The College Football Playoff Eliminator: Week 13

The College Football Playoff (CFP) committee has a large task ahead of them, especially if the Pac-12 produces a one-loss champion in relation to how Alabama is valued. It’s now week 13 of the season, and this is where we stand on each team’s shot at advancing to the playoff.

Teams with two losses are only eliminated if they don’t control their own conference destiny. Three losses eliminates all Power Five teams, while two losses eliminates all American Conference teams.

Team are listed in order of if they were to win out, who has the best chance at making it to the ultimate semifinal:

1. LSU (SEC, 10-0):

Loss: None
Next up: vs Arkansas

LSU and Heisman hopeful QB Joe Burrow have elevated the Tigers to the safest spot in the country to reach the CFP. With Arkansas and Texas A&M on schedule before the SEC Championship, the big question will be how the SEC is valued compared to an undefeated ACC champ (Clemson), an undefeated Big Ten champ (Ohio State), and a one-loss Pac-12 champ (Oregon or Utah).

2. Ohio State (Big Ten, 10-0):

Loss: None
Next up: vs Penn State

Penn State comes to town in yet again a huge matchup in the East. Based on the Nittany Lion’s loss to Minnesota, their close games against Pitt, Michigan, Michigan State, and Indiana – and Ohio State’s dominance against all of their opponents thus far – this game shouldn’t be close on paper. QB Justin Fields and RB J.K. Dobbins get a little extra boost on the defensive end with the return of DE Chase Young, who has been the most dominant player in the country.

3. Clemson (ACC, 11-0):

Loss: None
Next up: BYE

Clemson rolled Wake Forest in a massive statement game considering that the Demon Deacons were being regarded as the second best team in the ACC. Virginia, Pitt, and Virginia Tech are battling in the Coastal, with Virginia Tech playing both opponents and Pitt needing the Hokies to beat Virginia in the season finale. However, none of these teams look to matchup against the Tigers, who will get a playoff bid with an unblemished record.

4. Georgia (SEC, 9-1):

Loss: vs South Carolina (20-17)
Next up: vs Texas A&M

Georgia secured their bid to the SEC Championship, which will look to be against the nation’s top team. If Georgia wins the SEC, the committee has made it clear that their loss to South Carolina shouldn’t play a factor as the Bulldogs were ranked #4 last week, one spot above Alabama.

5. Minnesota (Big Ten, 9-1):

Loss: @ Iowa (23-19)
Next up: @ Northwestern

Minnesota’s playoff hopes took a major hit with their loss at Iowa. With Wisconsin on slate to close the season, the Big Ten West race is not over by any means. If Minnesota can win out and win the Big Ten for the first time since 1967, then they’ll have to pass the eye test against an Alabama team that just lost their star QB.

6. Penn State (Big Ten, 9-1):

Loss: @ Minnesota (31-26)
Next up: @ Ohio State

Penn State narrowly escaped Indiana this past week, a team Ohio State beat by 41. By beating the Buckeyes on Saturday, Penn State will be in the driver’s seat in the Big Ten East and have a shot at redemption against Minnesota.

7. Oregon (Pac-12, 9-1):

Loss: @ Auburn (27-21)
Next up: @ Arizona State

Oregon’s defense still has some holes, but they only allowed 6 points in a rout of Arizona on Saturday. Arizona State and Oregon State are on schedule to close the season, which should setup a Pac-12 Championship date with Utah that can keep their playoff hopes intact. Utah, on the other hand, must get through Arizona and Colorado to remain in first place in the South above USC.

8. Utah (Pac-12, 9-1):

Loss: @ USC (30-23)
Next up: @ Arizona

Utah just needs to win out to set up a championship game with Oregon. A top-10 win will go a long way in the CFP committee decision room and it should keep the Big 12 out of the conversation, especially after undefeated Baylor’s loss to Oklahoma.

9. Alabama (SEC, 9-1):

Loss: vs LSU (46-41)
Next up: vs Western Carolina

It’s FCS week in the SEC, which doesn’t help Alabama. After Auburn’s loss to Georgia, the season finale game against Auburn will be less respected for a team that isn’t playing for a conference championship. If Alabama beats Auburn and LSU beats Texas A&M, the Tide will have zero wins against teams with less than four losses. Nick Saban’s Tua-less offense could see themselves get jumped in the rankings in the coming weeks.

