The College Football Playoff selection committee will be crammed into a conference room in Grapevine, Texas, this time next week deliberating over its first rankings of the season. But since so many teams the committee will consider for the top of its list are off in Week 9, we can hazard guesses at what some of the discussions will be. In the process, we’ll try to determine contenders’ most likely paths into the playoff.
With Alabama, LSU, Baylor, Michigan State and Ohio State on bye this week, a solid portion of the teams that will be in contention for the top four won’t play again until after the first rankings are released. The safest bet is even though the Buckeyes looked great in a 49–7 win at Rutgers on Saturday, the committee likely won’t agree with the polls on placing them at No. 1. After that, it’s pretty much anyone’s guess. So, let’s go conference by conference and try to figure out who remains in the hunt, and where the committee will land.