There are 267 total games, including conference championship games, remaining in the FBS regular season. If the current highest placed teams win all 267 games, Georgia, Michigan State, Oklahoma, and Cincinnati would be our playoff teams with an undefeated Wake Forest coming up one point short. Of course, there will be plenty of “upsets” between now and the end of the regular season, but it is interesting to see where teams stand based on this scenario. If we only change the outcome of the SEC title game to give Alabama a win over Georgia, those two teams finish fifth and sixth respectively without help elsewhere. Ohio State currently sits behind Michigan and Michigan State. Therefore, the Buckeyes are projected to finish 9-3. However, if the Buckeyes win out, they will finish in second place under this scenario. Michigan can still finish in the top four by winning out even they do not make it to Indianapolis, but the Wolverines would need some help. If Baylor and Oklahoma State win their remaining conference games and knock out Oklahoma, their rematch in the Big 12 title game would likely have a top four finish at stake. Both can also make the top four by winning out and beating Oklahoma twice. Oregon, even at 12-1, needs a lot of help to finish in the top four. The same is true for a 13-0 UTSA and an 11-1 Notre Dame. The only current two-loss team with much chance is 6-2 Auburn. A 5-0 run to close out their season would include wins over Texas A&M, Alabama, and Georgia, and they would probably still need a little help from others.
As for the current standings, Georgia remains in first place for the fifth straight week after an easy win over Florida. Michigan remains in second place despite blowing a 16-point lead to rival Michigan State in a 37-33 loss. Like Michigan, third place Notre Dame sits ahead of an undefeated team that defeated it. However, as both Michigan State and Cincinnati are projected to finish in the top four, the Spartans and the Bearcats control their own destiny. Finally, remember when Iowa and Penn State were top four teams that battled down to the wire? That was a combined 0-4 ago. The Hawkeyes followed up a bad loss to PU with an equally PU performance against Wisconsin. At least Penn State challenged Ohio State in the “Big House” this past Saturday.
In FCS play, the top three includes the winners of the last ten FCS titles. Eight-time champion North Dakota State remains in first place followed by defending champion Sam Houston State and James Madison in second and third place respectively. The Dukes, who won the title in 2016, may be competing for the FCS title for the last time. James Madison is expected to move up to the FBS and join the Sun Belt Conference. Northern Iowa rounds out the top four despite three losses. The Panthers have defeated five opponents with 25 combined wins. Their three losses include a loss to FBS Iowa State and #1 North Dakota State. With three weeks left until Selection Sunday, those four teams plus Montana State, East Tennessee State, Southern Illinois, and UT Martin make up the eight teams that would receive first round byes in the playoffs under the current standings.