10. Oklahoma (Big XII, 9-1):

Loss: Kansas State (48-41)
Next up: vs TCU

Oklahoma continues to narrowly escape conference opponents, but QB Jalen Hurts’ come-from-behind victory over the undefeated Baylor Bears will look to set up an enticing rematch in the Big 12 Championship. With Kansas State (Oklahoma’s only loss) continuing to lose, a rematch with the Wildcats is out of the question and drops the entire stock of the conference. The committee has consistently placed Oregon and Utah above the Sooners, and a top-10 conference championship in the Pac-12 will outweigh any Big 12 rematch.

11. Baylor (Big XII, 9-1):

Loss: vs Oklahoma
Next up: vs Texas

Baylor blew a 28-3 lead to Oklahoma and proved that the committee was right for keeping them outside the top 10 in their initial two rankings. The Bears still control their own destiny in the Big 12, but their playoff chances have dropped significantly.

12. Wisconsin (Big Ten, 8-2):

Loss: @ Illinois (24-23) and @ Ohio State (38-7)
Next up: vs Purdue

Wisconsin gets Purdue and Minnesota to close the season. Two wins will put them back in the Big Ten Championship against Ohio State or Penn State. A rematch victory against the Buckeyes would make the Badgers the highest two-loss team, which may still have an outside shot.

13. Cincinnati (The American, 9-1):

Loss: @ Ohio State (42-0)
Next up: vs Temple

The Bearcats’ loss at Ohio State looks better by the week, but Luke Fickell’s squad needs to be more dominant against lowly opponents. With Memphis continuing to win, their cross-divisional season finale could be an important one. If Cincinnati wins, they’d see SMU or Navy in the American Championship.

14. Memphis (The American, 9-1):

Loss: @ Temple (30-28)
Next up: @ South Florida

Memphis’ hopes at a New Years’ Six (NY6) bowl bid look strong, but they’d see Cincinnati back-to-back if they beat them in the season finale. The goal right now should be to simply take care of business and continue their dominant offensive showcase.

15. SMU (The American, 9-1):

Loss: @ Memphis (54-48)
Next up: @ Navy

SMU and Navy meet up in an important American West Division matchup. The winner of that game will root for Cincinnati to beat Memphis to close the season. If that happens, the winner of this game will get the bid to the conference title game. Navy’s huge loss to Notre Dame doesn’t help the conference as a whole, but the American winner will have the best road to a NY6 bowl.

16. Michigan (Big Ten, 8-2):

Loss: @ Wisconsin (35-14) and @ Penn State (28-21)
Next up: @ Indiana

Michigan’s playoff hopes are hanging by a thin thread. Their Big Ten title hopes are hanging by an even thinner thread. They need to beat Indiana and Ohio State to close the season and for Penn State to lose to Ohio State and … Rutgers. If all of that happens, the Wolverines will be playing in their first Big Ten Championship ever. A spot at a NY6 bowl seems a lot more realistic.

Eliminated:

Auburn (SEC, 7-2): Eliminated with week 12 loss to Georgia, 21-14.
Florida (SEC, 9-2): Eliminated with inability to control conference destiny.
Indiana (Big Ten, 7-3): Eliminated with week 12 loss to Penn State, 34-17.
Navy (The American, 7-2): Eliminated with week 12 loss to Notre Dame, 52-20.

Georgia’s win over Auburn put the Tigers and Gators in the elimination column, as Florida can no longer reach the SEC Championship. Indiana fought hard against Penn State, but ultimately found their third and eliminating loss. For Navy, it was a beatdown by Notre Dame that ended their longshot playoff hopes, but not their conference destiny.

Here is a complete list of teams that have been eliminated this season:

Eliminated in Week 0/1 (21 teams):

