College Football Playoff Chase: Ranking The 24 Teams Still Alive After Week 7

Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

College Football Playoff Chase: Ranking The 24 Teams Still Alive After Week 7

College Football Playoff

College Football Playoff Chase: Ranking The 24 Teams Still Alive After Week 7

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Who’s still alive in the chase to get into the 2021-2022 College Football Playoff? After Week 7, here’s our ranking of the 24 teams still in the chase.


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Now that we’re halfway through the season – and with the first round of College Football Playoff rankings coming in the first week of November – who’s still alive?

Out of the 130 teams that play FCS college football, 24 of them still have a reasonable dream of getting into the final top four.

Some control their own path to the playoff, and others needs some help, and others need the meltdown of college football to even watch the playoff.

The ground rules that aren’t set in stone, but they’re reasonably established eight years in. To get into the College Football Playoff, for the most part, you need to …

1. Win your Power Five conference championship. Go unbeaten, and you’re a 100% lock. Do it with one loss, and you’re in unless there’s another obvious team that makes the cut, like 2018’s 12-1 Big Ten Champion Ohio State team that got left out for an unbeaten independent Notre Dame. OR …

2. Be a one-loss Power Five team that doesn’t win the conference championship, and hope at least two of the Power Five champs have two or more losses. Notre Dame got in last year as an ACC member despite losing the conference title to Clemson, and 2017 Alabama ended up winning the national title despite not even winning its own division. OR …

3. Go unbeaten as a Group of Five team – from the American Athletic, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West, or Sun Belt – and hope for a whole ton of breaks. If you lose just one game as a Group of Five program, forget it. Go unbeaten as a Group of Five program and – let’s be honest – forget it, but this year might be different.

Among the 24 teams that appear to be still alive for the College Football Playoff, we break this down into five categories.

1. Teams in total control. Win out, get in no matter what – at least with the way things are shaking out this year.

2. Teams that control their own paths … sort of. There’s a loss, or it’s going to take some work, but go unbeaten the rest of the way and all should work out just fine.

3. Teams that need help. It’s possible, but even if they win out they’d need a slew of things to fall the right way to get in.

4. Two loss teams that still have a path. It would take something major – and historic – since the College Football Playoff has never taken a two loss team, but it’s possible by winning out.

5. Unbeaten, but no chance. These teams would need the entire college football world to collapse to be considered.

The rankings are based on relative control and likelihood of getting into the College Football Playoff.

Ranking the teams alive for the College Football Playoff 
UTSA | San Diego StateCoastal Carolina
SMUTexas A&M | Auburn | Ole Miss
Notre DameKentucky | Cincinnati
Baylor | Pitt | NC StateWake Forest
Ohio State | OregonPenn State | Iowa
Michigan State | Oklahoma St | Michigan
Alabama | Oklahoma | Georgia
Bowl Projections | CFN Rankings

Unbeaten teams that have no shot at getting into the College Football Playoff

They’re unbeaten, and they’re in the hunt for one of the New Year’s Six games, but it would take several multi-loss Power Five champions and a whole lot of luck, thoughts, and prayers to get in.

24. UTSA Roadrunners (7-0)

UTSA is in the College Football Playoff if … asteroids hit Athens, Norman, Tuscaloosa, Cincinnati, and Columbus all at the same time, and even then it’s not happening.

However, if America really is desperate to push the narrative that its time for a Group of Five program to get into the CFP, UTSA has a win at Illinois, it beat Memphis, and going 13-0 would at least be a talking point if we get the most chaotic second half of a college football season ever.

It’s all going to go wrong against … UAB is the most dangerous team left on the slate, but all of a sudden, going to UTEP isn’t a layup. However, the Roadrunners are playing like the best team in Conference USA.

Will UTSA get into the College Football Playoff? Of course not, but it could be the first Conference USA team to make a New Year’s Six bowl in the College Football Playoff era by winning the remaining games and getting a loss by Cincinnati, San Diego State, and Coastal Carolina.

Ranking the teams alive for the College Football Playoff 
UTSA | San Diego StateCoastal Carolina
SMUTexas A&M | Auburn | Ole Miss
Notre DameKentucky | Cincinnati
Baylor | Pitt | NC StateWake Forest
Ohio State | OregonPenn State | Iowa
Michigan State | Oklahoma St | Michigan
Alabama | Oklahoma | Georgia
Bowl Projections | CFN Rankings

NEXT: 23. San Diego State Aztecs

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