Ranking The 13 Teams Still Alive After Week 10


Who’s still alive in the chase to get into the 2021-2022 College Football Playoff? After Week 10, here’s our ranking of the 13 teams still in the mix.

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Unfortunately, after key losses last weekend, we’re afraid Baylor and Auburn won’t be joining us for the rest of the season.

Where we’re going, they cannot follow.

To realistically be in the College Football Playoff chase in November, you have to 1) still be unbeaten, 2) be an unbeaten Power Five team, or 3) have some ridiculously strange circumstances to overcome parts one and two.

There are still 13 teams still alive, and it’s really more like 11 still in the hunt. These teams all have a reasonable path to dream of getting into the final four, and we’re ranking them based on how much control they have over their respective destinies.

This isn’t a College Football Playoff ranking projection – that’s this. This is all based on likelihood of getting in and the clearest paths.

13. UTSA Roadrunners (9-0)

So you know when Cincinnati was struggling so much with Tulsa this weekend … and, to a certain extent, Tulane the weekend before … and Navy the weekend before that? Everyone was talking about what that meant for the College Football playoff chase.

UTSA cares about the New Year’s Six bowl hunt.

The top-ranked Group of Five conference champion according to the CFP at least gets a New Year’s Six bowl bid. This year, that’s likely going to be the Fiesta. Conference USA has yet to have a team represented in the high-profile bowl.

So no, your Roadrunners of UTSA don’t have the slightest realistic shot at getting into the College Football playoff even if they do go 13-0 with a Conference USA championship and a win at Illinois on the resumé.

However, if there are a bunch of two-loss Power Five conference champs and Cincinnati loses once, UTSA would at least be in an interesting discussion.

If UC loses, though, getting that New Year’s Six slot would be on the table.

12. Texas A&M Aggies (7-2)

With the 20-3 win over Auburn, things just changed in a huge way for Texas A&M.

Now, even with losses to Arkansas and Mississippi State, there’s a case to be made that this could and should be the first ever two-loss team to get to the College Football Playoff.

But it needs a one-loss Alabama – who it beat 41-38 in early October – to lose again before the SEC Championship.

The Tide still have to deal with Arkansas at home and Auburn on the road. If they’re still as shaky as they were against LSU on Saturday, dropping one of those team isn’t out of the question.

If Bama loses, and A&M closes out with wins over Ole Miss, Prairie View A&M, and at LSU, it’s off to the SEC Championship to face Georgia. If it wins that, even with two losses, no way and no how does the committee leave out a red-hot SEC champion with wins over Alabama, Georgia, Auburn, Ole Miss, and LSU.

But that doesn’t happen unless the Tide help the cause.

11. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-1)

Call this ranking a possible rental.

Yes, Notre Dame lost to Cincinnati. However, the Bearcat schedule is full of layups and the team is having a hard time getting the ball to go down. Don’t be the slightest bit shocked if Notre Dame moves ahead of Cincinnati at some point in the CFP ranking process.

While the Bearcats close out with more mediocre Group of Five teams, Notre Dame finishes with at Virginia, Georgia Tech, and at Stanford to end its season with nine games against Power Five programs and possible wins against all of them.

However, it’s still going to take at least two multi-loss Power Five champions – like in the ACC and Pac-12, most likely – and Alabama can’t beat Georgia in the SEC Championship, and there would have to be a major controversial call.

Or, Cincinnati might just lose at some point and the door would be open for the Irish.

HOWEVER … not getting to play in a conference championship matters. It didn’t in the past for 12-0 Notre Dame. It sure as shoot would for the 11-1 version.

NEXT: Top 10 College Football Playoff Chase Rankings

Top 10 College Football Playoff Chase Rankings

10. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (8-1)

It’s not going to happen – don’t be shocked if the Demon Deacons lose at least two of the final three games – and if it does. it’s going to take a ton of help.

13-0 ACC Champion Wake Forest would’ve been in the College Football Playoff no matter what.

12-1 ACC Champion Wake Forest … that might take a little work.

Assuming it rolls through the tough finishing kick of NC State, at Clemson, at Boston College, and over – most likely – Pitt or Virginia in the ACC Championship, just how much will the team get dinged for the shootout loss at North Carolina?

12-1 is hardly a sure thing in the pecking order.

9. Cincinnati Bearcats (9-0)

Here’s the problem. Cincinnati doesn’t control anything … yet.

No, 13-0 American Athletic Conference champion Cincinnati isn’t getting into the College Football Playoff over 13-0 Big 12 Champion Oklahoma if it comes down to those two.

No way, no how, no chance.

It’s not getting in over 13-0 SEC champion Georgia, or 12-1 SEC champion Alabama and 12-1 runner up Georgia, or a one-loss Big Ten champion, or a one-loss Pac-12 champion Oregon, or maybe even a one-loss Big 12 or ACC champion, and …

Not all of that will happen.

For now, the Bearcats just have to look the part against a weak schedule. They have to drill USF by 40, destroy East Carolina and SMU and whatever is happening in the AAC Championship, and make the committee work.

