College Football Playoff Eliminator: Week 8

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF ELIMINATOR – WEEK 8

Penn State’s 9-OT loss to Illinois removed them from high playoff contenders to the brink of elimination. A loss to Ohio State this weekend will eliminate them completely. Michigan and Michigan State also play in a battle of ranked Big Ten East teams with huge conference championship indications in mind. Coastal Carolina lost to App State during the week, so bouncing back would require another conference loss from the Mountaineers. Finally, Oklahoma State lost to Iowa State while Oklahoma and new QB Caleb Williams struggled with Kansas in what is shaking up to be a highly competitive Big XII race.

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

  1. Three-loss Power Five teams: Penn State is now a two-loss team. However, they still have the loaded Big Ten East in front of them.
  1. Two-loss Group of Five teams: Coastal Carolina’s loss to Appalachian State took them out of control of their conference destiny. The Chanticleers can still make a New Years Six (NY6) bowl as the highest Group of Five team, especially if they can win their conference and if Cincinnati can sneak into the playoff.
  1. Strength of schedule issues: Some teams have such a weak schedule that they might not be able to make up for it by December’s conference championship weekend – see Pitt, who is playing well in a weak ACC but has the sting of a Western Michigan loss.

AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE (3 TEAMS)

Cincinnati struggled to beat a pesky Navy team this weekend, only winning by a touchdown; other than that, the Bearcats have been living up to the hype. Games against Tulane, Tulsa, and South Florida should be prime opportunities for them to get ready for undefeated SMU, who has been steamrolling through the conference so far. Houston is still in the conference playoff picture after an overtime scare versus East Carolina and will host SMU on Saturday night.

Moving on up (2 teams):

#2 Cincinnati (7-0)

#19 SMU (7-0)

Need to make a statement (1 team):

Houston (6-1): lost to Texas Tech, 38-21 (Week 1)

ACC (4 TEAMS)

Clemson is officially out after losing to Pitt this past weekend, 27-17; The Panthers have sole control of the ACC Coastal Division. Virginia is behind them with two conference losses; they will travel to Pittsburgh in late November. Wake Forest remained undefeated by taking down Army 70-56 in an offensive showcase by QB Sam Hartman (23/29, 458 yards, 5 TD). NC State is still in the hunt as well after a one-point loss at Miami; The Wolfpack will need a lot of help going forward. Boston College was eliminated with a third straight loss, this time to Louisville.

Running the show (1 team):

#13 Wake Forest (7-0)

Need to continue to impress (1 team):

#17 Pittsburgh (6-1): lost to Western Michigan, 44-41 (Week 3)

Current bubble (2 teams):

NC State (5-2): lost to Mississippi State, 24-10 (Week 2) & Miami, 31-30 (Week 8)

Virginia (6-2): lost to UNC, 59-39 (Week 3) & Wake Forest, 37-17 (Week 4)

BIG XII CONFERENCE (4 TEAMS)

Oklahoma looked ugly against Kansas, who is one of the worst teams in college football. Oklahoma State suffered their first loss to Iowa State, who remains in contention for the Big XII Championship. Baylor is also still in the hunt as Texas Tech fall to the eliminator after a one-point loss to Kansas State.

Alone at the top (1 team):

#4 Oklahoma (8-0)

Still in conference control (2 teams):

#15 Oklahoma State (6-1): lost to Iowa State, 24-21 (Week 8)

#16 Baylor (6-1): lost to Oklahoma State, 24-14 (Week 5)

Getting back in form (1 team):

#22 Iowa State (5-2): lost to Iowa, 27-17 (Week 2) & Baylor, 31-29 (Week 4)

BIG TEN CONFERENCE (6 TEAMS)

Penn State’s 9-OT loss to Illinois was the longest game in FBS history and one that could prove pivotal if the Nittany Lions bounce back and compete in the East. Michigan and Michigan State meet this week in a top ten matchup as Ohio State hosts Penn State in a big weekend for conference championship indications. Maryland and Purdue are eliminated after losses to Minnesota and Wisconsin, respectively.

Controlling their destiny (3 teams):

#6 Michigan (7-0)

#8 Michigan State (7-0)

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

Back in conference control (1 team):

#9 Iowa (6-1): lost to Purdue, 24-7 (Week 7)

Rough road ahead (2 teams):

#20 Penn State (5-2): lost to Iowa, 23-20 (Week 6) & Illinois, 20-18 (9OT) (Week 8)

Minnesota (5-2): lost to Ohio State, 45-31 (Week 1) & Bowling Green, 14-10 (Week 4)

CONFERENCE USA (2 TEAMS)

UTSA is still undefeated after blowing out Louisiana Tech, 45-16. The Roadrunners get UTEP after their bye this week; the winner will be in control of the West. The Miners travel to Boca Raton to take on Florida Atlantic this Saturday.

Meep meep (1 team):

#23 UTSA (8-0)

Don’t mind the Miners (1 team):

UTEP (6-1): lost to Boise State, 54-13 (Week 2)

INDEPENDENTS (FBS) (3 TEAMS)

Army was eliminated by Wake Forest in an offensive showdown. BYU escaped Washington State, 21-19, with Virginia coming into Provo this week. Liberty should have no problems against UMass this week before taking on No. 10 Ole Miss in an interesting matchup for the Flames. Notre Dame keeps rolling after beating USC, 31-16. The remaining schedule for the Irish is winnable and can get them back in the top ten.

Will need all of the help (1 team):

#11 Notre Dame (6-1): lost to Cincinnati, 24-13 (Week 5)

Outside shot at NY6 (2 teams):

Liberty (6-2): lost to Syracuse, 24-21 (Week 4) & Louisiana-Monroe, 31-28 (Week 7)

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

MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE (0 TEAMS)

Fun fact: MAC West frontrunner Northern Illinois (6-2) won their six games by an average of 7.7 points.

One week until MACtion.

MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE (1 TEAM)

Nevada was eliminated by Fresno State as San Diego State eliminated the Falcons of Air Force. Ranked No. 21, the Aztecs continue to show why they are the class of the Mountain West. A matchup with Fresno State on Saturday’s backdoor slate (10:30pm) will be a huge test that has divisional impacts.

Just keep winning and see what happens (1 team):

#21 San Diego State (7-0)

PAC-12 CONFERENCE (3 TEAMS)

Oregon continues to scrape by against lackluster competition, this time defeating and eliminating UCLA, 34-31. The Ducks’ loss to Stanford is being held against them in the AP Poll, but their win against Ohio State might keep them above the Buckeyes in CFP contention for the time being. Utah was eliminated by Oregon State, who may be the only team to challenge Oregon in the North.

The conference isn’t doing them any favors (1 team):

#7 Oregon (6-1): lost to Stanford, 31-24 (OT) (Week 5)

Will need to look like they want to win (2 teams):

Oregon State (5-2): lost to Purdue, 30-21 (Week 1) & Washington State, 31-24 (Week 6)

Arizona State (5-2): lost to BYU, 27-17 (Week 3) & Utah, 35-21 (Week 7)

SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE (6 TEAMS)

Georgia is still the nation’s top dawg, but Alabama is the clear leader in the SEC West. The Crimson Tide just have to win and they’re in, regardless of what the other conferences do. An Alabama loss in the SEC Championship will most likely open the door for another team. Ole Miss and Kentucky are still one-loss teams that can sneak in if more chaos occurs. Auburn still controls part of their conference destiny, even with two losses overall, while Texas A&M will need some help and a conference championship to get the nod.

Controlling their destiny (2 teams):

#1 Georgia (7-0)

#3 Alabama (7-1): lost to Texas A&M, 41-38 (Week 6)

Backdoor sleepers (2 teams):

#10 Ole Miss (6-1): lost to Alabama, 42-21 (Week 5)

#12 Kentucky (6-1): lost to Georgia, 30-13 (Week 7)

Controlling their (division) destiny (1 team):

#18 Auburn (5-2): lost to Penn State, 28-20 (Week 3) & Georgia, 34-10 (Week 6)

It’ll take some chaos (1 team):

#14 Texas A&M (5-2): lost to Arkansas, 20-10 (Week 4) & Mississippi State, 26-22 (Week 5)

SUN BELT CONFERENCE (2 TEAMS)

Coastal Carolina’s Cinderella story has come to an end. Their NY6 hopes are still alive, but App State is in control of Group A after last week’s win. Louisiana is still the team to beat in Group B and the winner of this conference has an outside shot of playing in a bigger bowl game.

Far, far outside shot (2 teams):

Louisiana (6-1): lost to Texas, 38-18 (Week 1)

#24 Coastal Carolina (6-1): lost to App State, 30-27 (Week 8)

THE ELIMINATED

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)

College Football Playoff Eliminator: Week 7

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF ELIMINATOR – WEEK 7

Iowa’s 24-7 home loss to Purdue added an extra element to the Big Ten West race, but the East is still the most competitive division in football. The SEC is a clear-cut two-way race between Alabama and Georgia, even with the remaining schedule. The questions remain on who can run the table in the Big Ten, what will happen to Oregon in the Pac-12, the quarterback situation at Oklahoma, and what will happen if Cincinnati continues to dominant their opponents.

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

  1. Three-loss Power Five teams: Two-loss Power Five champions will be able to make a case this year. If the SEC or Big Ten has a two-loss champion, they can absolutely make a case for being a top-four team by season’s end.
  1. Two-loss Group of Five teams: One-loss Group of Five teams can still make a run at a New Years’ Six (NY6) bowl, but a College Football Playoff (CFP) bid rides on chaos and an unblemished schedule.
  1. Strength of schedule issues: It’ll be tough for two-loss Army, BYU, and Liberty to make a case as Independents without a conference slate. A NY6 bid is not out of reach, but it will take some serious chaos.

AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE (3 TEAMS)

After smacking around UCF 56-21 behind four Jerome Ford touchdowns, Cincinnati has established the expectation of beating up on their conference to further their playoff hopes as they reach their highest AP ranking in program history (No. 2). SMU continues to stay unbeaten but has allowed their weaker opponents to stick around late in games. Houston has washed all of their opponents after a Week 1 loss to Texas Tech, and they’ll take on SMU in two weeks for an opportunity to play for a conference title.

Moving on up (2 teams):

#2 Cincinnati (6-0)

#21 SMU (6-0)

Current bubble (1 team):

Houston (5-1): lost to Texas Tech, 38-21 (Week 1)

ACC (6 TEAMS)

Wake Forest is the ACC’s only unbeaten; but even then, they haven’t looked as dominant as some of the other undefeated teams in the country. Pitt joined NC State in the AP Poll after QB Kenny Pickett’s three touchdown performance eliminating Virginia Tech. Clemson is still in contention and has a huge matchup at Pitt on Saturday. Virginia, despite their two losses in conference play, has the toughest remaining schedule as they play BYU, Notre Dame, Pitt, and Virginia Tech at the close of their season.

Will need some help (1 team):

#16 Wake Forest (6-0)

Need to continue to impress (2 teams):

#18 NC State (5-1): lost to Mississippi State, 24-10 (Week 2)

#23 Pittsburgh (5-1): lost to Western Michigan, 44-41 (Week 3)

Current bubble (3 teams):

Clemson (4-2): lost to Georgia, 10-3 (Week 1) & NC State, 27-21 (OT) (Week 4)

Virginia (5-2): lost to UNC, 59-39 (Week 3) & Wake Forest, 37-17 (Week 4)

Boston College (4-2): lost to Clemson, 19-13 (Week 5) & NC State, 33-7 (Week 7)

BIG XII CONFERENCE (5 TEAMS)

Oklahoma eliminated TCU behind new QB Caleb Williams (18/25 for 295 yards, 4 TD) and Oklahoma State eliminated Texas with a strong rushing attack (220 yards on the ground). Those two sit atop of the conference and can meet in back-to-back weeks if they run the table together. Kansas State was also eliminated at the hands of Iowa State.

