After a wild first week, which conferences could be left out of the playoff?

After an epic Week 1 in which seven Associated Press-ranked teams lost -- the most in an opening weekend since the AP preseason poll debuted in 1950 -- it's time to re-evaluate the state of doom across college football.

Heading into the season, this space was the playoff dream crusher, presenting viable ways each Power 5 conference champion could be left out of the top four. Do the math: Four teams, five leagues and Notre Dame.

(Don't forget Houston!)

Somebody has to be left out. Maybe it's the SEC (gasp!). Or the Pac-12 (again).

Don't believe it? You're doomed ...


Preseason doomsday scenario: UNC goes undefeated and gets left out of the playoff because it has two FCS teams on its schedule. The Tar Heels would have knocked off Georgia and Florida State during the regular season, and probably Clemson in the ACC title game.

Current doom forecast: Skies are clear in ACC country. UNC is doomed, but the ACC certainly isn't. With the Tar Heels' loss to Georgia, it doesn't matter if they go on to win the league with a shocking upset over FSU or Clemson in the title game. Not with two FCS wins on the schedule. It would help the Atlantic Division winner to play a ranked opponent in the ACC title game, but with FSU and Clemson both winning against SEC teams in Week 1, the conference kept its hopes of having two teams in the top four alive.

BIG 12

Preseason doomsday scenario: TCU wins the league but gets left out again. The Horned Frogs have the Oklahoma Sooners at home on Oct. 1, and should be 4-0 going into that game.

Current doom forecast: That depends. Hey Texas, are you for real? TCU struggled mightily to beat South Dakota State, and OU entered the season as the league frontrunner, but after losing to Houston, it looked as if the Big 12 could get left out. Then came Texas. The Longhorns quickly became a CFP dark horse contender after their thrilling double-overtime upset of Notre Dame on Sunday, but can they parlay that success into a Big 12 title? Oklahoma certainly can't afford to lose again -- not without a conference championship game -- and it lost to Texas last year, when the Longhorns weren't nearly as good as they looked Sunday. One of these teams has to rise above the rest, or they both will be looking up at the top four.


Preseason doomsday scenario: Both Jim Harbaugh and Urban Meyer are left out of the top four. Ohio State could lose to Oklahoma and then drop another league game, most likely at Wisconsin, at Michigan State or home against Michigan. The Wolverines could lose in the Big Ten title game.

Current doom forecast: Cloudy. It was a good week for the Big Ten, which led all Power 5 conferences with a 12-2 record against Power 5 nonconference opponents. It's difficult not to look ahead to the Week 3 matchup between Ohio State and Oklahoma, but for now, the conference's biggest problem is strength of schedule. Wisconsin earned the lone marquee win against a ranked opponent and it was a big one against then-No. 5 LSU, but are the Badgers for real? We'll find out in a few weeks when they play a grueling stretch against Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State and Iowa.


Preseason doomsday scenario: Stanford finishes the season again as a two-loss conference champ that gets left out of the playoff with only one league loss. It happened last year to the Cardinal, who lost to Northwestern in the season opener, and then rallied to win eight straight games only to be derailed at home by Oregon.

Current doom forecast: Somewhere between USC's embarrassing performance against Alabama and Stanford's ho-hum win over K-State. It's a good thing for the Pac-12 that the SEC played so poorly because it overshadowed the fact that UCLA, USC, Washington State, Arizona and Oregon State all lost. The Pac-12 is down to three teams in the AP top 25 (No. 7 Stanford, No. 8 Washington, and No. 24 Oregon). ESPN's Football Power Index gives the Cardinal a less than 40 percent chance to beat UCLA, Washington and Notre Dame. This week's snapshot is one of mediocrity -- and that spells doom.


Preseason doomsday scenario: Florida beats Tennessee (again), but loses to LSU and Florida State before winning the East. The Gators redeem themselves from last year and upset Alabama in the SEC title game.

Current doom forecast: Foggy, with a high Tide. Georgia and Texas A&M earned significant wins against ranked opponents, but Alabama stands alone. It was a humbling opening for the big, bad SEC, which saw seven teams lose their season openers for the first time since the conference re-expanded to 12 teams in 1992. Even in wins, Florida and Tennessee didn't look anywhere near capable of an epic upset. After a complete dismantling of USC, it's "Alabama and everyone else," which is why the Tide needs to keep winning. In two weeks, Alabama travels to Ole Miss, a team it hasn't been able to beat in each of the past two seasons. The Tide has made the semifinals in spite of it, but if Alabama loses to the Rebels again, will it be able to avoid a second loss in a stretch that includes Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas A&M and LSU? The defending national champs have done it before, but right now they're carrying the hopes of the entire league.


Preseason doomsday scenario: Three Power 5 champions are left out of the playoff thanks to an undefeated Houston team and a one-loss Notre Dame team. Or, Houston could have its own implosion, upsetting Oklahoma in the season opener only to lose one game it was favored to win.

Current doom forecast: Groundhog day. So here we have an undefeated Houston and a one-loss Notre Dame team. Can they keep it up? ESPN's FPI says no, giving Houston just a 36.4 percent chance to beat Louisville on Nov. 17. Houston and Notre Dame probably both have to win out to finish in the top four. Without a conference championship game to play in, the Irish have to impress the committee with the 12 opponents they have. And while FPI has the Irish as favorites in each of their remaining games, the odds of them running the table are long. There is a greater burden on Houston, which has only one more ranked opponent on its schedule (Louisville).