After Week 9 of the season, what’s the Path to the College Football Playoff for the 12 teams still alive for the four spots?
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Who’s Out After Week 9?
Florida, Iowa, NC State, Texas, USF
So who’s really still alive for the College Football Playoff?
It was a big weekend to knock out a slew of key parts, with five of the teams still alive going into last weekend now out.
All 12 of 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: And then there was one.
South Florida getting rocked by Houston knocked out the only other Group of Five program with even the slightest of hopes to get discussed for the College Football Playoff. And on the plus side for UCF, the Cougars looked great.
Temple, Navy and Cincinnati are all home games, and all three teams are okay enough to make blowout wins look impressive. Beat South Florida in Tampa, get to the American Athletic Conference championship and beat Houston, and at the very least, UCF is in a New Year’s Six bowl again.
What Will Happen: Even if the Knights run the table, the schedule just is’t strong enough. The blowout win over Pitt will only go so far – there won’t be anything else other than a win over Houston – maybe – to get excited about. However, if somehow UCF is the only unbeaten team left, or if it’s one of two remaining, this might get interesting.
The call is that UCF loses to Houston and the Cougars go to the New Year’s Six game, but again, the Knights are a lock of they go unbeaten.
ACC & Notre Dame
The Path to the College Football Playoff: It’s cut-and-dry easy.
With NC State losing to Syracuse, now it’s Clemson-or-bust for the ACC’s dream to get to the College Football Playoff. Go 13-0, and the Tigers are in at no worse than the No. 2 seed. Go 12-1, and things get a little testy. However, 12-1 with an ACC Championship gets the Tigers in.
12-1 without an ACC Championship? Yeah, maybe, but that would mean there can’t be two 12-1 SEC teams, Notre Dame has to lose, and eitherOhio State and Oklahoma probably have to lose a game.
What Will Happen: The Tigers will be fine. They might lose once in the regular season – watch out for that date at Boston College, and South Carolina will be feisty – but they’re playing too well at the right time not to finish this off.
Notre Dame (8-0)
The Path to the College Football Playoff: Go 12-0 and get in. Go 11-1 and then it gets dicey.
The Irish dispatched of Navy without much of a problem, but they still have to go on the road three of their last four games. They get a week off before heading to Northwestern, and then it’s Florida State in South Bend, and then Syracuse in Yankee Stadium, and then the date at USC.
Lose any one of those, and that’s all but it, because either 1) there will be four obvious options from the Power Five champs or 2) a team that beats one of those obvious options will get some love. BUT, if there are only three one-loss or unbeaten Power Five teams available, the Irish will be alive.
What Will Happen: They’ll slink past Northwestern in an ugly game, but and they’ll beat Florida State, but they’ll lose one of their last two games to Syracuse or at USC, finishing as the first team out of the final College Football Playoff rankings.