On a collision course (2 teams):

#3 Oklahoma (7-0)

#8 Oklahoma State (6-0)

Still in conference control (1 team):

#20 Baylor (6-1): lost to Oklahoma State, 24-14 (Week 5)

Not much love (2 teams):

Iowa State (4-2): lost to Iowa, 27-17 (Week 2) & Baylor, 31-29 (Week 4)

Texas Tech (5-2): lost to Texas, 70-35 (Week 4) & TCU, 52-31 (Week 6)

BIG TEN CONFERENCE (8 TEAMS)

Iowa’s loss to Purdue opened the door for other teams in the West Division. The Big Ten East now has four AP Top 10 teams, all of which control their own playoff destiny based on the strength of the division. No teams were eliminated this week, but division play looms large over the conference.

Controlling their destiny (4 teams):

#6 Michigan (6-0)

#9 Michigan State (7-0)

#7 Penn State (5-1): lost to Iowa, 23-20 (Week 6)

#5 Ohio State (5-1): lost to Oregon, 35-28 (Week 6)

Hurting Hawkeyes (1 team):

#11 Iowa (6-1): lost to Purdue, 24-7 (Week 7)

Rough road ahead (3 teams):

Minnesota (4-2): lost to Ohio State, 45-31 (Week 1) & Bowling Green, 14-10 (Week 4)

#25 Purdue (4-2): lost to Notre Dame, 27-13 (Week 3) & Minnesota, 20-13 (Week 5)

Maryland (4-2): lost to Iowa, 51-14 (Week 5) & Ohio State, 66-17 (Week 6)

CONFERENCE USA (2 TEAMS)

UTSA is ranked in the AP Poll for the first time in program history. Louisiana Tech is a tricky opponent for the Roadrunners before they travel to El Paso to face UTEP in a midseason game that can decide the West Division. A NY6 bid is absolutely in play for both of these programs if one of them can run the table.

Running the road (1 team):

#24 UTSA (7-0)

Don’t mind the Miners (1 team):

UTEP (6-1): lost to Boise State, 54-13 (Week 2)

INDEPENDENTS (FBS) (4 TEAMS)

An abundance of chaos in the Independent market as Army, Liberty, and BYU all suffered their second losses of the year. Liberty faces Ole Miss and Army takes on unbeaten Wake Forest this weekend, but the November 27th matchup between the Flames and Black Knights was heavily diminished in Week 7. BYU’s second straight loss at the hands of Baylor took them out of the AP Poll. Their schedule is stronger than a lot of other teams still in NY6 contention.

Will need all of the help (1 team):

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

Outside shot at NY6 (3 teams):

Liberty (5-2): lost to Syracuse, 24-21 (Week 4) & Louisiana-Monroe, 31-28 (Week 7)

Army (4-2): lost to Ball State, 28-16 (Week 5) & Wisconsin, 20-14 (Week 7)

BYU (5-2): lost to Boise State, 26-17 (Week 6) & Baylor, 38-24 (Week 7)

MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE (0 TEAMS)

MACtion starts in two weeks.

MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE (3 TEAMS)

San Diego State takes on Air Force while Nevada visits Fresno State on Saturday. The Mountain West’s best chance is with the Aztecs as Wyoming suffered their second loss of the year and is finally eliminated.

Just keep winning and see what happens (1 team):

#22 San Diego State (6-0)

A conference championship could keep them in NY6 play (2 teams):

Nevada (5-1): lost to Kansas State, 38-17 (Week 3)

Air Force (6-1): lost to Utah State, 49-45 (Week 3)

PAC-12 CONFERENCE (5 TEAMS)

It’ll be extremely difficult for anyone from the Pac-12 to make the playoff. Oregon is still the best bet, but even then, Cincinnati has been more impressive. Arizona State suffered their second loss, this time at the hands of Utah in a heated South Division race. Oregon and UCLA will be a huge test for both programs this weekend as College GameDay comes to town.

The conference isn’t doing them any favors (1 team):

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

Will need to look like they want to win (4 teams):

Utah (4-2): lost to BYU, 26-17 (Week 2) & San Diego State, 33-31 (OT) (Week 3)

Oregon State (4-2): lost to Purdue, 30-21 (Week 1) & Washington State, 31-24 (Week 6)

Arizona State (5-2): lost to BYU, 27-17 (Week 3) & Utah, 35-21 (Week 7)

UCLA (5-2): lost to Fresno State, 40-37 (Week 3) & Arizona State, 42-23 (Week 5)

SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE (6 TEAMS)

Georgia took care of business against Kentucky, a team that can get jumped as the season goes on because they don’t control their conference destiny. Ole Miss is in a similar spot, as Alabama holds firm control of the SEC West, despite their elimination of Tennessee this past weekend. The Crimson Tide eliminated Mississippi State, LSU eliminated Florida, and Auburn eliminated Arkansas (who lost three straight games).

Controlling their destiny (2 teams):

#1 Georgia (7-0)

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

Not in control of their division destiny, but is that such a bad thing? (2 teams):

#12 Ole Miss (5-1): lost to Alabama, 42-21 (Week 5)

#15 Kentucky (6-1): lost to Georgia, 30-13 (Week 7)

Controlling their (division) destiny (1 team):

#19 Auburn (5-2): lost to Penn State, 28-20 (Week 3) & Georgia, 34-10 (Week 6)

It’ll take some chaos (1 team):

#21 Texas A&M (5-2): lost to Arkansas, 20-10 (Week 4) & Mississippi State, 26-22 (Week 5)

SUN BELT CONFERENCE (2 TEAMS)

Coastal Carolina gets two-loss Appalachian State Wednesday night in their last true test of the season. An impressive win on the road could go a long way for their NY6 chances and an outside playoff shot. Louisiana is 5-1 with their lone loss being to Texas in Week 1. If the Ragin Cajuns run the table and can get through out-of-conference Liberty, this will be a ranked conference championship game matchup.

