College Football Playoff Eliminator: Week 1

The College Football Playoff (CFP) Eliminator is back for the 2022 season as we look to eliminate teams on a weekly basis from CFP contention.

Teams are eliminated based off their losses and path to the CFP. For Group of Five teams, that usually comes after their first loss of the season. For many teams, they simply do not boast the necessary strength of schedule to make a 4-team field regardless of their record. For the fun of the sport, we will be keeping teams that still have a shot at a New Years’ Six (NY6) bowl out of the eliminator – for now.

Let’s take a look at where every conference stands after Week 1 of the college season.

American Athletic Conference

Can the AAC push a team to the final four like they did in 2021? Not likely. But the conference has been the best of the Group of Five for most of the past decade. Right now, Houston has risen as the clear favorite after a triple-overtime win against UTSA. The Cougars avoid both Cincinnati and UCF in the regular season while playing future Big XII foes Texas Tech and Kansas before conference play begins.

Still in the hunt:

#25 Houston (1-0)
(RV) UCF (1-0)
SMU (1-0)
Tulane (1-0)

Early-season strugglers:

(RV) Cincinnati (0-1): lost to Arkansas, 31-24 (Week 1)
East Carolina (0-1): lost to NC State, 21-20 (Week 1)
Memphis (0-1): lost to Mississippi State, 49-23 (Week 1)
Navy (0-1): lost to Delaware, 14-7 (Week 1)
South Florida (0-1): lost to BYU, 50-21 (Week 1)
Temple (0-1): lost to Duke, 30-0 (Week 1)
Tulsa (0-1): lost to Wyoming, 40-37 (2OT) (Week 1)

Atlantic Coast Conference

Clemson has been the ACC’s best bet to make the CFP in recent years, claiming two national championships, but the offense still looked shaky behind QB DJ Uiagalelei before pulling away from Georgia Tech. NC State got lucky against East Carolina while Pittsburgh escaped the Backyard Brawl against West Virginia, leaving the door wide open for ACC title contention and returning the ACC to the CFP.

Still in the hunt:

#5 Clemson (1-0)
#15 Miami (1-0)
#17 Pittsburgh (1-0)
#18 NC State (1-0)
#23 Wake Forest (1-0)
(RV) Florida State (2-0)
(RV) North Carolina (2-0)
Duke (1-0)
Syracuse (1-0)
Virginia (1-0)

Early-season strugglers:

Boston College (0-1): lost to Rutgers, 22-21 (Week 1)
Georgia Tech (0-1): lost to Clemson, 41-10 (Week 1)
Louisville (0-1): lost to Syracuse, 31-7 (Week 1)
Virginia Tech (0-1): lost to Old Dominion, 20-17 (Week 1)

Big Ten Conference

Michigan and Ohio State are poised to be the top of the class again this year, with the Wolverines coming off a conference title and CFP appearance last year. The Wild West Division is showing to be just that, with Minnesota and Wisconsin looking to be the strongest of the bunch this early in the season.

Still in the hunt:

#3 Ohio State (1-0)
#4 Michigan (1-0)
#14 Michigan State (1-0)
#19 Wisconsin (1-0)
(RV) Penn State (1-0)
(RV) Minnesota (1-0)
Indiana (1-0)
Iowa (1-0)
Maryland (1-0)
Northwestern (1-0)
Rutgers (1-0)

Early-season strugglers:

(RV) Purdue (0-1): lost to Penn State, 35-31 (Week 1)
Illinois (1-1): lost to Indiana, 23-20 (Week 1)
Nebraska (1-1): lost to Northwestern, 31-28 (Week 0)

Big XII Conference

Baylor, Texas, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State look to be the clear frontrunners in the hectic Big XII round-robin tournament. Still, history has proven that anyone can win in this conference. With Alabama coming to visit Austin and QB Quinn Ewers this weekend, the road to the CFP could look a lot different for the conference that hasn’t placed a team in the past two cycles.

