Saturday was one of those days that prove once again why we love college football. It looked "boring" on paper and then gave us absolute chaos. No. 2 Clemson was stunned at home against Pitt, No. 3 Michigan lost at Iowa and No. 4 Washington lost to USC, creating utter chaos. No. 8 Texas A&M and No. 9 Auburn also lost.
So with three of the top four -- and five of the top 10 -- teams falling, what do we know about the playoff picture? Here are 11 major questions.
What do the losses mean for Alabama?
Absolutely nothing. With Auburn's loss, the Tide clinched the SEC West title, meaning that at the very least they'll be playing for an SEC championship in a few weeks in Atlanta.
It also means it would take something catastrophic for 'Bama to miss the playoff -- likely a loss to Auburn in the Iron Bowl and then another loss in the SEC title game. Even then, 'Bama would probably be out of the mix only if all the other major players -- Michigan, Clemson, Washington, Louisville, etc. -- win out.
That's highly unlikely. After Week 11, the Crimson Tide have unofficially punched their ticket to the Final Four.
What are Clemson's chances now?
While Saturday's carnage looked like it could bump Clemson out of the playoff, here's the truth: The Tigers are now, with Washington and Michigan's losses, actually in great shape to make the playoff.
They control their own destiny in the ACC Atlantic and will be ACC champs if they win out. If Michigan wins out, it will be in the playoff as Big Ten champ, but Ohio State can't say the same and Washington's resume wouldn't compare to the Tigers' even if they win out.
After what looked like a disastrous loss to Pitt, Clemson comes out of Saturday just fine (as long as they win out).
Joshua S. KellyJoshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
Can Penn State suddenly crash the playoff?
If Clemson was the biggest winner following Washington's loss, Penn State may have been No. 2.
With Michigan's loss, they're now closer to reaching the Big Ten title game: If Ohio State beats Michigan and the Nittany Lions win out, Penn State is your Big Ten East champ. Under that scenario, both Penn State and Ohio State would have one loss in conference, and PSU would win by virtue of tiebreak.
And if Penn State were then to win the Big Ten title, at 10-2 (with wins over Ohio State and Wisconsin) they'd have a pretty compelling case to make the playoff as a two-loss Power 5 champion.
They still need help from the Buckeyes, but my oh my, James Franklin has to be smiling right now.
Where does Wisconsin fit in?
At 8-2, the Badgers control their own destiny in the Big Ten West, and if they win out -- which would include a Big Ten title -- they, in theory, could make a strong argument for a playoff berth. The only question: How much would head-to-head losses against Ohio State and Michigan hurt the Badgers' chances?
Still, Paul Chryst's club has to be feeling better than it was a few hours ago.
Associated PressMorry Gash
Where does Michigan now stand?
After losing to Iowa, Michigan still has a pretty linear path to the playoff: Beat Ohio State (and assuming they were to beat Indiana next week), and they would be Big Ten East champs.
Then win the Big Ten title and submit their final resume as a one-loss conference champ that beat Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin. There's no way Michigan gets left out of the playoff if it does that.
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY SportsTim Fuller
What does Ohio State need to get in?
The Buckeyes' path might just be the strangest of all.
Winning out and beating Michigan is good, in theory, but if Penn State wins out -- and with games against Rutgers and Michigan State, that's likely -- the Nittany Lions would get into the Big Ten title game.
Assuming that happens, Ohio State would be as a one-loss, non-Big Ten champ, which opens up a number of scenarios.
Would a strong Ohio State schedule (which would include wins over Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Michigan) get them in over a one-loss league champ, like, say, Washington? If two-loss Wisconsin wins the Big Ten, would they jump them by virtue of beating them in the regular season?
Ohio State has to win out and then hope the committee can look past the fact it might not have a conference title on its resume.
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How does the Pac-12 play out?
For simplicity's sake, let's make one thing clear: Washington is still firmly in the playoff chase thanks to losses by Clemson and Michigan. BUT, if they were to lose again, they'd basically be done with two losses.
So let's assume they win out, then the committee would have a whole set of fascinating questions to answer.
Would they value Washington over a one-loss non-champion (like, say, Ohio State)? How about a two-loss conference champion with better quality wins, like Penn State, Wisconsin or Oklahoma? And how much will they be hurt by their weak non-conference schedule?
Washington feels like they'd be in if they win out, but even that isn't certain.
How alive are Louisville's chances?
I love Louisville, but I don't know that any of the carnage Saturday does them any direct good.
Assuming Clemson wins next week, they are ACC Atlantic champs. At that point, Louisville would have to hope for a slew of two-loss conference champions, specifically in the Pac-12 (if Washington loses again) or the Big 12 (Oklahoma, most likely). And even then there'd need to be no other one-loss teams (like, say, Ohio State) in the picture.
Could Louisville -- as a non-champ -- jump those teams? It seems unlikely, but the Cards still have a chance.
Getty ImagesLance King
In the Big 12, what about West Virginia?
The Mountaineers avoided an upset Saturday, and at 8-1 after beating Texas are somehow in the mix here.
For West Virginia, it could all come down to a win next week agaisnt Oklahoma. Beat them, and 11-1 seems likely.
They'd still need help from there, but my goodness could they make a strong case, as a one-loss, Power 5 champ (albeit who didn't play a conference championship game).
Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY SportsBrendan Maloney
What if both Oklahoma and Washington win out?
To me, the Sooners have an interesting case. Yes, they lost two games out of conference, but if they win out, they're a conference champion that went undefeated in league play. They could also defend those two losses - to Houston and Ohio State - a bit by saying they did exactly what the committee asked and scheduled tough non-conference games.
That would put the committee in a tough spot. How much would they value Oklahoma's brutal non-conference schedule, especially when you consider that they went undefeated in the Big 12? That's something Clemson, Michigan, Washington nor any other team with a loss can say (other than Alabama could say).
There's still a lot of work to be done, but the Sooners are better position than anyone realizes.
Is there any chance for Auburn or Texas A&M?
With Auburn losing to Georgia and Texas A&M losing to Ole Miss, they both saw their slim playoff hopes evaporate Saturday.
Got all that above? Good.
On a different note, doesn't a week like this make you appreciate Nick Saban that much more?
Michigan loses. Clemson loses. Washington loses. A&M loses. Auburn too.
But Nick Saban and Alabama? They just keep on rolling.