Why it's not too early for Clemson fans to get excited about the playoff

Clemson facing tough challenge at Texas A&M (0:46)

David Pollack breaks down the keys for No. 2 Clemson's road matchup against Texas A&M. (0:46)

If the most popular question in the College Football Playoff era is "Who's in?" a close second is "What if?"

It's never too early to talk scenarios. And that's what we'll be doing each and every week this season.

Thanks to ESPN's new Playoff Predictor, we can peek into the future and tell you that if Michigan were to beat Michigan State and Ohio State later this season, it would have a 25 percent chance to reach the playoff. Or if Georgia loses to Alabama in the SEC championship game, the Bulldogs would have a 23 percent shot (Alabama would be up to 96 percent by locking in that victory alone). Or that in all simulations where UCF wins the American Athletic Conference, the Knights would still have a less than 1 percent chance to reach the playoff.

Hey, try again next season. (Don't be mad, Group of 5 fans, Boise State has a 4 percent chance if it wins the Mountain West.)

So without further ado, let's dive into a few situations across the college football landscape that bear forecasting.