At this point, it appears a foregone conclusion that the winner of Saturday's Big Ten Championship Game between undefeated Iowa and one-loss Michigan State will grab one of the four spots in the College Football Playoff.
But here's an interesting topic of discussion: Is there a way one of those teams can be the No. 1 seed in the Playoff? It seems entirely possible.
If the Spartans beat the Hawkeyes in Indianapolis, will there be a better resume in the country than Michigan State's? Let's take a look.
In this scenario, Michigan State will boast wins over top-10 teams in Iowa and Ohio State, plus wins over Michigan and Oregon, two teams that will also be ranked in the top 25, likely in the top 20.
Can that quartet of wins be challenged by any team out there?
Let's say Clemson defeats North Carolina in the ACC title game. The Tigers would come close to matching the Spartans with impressive wins over Notre Dame, North Carolina and Florida State. But Clemson's fourth-best win? Let's just say the ACC isn't a mighty impressive conference this season.
What about Oklahoma, the newly minted Big 12 champs? The Sooners looked incredible in a crushing of Oklahoma State on Saturday and have three straight big wins over Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma State. Is there a fourth, though? Not really. The Big 12's pretty top-heavy, too, with seven-win teams West Virginia and Texas Tech representing the next tier.
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And Alabama? That's not even a question. Just four SEC teams were ranked in the most-recent Playoff rankings: Alabama, Florida, Ole MIss and Mississippi State. Alabama's only played the Mississippi schools, only beating Mississippi State. That's right, the Tide have just one win over a currently ranked team. And after the Bulldogs lost to the Rebels on Saturday, it's possible the Tide will enter the conference championship game with no wins against currently ranked teams. The SEC certainly presents a tough schedule, but the conference has cannibalized itself as it often does, and the rankings just don't have an abundance of SEC teams. The Tide will play the two-loss Gators in the SEC title game this weekend, but the Gators have impressed no one in winning a weak SEC East Division.
The only other Power 5 conference champion will hail from the Pac-12, and to have a shot at making the Playoff, it'll have to be Stanford, as USC is currently unranked. The Cardinal have two losses but do have an impressive win over Notre Dame. But they're just not in the same class as the other four right at this moment. That could change should chaos reign on championship weekend.
When those five teams are the Power 5 conference champs, it certainly looks like Michigan State should have an edge in the impressive-wins department. Of course, there are other factors, including how teams have played throughout the season and how they've earned their wins. Certainly the Spartans have not played their best football in each and every game this season, pulling out narrow victories against weak competition and struggling on defense in several games. But look at the resume, and the wins are most definitely there.
Does it mean that in this scenario, the Spartans would get the No. 1 seed? No, the committee doesn't always do what everyone thinks it should.
But for a team that three weeks ago looked done following that loss at Nebraska, a really good chance at the No. 1 seed in the Playoff is extraordinarily impressive.