Who’s still alive in the chase to get into the 2021-2022 College Football Playoff? After Week 11, here are the 11 teams still alive and what they need to do to get in.
Week 11 Roundup
Rankings AP | Coaches | CFN 1-130 Rankings
Week 12 Early Line Predictions | Heisman Race
College Football Playoff Chase, Who’s Alive?
Bowl Projections | Week 11 Scoreboard, Predictions
Big Game Reactions: Baylor, Mich, Ole Miss, more
Coach Hot Seat Top 10 | Bowl Bubble: Who’s In, Out
Throughout the last few weeks of doing this, the College Football Playoff chase has been about who realistically has the easiest and hardest paths to get in.
But enough of that.
No more being cheeky about it. No more throwing a cookie to an unbeaten UTSA team that has no chance of getting into the top four – but is very much alive for the New Years Six race.
There are 11 teams remaining in the College Football Playoff chase, and here’s ranking their chances and what has to happen to get in.
Before it was about the cold, hard reality of what each team had to do. We’re now ranking them based on if we think it could happen, or not.
No. 1 is going to get in, No. 11 isn’t, and everything in between falls into place, starting with …
11. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (9-1)
It’s a wonderful story, but there are a whole lot of massive walls Wake Forest would have to scale to get in, and it starts by first just getting into a position to have the discussion.
Is Wake Forest good enough to get by Clemson on the road? Maybe. Is it good enough to get by a renewed and improved Boston College team that got better since starting QB Phil Jurkovec returned? Maybe.
Is it good enough to get by Clemson and Boston College on the road, and then take down – most likely – Pitt in the ACC Championship? It’s almost certainly going to slip in one of those three games, but even if it doesn’t, there’s still a whole lot of traffic in the pecking order.
What’s the one signature win? It would be the ACC Championship if that happens, but there really isn’t one. NC State? Ehhhhh, okay.
This is how the College Football Playoff committee works, by the way.
It would look at Wake Forest’s loss to North Carolina, point out that 11-1 Notre Dame beat North Carolina, and there’s the hard ceiling to get through.
However, go 12-1, win your Power Five conference title, and good things will probably happen.
10. Oklahoma Sooners (9-1)
This is the “we don’t really believe in you anymore” ranking.
Oklahoma still sort of controls its own destiny.
If it beats Iowa State, and wins at Oklahoma State, and beats Oklahoma State again or gets by Baylor in the Big 12 Championship, yeah. it’s probably in.
I speak College Football Playoff committee. Don’t believe anything else you’re hearing.
12-1 Big 12 champion Oklahoma gets in over a one-loss Wake Forest, a 13-0 Cincinnati – okay, let’s just call that a toss-up depending on how the Bearcats play the rest of the way out – and an 11-1 Notre Dame. Power Five conference championships matter to this group.
However, if it’s down to one spot, it doesn’t get in over a one-loss Pac-12 champion Oregon, or a one-loss Big Ten champ. However, if Oklahoma wins out and Alabama suffers a second loss along the way … in.
After not coming up with a truly strong win over the first nine games and then failing miserably in the first huge test against an okay-not-amazing Baylor team, yeah, we don’t really believe in you anymore, Oklahoma.
Win out, though, and that might not matter.
9. Michigan State Spartans (9-1)
Back in the old days of the BCS, 2008 was one of the biggest whoppers of a season because it was giant mess for two spots, not four. Part of the big whoop was with the old Big 12 South.
Oklahoma and Texas were monsters, and Texas Tech rose up and became a factor.
The Red Raiders shocked Texas in a thriller – it was the Longhorns’ only loss of the regular season – and Texas beat Oklahoma earlier on. Texas, OU, and Texas Tech finished in a three-way tie for the division, but Oklahoma got the call to the Big 12 Championship partly because it annihilated Texas Tech 65-21 late in the year.
Fast forward to 2021. Ohio State and Michigan aren’t exactly the same sort of powerhouses that 2008 Oklahoma and Texas were, but they’re close. Michigan State appears to be the Texas Tech in this scenario.
Now, for this comp to work, Michigan would have to beat Ohio State, and Michigan State – who beat Michigan in a close thriller – already has a loss to Purdue so there can’t be a three-way tie, but basically, this is a painfully long-winded way of saying Michigan State is likely the No. 3 team in a division with three great teams.
There’s a chance to blow past that against a shakier-than-it seems Ohio State this week, but then the Spartans would have to beat Penn State, and then it would likely have to beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship.
On the plus side, Michigan State controls its destiny. Beat the Buckeyes, beat the Nittany Lions, and beat – most likely – the Badgers, and in, no questions, no doubt, no drama. In.
It’s probably not going to happen, though.