College Football Playoff Chase: Ranking Path Of The 9 Teams
Who’s still alive in the chase to get into the 2023-2023 College Football Playoff? After Week 11, here are the nine teams still alive and what they need to do to get in.
Who realistically has a path to the College Football Playoff, and what are the chances of getting there?
If you really, really, really tried, there might be some way to figure out how Alabama could get in, and the College Football Playoff committee can choose to take anyone it wants, but for the most part there are nine teams still in the chase.
Ole Miss lost to Alabama last week – it’s realistically done. So is UCLA after losing to Arizona and Oregon after dropping the date against Washington.
No, this isn’t a ranking of how good the teams are right now. That’s for our 1-131 ranking of all the teams. This is based on 1) how easy and clean the path appears to be to get in, and most importantly, 2) the pecking order overall.
College Football Playoff Chase: Ranking Path Of The 9 Teams Still Alive
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CFN 1-131 Rankings | Rankings by Conference
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9. LSU Tigers (8-2)
What LSU has to do to make the College Football Playoff: It has to be amazing the rest of the way – or even more amazing than it has been over the last few weeks.
It won the West. Start with the shocker that it’s a reloading LSU and not Alabama in the SEC Championship, and be amazed that Texas A&M flopped so hard and Ole Miss couldn’t rise up. The chance was there, and Brian Kelly’s team took it.
LSU has to roll past UAB and Texas A&M without so much as a small bump, and it has to look unstoppable against what needs to be a 12-0 No. 1 Georgia. Win the SEC Championship, and roll the dice.
Remaining Schedule: UAB, at Texas A&M, SEC Championship vs Georgia
Will LSU make the College Football Playoff? Nah. Actually, that’s a little too glib. If it wins out, then yes, it’ll be really, really, really hard to keep LSU out from a theoretical standpoint.
How do you put Georgia – and maybe Tennessee – in with a chance to win the national title and now the team that actually won the conference championship?
It’ll take everyone else melting down – a two-loss champion in the Big 12 and Pac-12 might be a must – but first it’s about taking care of home.
Assume the Tigers can’t get by Georgia, and don’t be totally shocked if Texas A&M rises up at home and comes up with something unbelievable. Even so, the path is there, even if it’ll take the College Football Playoff committee breaking precedent and putting in the first two-loss team.
8. North Carolina Tar Heels (9-1)
What North Carolina has to do to make the College Football Playoff: Win out by dominating Georgia Tech, NC State, and then Clemson in the ACC Championship.
It’s going to take a lot of help even if that happens, USC has to lose once more, and it would help if TCU doesn’t win the Big 12 Championship.
But if it comes down to 12-1 ACC Champion North Carolina and 11-1 also-ran Tennessee, the College Football Playoff committee has yet to take a one-loss Power Five champion unless there was another obvious must-have option – like unbeaten Notre Dame in 2018.
Remaining Schedule: Georgia Tech, NC State, ACC Championship vs Clemson
Will North Carolina make the College Football Playoff? Nah – it’s too heavy a lift with too much traffic in the way even if it gets to 12-1 with an ACC title. If could be stunned by NC State, and it could lose to Clemson, and the other available options might be too good, so no. It might not make it in, but win out and it’ll come extremely close.
7. Tennessee Volunteers (9-1)
What Tennessee has to do to make the College Football Playoff: You know that 66-24 win over Missouri that Tennessee just came up with? Yeah, do that again against South Carolina and Vanderbilt on the road.
The Vols need Georgia to win out impressively to make the 27-13 loss on the road to the unquestioned No. 1 team in America as acceptable as possible. They need to be so dominant that it absolutely has to be included.
But they also need help.
Remaining Schedule: at South Carolina, at Vanderbilt
Will Tennessee make the College Football Playoff? Yeah, but it’s not going to be easy. Tennessee will do its part, but it’s out if Georgia, Big Ten champion, 12-1 or unbeaten TCU, and 12-1 Pac-12 champion USC are all options.
Assume the Trojans will drop a game, and the call is that TCU won’t win the Big 12. Would the College Football Playoff committee break precedent and take an 11-1 team that didn’t win its division over a 12-1 Power Five champion? Flip a coin.