Who’s still alive in the chase to get into the 2023-2023 College Football Playoff? Before Week 13, here are the seven teams still alive and what they need to do to get in.
Tennessee is now out of the College Football Playoff mix after getting rocked by South Carolina, and any dream that North Carolina might have had went bye-bye after a shocking loss to Georgia Tech.
So now we’re down to seven teams realistically in the chase for the College Football Playoff. What do they need to do to get in, and who has the easiest and hardest path?
This isn’t a ranking of who the top seven teams are – that’s for our ranking of all 131 teams – this is about a combination of talent, clearest path, and overall pecking order.
College Football Playoff Chase Ranking Path Of The 7 Teams Still Alive
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7. LSU Tigers (9-2)
Remaining Schedule: at Texas A&M, SEC Championship vs Georgia
What LSU has to do to make the College Football Playoff: It has to look the part over the next two weeks.
The 41-10 win over UAB was what a team in the College Football Playoff is supposed to do, and the wins over Alabama and Arkansas were nice, but those were close, tight battles. Now it has to annihilate a mediocre Texas A&M team on the road and it needs to beat Georgia in the SEC Championship.
That, and it needs two of the three champions – assuming the Ohio State-Michigan winner doesn’t lose the Big Ten title – from the ACC, Big 12, and Pac-12 to have at least two losses.
Will LSU make the College Football Playoff? 1) It might have problems on the road against a Texas A&M team that will see this season finale as its World Cup final. 2) It’ll probably beat Texas A&M, but it probably won’t beat Georgia. 3) If it beats Georgia, it’s still probably not in over Georgia – unless it’s a blowout – and it’s unlikely that it’ll get help from three of the other four Power Five conference championships.
6. Clemson Tigers (10-1)
Remaining Schedule: South Carolina, ACC Championship vs North Carolina
What Clemson has to do to make the College Football Playoff: Win out and get help.
It actually caught a wonderful break that South Carolina is coming of the blowout win over Tennessee. Now, beating the Gamecocks would be a massive boost in the College Football Playoff chase with the rough performance against Notre Dame still fresh.
Sticking with the idea of a 12-1 Power Five conference champion getting in if there aren’t any other viable options, Clemson needs USC to lose once more – that’s the most realistic key possibility – and looking the part against South Carolina and North Carolina would be nice.
Will Clemson make the College Football Playoff? Sticking with the call throughout most of the year … yes. The call is that Clemson wins its final two games and TCU somehow has a problem either against Iowa State – unlikely – or in the Big 12 Championship.
The committee would almost certainly take a 12-1 ACC champion over a 12-1 Big 12 team without a championship. If that happens and if Georgia pushes LSU out of the way – and/or if USC loses once more – Clemson is in.
5. USC Trojans (10-1)
Remaining Schedule: Notre Dame, Pac-12 Championship
What USC has to do to make the College Football Playoff: Go 2-0.
The only reason USC isn’t in the top four is because it’s more likely to lose one of its final two games. However, if there were three options the committee had to take – SEC champion Georgia, the Big Ten champion, and 13-0 Big 12 champion TCU – 12-1 USC would 99% surely get the nod over 12-1 Clemson.
And why? Next up for USC is the Notre Dame team that whacked Clemson 35-14.
Will USC make the College Football Playoff? Yeah – let’s go with it. It’s going to be a fight, but after beating UCLA, if USC goes 2-0 with wins over Notre Dame and either Oregon, Utah or Washington in the Pac-12 Championship, it’s done. It’s not going to be easy, but the team rose to the challenge against the Bruins.