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CFP Reactions: The road for each of the top eight teams to make the playoff

Some roads are more difficult than others, but eight teams still have a shot.

NCAA Football: Big Ten Football Championship-Iowa vs Michigan Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The latest College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings are here and a shocking eight teams are still in contention as we head into conference championship weekend. While some control their own destiny and others control nothing, there is a scenario for each team to state its claim for a playoff berth.

With selection Sunday right around the corner, here is how each team makes the 2023 CFP.

1. Georgia - Beat Alabama

With a win over Alabama, the two-time defending champion Bulldogs will be the No. 1 seed and will have a chance to become the first outright three-peat champions since Minnesota in the 1930s. A loss doesn’t guarantee exclusion from the CFP — especially being a two-time defending champion on a ridiculous 29-game winning streak — but with four teams entering this weekend undefeated, the Bulldogs would need some help to backdoor into the playoff as they did in 2021.

2. Michigan - Beat Iowa

The Wolverines are currently massive 23-point favorites against the Hawkeyes this weekend, but in order to make the CFP, the win does not need to be dominant, sexy or even inspiring. It just needs to be a win. With a loss, similar to Georgia, Michigan would not be out of the running but would require a lot of help to garner an invitation.

3. Washington - Beat Oregon

Despite playing in six one-score games, the Huskies have remained unblemished. The path is straightforward for Washington: win and advance. But a second win over Oregon is going to require by far its best performance of the season.

With a close loss, Washington could still make the it if Georgia and Michigan win, and Florida State and Texas lose. In that instance, the committee would have to weigh the Huskies against the one-loss Seminoles and Buckeyes, and being the only one of the three with a win over a playoff team, the committee could favor Washington.

4. Florida State - Beat Louisville and Pray

History supports the claim that a win should automatically guarantee the Seminoles a spot in the playoff. However, Florida State has been an inconsistent team for the majority of the season and now looks extremely limited with a backup quarterback in place of the injured Jordan Travis.

If the Seminoles barely scrape past Louisville — a team that lost by double digits to three-win Pittsburgh — is that good enough to hold off Texas, Ohio State, or potentially one-loss Georgia, Michigan or Washington? History is on Florida State’s side, but some style points would go a long way in preventing an unprecedented usurping.

5. Oregon - Beat Washington

For Oregon, this is a straightforward win-or-go-home game. If the Ducks exact revenge on Washington, Oregon will move up as high as No. 3 in the rankings and will not require any help to hold off other one-loss contenders. If Oregon loses, the Bo Nix era will end unceremoniously and Dan Lanning is going to face questions about his capability to win the big one.

6. Ohio State - Pray

The Buckeyes are looking to back into the CFP for the second straight year. Being the only idle top-eight team, Ohio State needs Georgia, Michigan and Washington to win in order to eliminate Alabama and Oregon from the mix. Furthermore, the Buckeyes need Florida State and Texas to lose. A Texas loss immediately eliminates the Longhorns and then the committee has to decide if the Seminoles or Buckeyes are more deserving.

With Florida State being down to a back-up quarterback, and a potential Georgia/Ohio State first-round rematch on the table, the committee will favor the Buckeyes.

7. Texas - Beat Oklahoma State/ Georgia, Michigan, or Florida State loss

Texas is one of only two contenders playing this weekend that is not guaranteed a CFP spot with a win. If the top four all win, the Longhorns will need to topple Oklahoma State and hope the committee views them as a better team than undefeated Florida State with a backup quarterback.

The ideal scenario for Texas would be to beat Oklahoma State, have Washington win (an Oregon win doesn’t spoil the party, but it would add more complications), and have either Georgia, Michigan or Florida State lose. If the Bulldogs were the only top-four team to go down, the final spot would come down to Texas (who beat Alabama), Alabama (who just beat Georgia), Georgia, and Ohio State. Could the SEC actually be shut out of the CFP?

If Michigan was the only top-four team to lose, the final spot would be down to Texas and Wolverines. If the Seminoles lost, then it is just between Big 12 champion Texas and Ohio State for the final spot.

With a loss to the Pokes, Texas starts packing for the SEC.

8. Alabama - Beat Georgia, Texas loss

The home loss to Texas has been a thorn in the side of the Crimson Tide all season. It has limited Alabama in the rankings and without a Texas loss, a win over Georgia could keep the Tide AND the SEC out of the playoff.

In order for Alabama to make it in, the Tide need to beat Georgia, and have Texas lose. That would open the door for Michigan, Washington, and Florida State to lock up the top three, and the final spot would come down to SEC champion Alabama and Ohio State to make the CFP.

With a loss to Georgia, Alabama is out of the running and the more ignorant fans of the Tide will start questioning if it’s time to move on from Saban after not winning a national championship since 2020.