USC in Conversation for College Football Playoff

It's worth defining what the term means, precisely. The victor of this game will remain in the hunt through the end of the regular season. The playoff picture is disordered. Here is a look at the four teams most likely to reach the playoff based on a number of factors. One might root for this situation if one believed the committee process was a farce that should be exposed.

As for No. 8 Washington, they are following the same game plan as Clemson, hoping to go through the rest of the season without another loss.

While the Pac-12 will be fought to the bitter end with both of these teams playing Washington and Utah next week respectively, this matchup doesn't lose any of its potency. Should the Buckeyes win, they might even get to avoid the potential stumbling block of the Big Ten championship game.

Iowa has a shot at an eight-win season if it can beat Nebraska at home next week after dispatching IL, 28-0.

We take serious issue with Boise State jumping Western Michigan after beating an awful Hawaii team. Its only losses were to MI and Ohio State, and they were close losses. An 11-1 Ohio State, ranked No. 2, would be sitting there without a conference championship.

Chaos is still plausible. For much of the game, there was doubt as to whether the Buckeyes were better than Michigan State. The conference champions of the Power 5 get an automatic bid, as explained from above (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC). That leaves Alabama and... Wyoming is desperately hanging onto a tiebreaker over Boise State, after UNLV stunned the Cowboys last week, giving Wyoming and Boise State the same conference record. The Broncos shouldn't be in the top 10, but the committee should have them four or five spots higher than 21st.

The Buzz: Browning failed to complete at least 50 percent of his passes for the first time this season, throwing for 259 yards and a touchdown as Washington suffered its first loss of the season - a 26-13 defeat against USC.

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Oklahoma [10-2] The Sooners won their P5 conference undefeated. Kirby Hocutt, the chairman of the CFP committee said a small margin existed between the fourth and fifth spot. The Alabama Crimson Tide made light work of an exhausted Mississippi State team in Tuscaloosa to remain undefeated. But...wins over Wisconsin and Oklahoma on the road. That scenario, though, depends on a few things, and one of them is that Washington loses, which would knock the Pac-12 out of the playoff.

MI [11-2] Those who stayed weren't B1G Champs.

Clemson [11-2] No conference title. The offense will need to show up Saturday in Death Valley, as Florida has an opportunity to clinch the SEC East with a win.

Other Power 5: Louisville, West Virginia, Penn State, and Nebraska also have two losses. They basically teased Western Michigan with a possible New Year's Six spot then yanked it away with no justification.

One thing the BCS system did which made regular season games more interesting is that it made every game a little more important. The Tigers' resume is a bit lacking, especially since Louisville's second loss takes some of the luster off the Tigers' best win.

It would be interesting to see how the committee addressed that one. Minnesota is more than capable of beating the Wildcats, but Northwestern is a tough win every year.

Meeks is in the running for one of the best cornerbacks west of the MS but faces one of his biggest tests since returning from injury this week in the annual Big Game against Cal. Hansen also has been slowed by injuries this season but is still one of the best in the Pac-12 at route running and making tough catches in traffic.

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