Who’s still alive in the chase to get into the 2021-2022 College Football Playoff? After Week 8, here’s our ranking of the 21 teams still in the mix.
We lost three teams from the College Football Playoff chase – Penn State, NC State, and Coastal Carolina – and now, out of the 130 teams playing FBS football, we’re down to 21.
The first College Football Playoff rankings come out next week, but remember, they’re just a snapshot of the moment.
The theories and beliefs still hold – win your Power Five conference championship, do it with one loss or go unbeaten, and you’re almost certainly in.
So who’s realistically still left? We rank all 21 teams that have a path to get into the playoff going from those with no shot to those who control their own destiny.
This isn’t a College Football Playoff ranking projection – that’s coming. This is all based on likelihood of getting in and the clearest paths to getting in.
21. UTSA Roadrunners (8-0)
There’s a win over Illinois on the resumé, and it’s possible to roll through the rest of an easy schedule to get into the discussion, but it would take a meltdown of the entire college football world for UTSA to get into the final four. However, making into a New Year’s Six game isn’t out of the question if Cincinnati and San Diego State both lose.
20. San Diego State Aztecs (7-0)
There just aren’t any style points. The Aztecs win with the nation’s best run defense, a tough offense that doesn’t make mistakes, and repeat steps 1 and 2.
Wins over Utah and Arizona aren’t enough, but the schedule overall is better than Cincinnati’s. It won’t matter for the College Football Playoff chase, but the Aztecs are right there for a possible New Year’s Six bowl by winning out.
19. SMU Mustangs (7-0)
It’s the team we’re not talking about … yet.
SMU’s big win is at TCU, but it’s rolling through its schedule – a slate that makes Cincinnati’s look like an SEC West team – but there’s a trip to Cincinnati in late November. Throw in dates with Houston and Memphis on the road and UCF and Tulsa at home, and this could be the it team by the time the showdown with the Bearcats rolls around.
18. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-1)
Notre Dame is sort of stuck because it needs Cincinnati to lose twice. Or, it needs Cincinnati to rip through the rest of its schedule, and it needs the Power Five conference championships to be in meltdown mode. With that said, a few style points wouldn’t hurt, especially considering there won’t be one great win on the resumé by going 11-1.
17. Texas A&M Aggies (6-2)
Here’s how this has to work. Win out, hope for one more loss by Alabama along the way, beat unbeaten No. 1 Georgia in the SEC Championship. Do that, in a four-best-team way, a two-loss team will be in the College Football Playoff for the first time.
16. Ole Miss Rebels (6-1)
The loss to Alabama is a problem – Ole Miss can’t get to the SEC Championship if the Tide don’t lose again – but if it wins out against a decent slate that includes Texas A&M and road dates at Auburn and Mississippi State, and if Alabama wins the SEC Championship over Georgia, in a theoretical way, Ole Miss might have to be considered one of the four best teams.