Playoff scenarios for every contender

— -- There's only one week left in the regular season before the conference championship games begin (everywhere but the Big 12, that is). That leaves two more auditions for teams to make their final impressions on the 12 members of the College Football Playoff selection committee.

A handful of teams can control their playoff hopes, but more often than not, the teams on the bubble could use a little help down the stretch. The good news? There's still time. Here's a playoff road map to help illustrate how the leading candidates can get there in the final two weeks:

1. Alabama

What the Tide controls: If Alabama beats Auburn in the Iron Bowl, it wins the SEC West and is one step closer to the playoff. Win the SEC and they're in.

Where they need help: If Mississippi State loses to Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl, Alabama will clinch the division regardless of what happens in the Iron Bowl.

2. Oregon

What the Ducks control: They've already clinched the Pac-12 North Division, earning a spot in the conference title game. All Oregon has to do is avoid an upset in the regular-season finale against Oregon State -- a 5-6 team that somehow found a way to upset then-No. 6 Arizona State.

Where they need help: If Stanford could knock off UCLA, it would eliminate the highest-ranked team in the Pac-12 South from facing Oregon in the league title game. That doesn't mean Arizona or Arizona State couldn't upset Oregon in the title game. After all, Arizona handed the Ducks the only loss of the season. But it would mean the Pac-12's best hope at a two-loss league champ in the playoff is out of the picture.

3. Florida State

What the Noles control: FSU has locked up the ACC's Atlantic Division title and is two wins away from a spot in the playoff. FSU must beat rival Florida in the regular-season finale and Georgia Tech in the ACC championship game. Lose either and the Noles are likely out of the top four.

Where they need help: In the court of public opinion. Florida State has won 27 straight games and is the only undefeated Power 5 team remaining, yet the selection committee and seemingly everyone else outside of Tallahassee has pointed to the Noles' slew of close wins as a weakness.

4. Mississippi State

What the Bulldogs control: Beat rival Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl and finish no worse than 11-1. Mississippi State can't afford another loss if it wants to stay in the playoff conversation.

Where they need help: Alabama has to lose and Mississippi State needs to win in order for the Bulldogs to clinch the West Division title. Mississippi State has the most precarious position among the top four teams. To sneak into the playoff at 11-1 and without an SEC title, it needs for either the Big Ten or Big 12 (or both) to falter.

5. TCU

What the Frogs control: They have to win at Texas on Thanksgiving and end the season with a win at home against Iowa State. With a loss to Baylor on the résumé, there's no margin for error in the Big 12 race or the playoff conversation.

Where they need help: TCU needs Baylor to lose. If both teams win out, it's likely Baylor will wind up on top because of the head-to-head result. Also, the more Minnesota wins, the better it is for TCU, as the selection committee has viewed that as a highlight and point of separation between TCU and Baylor.

6. Ohio State

What the Buckeyes control: They've already clinched the East Division title. The only thing left to do is beat Michigan and win the Big Ten title.

Where they need help: From the committee, Wisconsin and the Big 12. Should the Buckeyes win out, the committee will have to forgive the Week 2 home loss to Virginia Tech, which has looked worse with each passing week. The committee has taken the injury to Braxton Miller into consideration, and the Buckeyes have already jumped Baylor, so clearly they are willing to do that.

Ohio State will play the winner of the Minnesota-Wisconsin game in the Big Ten championship, and while both opponents would be ranked, Wisconsin would give the Buckeyes' playoff résumé a bigger boost because Minnesota already has three losses.

It would also help if Mississippi State lost, to eliminate the possibility of a second SEC West team, and Ohio State could also benefit from TCU and Baylor losing.

7. Baylor

What the Bears control: Win the last two games at home against Texas Tech and K-State -- and do it as convincingly as TCU did.

Where they need help: Baylor needs Ohio State to stumble. The Buckeyes jumped Baylor in last week's playoff ranking, and they've got a good chance to stay there if they win out and win the Big Ten title against a ranked East team. Of course, it would also help settle the dispute with TCU if the Horned Frogs would just lose one of their last two games.


What the Bruins control: Beat Stanford and UCLA clinches the Pac-12 South title. It's all they need to get a shot at avenging their regular-season loss to Oregon.

Where they need help: From the selection committee. Should UCLA win out and beat Oregon in the Pac-12 title game, the committee would have to consider a two-loss Pac-12 champ for the inaugural playoff. Would UCLA's résumé be enough to squeeze out a one-loss Big Ten champ or a one-loss Big 12 champ? Or an 11-1 SEC West runner up?

9. Georgia

What the Bulldogs control: Nothing as far as the SEC East race is concerned, but they've got to beat rival Georgia Tech to keep any playoff hopes alive. A third loss would be devastating, even to a potential SEC East champ.

Where they need help: Missouri needs to lose for Georgia to win the SEC East. If that happens, the next step is winning the SEC, which would mean a win over Alabama or Mississippi State. If that happens, Georgia would need some help from the selection committee. For the Bulldogs to get into the playoff, the committee would have to forgive the losses to South Carolina and Florida, two teams that have combined for a 7-9 record in league play.