The 17 teams that can make the College Football Playoff

Illustration by ESPN

Even Alabama coach Nick Saban will concede that right now, Georgia is at the top of college football. That doesn't mean Alabama can't change that narrative. Or Tennessee. Or LSU. Or Ohio State.

"Georgia has won two national championships in a row, so I'd say for the moment they are the best," Saban told ESPN this spring. "They've proven on the field that they are the best for the last two years. But success is not a continuum for us. It's not a continuum for anyone."

According to the College Football Power Index, nobody has a better chance to make the College Football Playoff -- and win it -- than Ohio State. Georgia is right behind the Buckeyes, but they're hardly alone, as there are 17 teams with at least a 1% chance of making the CFP this fall. Of those 17 teams, 11 are given at least a 1% chance to win the national title. The sport only has a handful of truly elite teams, but the beauty lies in its ability to surprise us. Think TCU last year. Or Cincinnati the year before. Who could that be in 2023?

While the FPI percentages generated below come from a formula derived by ESPN Analytics, the selection committee brings a human element to the process, so we factor that in to determine how well the percentages line up with what could happen in the room. We've also noted odds from Las Vegas courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook. The teams are ranked in order of the best chance to reach the playoff, according to FPI (through July 31).

Ohio State

Last year's record: 11-2
FPI projection: Make playoff: 82.2% | Win national title: 36.7%
Caesars Sportsbook odds to make playoff: +105

Agree or disagree with FPI: Somewhat agree. This team is definitely CFP material, but it shouldn't be given a higher chance than Michigan -- at least not yet -- considering the Wolverines have a veteran starting quarterback returning from a CFP team that beat the Buckeyes the past two seasons. Ohio State's defense will play better and smarter in the second season under coordinator Jim Knowles, the roster is still oozing NFL draft talent on both sides, and there is proven CFP experience.

Toughest test: Nov. 25 at Michigan. No game will have bigger CFP implications, not just in the Big Ten, but nationally. If Ryan Day loses to Jim Harbaugh again, it will be the first time since 1995-97 that Ohio State lost three straight to Michigan.

What the committee will like: A nonconference road win against a CFP Top 25 Notre Dame team, another season of dazzling offense and convincing wins, and an improved defense that's more physical up front against better competition like Michigan.

What the committee won't like: No Big Ten title and no statement road win. If Ohio State doesn't win the Big Ten East division again this year, it has to compensate for it in other ways to prove to the committee it's still "unequivocally" one of the four best teams in the country. The Buckeyes have three great opportunities to build their road résumé against what should be CFP top 25 teams -- Sept. 23 at Notre Dame, Oct. 28 at Wisconsin and Nov. 25 at Michigan. If there's no Big Ten title, Ohio State can't afford to do worse than 2-1 against those teams, and it can't play ugly.


Last year's record: 15-0
FPI projection: Make playoff: 63.1% | Win national title: 19.1%
Caesars Sportsbook odds to make playoff: -240

Agree or disagree with FPI: Agree. Kirby Smart is building an empire poised to be a CFP regular -- especially in a 12-team format -- but there's a reason nobody has won three straight national titles since 1936. Somebody will likely prevent Georgia from doing it, too, but they'll at least get a shot.

Toughest test: Nov. 18 at Tennessee. This game should decide the winner of the SEC East division, and the Vols will have home field advantage as they look to avenge last year's 27-13 loss.

What the committee will like: More convincing wins highlighted by another stifling defense. This isn't exactly the most daunting schedule, so Georgia can help itself by leaving no doubt it is the better team against lesser opponents. Last year, Georgia was No. 1 in the country in points margin per game (26.8) and led the nation by outscoring opponents by 402 total points. Even with eight defensive players chosen in the NFL draft -- including a record-breaking five in the first round -- Georgia returns four of its top five players in tackles, and the top three players in sacks.

What the committee won't like: A loss to Tennessee. If Georgia doesn't win the SEC East, its schedule could be problematic -- especially if there are ho-hum performances like last year's 26-22 win against unranked Missouri. Georgia was supposed to play Oklahoma this year, but the game was canceled because the Sooners are joining the SEC in 2024. Ball State was added as a replacement. The Bulldogs open the season with four straight home games for the first time since 1999. If Georgia doesn't beat the Vols, it needs to hope the eye test and home wins against South Carolina and Ole Miss are enough to convince the committee they're a top-four team without a division title. Georgia also needs a win against Florida to matter beyond bragging rights.


