With 9 teams left in CFP picture, will rivalry weekend deliver clarity or chaos?

In what feels like a College Football Playoff first, the football world enters the final weekend of the regular season with a whopping nine — nine! — teams still in contention for a playoff spot.

Has there ever been so many? Unlikely.

The Noble Nine? The Magnificent Nine? Whatever you want to call them, they are the only real group alive for one of the four spots in the playoff. There are unbeatens Ohio State, Georgia, Michigan, Florida State and Washington; and one-loss Alabama, Texas, Oregon and Louisville.

In what’s believed to be a first in the modern era of the sport, there are five 11-0 Power Five programs. But don’t discount the one-loss teams, especially when two of them hold better strength of schedules than any of the unbeatens (Alabama at 24th and Texas at 2nd).

What’s even more interesting is that each of the nine CFP contenders meets its chief rival in a game this week that could send it spiraling out of playoff contention. In fact, two of them meet one another under gray skies and in expected chilly temperatures in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The Wolverines and the Buckeyes duel at Noon ET on Saturday in one of the most highly anticipated showdowns in the 118-chapter history of the rivalry. You know it’s real when each coach, Ryan Day and Jim Harbaugh, sidesteps a softball question about how much they respect one another. That’s what happened this week. There is no respect among these two coaches nor is there much respect among these two fan bases.

The Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan Wolverines will meet Saturday in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Jim Harbaugh will not be on the sideline as he serves the final game of his suspension. (Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports)

Let's take a look at the nine teams, their matchups this week and their chances of advancing to the CFP.

In our Quality Win metric, each team is granted a point for a top-30 home win and a point for a top-50 road win (Sagarin computer rankings are used to establish the top 30 and top 50; ESPN’s playoff predictor is used for the playoff odds.)

Georgia Bulldogs

CFP rank, Record: No. 1; 11-0

Game: at Georgia Tech (+24)

Quality wins: 4 (at Auburn; vs. Missouri; vs. Ole Miss; at Tennessee)

Schedule rank: 61st

Skinny: The Bulldogs have a shot to advance to the CFP even with a loss, though it would not be wise given the field. The Yellowjackets are playing better ball under interim-turned-full time coach Brent Key, and then Kirby Smart’s team gets Nick Saban and Alabama in the SEC championship game. If the Bulldogs were to lose to the Tide, would Georgia get into the field without winning its conference title like Ohio State last year?

Playoff chances: 75%

Ohio State Buckeyes

CFP rank, Record: No. 2; 11-0

Game: at Michigan (-3.5)

Quality wins: 3 (at Notre Dame; vs. Penn State; at Wisconsin)

Schedule rank: 47th

Skinny: Don’t expect the Buckeyes to get a pass into the CFP without winning their championship like last season. The field is too clustered this year. But you beat Michigan and then Iowa in the Big Ten title game and you’re not only in but you’re probably the No. 2 seed playing at the Rose Bowl and, more importantly, avoiding Georgia in the semis. Can coach Ryan Day break OSU’s first losing skid to Michigan in 23 years?

Playoff odds: 62%

Michigan Wolverines

CFP rank; Record: No. 3; 11-0

Game: vs. Ohio State (+3.5)

Quality wins: 2 (at Penn State; at Maryland)

Schedule rank: 63rd

Skinny: Of all the CFP contenders, the Wolverines had the easiest schedule to this point, but, boy, do things get harder in a hurry. The Buckeyes come to town and then, with a win there, it’s on to the Big Ten championship game against an Iowa team that, while incompetent offensively, has one of the best defenses and special teams units in the country. Can Jim Harbaugh-less Michigan shake off the distractions and beat the Buckeyes a third straight year?

Playoff odds: 57%

Washington Huskies

CFP rank; Record: No. 4; 11-0

Game: vs. Washington State (+16.5)

Quality wins: 5 (at Arizona; vs. Oregon; at USC; vs. Utah; at Oregon State)

Schedule rank: 25th

Skinny: The Huskies have, arguably, the best resume in the country. Five quality wins? A top-25 strength of schedule? It’s impressive. However, they haven’t quite dominated like Georgia or even Ohio State (look at games against Stanford and Arizona State). And there is an East Coast bias. Whether you like it or not, it’s real. Can Huskies coach Kalen DeBoer improve to a remarkable 24-2 in his first 26 games to advance to the CFP?

Playoff odds: 33%

Florida State Seminoles

CFP rank; Record: No. 5; 11-0

Game: at Florida (+6.5)

Quality wins: 2 (vs. LSU; at Clemson)

Schedule rank: 68th

Skinny: The Seminoles’ final two games just got a whole lot more interesting without starting QB Jordan Travis. Travis suffered a season-ending leg injury against North Alabama last week, thrusting in backup Tate Rodemaker, a redshirt junior who’s thrown a total of 93 passes in his four years in Tallahassee with seven touchdowns and five interceptions. Can the Noles survive a game at the Swamp and against Louisville without Travis?

Playoff odds: 60%

Oregon Ducks

CFP rank; Record: No. 6; 10-1

Game: vs. Oregon State (+13.5)

Quality wins: 3 (at Texas Tech; at Utah; vs. USC)

Schedule rank: 57th

Skinny: Is any team in the country playing better and more dominant than the Ducks? Outside of garbage-time scores by USC, Dan Lanning’s group has won every game by at least 14 points since that nail-biting loss at Washington. But the Ducks might have the most difficult final two-game stretch of any CFP contender. Oregon State comes in at 8-3 having just given the Huskies a real test and then there’s a rematch with Washington. Can Oregon win Round 2?

Playoff odds: 51%

Texas Longhorns

CFP rank; Record: No. 7; 10-1

Game: vs. Texas Tech (+13)

Quality wins: 6 (at Alabama; vs. Kansas; vs. Oklahoma; vs. Kansas State; at TCU; at Iowa State)

Schedule rank: 2nd

Skinny: The Longhorns possess the most difficult schedule and best victories of any CFP contender with a remarkable six quality wins. Ah, but there is that loss! By the end of it, Texas might be the best one-loss team in the country but even that might not get them into the dance. They need some upsets to happen, specifically Florida State taking a loss. Have they done enough, if they win out, to get in over a one-loss Oregon if the situation presents?

Playoff odds: 36%

Alabama Crimson Tide

CFP rank; Record: No. 8; 10-1

Game: at Auburn (+14.5)

Quality wins: 6 (vs. Ole Miss; at Texas A&M; vs. Arkansas; vs. Tennessee; at LSU; vs. Kentucky)

Schedule rank: 24th

Skinny: Never count out Nick Saban. Left for dead after the home loss to Texas — the only home double-digit defeat of the Saban Era — Alabama has risen from the ashes, winning nine straight games to position itself (big surprise!) with a chance to advance to the CFP. It won’t be easy, starting with a road game at rival Auburn. But the big question looms: Can the Tide take down Georgia in the SEC championship game?

Playoff odds: 22%

Louisville Cardinals

CFP rank; Record: No. 10; 10-1

Game: vs. Kentucky (+7)

Quality wins: 3 (at NC State; vs. Notre Dame; at Miami)

Schedule rank: 64th

Skinny: Of the Noble Nine, Louisville is the most surprising to be here in Year 1 under new coach Jeff Brohm, who has now taken two different teams to their league title games in consecutive years (Purdue last year). The Cardinals need plenty of help to sneak into the CFP, but it’s not impossible. They’d likely be No. 4 among the four one-loss teams, so their best route is to have Oregon State upset Oregon and Texas Tech upset Texas, for starters. Will it happen?

Playoff odds: 3%