College Football Playoff Chase: Who's Still Alive After Week 3

College Football Playoff Chase: Who's Still Alive After Week 3

College Football Playoff

College Football Playoff Chase: Who's Still Alive After Week 3


The unbeaten College Football Playoff contenders

Sorry UCF and the rest of the Group of Five types – going unbeaten doesn’t assure you of anything. For the Power Five programs, 13-0 with a championship will almost certainly earn an invite.

Remember, one loss isn’t necessarily a killer. 12-1 with a conference championship still likely gets it done.


Will it happen? It’s not going to be smooth sailing, but the Tide will claw their way through an unbeaten regular season to earn the No. 1 seed. The CFP will like the Bama schedule better than Clemson’s.

Arizona State

Will it happen? There’s not enough of an offense. If the Sun Devils don’t get tagged at Cal in a 3-0 slugfest, it’ll lose at Utah on October 19th or against Oregon in late November.


Will it happen? Nah … there’s not enough offense. At Texas A&M on September 21st, at Florida on October 5th, at LSU on October 26th, Georgia on November 16th, and Alabama to close things out. Good luck.


Will it happen? The Bears get Oklahoma and Texas at home – this might be more interesting than you think. The date at Kansas State on October 5th will be an issue.


Will it happen? It might take a little bit to put the Bears away. They don’t have the offense, but they already got by Washington. If they beat Oregon on October 5th, they might just get to the Pac-12 Championship game at … nah. They lose to the Ducks and on October 26th at Utah.


Will it happen? Yeah, and along the way we’ll have a national debate and discussion about how squishy-soft the schedule is. No one left on the schedule full of unranked teams will come within 20 of the Tigers.


Will it happen? If not, it’ll come really, really close. There will be a misfire along the way – maybe to Florida on November 2nd, or possibly to Auburn on the road or at home to Texas A&M.  It’ll be the No. 5 team in the final rankings.


Will it happen? It’s Iowa, so there are four losses coming somewhere. At Michigan on October 5th, Penn State the week after, at Wisconsin on November 9th – the Hawkeyes aren’t getting to the show.

Kansas State

Will it happen? Nah. It’ll be a good team that’ll go bowling, but it’ll lose at least three Big 12 games.


Will it happen? Get ready for a big national debate about whether or not an 11-1 LSU that loses to Alabama on the road deserves to be in. The other big games – Florida on October 12th and Texas A&M on November 30th – are at home.


Will it happen? Don’t dismiss the Wolverines quite yet just because of the Army game. But … dismiss the Wolverines. They have to go to Wisconsin next week, make a trip to Penn State, and watch out for the date at Maryland on November 2nd. Oh yeah, and they have to play Michigan State and Ohio State, too.


Will it happen? How is this team not 0-3? Don’t be surprised if it’s deep in the mix for the Big Ten West title, but it’ll lose at least four games with the way it struggled against mediocre teams in the first three weeks.

Notre Dame

Will it happen? Don’t look now, but the schedule isn’t that bad if the Irish get by Georgia this week. Unfortunately, one loss kills the dream, and they have to go to Athens and to Michigan.

Ohio State

Will it happen? The Buckeyes will drop a game along the way – maybe against Wisconsin on October 26th or to (gasp) Michigan on November 30th – but they’re not losing twice. They’ll get back to the Big Ten Championship, win it, and this time get an invite.


Will it happen? Lost in all of the fun is that they haven’t played anyone who’s any good. The Sooners will drop a game along the way, but they’ll beat either Texas or TCU in the Big 12 Championship to go to a third straight College Football Playoff.

Oklahoma State

Will it happen? It’s a fun team with a whole lot of offense, but it has to go to Texas next week. Win that, and things get interesting with the toughest remaining games in Stillwater. The Cowboys will lose three times, though.

Penn State

Will it happen? It’ll take everything in the bag for the Nittany Lions to not finish fourth in the Big Ten East. All five road games – Maryland, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota and Ohio State – are scary. They’ll drop at least two of them.


Will it happen? Don’t sleep on the Horned Frogs if they have the defense to go along with the offense. Don’t be stunned if they’re still hanging around the chase in late October when they go to Oklahoma, but they’ll lose twice before getting there.


Will it happen? Utah doesn’t win at USC – don’t mess with a streak – and that’s coming up on Friday. They don’t have Oregon on the schedule, but they’ll lose at Washington before dropping the Pac-12 Championship to Oregon.


Will it happen? Where’s the sure loss? There’s no Clemson on the slate, but the Cavs have to go to Notre Dame and Miami in back-to-back games. They’ll lose twice before dropping the ACC Championship to the Tigers.

Wake Forest

Will it happen? It’s a really, really fun team that could easily start the season 9-0 if this O keeps working. Going to Clemson will slam it all shut, and realistically, they’ll drop two games before that.

Washington State

Will it happen? At Utah, at Arizona State, at Oregon, at Cal, at Washington. Nope.


Will it happen? The Badgers will eventually play someone who’s not bad at college football … like Michigan next week. They’ll win the West, but they’ll have a meltdown multi-turnover game somewhere to go along with a loss at Ohio State at the end of October.

Finished. It’s over. The College Football Playoff dream is kaput
The Group of Five hopefuls
The one-loss teams that technically still have a shot
The one-loss teams that actually have a shot


More Bowl Projections