But they still need help to lock in a final four spot after all the conference championships are over.

8. Michigan Wolverines (8-1)

All of a sudden, the Wolverines are in a whole lot more control than they were last week at this time.

Win out, get one more Michigan State loss – like against Ohio State or Penn State – and it’s on.

Of course, that would mean Michigan has to beat Ohio State, and it’s going to need that help from someone else with Michigan State.

Win at Penn State, at Maryland, and against the Buckeyes, and the very least it’s off to the Rose Bowl.

7. Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-1)

Until the College Football Playoff committee goes a totally different direction with its belief system, as long as the Cowboys win out, it’s almost certainly in the fun.

The one 24-21 loss at Iowa State is more than acceptable, and if it beats Oklahoma twice on the way to a Big 12 Championship – to go along with wins over Boise State, Texas, West Virginia, and Texas Tech on the road, it’s in.

6. Ohio State Buckeyes (8-1)

It would be an argument, but don’t be so sure Oregon automatically gets in over the Buckeyes if they’re both 12-1 conference champions.

With Purdue, Michigan State, at Michigan, and likely Wisconsin or Minnesota to close – after beating the Gophers to start the season – the remaining schedule is far stronger than what Oregon will do.

While the College Football Playoff committee snubbed the Big Ten in past years, it absolutely wouldn’t do it this year … maybe.

Just assume the 12-1 Big Ten champion is getting in.

NEXT: Top 5 College Football Playoff Chase Rankings

Top 5 College Football Playoff Chase Rankings

5. Oregon Ducks (8-1)

Oregon is going to have a Cincinnati problem very, very soon.

No, not that Cincinnati is necessarily in the way – the committee would likely take a 12-1 Pac-12 champion with a win at Ohio State over the Bearcats – it’s the performance problem.

The team has to play better against relatively weak teams.

There was only one Pac-12 team in the first College Football Playoff rankings – Utah will be there soon – and the way the Ducks have been playing isn’t good enough.

They can’t be so shaky like they were against Cal, Colorado, and Washington, and the Stanford loss is getting worse and worse.

This is a projection – watch out for Oregon to soon need some help to get in if it doesn’t roll through the rest of the slate – Washington State, at Utah, Oregon State, Pac-12 Championship.

4. Alabama Crimson Tide (8-1)

The bad 20-14 performance against LSU and the mediocre win over Florida earlier in the year now take away all benefit of the doubt.

Unless something crazy happens, a two-loss Alabama team isn’t getting in – it can’t lose to Georgia no matter how much of a fight that is.

It can’t get in if it loses to Arkansas, or at Auburn, and it shouldn’t get in if it doesn’t cover the 51 against New Mexico State – okay, no on that last one, but take the Aggies and the 51.

Bama has to close with four straight wins. Do that and get the 3 seed – most likely. Nothing else will do.

3. Michigan State Spartans (8-1)

Losing to Purdue doesn’t really matter.

It obviously wasn’t a plus, but realistically, the one game the really is a big deal is Ohio State – now that’s the one Michigan State can’t drop. That doesn’t change after what happened in West Lafayette.

It’s fine. It’s all fine.

The Spartans have the win over Michigan already, and if it beats Maryland, at Ohio State, and Penn State, and then takes care of – likely – Wisconsin or Minnesota in the Big Ten Championship … in.

In over 12-1 Pac-12 champion Oregon. In over 12-1 ACC champion Wake Forest. In over 13-0 Cincinnati. In, in, in.

Win your next four games. Easy peasy.

2. Oklahoma Sooners (9-0)

Don’t get caught up in anything anyone else might say.

Georgia is unbeaten. There’s only one other unbeaten Power Five conference champion, and if it wins out and goes 13-0 with a Big 12 championship, it’s absolutely in the College Football Playoff without even the slightest bit of hesitation.

No, it doesn’t matter what Cincinnati does, or Oregon, or Ohio State, or Alabama.

13-0 Big 12 champion Oklahoma is in the College Football Playoff.

12-1 Big 12 champion Oklahoma is another story.

12-1 OU can’t have Alabama beat Georgia, and it might need a wee bit of help – 12-1 Oregon and a 12-1 Big Ten champion would likely get in over the Sooners if Alabama and Georgia are 12-1.

Realistically, a one-loss Big 12 champ is in, but Oklahoma can’t take that chance.

1. Georgia Bulldogs (9-0)

This is the one team that can lose a game and be completely and totally fine.

It doesn’t matter where that game comes. If can be to Tennessee. It can be to Georgia Tech. It can be to Charleston Southern and it doesn’t matter.

And it can be in the SEC Championship game.

As long as Georgia is 12-1 and not 11-2 – or worse – it’s going to be in the College Football Playoff.

CFN 1-130 Rankings | Week 10 scoreboard
Bowl Projections, College Football Playoff Predictions
Week 11 opening lines | AP | Coaches
College Football Playoff Top 25 Prediction
Big Game Reaction: Purdue, UNC, Bama, more

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