Last year's record: 11-2
FPI projection: Make playoff: 62.1% | Win national title: 20.4%
Caesars Sportsbook odds to make playoff: +150

Agree or disagree with FPI: Agree. The Tide is in the correct spot here -- a legit playoff contender behind Georgia -- especially as Alabama enters this season with more questions than in recent years. Last year was evidence that Alabama doesn't get in the playoff on name alone, but with Nick Saban and plenty of talent returning, the Tide can always make a CFP comeback.

Toughest test: Sept. 9 vs. Texas. Alabama's schedule is packed with difficult games, particularly against Tennessee and LSU, but Alabama will have a bye week to prepare for their home game against the Tigers and motivation will be high at home against the Vols. The game against Texas, though, will have CFP implications just two weeks into the season, when Alabama is still trying to work out the kinks with a new quarterback and two new coordinators (although defensive coordinator Kevin Steele is no stranger to Tuscaloosa). This was a one-point game last year and should be another close one.

What the committee will like: A nonconference win against a Big 12 champion Texas team. That could be huge if Alabama comes up short again in the SEC West and finishes the season with one loss and no SEC title.

What the committee won't like: A repeat of last year. It's not that a two-loss team can't finish in the top four, it's that last year's two-loss Alabama team didn't win its division when other Power 5 conferences had teams make stronger cases. If Alabama doesn't beat Texas, it probably has to at least win the SEC West.


Last year's record: 8-5
FPI projection: Make playoff: 34.2% | Win national title: 5.7%
Caesars Sportsbook odds to make playoff: +300

Agree or disagree with FPI: Disagree. This seems like overconfidence in a team that has yet to prove it's the best in the Big 12 and travels to Tuscaloosa in Week 2. If Texas doesn't beat Alabama, it's going to be under pressure to win out -- which seems unlikely, leaving a two-loss Texas outside the top four.

Toughest test: Sept. 9 at Alabama. There simply isn't another opponent on the Longhorns' schedule as good as the Tide. Last year, the Texas defense fizzled in the fourth quarter and Alabama kicked a go-ahead field goal with 10 seconds left to win 20-19.

What the committee will like: A win against Bama. If Texas beats the Tide, it immediately legitimizes its CFP hopes and starts to build its case for a top-four finish, even without winning the Big 12. Texas could ultimately have a win over the SEC champ (or just the SEC West winner) which would bolster its résumé if it winds up in a debate with another comparable team. Texas could run the table but lose a close game in the Big 12 championship, opening the possibility of the Longhorns finishing in the top four with Alabama or instead of the Tide because of the head-to-head result, depending on how Alabama finishes.

What the committee won't like: The new-look Big 12. The conference has added BYU, Houston, Cincinnati and UCF, and Texas is facing BYU and Houston this year. While the newcomers might play their way into the CFP top 25, wins against these new Big 12 opponents aren't going to resonate much more than they did without the Power 5 label.


Last year's record: 13-1
FPI projection: Make playoff: 25.9% | Win national title: 3.9%
Caesars Sportsbook odds to make playoff: +115

Agree or disagree with FPI: Disagree. After reaching the CFP twice in the past two years and returning a bulk of that experience, Michigan's chances should be higher and ahead of Ohio State. Right now, Michigan has the edge in returning quarterback experience with J.J. McCarthy, and a proven running game with the duo of Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards that has been more physical up front in the rivalry game.

Toughest test: Coin toss between The Game and the Nov. 11 trip to Penn State. Ohio State is the more talented opponent and will have so much at stake, but the Nittany Lions will have home field advantage in what will feel like a Super Bowl for them. PSU will have already played at Ohio State and by this time will know if the home game against Michigan is a must-win to at least force a three-way tie in the Big Ten East.

What the committee will like: A dominant start and a November to remember. Michigan might not face a ranked opponent until mid-November, so it will need to replicate last year's formula. Michigan scored at least 50 points in its first three wins against Colorado State, Hawai'i and UConn last year. The Wolverines don't have to run up the score against ECU, UNLV and Bowling Green, but they won't help themselves by scrapping their way to wins against unranked, unheralded opponents -- especially considering Michigan opens with four straight home games. Michigan's schedule is backloaded, though, with three of the last five games on the road (Oct. 21 at Michigan State, Nov. 11 at Penn State, Nov. 18 at Maryland), before ending the regular season Nov. 25 against the Buckeyes. Maryland, which gave Michigan fits last year, shouldn't be overlooked.

