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Playing 500 with UW and the Playoff

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Can you add up the games leading to UW in the Final 4?

NCAA Football: Oregon at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

I’m sure that many people reading this played some version of 500 as a kid. You would take your sports object of choice (baseball, football, Frisbee, etc.) and have one person throwing to a huddle of everyone else. The thrower announces a point total as they release the ball and in order to take over as the thrower you have to accumulate 500 points (also called flyer’s up if you just say you need X catches to take over).

We’re going to play the NCAA College Football Playoff version of 500. There are a myriad of possible scenarios for the Huskies to once again finish in the Final 4. I count approximately 20 games that could boost or collapse the Huskies’ chances. They don’t need all of them, but they do need some combination. Each game is assigned a point total which the Dawgs will get if the team they are cheering for wins. I’m only including games In order to make the playoffs they need to accumulate 500 points.

The Washington Games

#9 Washington @ Stanford, Friday 11/10. Chance of occurring: 63.5%.

Points Given: 75

Utah @ #9 Washington, Saturday 11/18. Chance of occurring: 94.2%.

Points Given: 75

#19 Washington State @ #9 Washington, Saturday 11/25. Chance of occurring: 88.2%.

Points Given: 100

Pac-12 Title Game (most likely #11 USC vs. #9 Washington), Friday 12/1.

Points Given: 150

UW has to win the remainder of its games to have any realistic chance of making the playoffs. Just like last year, there was enough wiggle room for one unexpected loss to still have a shot. The only way for them to make it after losing a 2nd game would be if every upset possible occurred over the next 3 weeks and they still won the Pac-12 title.

Week 11 Games

#1 Georgia @ #10 Auburn, Saturday 11/11. Chance of occurring: 51.4%.

Points Given: 10

This would provide the opportunity for the SEC-runner up to have 2 losses and keep them away from a 2nd bid. But Auburn wins here and over Alabama would put the Tide in the same spot as last year’s Ohio State to maybe still get in. That keeps this from getting too high of billing.

#20 Iowa @ #8 Wisconsin, Saturday 11/11. Chance of occurring: 20.7%.

Points Given: 15

Wisconsin needs to lose a game, preferably before the Big 10 title game.

#6 TCU @ #5 Oklahoma, Saturday 11/11. Chance of occurring: 35.5%.

Points Given: 5

The key is that whoever loses this game goes on to win the rematch. So this is somewhat a toss up.

Florida State @ #4 Clemson, Saturday 11/11. Chance of occurring: 14.5%.

Points Given: 15

Clemson needs to lose another game before the ACC title game.

Week 12 Games

Michigan @ #8 Wisconsin, Saturday 11/18. Chance of occurring: 20.4%.

Points Given: 15

Wisconsin needs to lose a game, preferably before the Big 10 title game.

#6 TCU @ Texas Tech, Saturday 11/18. Chance of occurring: 24.9%.

Points Given: 5

The Big 12 champ needs 2 losses so any contender losing a 2nd (or 3rd) game helps.

Week 13 Games

#1 Georgia @ Georgia Tech, Saturday 11/25. Chance of occurring: 21.5%.

Points Given: 10

Georgia losing to an unranked team is good.

#3 Notre Dame @ Stanford, Saturday 11/25. Chance of occurring: 40.1%.

Points Given: 20

The Notre Dame/Miami game has too many contingencies to decide who UW is rooting for. This loss would knock Notre Dame out of contention completely and bump UW a spot.

West Virginia @ #5 Oklahoma, Saturday 11/25. Chance of occurring: 11.4%.

Points Given: 5

The Big 12 champ needs 2 losses so any contender losing a 2nd (or 3rd) game helps.

#7 Miami @ Pitt, Saturday 11/25. Chance of occurring: 19%.

Points Given: 5

Miami losing is nice but unless they also lose to Notre Dame or in the ACC title game then this loss doesn’t mean much.

#4 Clemson @ South Carolina, Saturday 11/25. Chance of occurring: 17.3%.

Points Given: 15

Clemson needs to lose another game before the ACC title game.

#2 Alabama @ #10 Auburn, Saturday 11/25. Chance of occurring: 65.4%.

Points Given: 5

Conceding the SEC spot to Alabama is better than trying to get cute and risk them getting 2 spots.

Conference Championship Weekend

For all of the title games, points are only given if the exact circumstances described actually happen. If I say that we are rooting for team X if they have 2 losses entering the game and they win but only have 1 loss then no points are granted.

ACC Title Game (Most Likely: #4 Clemson vs. #7 Miami), Saturday 12/2. Rooting for: Clemson if they have 2 losses. Otherwise, Miami.