Still in the hunt:

#7 Oklahoma (1-0)
#9 Baylor (1-0)
#11 Oklahoma State (1-0)
(RV) Texas (1-0)
(RV) Kansas State (1-0)
Iowa State (1-0)
Kansas (1-0)
TCU (1-0)
Texas Tech (1-0)

Early-season strugglers:

West Virginia (0-1): lost to Pittsburgh, 38-31 (Week 1)

Conference USA

2021 C-USA champion UTSA almost came away with a victory over Houston, which would have been a huge win for the program before they take on Army and Texas. As many members gear up for the exodus to the American after this season, the conference’s chances of of producing a ranked team – let alone a NY6 team – are slim.

Still in the hunt:

FIU (1-0)
UAB (1-0)
Western Kentucky (2-0)

Early-season strugglers:

Florida Atlantic (1-1): lost to Ohio, 41-38 (Week 1)
Louisiana Tech (0-1): lost to Missouri, 52-24 (Week 1)
Middle Tennessee (0-1): lost to James Madison, 44-7 (Week 1)
North Texas (1-1): lost to SMU, 48-10 (Week 1)
Rice (0-1): lost to USC, 66-14 (Week 1)
UTSA (0-1): lost to Houston, 37-35 (3OT) (Week 1)

Eliminated:

Charlotte: eliminated with loss to William & Mary, 41-24 (Week 1)
* Wild hypothetical: Charlotte wins out, beating Maryland and South Carolina, who both compete in the Big Ten and SEC. Would the 11-2 49ers get close to a NY6 bid?
UTEP: eliminated with loss to Oklahoma, 45-13 (Week 1)

FBS Independents

Notre Dame suffered a loss to Ohio State in Columbus, but managed to keep the Buckeye’s offense in check for most of the game. BYU demolished South Florida, making them the most likely viable Independent team that has a chance at crashing the NY6 party.

Still in the hunt:

#21 BYU (1-0)
Liberty (1-0)

Early-season strugglers:

Army (0-1): lost to Coastal Carolina, 38-28 (Week 1)
Notre Dame (0-1): lost to Ohio State, 21-10 (Week 1)
UConn (1-1): lost to Utah State (Week 0)
UMass (0-1): lost to Tulane, 42-10 (Week 1)

Eliminated:

New Mexico State: eliminated with loss to Minnesota, 38-0 (Week 1)
* Wild hypothetical: New Mexico State wins out, beating Wisconsin and Missouri, who both compete in the Big Ten and SEC. Would the 10-2 Aggies get close to a NY6 bid?

Mid-American Conference

The MAC has been a league of true parity, with six different conference champions since 2015. Although the difficulty of schedule is never enough to make a push for a CFP spot, a NY6 bid is not out of the question for a 12 or 13-win team. Even with Akron barely beating an FCS opponent, anything can happen once MAC play begins.

Still in the hunt:

Akron (1-0)
Eastern Michigan (1-0)
Northern Illinois (1-0)
Ohio (1-0)
Toledo (1-0)

Early-season strugglers:

Ball State (0-1): lost to Tennessee, 59-10 (Week 1)
Bowling Green (0-1): lost to UCLA, 45-17 (Week 1)
Buffalo (0-1): lost to Maryland, 31-10 (Week 1)
Central Michigan (0-1): lost to Oklahoma State, 58-44 (Week 1)
Kent State (0-1): lost to Washington, 45-20 (Week 1)
Miami (OH) (0-1): lost to Kentucky, 37-13 (Week 1)
Western Michigan (0-1): lost to Michigan State, 35-13 (Week 1)

Mountain West Conference

The Mountain West was a thorn in the Pac-12 Conference’s back last season, going 5-5 against the Power Five Conference that occupies the same region. With Air Force and Fresno State looking to be tough teams to beat, and chances to prove themselves against Pac-12 opponents (most notably, Fresno State’s trip to USC on September 17), the Mountain West could make some noise and push a few teams into a ranked position.

