Michigan football's playoff hopes hinge on one Saturday game

Michigan needs upset in ACC championship game


When the final weekend of the regular college football season began, Michigan football found itself on the outside of the top four spots in the College Football Playoff rankings. At No. 5, the Wolverines are in position to be the first team left out of the four-team playoff.

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But Michigan is also in position to move into one of those coveted four spots if one of the teams above it loses this weekend. Michigan doesn't have a game of its own, so it will need some help to move up in the rankings.

Its best chance to do so came and went Friday night, when No. 8 Colorado got blasted by No. 4 Washington in the Pac-12 championship game. That win likely cemented the Huskies as one of the four playoff teams.

Undefeated Alabama and one-loss Ohio State have also likely punched their tickets to the playoff, leaving just one remaining slot.

That slot currently belongs to Clemson, which is 11-1 and playing for the ACC championship Saturday night against No. 23 Virginia Tech. Should Clemson stumble against the Hokies, Michigan would be one of two teams -- along with the winner of the Big Ten championship in Indianapolis, either Penn State or Wisconsin -- in consideration for the playoff.

Clemson is a heavy favorite in the game, but Virginia Tech did win nine games and the ACC Coastal Division under first-year coach Justin Fuente. Michigan's hopes will hinge on the Hokies' ability to pull an upset.

The game will kick off at 8 p.m. Saturday in Camping World Stadium in Orlando.