Who’s still alive in the chase to get into the 2021-2022 College Football Playoff? After Week 10, here’s our ranking of the 13 teams still in the mix.
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Unfortunately, after key losses last weekend, we’re afraid Baylor and Auburn won’t be joining us for the rest of the season.
Where we’re going, they cannot follow.
To realistically be in the College Football Playoff chase in November, you have to 1) still be unbeaten, 2) be an unbeaten Power Five team, or 3) have some ridiculously strange circumstances to overcome parts one and two.
There are still 13 teams still alive, and it’s really more like 11 still in the hunt. These teams all have a reasonable path to dream of getting into the final four, and we’re ranking them based on how much control they have over their respective destinies.
This isn’t a College Football Playoff ranking projection – that’s this. This is all based on likelihood of getting in and the clearest paths.
13. UTSA Roadrunners (9-0)
So you know when Cincinnati was struggling so much with Tulsa this weekend … and, to a certain extent, Tulane the weekend before … and Navy the weekend before that? Everyone was talking about what that meant for the College Football playoff chase.
UTSA cares about the New Year’s Six bowl hunt.
The top-ranked Group of Five conference champion according to the CFP at least gets a New Year’s Six bowl bid. This year, that’s likely going to be the Fiesta. Conference USA has yet to have a team represented in the high-profile bowl.
So no, your Roadrunners of UTSA don’t have the slightest realistic shot at getting into the College Football playoff even if they do go 13-0 with a Conference USA championship and a win at Illinois on the resumé.
However, if there are a bunch of two-loss Power Five conference champs and Cincinnati loses once, UTSA would at least be in an interesting discussion.
If UC loses, though, getting that New Year’s Six slot would be on the table.
12. Texas A&M Aggies (7-2)
With the 20-3 win over Auburn, things just changed in a huge way for Texas A&M.
Now, even with losses to Arkansas and Mississippi State, there’s a case to be made that this could and should be the first ever two-loss team to get to the College Football Playoff.
But it needs a one-loss Alabama – who it beat 41-38 in early October – to lose again before the SEC Championship.
The Tide still have to deal with Arkansas at home and Auburn on the road. If they’re still as shaky as they were against LSU on Saturday, dropping one of those team isn’t out of the question.
If Bama loses, and A&M closes out with wins over Ole Miss, Prairie View A&M, and at LSU, it’s off to the SEC Championship to face Georgia. If it wins that, even with two losses, no way and no how does the committee leave out a red-hot SEC champion with wins over Alabama, Georgia, Auburn, Ole Miss, and LSU.
But that doesn’t happen unless the Tide help the cause.
11. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-1)
Call this ranking a possible rental.
Yes, Notre Dame lost to Cincinnati. However, the Bearcat schedule is full of layups and the team is having a hard time getting the ball to go down. Don’t be the slightest bit shocked if Notre Dame moves ahead of Cincinnati at some point in the CFP ranking process.
While the Bearcats close out with more mediocre Group of Five teams, Notre Dame finishes with at Virginia, Georgia Tech, and at Stanford to end its season with nine games against Power Five programs and possible wins against all of them.
However, it’s still going to take at least two multi-loss Power Five champions – like in the ACC and Pac-12, most likely – and Alabama can’t beat Georgia in the SEC Championship, and there would have to be a major controversial call.
Or, Cincinnati might just lose at some point and the door would be open for the Irish.
HOWEVER … not getting to play in a conference championship matters. It didn’t in the past for 12-0 Notre Dame. It sure as shoot would for the 11-1 version.