Best and worst scenarios for the College Football Playoff contenders

Of the nine Power Five teams with fewer than two losses, only Alabama finds itself in the enviable position of having ample room for error.

No one — not even No. 2 Clemson — is so lucky. While on solid footing two weeks into November, the Tigers are not a lock for a top-four finish without another ACC championship. Likewise with the third Power Five unbeaten, Notre Dame, which can’t afford to lose one of its final three games of the regular season.

The final month of the regular season could play out smoothly or, perhaps more likely, resemble a nine-car pileup. Let’s look at the scenarios for each of the Power Five teams with fewer than two losses to either make or miss the top four. (All rankings are per the College Football Playoff’s latest Top 25.)

No. 1 Alabama (9-0)

Remaining games: vs. No. 16 Mississippi State, vs. The Citadel, vs. No. 24 Auburn, vs. No. 5 Georgia (in SEC championship game).

Toughest game: Georgia. The matchup with Mississippi State’s defensive front is interesting and Auburn’s always a frenzied rivalry, but Georgia provides the toughest obstacle to a perfect regular season.

How Alabama gets in: Winning out is the easiest road, but the Tide can still lose once and crack the top four.

Worst-case scenario: The Tide lose to Auburn on Nov. 24 and then to Georgia a week later. Two losses would eliminate even Alabama.

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