Still soaring (1 team):

#14 Coastal Carolina (6-0)

Current bubble (1 team):

Louisiana (5-1): lost to Texas, 38-18 (Week 1)

THE ELIMINATED

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)

College Football Playoff Eliminator: Week 6

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF ELIMINATOR – WEEK 6

Halfway. Through. The. Season.

An Alabama loss, a Big Ten flexing show, and a lack of faith in the rest of the Power Five has pushed the national college football scene so far this year. Cincinnati continues to impress and two-loss teams are saying “It’s not over until it’s over.” More teams head to the eliminator this week as MACtion and the Fun Belt Sun Belt will provide virtually nonstop football for the remainder of the season.

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

  1. Three-loss Power Five teams: Two-loss teams are still in contention, especially in a season like this. The Power Five may have multiple conference champions with two or more losses, especially as the heat of conference play is right around the corner.
  1. Two-loss Group of Five teams: It’ll take one loss for a Group of Five team to lose their playoff hopes, but we’ll keep the one-loss teams on the board for now as New Years’ Six (NY6) bowl bids are still on the table.
  1. Strength of schedule issues: BYU’s loss to Boise State was huge, as their schedule was tough enough to get them into the AP Top 10 in the first place. However, those Pac-12 wins are looking weaker by the game.

AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE (3 TEAMS)

Cincinnati has a favorable schedule ahead of them. Good news for them is that SMU is ranked and still unbeaten while Houston, who avoids the Bearcats in the regular season, can provide a great championship game matchup if they continue to play well on offense (37 PPG).

The stars of the season (2 teams):

#3 Cincinnati (5-0)

#23 SMU (6-0)

Current bubble (1 team):

Houston (5-1): lost to Texas Tech, 38-21 (Week 1)

ACC (7 TEAMS)

An overtime thriller against Syracuse kept Wake Forest undefeated. NC State still controls their own destiny in the Atlantic as Clemson is on the outside looking in. Pitt gets Virginia Tech and Clemson back-to-back in crucial games for all three programs. Massive carnage took out Duke, Louisville, Syracuse, and UNC – all taking their third loss of the year.

Still trotting along (1 team):

#16 Wake Forest (6-0)

Need to make a move (3 teams):

#22 NC State (4-1): lost to Mississippi State, 24-10 (Week 2)

Pittsburgh (4-1): lost to Western Michigan, 44-41 (Week 3)

Boston College (4-1): lost to Clemson, 19-13 (Week 5)

Current bubble (3 teams):

Virginia Tech (3-2): lost to West Virginia, 27-21 (Week 3) & Notre Dame, 32-29 (Week 6)

Virginia (4-2): lost to UNC, 59-39 (Week 3) & Wake Forest, 37-17 (Week 4)

Clemson (3-2): lost to Georgia, 10-3 (Week 1) & NC State, 27-21 (OT) (Week 4)

BIG XII CONFERENCE (8 TEAMS)

Oklahoma and Oklahoma State remain unbeaten, which could be great for their late-season showdown if both could start to beat teams rather than just scrape by. Texas fell a tad after blowing a huge lead against the Sooners in Dallas as the eliminator claims nobody in this week’s edition.

On a collision course (2 teams):

#4 Oklahoma (6-0)

#12 Oklahoma State (5-0)

Time to bounce back (1 team):

Baylor (5-1): lost to Oklahoma State, 24-14 (Week 5)

Will need some massive help (5 teams):

#25 Texas (4-2): lost to Arkansas, 40-21 (Week 2) & Oklahoma, 55-48 (Week 6)

TCU (3-2): lost to SMU, 42-34 (Week 4) & Texas 32-27 (Week 5)

Iowa State (3-2): lost to Iowa, 27-17 (Week 2) & Baylor, 31-29 (Week 4)

Kansas State (3-2): lost to Oklahoma State, 31-20 (Week 4) & Oklahoma, 37-31 (Week 5)

Texas Tech (4-2): lost to Texas, 70-35 (Week 4) & TCU, 52-31 (Week 6)

BIG TEN CONFERENCE (8 TEAMS)

Iowa’s signature win is Penn State, and that will remain the same as they play in an abysmal Big Ten West. The Big Ten East will sort itself out as #10 Michigan State, #8 Michigan, #7 Penn State, and #6 Ohio State all get to play each other. This is a conference that will surely send at least one team to the playoff this year, and both the Nittany Lions and the Buckeyes control their own destiny until further notice. Rutgers ran through a buzz saw of Michigan, Ohio State, and Michigan State to drop three straight and head to the gauntlet.

Controlling their destiny (5 teams):

#2 Iowa (6-0)

#8 Michigan (6-0)

#10 Michigan State (6-0)

#7 Penn State (5-1): lost to Iowa, 23-20 (Week 6)

#6 Ohio State (5-1): lost to Oregon, 35-28 (Week 6)

Doesn’t get easier ahead (3 teams):

Minnesota (3-2): lost to Ohio State, 45-31 (Week 1) & Bowling Green, 14-10 (Week 4)

Purdue (3-2): lost to Notre Dame, 27-13 (Week 3) & Minnesota, 20-13 (Week 5)

Maryland (4-2): lost to Iowa, 51-14 (Week 5) & Ohio State, 66-17 (Week 6)

CONFERENCE USA (2 TEAMS)

UTSA remains unbeaten after a shootout with Western Kentucky. UTEP also stayed within reach in C-USA with a 13-point win over Southern Miss. Those two teams will meet in early November.

Miracle workers (1 team):

UTSA (6-0)

Don’t mind the Miners (1 team):

UTEP (5-1): lost to Boise State, 54-13 (Week 2)

INDEPENDENTS (FBS) (4 TEAMS)

BYU’s loss to Boise State was troubling after the Cougars’ strong start to the season. They play Baylor this Saturday and would need the teams they already beat to make a little more noise. Notre Dame, Liberty, and Army would all need additional assistance. The Fighting Irish’s remaining opponents are USC, UNC, Navy, Virginia, Georgia Tech, and Stanford. The Flames still have Ole Miss on the schedule and Army still has Wake Forest before the two meet towards the end of the year, giving those two teams a greater current upside than BYU – for the time being.

