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Michigan football weekend rooting guide -- Nov. 3-5

CFP rankings make picture more clear

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As long as the Michigan Wolverines are in contention for the College Football Playoff, ClickOnDetroit.com will list each weekend's games that could help U of M's quest to reach the Final Four.

The College Football Playoff rankings are finally out, and now we've got a clearer picture of which teams Michigan football should root for this weekend.

Michigan had an opportunity to really gain some ground around the country last weekend, but Washington and Clemson survived tough road tests to stay undefeated. On the other hand, the Big 12 took a huge hit when both of its unbeaten teams suffered their first losses.

As the No. 3 team in the country, Michigan controls its own destiny. But in case the Wolverines drop one of their remaining four games, here are the teams Michigan fans should root for this weekend.

READ: 10 takeaways from first College Football Playoff rankings

For a more in-depth explanation about why we post these rooting guides, click here. To see how last weekend went for the Wolverines, click here.

Must-haves

These are the games that absolutely have to go Michigan's way to keep its playoff hopes alive.

Michigan over Maryland (Michigan 59, Maryland 3): As long as Michigan controls its own destiny, this will be the only game in the must-have category. An undefeated Michigan team would obviously be one of the top two seeds in the College Football Playoff this season. Maryland is a much-improved team, but Michigan shouldn't have much of a problem winning this game at home.

Toss-ups

These are the games that would help Michigan's playoff chances and have a realistic chance to happen.

Colorado over UCLA (Colorado 20, UCLA 10): At No. 15, Colorado is Michigan's best non-conference win and one of its best three wins on the season. Every win for Colorado is a win for Michigan's resume, which would be important if the Wolverines were to lose a game.

San Jose State over Boise State (Boise State 45, San Jose State 31): Here's a Western Michigan shoutout. If Boise State loses again, Western Michigan can basically waltz to a New Year's Six bowl. That would give the state of Michigan a second elite team.

Georgia Southern over Ole Miss (Ole Miss 37, Georgia Southern 27): Ole Miss is 3-5, but the top SEC teams are still using the Rebels as a "strong win." A loss to Georgia Southern would knock Ole Miss from any sort of respectability and indirectly hurt teams like Texas A&M and Auburn.

Indiana over Rutgers (Indiana 33, Rutgers 27): Indiana took a major step toward bowl eligibility last week with a win over Maryland. If the Hoosiers can knock off Rutgers, they'd need just one more win to get to a bowl and make the Big Ten look even stronger.

Wisconsin over Northwestern (Wisconsin 21, Northwestern 7): Northwestern is playing some really good football, and it will be a desperate team that hosts Wisconsin in Evanston. Michigan would like to see Wisconsin continue to win games and stay in the top 10 because of what that adds to the Wolverines' resume.

Georgia Tech over North Carolina (North Carolina 48, Georgia Tech 20): North Carolina is tied for first place in the ACC Coastal Division. One more loss from North Carolina and Virginia Tech would officially eliminate half the ACC from contention, even as a conference champion.

Minnesota over Purdue (Minnesota 44, Purdue 31): Minnesota might be the most overlooked six-win team in the country, mostly because the Golden Gophers haven't played many tough games. But as long as they keep winning, it keeps making the Big Ten look better.

Kansas State over Oklahoma State (Oklahoma State 43, Kansas State 37): Suddenly, Oklahoma State is one of the few teams giving the Big 12 a faint heartbeat at No. 18 in the CFP rankings.

Duke over Virginia Tech (Virginia Tech 24, Duke 21): Just like North Carolina, Virginia Tech is keeping the ACC Coastal alive.

TCU over Baylor (TCU 62, Baylor 22): Baylor is down, but not completely out. One of the few one-loss Power 5 teams left in the nation, Baylor is still a threat if it can bounce back and win the Big 12.

Arkansas over Florida (Arkansas 31, Florida 10): Florida is the last team in the SEC East alive for the playoff. In a conference that's considered by many to be the best in the country, how can an entire half of the SEC be eliminated so early? Arkansas beating Florida is how.

UCF over Tulane (UCF 37, Tulane 6): UCF is three plays away from being 7-1 this season with wins over Maryland and Houston, but instead, the Knights are 4-4. Michigan would love to see Scott Frost's team win a few more games and give the Wolverines another win over a team with a winning record.

N.C. State over Florida State (Florida State 24, N.C. State 21): Teams like Louisville and Clemson are counting on Florida State as one of their premier wins. That would take a huge hit if the Seminoles lost their fourth game Saturday against a 4-4 team.

Penn State over Iowa (Penn State 41, Iowa 14): Penn State was one of the biggest surprises of the CFP rankings, checking in at No. 12. If the Nittany Lions keep winning, Michigan will find itself with a 39-point win over a top 10 team on the resume.

Alabama over LSU (Alabama 10, LSU 0): Again, this might feel like a sin, but Michigan fans need Alabama to keep winning. Alabama is getting into the playoff, even if it loses to LSU or Auburn. But this win would give LSU a huge boost and help the SEC potentially get two teams into the playoff.

Nebraska over Ohio State (Ohio State 62, Nebraska 3): Nebraska is extremely desperate, but so is Ohio State, and the game is in Columbus. A loss would give Michigan a two-game lead over Ohio State in the Big Ten East Division.

Get greedy

These are games that would help Michigan's playoff chances but probably won't happen.

Iowa State over Oklahoma (Oklahoma 34, Iowa State 24): Even with two losses, Oklahoma might be the Big 12's best chance to get into the College Football Playoff. A loss to Iowa State would not only eliminate Oklahoma completely, it would also take some of the shine off of Baylor's and West Virginia's best chances at an impressive win down the stretch.

Vanderbilt over Auburn (Auburn 23, Vanderbilt 16): Auburn has done an incredible job battling back from a tough start to the season, climbing into the top 10 and looking like a real contender in the SEC West. Auburn would be in the playoff if it won the rest of its games, so a loss to Vanderbilt would eliminate one of Michigan's potential competitors.

Boston College over Louisville (Louisville 52, Boston College 7): Louisville took a huge hit when the CFP rankings put it behind both Texas A&M and Ohio State in the race for top one-loss team. But the Cardinals are still very much alive, unless they lose another game before the end of the season.

Syracuse over Clemson (Clemson 54, Syracuse 0): Clemson has had five of its eight games decided by one possession. Michigan wouldn't mind watching one of those close games turn into a loss.

Hawaii over San Diego State (San Diego State 55, Hawaii 0): Michigan would love to see Hawaii finish the season with seven wins, but after last week's loss, it might take a miracle.

Kansas over West Virginia (West Virginia 48, Kansas 21): A loss to Kansas would probably end any team's season.

Cal over Washington (Washington 66, California 27): A loss by Washington would probably eliminate the Pac-12 from the playoff, barring late-season mayhem around the nation.