What the committee won't like: A nonconference schedule without Power 5 opponents. This will become a concern if Michigan doesn't win the Big Ten, or is in a debate with another contender with a similar record (i.e. a Texas team that has a win against Alabama on its résumé, or an LSU team that beat a ranked Florida State, or a USC that beats Notre Dame).


Last year's record: 11-3
FPI projection: Make playoff: 24.7% | Win national title: 2.7%
Caesars Sportsbook odds to make playoff: +320

Agree or disagree with FPI: Disagree. Give the Trojans a little more respect. They return the Heisman Trophy winner in quarterback Caleb Williams, coach Lincoln Riley is entering his second season following the biggest one-season victory turnaround in USC history, and the Trojans get Utah, Washington and UCLA at home.

Toughest test: Nov. 4 vs. Washington. These teams didn't meet last year, and if anyone is capable of challenging USC for the Pac-12 title this year, it's the Huskies. While Texas is gaining traction as a possible CFP team, remember Washington beat the Longhorns in the Alamo Bowl to finish 11-2 last year.

What the committee will like: The razzle dazzle offense. USC ranked among the top five in the country last year in numerous categories, including yards per game, yards per play and points per game. USC also ranked No. 1 in turnover margin and broke six USC offensive records. Had USC defeated Utah to win the Pac-12 title last year, that offense would have been enough for a top-four finish, despite a subpar defense. They can do it again, but there's a catch -- the defense has to be better to win the Pac-12, especially if it's against an offense as good as Washington's.

What the committee won't like: Another Friday night flop. The Pac-12 has been notorious in recent years for faceplanting when it has the committee's undivided attention on championship weekend. It's the only time the committee members gather to watch games in person at their headquarters at the Gaylord Texan resort in Grapevine, Texas. USC entered last year's Pac-12 championship game as the committee's No. 4 team, and a win would have cemented that spot. Instead, USC allowed Utah to score 30 points in the second half before losing 47-24.


Last year's record: 11-3
FPI projection: Make playoff: 24.2% | Win national title: 2.8%
Caesars Sportsbook odds to make playoff: +360

Agree or disagree with FPI: Agree. Clemson has plenty of opportunities to impress the selection committee and a great chance to make the ACC championship game during the league's first season without divisions. Florida State is hardly the only obstacle to the CFP, though.

Toughest test: Sept. 23 vs. Florida State. This will be the early indicator of which team to take a little more seriously as the ACC's best hope at a top-four team. FSU, led by Heisman hopeful quarterback Jordan Travis, will have already learned a lot about itself from its opener against LSU.

What the committee will like: A 2-0 record against Notre Dame and South Carolina. Last year, Clemson went 0-2 against them, which is why the ACC title wasn't enough for a top-four finish. If both of those nonconference opponents finish the season as CFP top 25 teams again, it will give Clemson some cushion to finish in the top four as a one-loss conference champion, or possibly even as a one-loss runner-up. Clemson could beat FSU during the regular season but lose its only game in a close loss to the Seminoles in the ACC championship. Or, the Tigers could lose to FSU during the regular season, but avenge it with an ACC title against the Noles. In both of those scenarios, Clemson would have a strong case for a top-four finish -- but only if they are also 2-0 against Notre Dame and South Carolina.

What the committee won't like: Another average offense. There's a reason coach Dabo Swinney made some changes to the offense following the 31-14 loss to Tennessee in the Orange Bowl. He hired Garrett Riley from TCU to upgrade the Tigers and develop quarterback Cade Klubnik. Beyond the two losses last year, Clemson simply didn't look like top-four material, and much of that had to do with a pedestrian offense. The Tigers ranked No. 72 in the country with 5.6 yards per play last year. The loss to Tennessee was evidence of where Clemson was and where it needs to go.


Last year's record: 10-4
FPI projection: Make playoff: 23.7% | Win national title: 4.1%
Caesars Sportsbook odds to make playoff: +300

Agree or disagree with FPI: Disagree. LSU's chances of making the CFP should be higher after winning the West in the first season under coach Brian Kelly. The Tigers should be even better, and they don't have to face Tennessee in a crossover game.

