Following a two-touchdown loss in a snowstorm in the Apple Cup to the then-No. 16 Washington Huskies, the College Football Playoff committee saw fit to drop the 10-2 Washington State Cougars behind a quartet of three-loss teams — all the way to No. 13, making the path to a New Year’s Six bowl exceptionally hard, if not impossible, for WSU.
Here’s how the rankings now look:
In order to be selected for a New Year’s Six bowl — such as the Fiesta Bowl — WSU will need a few things to happen. First and second, they need to get into the top 12 and need no bids to NY6 games from teams outside the top 12. The first thing is going to be very difficult without the second occurring. To start with, none of the three-loss teams in front of WSU have any games left; then, there’s this:
- A loss by the No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes to the No. 21 Northwestern Wildcats likely will result in the Buckeyes remaining ahead of WSU;
- Same thing holds true if the No. 5 Oklahoma Sooners lose to the No. 14 Texas Longhorns;
- And a loss by the No. 10 Huskies to the No. 17 Utah Utes likely will result in UW falling below WSU, but the Utes would then take a NY6 spot as the Pac-12 rep in the Rose Bowl.
Here’s about the only scenario that likely gives WSU a chance to get into a NY6:
- The No. 4 Georgia Bulldogs beat the undefeated and No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide, which would presumably lock in the top four as they are now, assuming the No. 2 Clemson Tigers beat the Pittsburgh Panthers in the ACC Championship;
- Oklahoma beats Texas in the Big 12 Championship to keep the Longhorns away from the top 12;
- UW blasts Utah so that the Apple Cup loss looks less bad to the committee and causes them to rethink WSU’s placement relative to teams such as the Florida Gators and Penn State Nittany Lions, each of whom have nothing on WSU’s resume beyond program prestige.
Given that this all hinges on the committee moving WSU up a spot without them or anyone around them playing, the entire scenario seems pretty unlikely.
(Also: If you’re wondering about the UCF Knights in their conference championship — that has zero impact. The highest ranked Group of 5 team is going to the NY6 no matter where it is ranked.)
Which means you might want to start pricing out those flights to San Antonio, Texas, for the Alamo Bowl. Given where this season started, it’s hard to be disappointed with the Pac-12’s No. 2 bowl. But, here we are. Sigh.