How Iowa State Could Get a Shot at the College Football Playoff
Just three days away from their first-ever Big 12 Championship Game, the Iowa State Cyclones received great news last night when they moved up two spots, to number six, in the College Football Playoff rankings. Iowa State could still make its way into the top four, and a shot at the national title. Yes, it's a longshot and they'll need plenty of help. Here's what has to happen.
Let's begin with the most obvious. Win. #6 Iowa State plays #10 Oklahoma at 11 a.m. Saturday morning in the Big 12 Championship Game. Iowa State must win, and they'll need to do it in impressive fashion. A victory would make it six straight wins for the Cyclones.
Cheer for Notre Dame against Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. The Fighting Irish sit at #2 and have already defeated #3 Clemson once. Of course, they did it when Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who will likely be the first player taken in the NFL draft, was out with COVID-19. Still, Clemson lost by only seven, in double overtime. If Clemson beats Notre Dame, that's trouble for Iowa State. Both the Tigers and Fighting Irish would have just one loss, against each other, and it would be shocking if they didn't both make the final four.
Root for Northwestern. The #14 Wildcats play #4 Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game. The Big Ten changed the rules to allow the Buckeyes, who have played just five games due to COVID-19 issues, to play in the title game. If Ohio State wins over Northwestern, things will look bleak for Iowa State.
Pray for a Tennessee miracle. The Volunteers host #5 Texas A&M on Saturday. It should be an easy win for Texas A&M and if someone above them falters, they're likely to slide into the open spot.
Iowa State will likely need two of the above to happen for them to have a shot at the College Football Playoff. Even still, it wouldn't be a given since the team has two losses. Iowa State needs to take care of business against Oklahoma Saturday morning. Get that win and then they can start scoreboard watching.