Akron: Eliminated with week 1 loss to Illinois, 42-3.
Arkansas State: Eliminated with week 1 loss to SMU, 37-30.
Ball State: Eliminated with week 1 loss to Indiana, 34-24.
Coastal Carolina: Eliminated with week 1 loss to Eastern Michigan, 30-23.
Colorado State: Eliminated with week 1 loss to Colorado, 52-13.
Florida Atlantic: Eliminated with week 1 loss to Ohio State, 45-21.
Florida International: Eliminated with week 1 loss to Tulane, 42-14.
Fresno State: Eliminated with week 1 loss to USC, 31-23.
Georgia Southern: Eliminated with week 1 loss to LSU, 55-3.
LA-Lafayette: Eliminated with week 1 loss to Mississippi State, 38-28.
Liberty: Eliminated with week 1 loss to Syracuse, 24-0.
Louisiana Tech: Eliminated with week 1 loss to Texas, 45-14.
Miami (OH): Eliminated with week 1 loss to Iowa, 38-14.
Middle Tennessee: Eliminated with week 1 loss to Michigan, 40-12.
New Mexico State: Eliminated with week 1 loss to Washington State, 58-7.
Rice: Eliminated with week 1 loss to Army, 14-7.
South Alabama: Eliminated with week 1 loss to Nebraska, 35-21.
Texas State: Eliminated with week 1 loss to Texas A&M, 41-7.
Toledo: Eliminated with week 1 loss to Kentucky, 38-24.
UMass: Eliminated with week 1 loss to Rutgers, 48-21.
Western Kentucky: Eliminated with week 1 loss to Central Arkansas, 35-28.

Eliminated in Week 2 (21 teams):

Army: Eliminated with week 2 loss to Michigan, 24-21 (OT).
Bowling Green: Eliminated with week 2 loss to Kansas State, 52-0.
Buffalo: Eliminated with week 2 loss to Penn State, 45-13.
Central Michigan: Eliminated with week 2 loss to Wisconsin, 61-0.
Charlotte: Eliminated with week 2 loss to Appalachian State, 56-41.
Eastern Michigan: Eliminated with week 2 loss to Kentucky, 38-17.
LA-Monroe: Eliminated with week 2 loss to Florida State, 45-44 (OT).
Marshall: Eliminated with week 2 loss to Boise State, 14-7.
Nevada: Eliminated with week 2 loss to Oregon, 77-6.
North Texas: Eliminated with week 2 loss to SMU, 49-27.
Northern Illinois: Eliminated with week 2 loss to Utah, 35-17.
Ohio: Eliminated with week 2 loss to Pittsburgh, 20-10.
Old Dominion: Eliminated with week 2 loss to Virginia Tech, 31-17.
San Jose State: Eliminated with week 2 loss to Tulsa, 34-16.
South Florida: Eliminated with week 2 loss to Georgia Tech, 14-10.
Southern Mississippi: Eliminated with week 2 loss to Mississippi State, 38-15.
Tennessee: Eliminated with week 2 loss to BYU, 29-26.
UNLV: Eliminated with week 2 loss to Arkansas State, 43-17.
UTEP: Eliminated with week 2 loss to Texas Tech, 38-3.
UTSA: Eliminated with week 2 loss to Baylor, 63-14.
Western Michigan: Eliminated with week 2 loss to Michigan State, 51-17.

Eliminated in Week 3 (10 teams):

East Carolina: Eliminated with week 3 loss to Navy, 42-10.
Georgia State: Eliminated with week 3 loss to Western Michigan, 57-10.
Georgia Tech: Eliminated with week 3 loss to The Citadel, 27-24 (OT).
Hawai’i: Eliminated with week 3 loss to Washington, 52-20.
Houston: Eliminated with week 3 loss to Washington State, 31-24.
Kent State: Eliminated with week 3 loss to Auburn, 55-16.
New Mexico: Eliminated with week 3 loss to Notre Dame, 66-14.
Troy: Eliminated with week 3 loss to Southern Miss, 47-42.
Tulsa: Eliminated with week 3 loss to Oklahoma State, 40-21.
UCLA: Eliminated with week 3 loss to Oklahoma, 48-14.

Eliminated in Week 4 (11 teams):

Air Force: Eliminated with week 4 loss to Boise State, 30-19.
BYU: Eliminated with week 4 loss to Washington, 45-19.
Illinois: Eliminated with week 4 loss to Nebraska, 42-38.
Kansas: Eliminated with week 4 loss to West Virginia, 29-24.
San Diego State: Eliminated with week 4 loss to Utah State, 23-17.
South Carolina: Eliminated with week 4 loss to Missouri, 34-14.
Stanford: Eliminated with week 4 loss to Oregon, 21-6.
UConn: Eliminated with week 4 loss to Indiana, 38-3.
UNC: Eliminated with week 4 loss to Appalachian State, 34-31.
Vanderbilt: Eliminated with week 4 loss to LSU, 66-38.
Wyoming: Eliminated with week 4 loss to Tulsa, 24-21.

