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Worst-case scenarios for end of college football season

Courtesy of USA Today Images

The end of the college football season has the potential to be a complete and utter disaster, but Team Chaos is a fun club to support if you have no vested interest in championship contenders.

Now, four teams have to make the College Football Playoff, but the committee loves the brand names. If the “worst-case” scenario happens, the brands will be missing—and that’s not a slight on the possible beneficiaries.

Clemson falls to North Carolina in ACC Championship Game

There isn’t a one-loss team receiving less attention than North Carolina. Heading into rivalry week, the Tar Heels are ranked 14th. Two-loss Michigan, Stanford and Florida State are each ahead of UNC.

How great would it be if the Tar Heels finish the season 12-1 with a victory over top-ranked Clemson?

Especially with a little more help, a disrespected North Carolina team can laugh its way into the conversation and demand a seat at the table.

Alabama loses to Florida after Florida State beats Florida

Courtesy of USA Today Images

The committee loves the brand of Alabama. Fans will vehemently deny that, but the Crimson Tide haven’t accomplished much this year. Their lone victory over a still-ranked team is Mississippi State.

Since Alabama has already fallen to Ole Miss, a two-loss Tide squad shouldn’t be in contention, especially if it loses to Florida in the SEC Championship Game—no matter how insanely unlikely that may be.

While 12-1 Florida would grab a spot in the top four if it wins the SEC, 11-2 Florida certainly isn’t guaranteed a place. Florida State could throw yet another wrench in the rankings.

Nebraska stuns Iowa, which upsets Michigan State

Iowa is the darling of 2015. The Hawkeyes have secured a place near the top of the rankings, but a lapse against Nebraska will give the committee an excuse to eliminate a one-loss Iowa team. I hear you, Hawkeyes, it’s a bad double standard. But that’s the way it is.

Anyway, the committee’s easy way out would take a drastic turn when Iowa recovers to topple its opponent in the Big Ten Championship Game, which will likely be 11-1 Michigan State. The conference-champion Spartans would be a shoo-in for the playoff, but that doesn’t apply to a two-loss MSU.

Stanford tops Notre Dame but loses in Pac-12 title

Christian McCaffrey Stanford

Should there be a mess at the top, now-ninth-ranked Stanford is among optimal replacements if the committee needs a 10-2 or 11-2 club. The Cardinal can achieve their best win Saturday against Notre Dame.

But in the Pac-12 Championship Game, USC or UCLA—whichever team wins that rivalry showdown—can derail those dreams, too. After all, both California schools already have three losses.

This scenario would eliminate Stanford and Notre Dame, since a No. 7 ranking for the Fighting Irish suggests the committee is holding out for a signature win. Without that, Notre Dame is basically gone.

All of that madness, plus a Baylor loss

Although the Big 12 is simply hoping to be included after being snubbed in 2014, there’s a slight chance the conference actually sends two programs.

If Team Chaos rules the final two weeks, the winner of Bedlam between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State is undoubtedly a top-four crew. Plus, should Baylor and its third-string quarterback handle rival TCU, the Bears would also be bound for the playoff.

However, 9-2 TCU can hand Baylor its second loss, which would create a three-team transitive circus for second place. TCU would’ve beaten Baylor. Baylor toppled Oklahoma State. Oklahoma State knocked off TCU.

The Big 12 would have One True Champion, but who’s the One True Runner-Up?