After Week 5 of the season, what’s the Path to the College Football Playoff for the 36 teams still alive for the four spots?
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So who’s really still alive for the College Football Playoff? Forgetting that we know certain teams are technically still in the chase, but no way is it going to happen, who still has some sort of a path to into the fun?
Unless something insane or historic happens – or if there’s some wacky run like Auburn had last season – knock out all the teams with two losses. There might be a shot for some of them if they catch fire and win out, but realistically … no.
Also, knock out and Group of Five program with a loss. As is, an unbeaten GOFer almost has no chance, and at the moment, there aren’t any unbeaten teams in Conference USA, the MAC, Mountain West or Sun Belt.
All the teams on this list are still in the mix, and here’s what has to happen.
Group of Five: American Athletic Conference
The Path to the College Football Playoff: Chaos has to kick in among the Power Five programs with at least three of the champions finishing with two losses or more. The Bearcats have a win over UCLA on the resume – no big deal, but it was a road Pac-12 win – and they have to rip through the rest of the slate. It would help if they beat an unbeaten UCF team in Orlando on November 17th.
What Will Happen: The Bearcats won’t go unbeaten. Luke Fickell’s team is strong, but they’ll drop at least one game along the way.
The Path to the College Football Playoff: They need the public on their side, because the Knights aren’t going to have the resume. Remember, last year doesn’t exist in the College Football Playoff world – it’s all about what has happened this year. Even if UCF goes unbeaten again, Pitt can’t be the bright shining star of a top-line victory. They need to rip through the slate, and then hope the Power Five championships are full meltdowns.
What Will Happen: The New Year’s Six slot will be there again, but it’ll be a battle with Boise State to get it. The Knights will lose once along the way – at USF? Temple? In the AAC title game? – but even if they don’t, the resume isn’t going to be strong enough to get in.
The Path to the College Football Playoff: Like Cincinnati and UCF, the Bulls need a whole lot of help – and they have to win out while making a case. What they do have will be two wins over Power Five programs to boast about. Beating Georgia Tech and Illinois might not be any big deal, but it’s something. Roll to 13-0, and hope for a ton of breaks.
What Will Happen: USF is right there in the mix for the Group of Five’s New Year’s Six slot, but with road games at Houston, Cincinnati and Temple, and a home date with UCF, there won’t be a clean sheet.