College Football Playoff Eliminator: Week 11

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF ELIMINATOR – WEEK 11

The door crept a little more open for the Cincinnati Bearcats, who didn’t move in this week’s College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings but had the enjoyment of watching Oklahoma lose to Baylor, seemingly cracking the Big XII’s chance’s of hopping the Bearcats. The Big Ten continued to impress at the top, as Wisconsin, Michigan State, Michigan, and Ohio State all won.

Let’s run through the CFP Eliminator criteria before breaking down the national landscape:

  1. Three-loss Power Five teams: A two-loss Power Five team that finds itself playing for a conference championship can also be playing for a CFP spot. There are few scenarios in which that happens after Texas A&M’s loss to Ole Miss, but the door is open.
  1. Two-loss Group of Five teams: One-loss is enough to eliminate a Group of Five team from playoff contention. However, we will keep around the teams that can still finish the season undefeated or as a one-loss conference champion – which could be enough to get them into a New Years’ Six (NY6) bowl.
  1. Strength of schedule issues: The longer the season goes on, the clearer the picture gets as far as a team’s strength of schedule is concerned. Cincinnati continues to cling onto that win over Notre Dame, and the Irish keep winning and look better each week.

CONTROLLING THEIR OWN DESTINY (4 TEAMS)

#1 Georgia (10-0)

Georgia ran away from Tennessee in the second half and get matchups with Charleston Southern and Georgia Tech to close the year before the SEC Championship. At this point, the Bulldogs and their defense can afford a blemish before the CFP.

#2 Alabama (9-1): lost to Texas A&M, 41-38 (Week 6)

QB Bryce Young (21/23, 270 yards, 5 TD) is still putting together a strong Heisman campaign after the Tide’s beatdown of New Mexico State. Alabama still has to get through Arkansas and Auburn before they can clinch a berth against Georgia for the SEC title.

#3 Oregon (9-1): lost to Stanford, 31-24 (OT) (Week 5)

Oregon will finally get their chance against a ranked conference opponent in No. 23 Utah this weekend, who they will likely see again in the Pac-12 title game. One loss would doom the Ducks, but winning out will surely keep them in the top four.

#4 Ohio State (9-1): lost to Oregon, 35-28 (Week 6)

Ohio State throttled Purdue, 59-31, behind QB CJ Stroud (31/38, 361 yards, 5 TD), RB TreVeyon Henderson (98 yards, 2 TD), and the WR trio of Jaxon Smith-Njigba (139 yards, 1 TD), Garrett Wilson (177 total yards, 4 total TD), and Chris Olave (85 yards, 1 TD). This offense is clearly the best in the country from top to bottom and they’ll get to show it against the worst passing defense in the country – Michigan State.

WILL NEED SOME HELP IF THEY WIN OUT (3 TEAMS)

#7 Michigan State (9-1): lost to Purdue, 40-29 (Week 10)

RB Kenneth Walker (143 yards, 2 TD) went off again in a win versus Maryland. Winning out would surely propel the Spartans into the CFP race if they can get through a trip to Columbus and a home rivalry game against Penn State.

#5 Cincinnati (10-0)

Cincinnati will have their toughest conference test yet against SMU on Saturday before closing the season against East Carolina. The good news for the Bearcats is that the Houston Cougars are finally ranked and could stay there before the AAC Championship.

#6 Michigan (9-1): lost to Michigan State, 37-33 (Week 9)

The Wolverines took care of business in Happy Valley against Penn State. They have Maryland before taking on Ohio State to close the year, but unfortunately for Michigan, they don’t control their own conference destiny. If Michigan State loses this weekend in Columbus, it will come down to the rivalry game against the Buckeyes to play for a Big Ten Championship.

CHAOS WOULD HAVE TO OCCUR (4 TEAMS)

#9 Oklahoma State (9-1): lost to Iowa State, 24-21 (Week 8)

The Cowboys smoked TCU behind RBs Dominic Richardson (134 yards, 2 TD) and Jaylen Warren (113 yards, 3 TD). They take on Texas Tech before a matchup with Oklahoma, which could be played again in the conference championship game.

#13 Oklahoma (9-1)

Oklahoma struggled heavily against Baylor in a 27-14 loss on the road. With Iowa State and Oklahoma State on deck, it doesn’t get much better for a Sooners squad that can’t decide on who to put under center.