Um . . .  Let’s keep playing (4 teams):

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

Liberty (5-1): lost to Syracuse, 24-21 (Week 4)

Army (5-1): lost to Ball State, 28-16 (Week 5)

#19 BYU (5-1): lost to Boise State, 26-17 (Week 6)

MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE (0 TEAMS)

Everyone in the MAC has two or more losses after Ball State’s beatdown of Western Michigan, 45-20. This conference’s NY6 hopes are officially dead, but I’ll be enjoying their games on weekday nights.

MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE (4 TEAMS)

San Diego State keeps winning and even though the schedule isn’t strong, they still have one-loss Air Force and one-loss Nevada on slate. Wyoming’s first loss came on the road against Air Force, pushing them out of controlling their own destiny in the Mountain Division.

Just keep winning and see what happens (1 team):

#24 San Diego State (5-0)

A conference championship could keep them in NY6 play (3 teams):

Nevada (4-1): lost to Kansas State, 38-17 (Week 3)

Air Force (5-1): lost to Utah State, 49-45 (Week 3)

Wyoming (4-1): lost to Air Force, 24-14 (Week 6)

PAC-12 CONFERENCE (5 TEAMS)

Arizona State is catching stride behind QB Jayden Daniels and the elimination of Stanford this past weekend, but this is still Oregon’s conference to lose. The Sun Devil’s schedule is favorable, but this is the current bottom of Power Five conferences and the winner may still be behind Cincinnati. USC’s loss to Utah eliminates the Trojans and propels the Utes to continue to stay in control of their conference destiny.

Can start to make a case (2 teams):

#18 Arizona State (5-1): lost to BYU, 27-17 (Week 3)

#8 Oregon (4-1): lost to Stanford, 31-24 (OT) (Week 5)

Out-the-door (3 teams):

Utah (3-2): lost to BYU, 26-17 (Week 2) & San Diego State, 33-31 (OT) (Week 3)

Oregon State (4-2): lost to Purdue, 30-21 (Week 1) & Washington State, 31-24 (Week 6)

UCLA (4-2): lost to Fresno State, 40-37 (Week 3) & Arizona State, 42-23 (Week 5)

SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE (10 TEAMS)

Alabama’s loss to Texas A&M still keeps the Crimson Tide in contention, but Georgia remains the belle of the ball. The Bulldogs meet undefeated Kentucky, who eliminated LSU last week, on Saturday for control of the SEC East. Ole Miss moved back up after beating Arkansas, but they’ll remain behind Alabama all season which won’t help their case. South Carolina is 0-3 in SEC play and has left the realm of possible contention.

Still in the thick of it (3 teams):

#1 Georgia (6-0)

#5 Alabama (5-1): lost to Texas A&M, 41-38 (Week 6)

#11 Kentucky (6-0)

Bounced back (1 team):

#13 Ole Miss (4-1): lost to Alabama, 42-21 (Week 5)

It will take some chaos (6 teams):

Tennessee (4-2): lost to Pitt, 41-34 (Week 2) & Florida, 38-14 (Week 4)

Auburn (4-2): lost to Penn State, 28-20 (Week 3) & Georgia, 34-10 (Week 6)

Mississippi State (3-2): lost to Memphis, 31-29 (Week 3) & LSU, 28-25 (Week 4)

#20 Florida (4-2): lost to Alabama, 31-29 (Week 3) & Kentucky, 20-13 (Week 5)

#17 Arkansas (4-2): lost to Georgia, 37-0 (Week 5) & Ole Miss, 52-51 (Week 6)

#21 Texas A&M (4-2): lost to Arkansas, 20-10 (Week 4) & Mississippi State, 26-22 (Week 5)

SUN BELT CONFERENCE (2 TEAMS)

Coastal Carolina continues to rip through opponents. They get App State, who will be coming off an elimination loss to Louisiana (Week 7 Tuesday night game). South Alabama also suffered their second loss of their season, leaving it between Louisiana and Coastal. The Chanticleer’s schedule is mighty favorable, so it’ll have to be the eye test that pushes them to a higher ranking. Louisiana continuing to win (and a matchup with independent Liberty on their schedule) will push the Ragin’ Cajuns to a ranking ahead of a possible Sun Belt Championship Game matchup.

Still soaring (1 team):

#15 Coastal Carolina (6-0)

Current bubble (1 team):

Louisiana (5-1): lost to Texas, 38-18 (Week 1)

THE ELIMINATED

WEEK 7 (1 TEAM SO FAR***)

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

College Football Playoff Eliminator: Week 5

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF ELIMINATOR – WEEK 5

Week 5 is over and most conferences are heading into the thick of league play. The Big Ten has put themselves in great positions to make College Football Playoff runs (CFP) as the top begins to separate from the rest. The SEC remains a two-team race after Alabama and Georgia’s beatdowns of Ole Miss and Arkansas, respectfully. Cincinnati’s win over Notre Dame should not go unnoticed, as the Bearcats are in firm control going into a weaker-than-usual American Athletic Conference schedule. There also remains undefeated teams across the board that are still making their case for their New Years’ 6 (NY6) bowl bids: BYU, Coastal Carolina, San Diego State, SMU, UTSA, and Wyoming.

