Over the last few weeks some big upsets have dashed numerous teams’ playoff dreams, and as we move ever closer to Championship Week we find ourselves with only a handful of teams still in the mix for the four spots.
If you’re a Power 5 team and finish with one loss and a conference title, odds are you’ll get in. If you’re a Group of 5 team or Notre Dame, the road is much harder, but as Cincinnati is trying to show us, isn’t impossible. It just involves a lot of winning.
Here’s all the teams that if they win out, or for some even take a loss, can still make the CFP. Who’s in?
Tier 1: Longshots
Numerous teams in this category a couple of weeks ago have been bounced, Arkansas, Florida, and Coastal Carolina have all taken one hit too many and will have to play for bowl destination rather than the CFP.
An unbeaten SMU has a great shot at 13-0 because that would involve two victories over Cincinnati, so don’t dismiss them yet. Notre Dame is in a really tight spot not having Michigan on the schedule, but still only has one L. Texas A&M needs Alabama to lose again so the Aggies can face and beat Georgia in the SEC Championship, and Wake Forest needs to just not lose. Oklahoma State does have a loss, but their game(s) with the Sooners will be coming “sooner” than you realize.
Kentucky likely can’t win the East, but at 11-1, they might be one of the last one-loss teams standing and sneak in if more upsets keep happening.
Tier 2: Win out and you’re in
All these teams are playing great and just need to keep winning. Oregon is probably in the most precarious position of them all, but all of them are set up well to get in if they run the table.
Tier 3: Room to breathe
Last time, Iowa was here too, but after the Purdue loss, their margin for error has been reduced to zero. Georgia is the only team in the country that really has room to breathe and can sustain a hit without taking on too much water.
Who will make the College Football Playoff? With the was this year’s been going, it’ll be a fun race to the finish.