Still in the hunt:

(RV) Fresno State (1-0)
(RV) Air Force (1-0)
Nevada (2-0)
New Mexico (1-0)
San Jose State (1-0)
UNLV (1-0)

Early-season strugglers:

Boise State (0-1): lost to Oregon State, 34-17 (Week 1)
Colorado State (0-1): lost to Michigan, 51-7 (Week 1)
San Diego State (0-1): lost to Arizona, 38-20 (Week 1)
Utah State (1-1): lost to Alabama, 55-0 (Week 1)
Wyoming (1-1): lost to Tulsa, 40-37 (2OT) (Week 1)

Eliminated:

Hawai’i: eliminated with loss to Western Kentucky, 49-17 (Week 1)
* Wild hypothetical: Hawai’i wins out, beating Michigan and winning the Mountain West, with the Wolverines winning the Big Ten. Would the 11-2 Warriors get close to a NY6?

Pac-12 Conference

The Pac-12 has not had a CFP team since Washington made the field in 2016. Fast forward to today, and the conference is on the verge of losing its two most valuable members to the Big Ten. After Georgia’s demolition of Oregon and Utah’s loss at Florida, USC has become the slight frontrunner in the league.

Still in the hunt:

#10 USC (1-0)
(RV) Oregon State (1-0)
(RV) UCLA (1-0)
(RV) Arizona (1-0)
Arizona State (1-0)
California (1-0)
Stanford (1-0)
Washington (1-0)
Washington State (1-0)

Early-season strugglers:

#13 Utah (0-1): lost to Florida, 29-26 (Week 1)
(RV) Oregon (0-1): lost to Georgia, 49-3 (Week 1)
Colorado (0-1): lost to TCU, 38-13 (Week 1)

Southeastern Conference

The nation’s top conference, which has sent Alabama and Georgia to the CFP two separate times, boasts a 14-1 overall record. The lone loss was LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly’s debut against Florida State. With a multitude of ranked teams and marquee wins out-of-conference, the SEC is poised to send a team to the CFP again – and possibly multiple.

Still in the hunt:

#1 Alabama (1-0)
#2 Georgia (1-0)
#6 Texas A&M (1-0)
#12 Florida (1-0)
#16 Arkansas (1-0)
#20 Kentucky (1-0)
#22 Ole Miss (1-0)
#24 Tennessee (1-0)
(RV) Auburn (1-0)
(RV) Mississippi State (1-0)
(RV) South Carolina (1-0)
Missouri (1-0)
Vanderbilt (1-0)

Early-season strugglers:

LSU (0-1): lost to Florida State, 24-23 (Week 1)

Sun Belt Conference

Appalachian State suffered a home heartbreaker to North Carolina, 63-61, but gets another “prove-it” game as they travel to Texas A&M this weekend. Coastal Carolina got to business by beating Army, James Madison welcomed themselves to the FBS with a win over Middle Tennessee, and Old Dominion took down Virginia Tech, giving the Sun Belt a strong start to their 2022 conference campaign.

Still in the hunt:

Arkansas State (1-0)
Coastal Carolina (1-0)
Georgia Southern (1-0)
James Madison (1-0)
Louisiana (1-0)
Marshall (1-0)
Old Dominion (1-0)
South Alabama (1-0)

Early-season strugglers:

Appalachian State (0-1): lost to North Carolina, 63-61 (Week 1)
Georgia State (0-1): lost to South Carolina, 35-14 (Week 1)
Louisiana-Monroe (0-1): lost to Texas, 52-10 (Week 1)
Southern Miss (0-1): lost to Liberty, 29-27 (4OT) (Week 1)
Texas State (0-1): lost to Nevada, 38-14 (Week 1)
Troy (0-1): lost to Ole Miss, 28-10 (Week 1)

ELIMINATED TEAMS

Week 1 (4 teams)

Charlotte: eliminated with loss to William & Mary, 41-24 (Week 1)
Hawai’i: eliminated with loss to Western Kentucky, 49-17 (Week 1)
New Mexico State: eliminated with loss to Minnesota, 38-0 (Week 1)
UTEP: eliminated with loss to Oklahoma, 45-13 (Week 1)

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