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

  1. Three-loss Power Five teams: A two-loss Power Five team can absolutely make the CFP at the end of the season: see LSU, whose two losses in 2007 didn’t stop them from winning a BCS National Championship. Clemson’s two-loss resume is not stellar by any means as their offense continues to struggle, but they aren’t eliminated just yet.
  1. Two-loss Group of Five teams: Even though undefeated Group of Five teams have always been on the outside looking in (UCF in 2017 and 2018), I’d like to keep talking about the teams that are in the running for a NY6 bid before eliminating them completely. One loss is pretty much enough to eliminate them from the CFP, but we’ll talk about the teams at the top who can still finish the season ranked. This guideline could also be used for the FBS Independents, as BYU’s schedule is not a laughing matter through five weeks.
  1. Strength of schedule issues: Outside of a few teams going undefeated, pretty much every program in the country needs additional assistance getting into the playoff. Cincinnati is still the Group of Five favorite after their Notre Dame win, but Coastal Carolina has been dominating their opponents so far this year as well.

Now that we’ve established the guidelines, let’s look at where we stand on a conference by conference basis:

AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE (3 TEAMS)

The American Athletic Conference took the wrong year to only have three teams with one loss or less through five weeks. Cincinnati and SMU remain unbeaten as Houston has been in an offensive groove since their Week 1 loss to Texas Tech. We say goodbye to Memphis and UCF, two teams who the Bearcats would have loved to have ranked at this point in the season.

Still in the hunt (2 teams):

#5 Cincinnati (4-0)

#24 SMU (5-0)

Current bubble (1 team):

Houston (4-1): lost to Texas Tech, 38-21 (Week 1)

ACC (11 TEAMS)

The ACC has one remaining undefeated team left – Wake Forest. Clemson has struggled offensively, while Coastal Division Pitt has been an offensive rocket behind the arm of QB Kenny Pickett; but Pitt lost to Western Michigan, which pretty much sums up the ACC as a whole. Miami is finally eliminated and we can stop talking about them as being anywhere near relevant, along with Georgia Tech after their loss to Pitt.

Still in the hunt (1 team):

#19 Wake Forest (5-0)

Early tumblers (4 teams):

#23 NC State (4-1): lost to Mississippi State, 24-10 (Week 2)

Virginia Tech (3-1): lost to West Virginia, 27-21 (Week 3)

Pittsburgh (4-1): lost to Western Michigan, 44-41 (Week 3)

Boston College (4-1): lost to Clemson, 19-13 (Week 5)

Current bubble (6 teams):

#25 Clemson (3-2): lost to Georgia, 10-3 (Week 1) & NC State, 27-21 (OT) (Week 4)

Louisville (3-2): lost to Ole Miss, 43-24 (Week 1) & Wake Forest, 37-34 (Week 5)

Syracuse (3-2): lost to Rutgers, 17-7 (Week 2) & Florida State, 33-30 (Week 5)

UNC (3-2): lost to Virginia Tech, 17-10 (Week 1) & Georgia Tech, 45-22 (Week 4)

Duke (3-2): lost to Charlotte, 31-28 (Week 1) & UNC, 38-7 (Week 5)

Virginia (3-2): lost to UNC, 59-39 (Week 3) & Wake Forest, 37-17 (Week 4)

BIG XII CONFERENCE (8 TEAMS)

The parity of the Big XII has given it an interesting storyline. Both Oklahoma teams remain unbeaten, Texas is back (in the top 25 rankings, that is), and there are still numerous teams in position to make a run at the conference. West Virginia took their third loss of the year (all have come by six points or fewer); even though they’ve been eliminated, they can cause problems for the rest of the league this season.

Still in the hunt (2 teams):

#6 Oklahoma (5-0)

#12 Oklahoma State (5-0)

Early tumblers (3 teams):

#21 Texas (4-1): lost to Arkansas, 40-21 (Week 2)

Baylor (4-1): lost to Oklahoma State, 24-14 (Week 5)

Texas Tech (4-1): lost to Texas, 70-35 (Week 4)

Current bubble (3 teams):

TCU (2-2): lost to SMU, 42-34 (Week 4) & Texas 32-27 (Week 5)

Kansas State (3-2): lost to Oklahoma State, 31-20 (Week 4) & Oklahoma, 37-31 (Week 5)

Iowa State (3-2): lost to Iowa, 27-17 (Week 2) & Baylor, 31-29 (Week 4)

BIG TEN CONFERENCE (9 TEAMS)

The Big Ten East has four teams in the top 11. Whether one of them can run the table is yet to be seen, but Penn State has to play Iowa from the West this weekend and could give us a lot more information as to how the conference picture will play out. Indiana, Northwestern, and Wisconsin (!) are all out of contention.

Still in the hunt (4 teams):

#3 Iowa (5-0)

#4 Penn State (5-0)

#9 Michigan (5-0)

#11 Michigan State (5-0)

Early tumblers (2 teams):

#7 Ohio State (4-1): lost to Oregon, 35-28 (Week 2)

Maryland (4-1): lost to Iowa, 51-14 (Week 5)

Current bubble (3 teams):

Purdue (3-2): lost to Notre Dame, 27-13 (Week 3) & Minnesota, 20-13 (Week 5)

Rutgers (3-2): lost to Michigan, 20-13 (Week 4) & Ohio State, 52-13 (Week 5)

Minnesota (3-2): lost to Ohio State, 45-31 (Week 1) & Bowling Green, 14-10 (Week 4)

CONFERENCE USA (2 TEAMS)

UTSA scraped by again after beating UNLV, 24-17. Their balanced rushing and passing attack behind QB Frank Harris and RB Sincere McCormick have slowly been putting away teams this year. UTEP is the only other team with one loss or less, as Charlotte and UAB head to the eliminator.

Still in the hunt (1 team):

UTSA (5-0)

Current bubble (1 team):

UTEP (4-1): lost to Boise State, 54-13 (Week 2)

INDEPENDENTS (FBS) (4 TEAMS)

BYU is handling business this year and gets a beatable Boise State squad this weekend. Baylor and Virginia are also two teams that can boost the Cougars’ resume if they can stay above .500 before then. Liberty and Army both have one loss, but the Flames still have Ole Miss and Army still plays Wisconsin and Wake Forest before the two teams meet each other near the end of the season. Notre Dame’s home loss to Cincinnati was a massive hit, as they don’t control any part of their destiny.

