Michigan’s College Football Playoff hopes took a hit Friday night when No. 4 Washington made a statement and won the Pac-12 championship with a 41-10 victory over No. 8 Colorado.
Kirby Hocutt, the College Football Playoff committee chairman, joined College GameDay on Saturday morning, and the No. 5 Wolverines were the big topic of conversation. Hocutt said earlier in the week that the separation between Michigan and Washington was “extremely small.”
After Washington’s win, Hocutt was asked by GameDay host Rece Davis if that separation had changed. Hocutt danced around an answer, but it didn’t sound great for the Wolverines.
“That margin of separation was very small,” Hocutt said. “Washington was impressive in a quality win against Colorado.”
If the window of opportunity to jump the Huskies is closed, the Wolverines now need help from No. 23 Virginia Tech, which faces No. 3 Clemson on Saturday night in the ACC title game.
So what happens in Clemson goes down? Would the Tigers be jumped by Michigan? Could the Big Ten champion, whether it be No. 6 Wisconsin or No. 7 Penn State, get in the field? And what about No. 9 Oklahoma if the Sooners beat No. 10 Oklahoma State and win the Big 12?
Davis turned the conversation with Hocutt to that scenario. He asked the chairman how close the gap between Michigan and those other three teams (Wisconsin, Penn State and Oklahoma) is.
Again, Hocutt didn’t give a direct answer and said he can’t know how the other committee members view the teams. But Hocutt said there is a “close separation” between Michigan and the other top 10 teams behind it.
A Virginia Tech win would be the best-case scenario for the Big Ten, and the worst-case scenario for the committee’s sleep schedule. Will chaos ensue Saturday night?