Wisconsin needs to win out. Who doesn't?

News flash: The Badgers need to win out to make the College Football Playoff.

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Analysis: Who doesn’t need to win out to make the playoff?

My old place of business, the Chicago Sun-Times, is doing Podcasts in Print. So consider the above two observations Twitter in Print.

Here’s the deal. . .

At No. 5, behind Alabama, Clemson, Miami and Oklahoma Wisconsin is right where it ought to be. Win out, and it moves into the top four in place of the Clemson-Miami loser.

Here’s what I like about the latest CFP rankings. They are neatly positioned to give us entrants from four of the Power 5 conferences.

You don’t need a news flash to know that the Pac-12 is the odd league out. Many of us knew that even before the Shoplifting in China episode.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]

Are there paths for the SEC, which has Auburn and Georgia lurking at 6 and 7, to land two playoff berths? Yup.

Could the ACC place two teams in the Final Four if everything breaks right? Uh-huh.

But I’m not in the mood for what-if at the moment. Just sticking to what’s-likely.

And that is four conferences represented.

Ask Nick Saban if he'd feel comfortable about Alabama's chances if it loses the Iron Bowl, or if it loses the SEC championship game. Ask Dabo Swinney about Clemson's chances if it loses to Miami.

Wear a poncho when you do that. And a flak jacket.

Sometimes we get too fascinated by all kinds of analysis that confuses more than it enlightens.

Here’s the simplest way to look at it: The playoff is tracking for four teams that are either unbeaten or have one loss.

That’s the key stat. Fewest losses.

In its first three years, the playoff has never admitted a team with more than one loss.

Yes, there are scenarios for Auburn and Ohio State to break the mold and get in with two losses. But even that possibility would likely lead to Principle No. 2: If it’s a national playoff, let’s have four teams from different leagues, instead of using a microscope and a tax accountant to justify two teams from one league.

Back to the original point: Wisconsin needs to win out. But barring all kinds of stuff that’s too weird even for college football, so do Alabama, Clemson, Miami, Oklahoma and any other playoff hopefuls.

Ask ‘em if they don’t.[/membership]

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