Still in the hunt (1 team):

#10 BYU (5-0)

Current bubble (3 teams):

#14 Notre Dame (4-1): lost to Cincinnati, 24-13 (Week 5)

Liberty (4-1): lost to Syracuse, 24-21 (Week 4)

Army (4-1): lost to Ball State, 28-16 (Week 5)

MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE (1 TEAM)

Western Michigan is still holding onto that win against Pitt, which is holding up nicely as the Panthers keep winning in the ACC. Their MAC opponents are weak but winning a few more games in a season like this will push them into the AP Poll. Eastern Michigan took their second loss and has been eliminated.

Current bubble (1 teams):

Western Michigan (4-1): lost to Michigan, 47-14 (Week 1)

MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE (4 TEAMS)

San Diego State and Wyoming both had byes and remain at 4-0. A heartbreaking loss to Hawai’i for Fresno State ends any outside shot they had at a playoff bid; their seven-point loss to Oregon and three-point win over UCLA both lost some clout after the Ducks’ and Bruins’ conference losses this weekend. They are still receiving votes to be ranked and have a great shot at the Mountain West title. Air Force’s shootout loss to Utah State is the only blemish on a schedule that has been dominated by the Falcons. Utah State’s loss to BYU puts them in the eliminator.

Still in the hunt (2 teams):

#25 San Diego State (4-0)

Wyoming (4-0)

Current bubble (2 teams):

Nevada (3-1): lost to Kansas State, 38-17 (Week 3)

Air Force (4-1): lost to Utah State, 49-45 (Week 3)

PAC-12 CONFERENCE (7 TEAMS)

Oregon’s loss to Stanford was a big hit, but their Ohio State win continues to keep them ranked. This is a conference that has bleak hopes, and any conference carnage will remove the Pac-12 from a CFP spot yet again. Washington is done after their road loss to a surging Oregon State squad.

Early tumblers (3 teams):

#22 Arizona State (4-1): lost to BYU, 27-17 (Week 3)

Oregon State (4-1): lost to Purdue, 30-21 (Week 1)

#8 Oregon (4-1): lost to Stanford, 31-24 (OT) (Week 5)

Current bubble (4 teams):

Utah (2-2): lost to BYU, 26-17 (Week 2) and San Diego State, 33-31 (OT) (Week 3)

UCLA (3-2): lost to Fresno State, 40-37 (Week 3) & Arizona State, 42-23 (Week 5)

Stanford (3-2): lost to Kansas State, 24-7 (Week 1) & UCLA, 35-24 (Week 4)

USC (3-2): lost to Stanford, 42-28 (Week 2) & Oregon State, 45-27 (Week 4)

SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE (12 TEAMS)

It has become a clear, two-team race in the SEC. Ole Miss and Arkansas may be good and deserve to be ranked, but they showed they aren’t anywhere near the level of the top two teams in the country in Alabama and Georgia. Kentucky made a statement against Florida and Auburn continues to win as well. The conference will sort itself out in time, but only Missouri joins Vanderbilt amongst the SEC eliminated.

Still in the hunt (3 teams):

#1 Alabama (5-0)

#2 Georgia (5-0)

#16 Kentucky (5-0)

Early tumblers (3 teams):

#13 Arkansas (4-1): lost to Georgia, 37-0 (Week 5)

#17 Ole Miss (3-1): lost to Alabama, 42-21 (Week 5)

#18 Auburn (4-1): lost to Penn State, 28-20 (Week 3)

Current bubble (6 teams):

#20 Florida (3-2): lost to Alabama, 31-29 (Week 3) & Kentucky, 20-13 (Week 5)

Tennessee (3-2): lost to Pitt, 41-34 (Week 2) & Florida, 38-14 (Week 4)

Mississippi State (3-2): lost to Memphis, 31-29 (Week 3) & LSU, 28-25 (Week 4)

LSU (3-2): lost to UCLA, 38-27 (Week 1) & Auburn, 24-19 (Week 5)

South Carolina (3-2): lost to Georgia, 40-13 (Week 3) & Kentucky, 16-10 (Week 4)

Texas A&M (3-2): lost to Arkansas, 20-10 (Week 4) & Mississippi State, 26-22 (Week 5)

SUN BELT CONFERENCE (4 TEAMS)

Coastal Carolina QB Grayson McCall has been the most accurate QB in the country through five weeks, as the Chanticleers have been ripping through their opponents and eliminated Louisiana-Monroe with a 59-6 win. App State, who is receiving votes to be ranked, and Louisiana, whose only loss is to Texas, get to play this weekend. Either outcome is a positive for Coastal as an App State win could give them a ranked opponent in two weeks whereas a Louisiana win could give more importance to a Sun Belt Championship game at season’s end.

Still in the hunt (1 team):

#15 Coastal Carolina (5-0)

Current bubble (3 teams):

Appalachian State (4-1): lost to Miami, 25-23 (Week 2)

Louisiana (4-1): lost to Texas, 38-18 (Week 1)

South Alabama (3-1): lost to Louisiana, 20-18 (Week 5)

THE ELIMINATED

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)

College Football Playoff Eliminator: Week 4

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF ELIMINATOR – WEEK 4

As we move past Week 4, the SEC has been establishing themselves as the dominant conference in college football. Arkansas and Georgia meet this week as well as Ole Miss and Alabama; those two games will be massive indicators for the College Football Playoff (CFP). Cincinnati and Notre Dame will be a top-10 matchup that can have a huge impact on the Group of Five and Independent window to reach the postseason. The Big Ten East continues to impress as well, with Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Penn State all on late-season collision courses.

