Who’s still alive in the chase to get into the 2023-2023 College Football Playoff? After Week 10, here are the 12 teams still alive and what they need to do to get in.
Who’s still realistically in the mix for this College Football Playoff thing?
We don’t have an expanded playoff yet meaning it’s a battle for four spots among 130 of the 131 teams – James Madison isn’t eligible this season – playing FBS college football.
Without getting twisted into too much of a pretzel trying to figure out how Alabama can still get in – it can, but it would require a whole slew of crazy meltdowns – there are 12 teams with a realistic path.
A few things to remember.
You’re in if you go unbeaten and win your Power Five conference championship. Don’t try to explain it away, and don’t try to make any sort of argument. That’s not a rule – the College Football Playoff committee can take anyone it wants – but no way, no how, no chance does a 13-0 Power Five champ get left out.
Right now, Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan, and TCU are the four teams in complete control of their respective destinies. Ohio State and Michigan play each other, so there’s a shot that three spots might be filled. So if you’re a fan of someone else still in the mix, root for all of those teams to lose.
Also, the committee looks at Power Five conference champions first. Unless there’s another option that has to be in – like unbeaten Notre Dame in 2018 over 12-1 Big Ten champion Ohio State – you’re almost certainly in if you’re a 12-win Power Five champion …
Maybe. According to precedent that’s the deal, but that could change this year. More on that in a moment.
And finally, no, we’re not getting anyone from the Group of Five conferences this time around. There aren’t any unbeaten Group of Five teams left, so no. Tulane, Coastal Carolina, and independent Liberty … no. Don’t try to make a case because it’s not happening no matter what. That’s not saying it’s fair, it’s just how this CFP committee rolls.
With that, he’s the ranking of the 12 remaining teams realistically still alive in the College Football Playoff chase. No, this isn’t a ranking of how good the teams are right now. This is based on 1) how easy and clean the path appears to be to get in, and most importantly, 2) the pecking order overall.
College Football Playoff Chase: Ranking The 12 Teams Still Alive After Week 10
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12. Ole Miss Rebels (8-1)
What Ole Miss has to do to make the College Football Playoff: Again, this is partially based on how clear the path is to get there. It’s there, but it’s rocky.
It’s going to take a little luck along with winning out – an angry Alabama is up next – including a victory over Georgia in the SEC Championship. Do that, and it’s a done deal – in no matter what. Easy peasy.
However, getting to the SEC Championship is going to be a problem even if it wins its next three games.
Remaining Schedule: Alabama, at Arkansas, Mississippi State
Will Ole Miss make the College Football Playoff? No, but it’s certainly still a reasonable dream. No one’s talking about the possibility because 1) it would require beating Alabama and Georgia, and 2) – thanks to a 45-20 loss – LSU would have to lose one of its final two SEC games against Arkansas or Texas A&M for the Rebels to take the SEC West.
11-1 Ole Miss almost certainly doesn’t get in – there are too many strong teams that will be in the way. That’s why it’s just behind …
11. LSU Tigers (7-2)
What LSU has to do to make the College Football Playoff: It starts by winning out. The dominant 45-20 win over Ole Miss and great victory over Alabama set the path to winning the SEC West, and now if it wins out and takes down – almost certainly – Georgia in the SEC Championship, the respect might be there as the winner of the best league in college football to make it in.
Remaining Schedule: at Arkansas, UAB, at Texas A&M
Will LSU make the College Football Playoff? No. Besides having to run the table with two road games and an SEC title game against Georgia, the 40-13 home loss to Tennessee will probably be too much to overcome even if the team rolls through the next four weeks.
And there’s the history thing. Since this whole thing started back in 2014 there has yet to be a two-loss team in the College Football Playoff. 2017 Auburn was close to being the exception – it might have found its way in had it won the SEC Championship – but it lost 28-7 to Georgia.
The committee might still take a 12-1 Georgia even if it loses to LSU in the conference title game.
10. North Carolina Tar Heels (8-1)
What North Carolina has to do to make the College Football Playoff: Win out and get a little bit of help. The 45-32 loss to Notre Dame wasn’t as bad as what just happened to Clemson against the Irish. It was just early enough in the season to be a blip with a 12-1 record and an ACC Championship.
If the Tar Heels can win out and take down – most likely – Clemson in the ACC Championship, it’ll likely be with a little help. If the other four Power Five conference champions are unbeaten or have one loss, North Carolina would be fifth in a four-team race.
Remaining Schedule: at Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, NC State
Will North Carolina make the College Football Playoff? No. It’s been a bit too rocky against mediocre teams to think it’ll run the table, and the lack of an A-list win – even if it’s against Clemson – would put it down the pecking order a bit.
9. Clemson Tigers (8-1)
What Clemson has to do to make the College Football Playoff: Win out and be great doing it. The 35-14 loss at Notre Dame might be excused – the 2020 team lost in South Bend and made it in – but the Tigers have to be impressive over the finishing kick.
With three straight home games and – most likely – the ACC Championship, it can still get all the love it if gets hot and looks strong. Again, 12-1 with a Power Five conference championship matters.
Remaining Schedule: Louisville, Miami, South Carolina
Will Clemson make the College Football Playoff? It might be close. Again, these rankings are based on the ease of the path, and right now the Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC champions likely have and easier ways to get in.
Part of the hesitation is the South Carolina game – that might be a problem if Clemson isn’t sharp. However, unlike North Carolina from the ACC, the Clemson resumé is solid with wins over Wake Forest, NC State, Florida State, and Syracuse.
There’s one other thorn in this that might screw up a 12-1 ACC champion Clemson team …