Toughest test: Nov. 4 at Alabama. This game will go a long way in determining the winner of the West, and Alabama will have home field advantage -- not to mention motivation after last year's 32-31 overtime loss to LSU.

What the committee will like: The strength of schedule. If LSU survives this, it will have defeated Florida State, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Alabama -- all on the road. It's enough to make the committee forget about Grambling and Georgia State. It's also possible LSU has a win against the eventual ACC champs, if the Seminoles can beat Clemson.

What the committee won't like: An 0-2 record against Bama and FSU. Those are the Tigers' two best chances at a statement win, and if LSU doesn't win the SEC, it's going to need a win against one of them to make a compelling case. If not, the committee will remember Grambling and Georgia State are on the schedule, too.

Notre Dame

Last year's record: 9-4
FPI projection: Make playoff: 15.8% | Win national title: 1.6%
Caesars Sportsbook odds to make playoff: +750

Agree or disagree with FPI: Agree. It's a bit of a stretch to consider the Irish a playoff contender in the second season under Marcus Freeman, but they shouldn't be counted out entirely following a strong finish.

Toughest test: Sept. 23 vs. Ohio State. Notre Dame lost to the Buckeyes 21-10 in last year's season opener, but it was still viewed by many as a respectable debut for Freeman. Now, having home field advantage, this will be a good gauge to determine how much better the Irish will be in his second season -- and how far they have to go to close the gap with the nation's elite.

What the committee will like: Wins against Power 5 conference champions. Because Notre Dame remains independent and can't win a conference title, it faces a higher burden of proof in the selection committee meeting room to finish in the top four. There is no better way to prove its playoff caliber to the committee than by beating what could be other Power 5 conference champions. In this case, Ohio State, Clemson and USC. Imagine if all three of those opponents won their respective leagues -- but lost to the Irish. Suddenly, those percentages above would change drastically, wouldn't they?

What the committee won't like: Another loss to an inferior opponent. Notre Dame's loss to Marshall was one of the biggest upsets of the season last year, but it was the Oct. 15 loss to Stanford that raised eyebrows. The win ended Stanford's 11-game losing streak against FBS opponents. If the Irish are going to reassert themselves nationally, those kinds of losses can't happen again. Without a conference title, Notre Dame can basically afford to lose one game -- and it better be a close one to another playoff contender like Ohio State, USC or Clemson.


Last year's record: 6-7
FPI projection: Make playoff: 10.7% | Win national title: 1%
Caesars Sportsbook odds to make playoff: +900

Agree or disagree with FPI: Disagree. After a 6-7 season that included a 49-0 loss to rival Texas, expectations should be higher -- but not that high. Even the defense, which is Brent Venables' forte, hit the worst marks by a defense under Venables in his career.

Toughest test: Oct. 7 vs. Texas. This is the last Big 12 edition of the Red River Showdown, and last year's loss was the largest shutout loss in school history. Oklahoma hasn't lost two straight against Texas since 2008-09.

What the committee will like: Unofficial state titles in both Oklahoma and Texas. OU can win its home state by beating Tulsa and Oklahoma State on the road, and it can get the edge in Texas with wins over SMU, Texas and TCU. If OU is going to be taken seriously as a CFP contender, it doesn't have to look far to build its case in the committee meeting room.

What the committee won't like: The schedule. This will be the first time since 2000 Oklahoma will not play a Power 5 opponent in a regular season nonconference game. The Sooners were originally scheduled to play Georgia, but the game was canceled because of OU's eventual move to the SEC. The Sooners also face three of the four new conference members in Cincinnati, BYU and UCF, which replace Baylor, Kansas State and Texas Tech -- three of the six Big 12 teams that beat OU last year.

Penn State

Last year's record: 11-2
FPI projection: Make playoff: 10.7% | Win national title: 1%
Caesars Sportsbook odds to make playoff: +375

Agree or disagree with FPI: Disagree. Penn State should have a higher chance to reach the playoff because it has its best chance to win the Big Ten since 2016, the last time the Nittany Lions won the conference.

Toughest test: Oct. 21 at Ohio State. Penn State has defeated the Buckeyes only once since 2013, and this likely would be the Nittany Lions first game against a ranked opponent this season.