Eliminated in Week 5 (8 teams):

Arkansas: Eliminated with week 5 loss to Texas A&M, 31-27.
Kentucky: Eliminated with week 5 loss to South Carolina, 24-7.
Northwestern: Eliminated with week 5 loss to Wisconsin, 24-15.
Ole Miss: Eliminated with week 5 loss to Alabama, 59-31.
Oregon State: Eliminated with week 5 loss to Stanford, 31-28.
Purdue: Eliminated with week 5 loss to Minnesota, 38-31.
Rutgers: Eliminated with week 5 loss to Michigan, 52-0.
UAB: Eliminated with week 5 loss to Western Kentucky, 20-13.

Eliminated in Week 6 (5 teams):

Boston College: Eliminated with week 6 loss to Louisville, 41-39.
Miami (FL): Eliminated with week 6 loss to Virginia Tech, 42-35.
Syracuse: Eliminated with week 6 loss to NC State, 16-10.
UCF: Eliminated with week 6 loss to Cincinnati, 27-24.
Utah State: Eliminated with week 6 loss to LSU, 42-6.

Eliminated in Week 7 (11 teams):

Colorado: Eliminated with week 7 loss to Oregon, 45-3.
Florida State: Eliminated with week 7 loss to Clemson, 45-14.
Maryland: Eliminated with week 7 loss to Purdue, 40-14.
Michigan State: Eliminated with week 7 loss to Wisconsin, 38-0.
Mississippi State: Eliminated with week 7 loss to Tennessee, 20-10.
Nebraska: Eliminated with week 7 loss to Minnesota, 34-7.
Texas A&M: Eliminated with week 7 loss to Alabama, 47-28.
Texas Tech: Eliminated with week 7 loss to Baylor, 33-30.
USC: Eliminated with week 7 loss to Notre Dame, 30-27.
Washington State: Eliminated with week 7 loss to Arizona State, 38-34.
West Virginia: Eliminated with week 7 loss to Iowa State, 38-14.

Eliminated in Week 8 (11 teams):

Arizona: Eliminated with week 8 loss to USC, 41-14.
#22 Boise State: Eliminated with week 8 loss to BYU, 28-25.
California: Eliminated with week 8 loss to Oregon State, 21-17.
Duke: Eliminated with week 8 loss to Virginia, 48-14.
NC State: Eliminated with week 8 loss to Boston College, 45-24.
Louisville: Eliminated with week 8 loss to Clemson, 45-10.
Oklahoma State: Eliminated with week 8 loss to Baylor, 45-27.
TCU: Eliminated with week 8 loss to Kansas State, 24-17.
Temple: Eliminated with week 8 loss to SMU, 45-21.
Tulane: Eliminated with week 8 loss to Memphis, 47-17.
Washington: Eliminated with week 8 loss to Oregon, 35-31.

Eliminated in Week 9 (7 teams):

Arizona State: Eliminated with week 9 loss to UCLA, 42-32.
Iowa State: Eliminated with week 9 loss to Oklahoma State, 34-27.
Missouri: Eliminated with week 9 loss to Kentucky, 29-7.
#16 Notre Dame: Eliminated with week 9 loss to Michigan, 45-14.
Pittsburgh: Eliminated with week 9 loss to Miami (FL), 16-12.
Texas: Eliminated with week 9 loss to TCU, 37-27.
Virginia: Eliminated with week 9 loss to Louisville, 28-21.

Eliminated in Week 10 (2 teams):

Virginia Tech: Eliminated with week 10 loss to Notre Dame, 21-20.
Appalachian State: Eliminated with week 10 loss to Georgia Southern, 24-21.

Eliminated in Week 11 (3 teams):

Iowa: Eliminated with week 11 loss to Wisconsin, 24-22.
Kansas State: Eliminated with week 11 loss to Texas, 27-24.
Wake Forest: Eliminated with week 10 loss to Virginia Tech, 36-17 and inability to control conference destiny.

Eliminated in Week 12 (4 teams):

Auburn: Eliminated with week 12 loss to Georgia, 21-14.
Florida: Eliminated with inability to control conference destiny.
Indiana: Eliminated with week 12 loss to Penn State, 34-17.
Navy: Eliminated with week 12 loss to Notre Dame, 52-20.

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