College Football Playoff Chase: Who's Still Alive After Week 4

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

College Football Playoff Chase: Who's Still Alive After Week 4

College Football Playoff

College Football Playoff Chase: Who's Still Alive After Week 4

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Who’s still alive in the chase to get into the 2020-2021 College Football Playoff?


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Even in this craziest of seasons with the wackiest of scenarios, here’s how the unwritten College Football Playoff rules should still work …

1) Win your Power Five championship and finish unbeaten, and you’re in. And yes, this will go for the Big Ten, and this will almost certainly go for a Pac-12 team that wins seven games and then its championship (maybe).

Don’t make this too hard – the CFP committee isn’t going to want to get too funky if there’s an unbeaten Power Five champ there to select.

2) Win your Power Five championship and finish with one loss, and in normal times you’re close to being a mortal lock. This year, the SEC champ is in with one loss no matter what, but it’s not so sure a thing across the board. This will be addressed in a moment.

3) Lose one game in the SEC, Big Ten, or this year, the ACC, with that one loss coming to a conference champion who’s off to the College Football Playoff. That’s how Alabama got in on the way to a title in 2017. Or, be dominant and have one loss that was by crazy circumstances, like Ohio State did to get in despite losing to Penn State in 2016.

4) Win your Group of Five conference championship and go unbeaten, and pray for a whole lot of luck. We have yet to have a season with a slew of two-loss Power Five champions, but that’s what it would take for an unbeaten Group of Fiver to get in.

With all of that in mind, this is broken down into five categories.

Teams that haven’t played yet, but …
Finished. Done. Let’s go take a steam
The Group of Five hopefuls
One-loss teams still alive … technically
The unbeaten College Football Playoff contenders

Teams that haven’t played yet, but really don’t have a shot

This year, considering the lack of non-conference games, just winning a Group of Five title won’t be enough, no matter what.

Let’s not kid ourselves. These teams can go unbeaten, be amazing, and they might be allowed to watch the College Football Playoff on TV. However, all of these teams will be in the hunt for an automatic New Year’s Six bowl slot if one goes unbeaten.

American Athletic Conference
Houston, Temple

Conference USA
Florida Atlantic, Rice

MAC
Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Miami University, Northern Illinois, Ohio, Toledo, Western Michigan

Mountain West 
Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego State, San Jose State, UNLV, Utah State, Wyoming

Teams that haven’t played yet, but have a shot

Some might be longer shots than others, and some might be totally unrealistic, but if any of these teams go unbeaten with a conference championship, they’re almost certainly going to be in.

Big Ten
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Rutgers, Wisconsin

Pac-12
Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Colorado, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington, Washington State

Finished. Done. Let’s go take a steam
The Group of Five hopefuls
One-loss teams still alive … technically
The unbeaten College Football Playoff contenders

NEXT: Finished. Done. Let’s go take a steam …

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