.

4. UCF

What happens: 

This is the result of complete and utter chaos in college football. In week 13, the following results would have to happen: 

No. 1 Alabama loses to Auburn, No. 5 Georgia also loses to Georgia Tech. No. 4 Michigan loses to No. 10 Ohio State, but No. 3 Notre Dame survives a road contest at USC. No. 8 Washington State wins its Apple Cup matchup with No. 18 Washington, but No. 7 LSU loses on the road at Texas A&M. No. 9 West Virginia beats No. 6 Oklahoma, earning a trip to the Big 12 Championship, a rematch with No. 15 Texas, who defeats Kansas. No. 11 UCF takes care of South Florida, and No. 2 Clemson has no trouble with South Carolina.

In week 14, upsets in the conference championship games would further clear the path for Washington State and UCF. Despite both teams losing the week before, the SEC championship game is the same. Georgia pulls off the upset, knocking Alabama out of contention for the playoff. The Big 12 championship game pits Texas against West Virginia, and the Longhorns get revenge. Washington State easily takes care of Utah, Clemson survives Pittsburgh in a game that is closer than most expected, and UCF takes the American Atlantic Conference crown. Lastly, Ohio State, fresh off a big win over rival Michigan, trips up in the Big Ten championship game and loses to Northwestern.

This scenario leaves the committee no choice but to put the Knights in the playoff. With Washington State being a one-loss conference champion, the Cougars are also in, leaving the only two undefeated teams in the country secure at No. 1 and 2. — Michael Hebert 

Chaos Score: 10

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