#10 Wake Forest (9-1)

Wake had another shootout but this time came out victorious at home against NC State with QB Sam Hartman throwing three interceptions and dampening his Heisman hopes. Road games against Clemson and Boston College are their two remaining games before an ACC Championship game which will likely be against Pitt – another high-profile conference offense.

#8 Notre Dame (9-1): lost to Cincinnati, 24-13 (Week 5)

The Irish quietly continue to win and watch teams ahead of them face much tougher opponents. Georgia Tech and Stanford are not impressive matchups to close the regular season, but many of the teams in front of them still have to face one another. It wouldn’t be shocking if Notre Dame is in the mix on selection day.

WOULD NEED TO BE A TWO-LOSS CONFERENCE CHAMP (4 TEAMS)

#11 Baylor (8-2): lost to Oklahoma State, 24-14 (Week 5) & TCU, 30-28 (Week 10)

Baylor took care of Oklahoma at home but will still need some help if they want to play for a Big XII title. An Oklahoma loss to Iowa State this weekend would certainly help, giving the Bears the inside track on a rematch with Oklahoma State.

#12 Ole Miss (8-2): lost to Alabama, 42-21 (Week 5) & Auburn, 31-20 (Week 9)

It’s not quite over for the Ole Miss Rebels, who will need a pair of Alabama losses to Arkansas and Auburn in order to play for the SEC Championship. QB Matt Corral (24/37, 247 yards, 1 TD) led the upset bid against Texas A&M and will have to focus on Vanderbilt and Mississippi State to close out what has been a surprisingly good season in Oxford.

#21 Pittsburgh (8-2): lost to Western Michigan, 44-41 (Week 3) & Miami, 38-34 (Week 9)

Pitt is squarely in the driver’s seat following last Thursday’s overtime win against UNC. QB Kenny Pickett (25/43, 346 yards, 3 TD / 1 INT) is seen as one of the nation’s top quarterbacks heading down the stretch. With Virginia and Syracuse coming up, the Panthers are in prime position to be playing for a conference championship.

#17 Iowa (8-2): lost to Purdue, 24-7 (Week 7) & Wisconsin, 27-7 (Week 9)

The Hawkeyes took down Minnesota in a crucial Big Ten West matchup. They have Illinois and Nebraska to close the year and will need Wisconsin to drop one of their two remaining games (home against Nebraska, on the road against Minnesota) in order to be playing for a Big Ten title that is well within reach.

G5 & INDEPENDENTS WITH AN OUTSIDE SHOT AT A NY6 (5 TEAMS)

#14 BYU (8-2): lost to Boise State, 26-17 (Week 6) & Baylor, 38-24 (Week 7)

BYU has stayed stagnant in the rankings thus far as they get to travel to Georgia Southern and USC to finish off the year. There is a very realistic chance that the Cougars will be playing in a NY6 bowl come the postseason.

#24 Houston (9-1): lost to Texas Tech, 38-21 (Week 1)

Houston remains electric on offense as they took down Temple, 37-8, for their ninth straight win. They have Memphis on Friday night before their final game at UConn. This is a Cougars team that matches up well with Cincinnati, which should be a ranked AAC Championship.

#22 UTSA (10-0)

UTSA continues to roll through their schedule after taking down Southern Miss behind QB Frank Harris (17/30, 227 yards, 2 TD / 2 INT) and RB Sincere McCormick (90 yards, 1 TD). UAB (7-3) comes to town this weekend to decide the West Division before a finale against North Texas.

Louisiana (9-1): lost to Texas, 38-18 (Week 1)

The Ragin’ Cajuns are still unranked, but they’ll have a chance to prove themselves at Liberty this weekend. They clinched a spot in the Sun Belt title game and can still make it to a NY6 bowl if their nine-game win streak continues.

#19 San Diego State (9-1): lost to Fresno State, 30-20 (Week 9)

SDSU is a strong competitor for a NY6 spot. They have UNLV and Boise State to close out the year and will likely play Utah State for the Mountain West Championship. If they run the table, they’ll certainly be one of the highest ranked Group of Five teams.

