The last members of the field have a big effect on where the class breaks ultimately land, and with so many power teams hovering on those prospective bubbles, the identities of the teams that make up the last 50 teams in the field have more significance than almost ever.
Heading into Week 8, 118 teams have locked down berths by winning a minimum of six games, another 78 already have five wins and most of those teams have secure enough playoff-point standings to insure that they will get into the field regardless if they win either of their remaining two games.
For the sake of argument, let’s say 50 of those 78 teams that already have five wins and are secure in the playoff field.
That leaves approximately 95 slots that are still up for grabs.
There are 78 teams that currently have 3-4 records that need to win both of their remaining games just to get into the discussion for the playoffs.
Many of these teams have roads that range from the difficult to near impossible to get to the five-win plateau and only five (Pekin, Chester, Thornridge, Lake Forest and Oakland Tri-County) have two games remaining where both of their opponents currently have two wins or less.
All of the others schools in the 3-4 group have to pull at least one upset, and possibly two, just to get to the eligible list.
Then we arrive at the healthy list of teams at 4-3. The list currently includes 72 teams with some prominent ones mixed in. Like the 3-4 group, just a handful of teams have two games against teams that are out the playoff race already.
Others aren’t as fortunate.
Let’s take a look at a few bubble teams and the tough roads they have to navigate: