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Who can help themselves the most over Rivalry Weekend?

We take a look at who holds their future in their own hands entering the biggest weekend of the college football season.

Ohio State v Maryland Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

As rivalry weekend approaches, the path to the College Football Playoff remains open for several teams in a sport where chaos reigns. With plenty of opportunities for that chaos to take hold, some teams hold more power in their own hands than others do. We take a look at who controls their own destiny during rivalry weekend.

Ohio State Buckeyes & Michigan Wolverines

It’s essentially a showdown for a guaranteed spot in the CFP. Can it be said that they control their own destiny in a matchup like this? Perhaps not, but this is the game with the biggest stakes of the weekend for both teams.

In a field with just four undefeated teams remaining, it is guaranteed at this point that a team with one loss will make it into the final four. If the loser of OSU-Michigan can keep it close enough that viewers could potentially want to see a rerun in the CFP, a one-loss Big Ten non-champion is not out of the question.

To win is essentially to guarantee their spot.

USC Trojans

The Trojans sit in that unenviable position just outside the top four. With a guaranteed loss in the rankings ahead of them this weekend, USC absolutely controls their own destiny — that is, if they can beat a Notre Dame team that looks better and more complete by the week. A win over a top-15 team would help their case immensely if it comes down to, say, one-loss USC and one-loss Michigan, but with one loss already on their record and a conference championship ahead, this is a must-win game.

Clemson Tigers

Can a team ranked No. 8 this late in the game still sneak in? Well, we’re talking about beating a South Carolina team during rivalry weekend that just made Tennessee look like the FCS team you schedule at the beginning of the season. That’s no easy feat, and could certainly affect the committee’s view of the one-loss team after getting blown out by Notre Dame. A definitive, decisive win over the Gamecocks would do a lot for the Tigers’ chances, especially as they prepare for an ACC Championship game.