HONORABLE MENTION – TEAMS HAVING GOOD SEASONS

Appalachian State (8-2), Utah State (8-2)

THE ELIMINATED

WEEK 11 (3 TEAMS)

Coastal Carolina: eliminated with loss to Georgia State, 42-40 (Week 11)

NC State: eliminated with loss to Wake Forest, 45-42 (Week 11)

Texas A&M: eliminated with loss to Ole Miss, 29-19 (Week 11)

WEEK 10 (4 TEAMS)

Auburn: eliminated with loss to Texas A&M, 20-3 (Week 10)

Liberty: eliminated with loss to Ole Miss, 27-14 (Week 10)

Minnesota: eliminated with loss to Illinois, 14-6 (Week 10)

SMU: eliminated with loss to Memphis, 28-25 (Week 10)

WEEK 9 (7 TEAMS)

Arizona State: eliminated with loss to Washington State, 34-21 (Week 9)

Iowa State: eliminated with loss to West Virginia (Week 9)

Kentucky: eliminated with Georgia clinching the SEC East (Week 9)

Oregon State: eliminated with loss to California, 39-25 (Week 9)

Penn State: eliminated with loss to Ohio State, 33-24 (Week 9)

UTEP: eliminated with loss to Florida Atlantic, 28-25 (Week 9)

Virginia: eliminated with loss to BYU, 66-49 (Week 9)

WEEK 8 (10 TEAMS)

Air Force: eliminated with loss to San Diego State, 20-14 (Week 8)

Army: eliminated with loss to Wake Forest, 70-56 (Week 8)

Boston College: eliminated with loss to Louisville, 28-14 (Week 8)

Clemson: eliminated with loss to Pitt, 27-7 (Week 8)

Maryland: eliminated with loss to Minnesota, 34-16 (Week 8)

Nevada: eliminated with loss to Fresno State, 34-31 (Week 8)

Purdue: eliminated with loss to Wisconsin, 30-13 (Week 8)

Texas Tech: eliminated with loss to Kansas State, 25-24 (Week 8)

UCLA: eliminated with loss to Oregon, 34-3 (Week 8)

Utah: eliminated with loss to Oregon State, 42-34 (Week 8)

WEEK 7 (10 TEAMS)

Appalachian State: eliminated with loss to Louisiana, 41-13 (Week 7)

Arkansas: eliminated with loss to Auburn, 38-23 (Week 7)

Florida: eliminated with loss to LSU, 49-42 (Week 7)

Kansas State: eliminated with loss to Iowa State, 33-20 (Week 7)

Mississippi State: eliminated with loss to Alabama, 49-9 (Week 7)

TCU: eliminated with loss to Oklahoma, 52-31 (Week 7)

Tennessee: eliminated with loss to Ole Miss, 31-26 (Week 7)

Texas: eliminated with loss to Oklahoma State, 32-24 (Week 7)

Virginia Tech: eliminated with loss to Pitt, 28-7 (Week 7)

Wyoming: eliminated with loss to Fresno State, 17-0 (Week 7)

WEEK 6 (11 TEAMS)

Duke: eliminated with loss to Georgia Tech, 31-27 (Week 6)

Louisville: eliminated with loss to Virginia, 34-33 (Week 6)

LSU: eliminated with loss to Kentucky, 42-21 (Week 6)

Rutgers: eliminated with loss to Michigan State, 31-13 (Week 6)

South Alabama: eliminated with loss to Texas State, 33-31 (OT) (Week 6)

South Carolina: eliminated with loss to Tennessee, 45-20 (Week 6)

Stanford: eliminated with loss to Arizona State, 28-10 (Week 6)

Syracuse: eliminated with loss to Wake Forest, 40-37 (OT) (Week 6)

UNC: eliminated with loss to Florida State, 35-25 (Week 6)

USC: eliminated with loss to Utah, 42-26 (Week 6)

Western Michigan: eliminated with loss to Ball State, 45-20 (Week 6)

WEEK 5 (16 TEAMS)

Charlotte: eliminated with loss to Illinois, 24-14 (Week 5)

Eastern Michigan: eliminated with loss to Northern Illinois (Week 5)

Fresno State: eliminated with loss to Hawai’i, 27-24 (Week 5)

Georgia Tech: eliminated with loss to Pitt, 52-21 (Week 5)

Indiana: eliminated with loss to Penn State, 24-0 (Week 5)

Louisiana-Monroe: eliminated with loss to Coastal Carolina, 59-6 (Week 5)

Memphis: eliminated with loss to Temple, 34-31 (Week 5)

Miami: eliminated with loss to Virginia, 30-28 (Week 5)

Missouri: eliminated with loss to Tennessee, 62-24 (Week 5)

Northwestern: eliminated with loss to Nebraska, 56-7 (Week 5)

UAB: eliminated with loss to Liberty, 36-12 (Week 5)

