The road to the College Football Playoff’s simple for Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and TCU this weekend: win and you’re in.

But we know strange things happen during championship weekend which kicks off tonight at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA, when the second-ranked Ducks try to avenge an earlier loss to Arizona in the Pac-12 title game. The Wildcats have in fact beaten Oregon the last two meetings and quarterback Marcus Mariota, despite his stellar play the last three seasons, has yet to win a league title.

Current College Football Playoff standings

  1. Alabama (11-1)
  2. Oregon (11-1)
  3. TCU (10-1)
  4. Florida State (12-0)

Teams with opportunity this weekend

  • Ohio State (currently ranked 5th, could win Big Ten title)
  • Baylor (currently ranked 6th, could tie for Big XII title)
  • Arizona (currently ranked 7th, could win Pac-12 title)

Based on the selection committee’s points of emphasis this season which includes conference championships won, strength of schedule, head-to-head competition, results against common opponents, relative factors and game control, Ohio State and Baylor have the most to gain this weekend.

It’s important to note the season-long dilemma of one-loss TCU’s placement over one-loss Baylor despite the Bears winning head-to-head on Oct. 11. The gap widened between the pair on Tuesday when chairman Jeff Long and his committee pushed the Horned Frogs ahead of unbeaten Florida State into the No. 3 hole, all but assuring sixth-ranked Baylor wouldn’t pass TCU even with a win this weekend over ninth-ranked Kansas State.

In order for Baylor to reach the final four, it would need a sizable margin of victory over the Wildcats and hope Iowa State (2-9) upsets TCU in Ft. Worth. If that happens, the Bears would be outright Big XII champions and would be competing with Big Ten champion Ohio State — if the Buckeyes take out Wisconsin — for the final No. 4 spot.

Notable CFP impact games schedule

  • Oregon vs. Arizona, FOX, 9 p.m., ET (TONIGHT)
  • Alabama vs. Mizzou, CBS, 4 p.m., ET (SATURDAY)
  • Kansas State at Baylor, ESPN, 7:45 p.m., ET (SATURDAY)
  • Florida State vs. Georgia Tech, ABC, 8 p.m., ET (SATURDAY)
  • Wisconsin vs. Ohio State, FOX, 8:17 p.m., ET (SATURDAY)

If the current top four avoid being upset, the CFP semifinal matchups would look like this on Sunday morning:

  • No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 TCU (Sugar Bowl)
  • No. 2 Oregon vs. No. 3 Florida State (Rose Bowl)