Path for Every Team Still Realistically Alive


A week ago, there were still about a dozen teams with realistic shots at making the College Football Playoff. Now that list is down to about eight. 

Oregon and Northwestern both suffered their first loss of the season over the weekend, knocking them out of contention. Indiana lost their second straight, killing what little hope they had. And BYU found out the committee has no intention on giving them a shot after being ranked No. 15 in the initial rankings and No. 13 this week. 

So which teams still have a path to get into the fold? Let’s take a look at the top ten teams in the latest CFP Rankings and see exactly where they stand. 

CFP Rankings:

1. Alabama (8-0): No Nick Saban, no problem. The Tide just keep rolling behind Mac Jones and that explosive offense. Alabama is one of the two remaining teams that could likely survive a loss and still get in. Win out and they cruise into the playoff as the top seed. 

2. Notre Dame (9-0): The Irish were pushed by a feisty North Carolina team on Friday. Like Alabama, the Golden Domers could potentially survive a loss, assuming it comes to Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. Drop their final regular season game against Syracuse and they could find themselves on the outside looking in.

3. Clemson (8-1): After the three week layoff, the Tigers showed no signs of rust, exploding for 31 first quarter points in a 52-17 win over Pitt. Clemson has one path, and that is to win out, which would include knocking off Notre Dame in Charlotte.

4. Ohio State (4-0): Despite a second cancellation and having only played four games, they are still ranked fourth. However, not only are the Buckeyes Big-10 title hopes on life support, but their playoff hopes could be as well. If they are able to play and win their remaining games, and that is a big if, will the committee hold what has become an extremely weak schedule against them? Finishing 7-0 and as Big-10 champs is probably enough to get them in but they certainly aren’t a lock.

5. Texas A&M (6-1): The Aggies only have one loss and hold a win over Florida. However, that one loss will keep them from playing for the SEC title, meaning they will need help. Come conference championship weekend A&M will be huge fans of both Alabama and Notre Dame.

6. Florida (7-1): They only have one path, but the Gators are the one team who can blow this whole thing up. Florida must win out, but that would include knocking off Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. Under that scenario, two SEC teams are likely getting in, which means someone else is getting knocked out.

7. Cincinnati (8-0): This seasons Cinderella story. Unfortunately, this is not college basketball. Being a Group-of-Five team, the Bearcats need help and a lot of it. Their only realistic hope is to get in by default, meaning there are no better options for the committee to go with. 

8. Georgia (6-2): The Bulldogs are eliminated.

9. Iowa State (7-2): The Cyclones are eliminated too.

10. Miami (7-1): The Hurricanes are still alive. Barely. Miami needs a Virginia Tech win over Clemson this weekend to get into the ACC Championship Game. Then they would need to beat Notre Dame in Charlotte. While unlikely, it isn’t impossible. Stranger things have happened this year.

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