UCF: eliminated with loss to Navy, 34-30 (Week 5)

Utah State: eliminated with loss to BYU, 34-20 (Week 5)

Washington: eliminated with loss to Oregon State, 27-24 (Week 5)

West Virginia: eliminated with loss to Texas Tech, 23-20 (Week 5)

Wisconsin: eliminated with loss to Michigan, 38-17 (Week 5)

WEEK 4 (12 TEAMS)

California: eliminated with loss to Washington, 31-24 (OT) (Week 4)

Colorado: eliminated with loss to Arizona State, 35-13 (Week 4)

Florida Atlantic: eliminated with loss to Air Force, 31-7 (Week 4)

Kansas: eliminated with loss to Duke, 52-33 (Week 4)

Marshall: Eliminated with loss to Appalachian State, 31-30 (Week 4)

Nebraska: eliminated with loss to Michigan State, 23-20 (Week 4)

New Mexico: eliminated with loss to UTEP, 20-13 (Week 4)

San Jose State: eliminated with loss to Western Michigan (Week 4)

Troy: eliminated with loss to Louisiana-Monroe, 29-16 (Week 4)

Vanderbilt: eliminated with loss to Georgia, 62-0 (Week 4)

Washington State: eliminated with loss to Utah, 24-13 (Week 4)

Western Kentucky: eliminated with loss to Indiana, 33-31 (Week 4)

WEEK 3 (21 TEAMS)

Arizona: eliminated with loss to Northern Arizona, 21-19 (Week 3)

Arkansas State: eliminated with loss to Washington, 52-3 (Week 3)

Ball State: eliminated with loss to Wyoming, 45-12 (Week 3)

Boise State: eliminated with loss to Oklahoma State, 21-20 (Week 3)

Buffalo: eliminated with loss to Coastal Carolina, 28-25 (Week 3)

Central Michigan: eliminated with loss to LSU, 49-21 (Week 3)

FIU: eliminated with loss to Texas Tech, 54-21 (Week 3)

Florida State: eliminated with loss to Wake Forest, 35-14 (Week 3)

Georgia Southern: eliminated with loss to Arkansas, 45-10 (Week 3)

Illinois: eliminated with loss to Maryland, 20-17 (Week 3)

Kent State: eliminated with loss to Iowa, 30-7 (Week 3)

Louisiana Tech: eliminated with loss to SMU, 39-37 (Week 3)

Middle Tennessee: eliminated with loss to UTSA, 27-13 (Week 3)

Northern Illinois: eliminated with loss to Michigan, 63-10 (Week 3)

North Texas: eliminated with loss to UAB, 40-6 (Week 3)

Old Dominion: eliminated with loss to Liberty, 45-17 (Week 3)

Southern Miss: eliminated with loss to Troy, 21-9 (Week 3)

Temple: eliminated with loss to Boston College, 28-3 (Week 3)

Texas State: eliminated with loss to Incarnate Word, 42-34 (Week 3)

Toledo: eliminated with loss to Colorado State, 22-6 (Week 3)

Tulane: eliminated with loss to Ole Miss, 61-21 (Week 3)

WEEK 2 (15 TEAMS)

Akron: eliminated with loss to Temple, 45-24 (Week 2)

Bowling Green: eliminated with loss to South Alabama, 22-19 (Week 2)

Colorado State: eliminated with loss to Vanderbilt, 24-21 (Week 2)

East Carolina: eliminated with loss to South Carolina, 20-17 (Week 2)

Georgia State: eliminated with loss to UNC, 59-17 (Week 2)

Hawai’i: eliminated with loss to Oregon State, 45-27 (Week 2)

Miami (OH): eliminated with loss to Minnesota, 31-26 (Week 2)

Navy: eliminated with loss to Air Force, 23-3 (Week 2)

Ohio: eliminated with loss to Duquesne, 28-26 (Week 2)

Rice: eliminated with loss to Houston, 44-7 (Week 2)

Tulsa: eliminated with loss to Oklahoma State, 28-23 (Week 2)

UConn: eliminated with loss to Holy Cross, 38-28 (Week 2)

UMass: eliminated with loss to Boston College, 45-28 (Week 2)

UNLV: eliminated with loss to Arizona State, 37-10 (Week 2)

USF: eliminated with loss to Florida, 42-20 (Week 2)

WEEK 1 (1 TEAM)

New Mexico State: eliminated with loss to San Diego State, 28-10 (Week 1)

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