What the committee will like: The so-called eye test, as PSU should be one of the more complete teams in the mix. Penn State's defense can again be one of the best in the country in the second season under coordinator Manny Diaz, and the offense will be propelled by a rapidly emerging running game and arguably the best and deepest offensive line under coach James Franklin.

What the committee won't like: The nonconference schedule. Wins -- even lopsided ones -- against West Virginia, Delaware and UMass aren't going to do anything to separate Penn State from another contender with a stronger nonconference lineup if there's a debate. That puts extra pressure on Penn State to at least split with Ohio State and Michigan to have a chance. Since 2013, Penn State has faced them both every season and has never gone 2-0 against them. Unless Maryland or another Big Ten opponent plays its way into the CFP top 25, Penn State might have only two chances to boost its résumé against a ranked opponent -- Ohio State and Michigan.


Last year's record: 10-3
FPI projection: Make playoff: 4.9% | Win national title: .2%
Caesars Sportsbook odds to make playoff: +600

Agree or disagree with FPI: Disagree. Insert Demi Moore's "strenuously object" line from "A Few Good Men" here. How is Oregon on this list and not Washington?! They're so similar and they should BOTH be ranked ahead of Oklahoma based on what they have returning from successful 2023 seasons.

Toughest test: Oct. 14 at Washington. This should be one of the more entertaining, impactful games of the season. Both programs are trending up just as USC and UCLA are preparing to head out.

What the committee will like: Statement road wins. Don't sleep on the Week 2 trip to Texas Tech, which could be a sneaky good Big 12 contender. While it's not exactly last year's blockbuster opener against Georgia, this might wind up even more beneficial for the Ducks because a) it shouldn't be another drubbing, and b) Texas Tech has potential to finish as a CFP top 25 team. A road win against the Red Raiders, plus wins at conference heavyweights Washington and Utah, would legitimize the Ducks as a contender if they're undefeated heading into November.

What the committee won't like: A forgettable finish. It wasn't the 49-3 loss to eventual national champion Georgia that ultimately kept the Ducks out of the playoff last year. It was the 2-2 record in November, with a close home loss to Washington and a road loss to rival Oregon State.

Florida State

Last year's record: 10-3
FPI projection: Make playoff: 4.4% | Win national title: .3%
Caesars Sportsbook odds to make playoff: +375

Agree or disagree with FPI: Disagree. FSU's chances should be significantly higher -- ahead of Oklahoma (which it beat) and Notre Dame -- and right next to Clemson. According to ESPN's Bill Connelly, nobody in the FBS returns more production than FSU (87%).

Toughest test: Sept. 23 at Clemson. Since 2015, the Noles are 0-7 against Clemson. Their last win in Death Valley was in 2013 -- when FSU won the national title.

What the committee will like: Wins outside of Tally and a productive offense led by Heisman hopeful quarterback Jordan Travis. FSU can make arguably the biggest September CFP statement by beating LSU and winning at Clemson, plus it ends the season with a trip to the Swamp. In past years, the selection committee chair has taken time to recognize standout players who are the driving force behind a team's success, and Travis can catapult the Seminoles to the next level. FSU ended last season scoring at least 35 points in six straight games, their longest streak since 2013. Travis is back for his sixth season, including five with FSU. His 1,734 rushing yards at FSU are the most of any quarterback in program history.

What the committee won't like: An 0-2 record against the SEC. An ACC title won't be enough if FSU doesn't at least split with LSU and Florida, two difficult games outside of Tallahassee. Florida State can lose one of those games and still finish in the top four, but then it needs to beat Clemson, probably twice.


Last year's record: 10-4
FPI projection: Make playoff: 3.9% | Win national title: .2%
Caesars Sportsbook odds to make playoff: +1200

Agree or disagree with FPI: Agree. A third straight Pac-12 title is a reasonable expectation -- quarterback Cam Rising returns, and the defense is always one of the league's best -- but the Utes haven't been consistent enough during the regular season to reach the next level.

Toughest test: Oct. 21 at USC. Utah had the edge against the Trojans twice last year -- first during the regular season and again in the Pac-12 championship game, knocking USC out of the No. 4 playoff spot. It's hard to imagine USC will allow it to happen a third straight time, especially on their home turf, in Lincoln Riley's second season.

