The college football season enters its final weeks. The playoff situation is still in flux. Below are the five most important regular season games remaining, based on importance and upset potential. Clemson losing to Wake or South Carolina would be massive, but less likely than other games. Alabama can weather a loss in the Iron Bowl.
Ohio State vs. Michigan: Michigan lost to Iowa. So, this should be a showdown of 10-1 teams, rather than 11-0 teams. But, that may make this game more vital. The winner here has an excellent chance of reaching the playoff. The loser is out of the discussion.
Washington State vs. Washington: As everyone anticipated preseason, the Apple Cup could have grave playoff implications. If Washington handles ASU at home, this game will be winner-take-all for the Pac 12 North. The Huskies are the Pac 12’s last hope for a playoff bid. Eliminating Washington is essential for many Rube Goldberg playoff scenarios.
West Virginia vs. Oklahoma: The Big 12 has been all but out of the playoff discussion. But, West Virginia still has a chance. The Mountaineers are 8-1. Their final two games are Iowa State (road) and imploding Baylor (home). If West Virginia beats Oklahoma, they have an easy path to finish 11-1. So, that would be a one-loss P5 champion thrown into the discussion, which may have a better SOS than Louisville.
Houston vs. Louisville: Louisville is still in the playoff hunt, but only if they finish out 11-1. This game had looked like a bigger deal preseason before the Cougars fell into a crevass. But, Houston has rebounded with two-straight wins. Heading on the road for a Thursday night game is Louisville’s toughest remaining test.
Penn State vs. Michigan State: Penn State is beatable. Indiana was nervier than the scoreline suggests. Michigan State showed some signs of life against Rutgers. A Spartans upset would ensure Ohio State, beating Michigan, reached the Big Ten title game. The probable Penn State win would ramp up the playoff chaos.