Given both the postseason structure and the fact that not all conferences are created equal, it’s often very hard to predict which college football teams are going to put together championship-caliber seasons. A team’s schedule, whether fans like it or not, can be the difference between playing for a national title and playing in a second or third-tier bowl game.
But how difficult a team’s schedule is can be a double-edge sword. A year ago, Auburn was selected to play in the BCS National Championship Game over Michigan State because it was perceived to have won a league that featured better opponents. Florida State was selected because the Seminoles did not lose a game on their slate – but many would argue that they weren’t challenged nearly as often as many other top teams.
So in short, you typically either need to run the table against a weak schedule or post a one-loss campaign against a difficult schedule to be given the chance to play for it all. The 15 teams on the list below would all probably be awarded a spot in the inaugural College Football Playoff if they were somehow able to pull the latter off.