What the committee will like: Two Power 5 nonconference opponents -- if Florida and Baylor are better this year. Utah opens the season with back-to-back games against opponents from the SEC and Big 12, respectively, which could give the Utes' résumé a boost on Selection Day. The committee doesn't just reward teams for wins against CFP top 25 teams; it also acknowledges respectable wins against opponents over .500. That means both Florida and Baylor have to be better than their 6-7 records last year.

What the committee won't like: A slow September start. Last year, Utah lost to both Florida and UCLA -- two opponents the Utes will face at home before the end of September. If Utah doesn't win those games this year, its role in the playoff will again be limited to spoiler.


Last year's record: 11-2
FPI projection: Make playoff: 2.5% | Win national title: .2%
Caesars Sportsbook odds to make playoff: N/A

Agree or disagree with FPI: Disagree. The Vols are trending up under coach Josh Heupel, and opportunities against both Alabama and Georgia can put Tennessee back where it was last year -- in the top four. The question is if it can stay there this time.

Toughest test: Nov. 18 vs. Georgia. Last year, the Vols couldn't do it with SEC offensive player of the year Hendon Hooker. Now they've got to find a way to win at the highest level without him. Georgia's defense will again be stifling, and the Vols didn't score a touchdown last year until the final five minutes. This game should again decide the SEC East winner.

What the committee will like: The schedule. With crossover games against Alabama and Texas A&M, plus the Nov. 18 game against Georgia, the Vols have enough chances at statement wins to help the committee forget Austin Peay, UTSA and UConn.

What the committee won't like: An 0-2 record against the SEC West. The Vols have back-to-back October games against Texas A&M and Alabama, and if Tennessee loses both of those games, that puts its hopes of winning the division in jeopardy -- even with a win against Georgia. If Georgia's only regular-season loss is to Tennessee, and the Vols have two losses, Georgia would still win the East. The division the Vols are in only becomes a factor in a tiebreaker situation. Would a win against the defending national champs be enough for a top-four finish? With two losses and no division or SEC title, it wouldn't be a guarantee.


Last year's record: 13-2
FPI projection: Make playoff: 1.2% | Win national title: .1%
Caesars Sportsbook odds to make playoff: +4000

Agree or disagree with FPI: Agree. The fairytale was nice while it lasted, but the reality is TCU returns just 11 starters from last year's CFP team and gutsy quarterback Max Duggan isn't one of them. And yet ... nobody gave the Frogs a chance last year, either, so a sliver of hope seems about right.

Toughest test: Nov. 11 vs. Texas. TCU beat the Longhorns 17-10 last year in Austin.

What the committee will like: A Big 12 title -- or last year's miracle. It's a replica of the Frogs' 2023 path, which required near perfection and for the committee to rank some of TCU's Big 12 opponents to help overcome an otherwise pedestrian schedule. The season-opener against Colorado could be very interesting since the Buffs will be one of the most unpredictable teams in the country in their first season under coach Deion Sanders. Only time will tell how a win -- or a loss -- against Colorado will impact TCU's playoff hopes.

What the committee won't like: Losing the unofficial state title in November. If TCU is going to finish in the top four, it has to first win its own state and finish the regular season with wins against Texas Tech, Texas and Baylor. If it loses one of those games but goes on to win the Big 12 title, TCU can still make a case for the top four -- if that's its only loss -- but it certainly can't lose to two of those in-state opponents.


Last year's record: 7-6
FPI projection: Make playoff: 1% | Win national title: .1%
Caesars Sportsbook odds to make playoff: +750

Agree or disagree with FPI: Agree. Luke Fickell is good, but CFP-in-his-first-season good? Let's give him a minute.

Toughest test: Oct. 28 vs. Ohio State. This is a crossover game that beefs up the Badgers' schedule, and it's possible they face each other a second time in the Big Ten championship game if they win their respective divisions.

What the committee will like: Convincing wins. This is hardly a juggernaut schedule, so if Wisconsin is going to get any top-four consideration, it's going to have to look the part. With the exception of Ohio State, none of the Badgers' opponents finished in the Associated Press Top 25 last year, and they each finished with at least four losses.

What the committee won't like: No statement wins. If Wisconsin doesn't beat Ohio State during the regular season, it's best win will be against ... Illinois? Minnesota? Purdue? Washington State? A road win against Wazzu could wind up being better than what some other CFP contenders have on their nonconference schedule, but without the regular-season win against Ohio State, Wisconsin would need the Big Ten title to have a shot.