Points Given: 20

Here’s my rationale. We want the lesser ranked team to win this game. Clemson is already ranked ahead of Miami. I don’t see Miami passing Clemson during the regular season if Clemson continues to win. So if Clemson loses and falls behind Miami then we are rooting for them, if not then UW has a better shot of passing Miami then Clemson even if it’s unlikely.

Big 12 Title Game (Most Likely: #6 TCU vs. #5 Oklahoma), Saturday 12/2. Rooting for: Whichever team has 2+ losses.

Points Given: 20

This one is pretty straight forward. Guaranteed one of these participants will have 2+ losses entering the title bout. If that team wins it’s a boon to UW. Just to be safe it’d be better if the 2-loss winner weren’t Oklahoma but it likely doesn’t matter.

Big 10 Title Game (Most Likely: #13 Ohio State vs. #8 Wisconsin), Saturday 12/2. Rooting for: Ohio State. Unless Wisconsin has 2+ losses, then Wisconsin.

Points Given: 20

An undefeated Wisconsin gets in. A 1-loss Wisconsin conference champ becomes a toss-up with Washington. A 2-loss conference champ probably doesn’t get in but Ohio State would have a better shot than Wisconsin at that point.

SEC Title Game (Most Likely: #1 Georgia vs. #2 Alabama), Saturday 12/2. Rooting for: Alabama by 21+ if Georgia is undefeated, otherwise Alabama.

Points Given: 20

The winner of this game is making the playoff. We can’t hope that an upset stops that. So the best chance is for the best team to win and eliminate a 2nd bid from the SEC. Georgia may be ahead #1 for now but if Bama beats Auburn and Mississippi State they’ll surpass Georgia and I’m more concerned of the committee giving Alabama the benefit of the doubt than I am Georgia.

Example Scenarios

Semi-Realistic Scenario #1:

UW wins out in regular season- 250

UW (11-1) wins Pac-12 Title over USC (10-2)- 150

Auburn beats Georgia- 10

Michigan beats Wisconsin- 15

Stanford beats Notre Dame- 20

Alabama beats Auburn- 5

Alabama (12-0) wins SEC Title over Georgia (11-1)- 20

TCU (10-2) wins Big 12 Title over Oklahoma (11-1)- 20

Ohio State (10-2) wins Big 10 Title over Wisconsin (12-0)- 20

TOTAL: 510

Playoff Participants: Alabama (13-0, SEC winner); Clemson (12-1, ACC winner); Washington (12-1, Pac-12 winner); Ohio State (11-2, Big-10 winner).

Semi-Realistic Scenario #2:

UW wins out in regular season- 250

UW (11-1) wins Pac-12 Title over USC (10-2)- 150

Iowa beats Wisconsin- 15

TCU beats Oklahoma- 5

Georgia Tech beats Georgia- 10

Alabama beats Auburn- 5

South Carolina beats Clemson- 15

Oklahoma (10-2) wins Big-12 Title over TCU (11-1)- 20

Clemson (10-2) wins ACC Title over Miami (11-1)- 20

Alabama (12-0) wins SEC Title over Georgia (11-1)- 20

TOTAL: 510

Playoff Participants: Alabama (13-0, SEC winner); Wisconsin (13-0, Big 10 winner); Notre Dame (11-1); Washington (12-1, Pac-12 winner).

Crazy Whack-a-doo Scenario

Washington loses to Stanford, beats Utah/Wazzu- 175

UW (10-2) wins Pac-12 Title over USC (10-2)- 150

Auburn beats Georgia- 10

Iowa beats Wisconsin- 15

TCU beats Oklahoma- 5

Florida State beats Clemson- 15

Michigan beats Wisconsin- 15

Texas Tech beats TCU- 5

Stanford beats Notre Dame- 20

Georgia Tech beats Georgia- 10

Alabama beats Auburn- 5

West Virginia beats Oklahoma- 5

Alabama (12-0) wins SEC Title over Georgia (10-2)- 20

Wisconsin (10-2) wins Big 10 Title over Ohio State (9-3)- 20

Oklahoma (9-3) wins Big 12 Title over TCU (10-2)- 20

Miami (12-0) wins ACC Title over Clemson (10-2)- 20

TOTAL: 510

Playoff Participants: Alabama (13-0, SEC winner); Miami (13-0, ACC winner); Wisconsin (11-2, Big-10 winner); Washington (11-2, Pac-12 winner).

Clemson finishes 10-3, Oklahoma finishes 10-3, Georgia finishes 10-3, TCU finishes 10-3, Auburn finishes 10-3, Notre Dame finishes 9-3.

What are your scenarios to get UW to 500 points?