Who’s still alive in the chase to get into the 2020-2021 College Football Playoff?
Starting with the unwritten rules of the College Football Playoff …
1) Win your Power Five championship and finish unbeaten, and you’re in. And yes, this will go for the Big Ten. The Pac-12 is a little iffy, though, with a six-game regular season, Go 7-0 with a conference title, and the Pac-12 will at least be on the doorstep.
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 in 2016 despite losing to Penn State.
4) Win your Group of Five conference championship, 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.
Teams that haven’t played yet, but really don’t have a shot
All of these teams will be in the hunt for an automatic New Year’s Six bowl slot if one goes unbeaten, but it’ll take something historically weird to get any sort of consideration for the College Football Playoff.
Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Miami University, Northern Illinois, Ohio, Toledo, Western Michigan
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 chance
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.
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Rutgers, Wisconsin
Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Colorado, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington, Washington State