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

  1. Three-loss Power Five teams: A two-loss Power Five team can absolutely make the CFP at the end of the season: see LSU, whose two losses in 2007 didn’t stop them from winning a BCS National Championship. Clemson’s second loss to NC State proved that the Tigers still have a lot of work to do on offense, but they are not eliminated from contention by any means.
  1. Two-loss Group of Five teams: Even though undefeated Group of Five teams have always been on the outside looking in (UCF in 2017 and 2018), I’d like to keep talking about the teams that are in the running for a New Years’ Six bid before eliminating them completely. One loss is pretty much enough to eliminate them from the CFP, but we’ll talk about the teams at the top who can still finish the season ranked. This guideline could also be used for the FBS Independents, although undefeated BYU and Notre Dame are still very much in contention.
  1. Strength of schedule issues: Outside of a few teams going undefeated, pretty much every program in the country needs additional assistance getting into the playoff. Cincinnati is still the Group of Five favorite, but BYU is putting together an independent resume that can stack up with just about anybody this far into the season.

Now that we’ve established the guidelines, let’s look at where we stand on a conference by conference basis:

AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE (5 TEAMS)

Memphis lost a 31-28 bout with UTSA, which is significant for the American as a whole. SMU escaped another close one as they took down TCU, 42-34. Cincinnati had the benefit of a bye before they travel to South Bend to take on an undefeated Notre Dame squad. Any way you slice it, this is the Bearcat’s conference to lose.

Still in the hunt (2 teams):

#7 Cincinnati (3-0)

SMU (4-0)

Current bubble (3 teams):

UCF (2-1): lost to Louisville, 42-35 (Week 3)

Houston (3-1): lost to Texas Tech, 38-21 (Week 1)

Memphis (3-1): lost to UTSA, 31-28 (Week 4)

ACC (13 TEAMS)

The ACC is on the outside looking in as far as Power Five playoff contenders go. Clemson’s loss to NC State propelled the Wolfpack into the AP Poll and Wake Forest remains undefeated in an extremely confusing Atlantic Division. The good news for the ACC is that many of the early tumblers came out with a win in Week 4.

Still in the hunt (2 teams):

#24 Wake Forest (4-0)

Boston College (4-0)

Early tumblers (6 teams):

#23 NC State (3-1): lost to Mississippi State, 24-10 (Week 2)

Virginia Tech (3-1): lost to West Virginia, 27-21 (Week 3)

Louisville (3-1): lost to Ole Miss, 43-24 (Week 1)

Syracuse (3-1): lost to Rutgers, 17-7 (Week 2)

Pittsburgh (3-1): lost to Western Michigan, 44-41 (Week 3)

Duke (3-1): lost to Charlotte, 31-28 (Week 1)

Current bubble (5 teams):

#25 Clemson (2-2): lost to Georgia, 10-3 (Week 1) & NC State, 27-21 (OT) (Week 4)

Miami (2-2): lost to Alabama, 44-13 (Week 1) and Michigan State, 38-17 (Week 3)

Georgia Tech (2-2): lost to Northern Illinois, 22-21 (Week 1) and Clemson, 14-8 (Week 3)

UNC (2-2): lost to Virginia Tech, 17-10 (Week 1) & Georgia Tech, 45-22 (Week 4)

Virginia (2-2): lost to UNC, 59-39 (Week 3) & Wake Forest, 37-17 (Week 4)

BIG XII CONFERENCE (9 TEAMS)

Baylor has looked good in recent weeks, as they send Iowa State to the bubble after a two-point victory. The Bears get an undefeated Oklahoma State on Saturday, which will inevitably result in only two ranked teams heading into Week 6 (Oklahoma, being the other). Baylor also has BYU on the schedule, who has ripped through the Pac-12 South to start 4-0. West Virginia gave Oklahoma a scare this weekend as holes continue to open up for the SEC and Big Ten to send multiple teams to the CFP.

Still in the hunt (3 teams):

#6 Oklahoma (4-0)

#19 Oklahoma State (4-0)

#21 Baylor (4-0)

Early tumblers (4 teams):

Texas (3-1): lost to Arkansas, 40-21 (Week 2)

Kansas State (3-1): lost to Oklahoma State, 31-20 (Week 4)

Texas Tech (3-1): lost to Texas, 70-35 (Week 4)

TCU (2-1): lost to SMU, 42-34 (Week 4)

Current bubble (2 team):

West Virginia (2-2): lost to Maryland, 30-24 (Week 1) & Oklahoma, 16-13 (Week 4)

Iowa State (2-2): lost to Iowa, 27-17 (Week 2) & Baylor, 31-29 (Week 4)

BIG TEN CONFERENCE (12 TEAMS)

The Big Ten East (24-4 overall) is in for a massive late-season collision between the likes of Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Penn State. Rutgers has also been surprisingly competitive, as they gave Michigan all they could handle in a 20-13 loss. Iowa is still the class of the West, as Wisconsin ran out of gas against Notre Dame.

Still in the hunt (5 teams):

#4 Penn State (4-0)

#5 Iowa (4-0)

#14 Michigan (4-0)

#17 Michigan State (4-0)

Maryland (4-0)

Early tumblers (3 teams):

#11 Ohio State (3-1): lost to Oregon, 35-28 (Week 2)

Purdue (3-1): lost to Notre Dame, 27-13 (Week 3)

Rutgers (3-1): lost to Michigan, 20-13 (Week 4)

Current bubble (4 teams):

Wisconsin (1-2): lost to Penn State, 16-10 (Week 1) & Notre Dame, 41-13 (Week 4)

Indiana (2-2): lost to Iowa, 34-6 (Week 1) and Cincinnati, 38-24 (Week 3)

Northwestern (2-2): lost to Michigan State, 38-21 (Week 1) and Duke, 30-23 (Week 3)

Minnesota (2-2): lost to Ohio State, 45-31 (Week 1) & Bowling Green, 14-10 (Week 4)

CONFERENCE USA (4 TEAMS)

UTSA beating Memphis was huge for the Roadrunners as they head into a matchup with a winless UNLV squad. They’re receiving votes to be ranked, but their fellow C-USA opponents have been all but eliminated.

Still in the hunt (1 team):

UTSA (4-0)

Current bubble (3 teams):

UAB (3-1): lost to Georgia, 56-7 (Week 2)

Charlotte (3-1): lost to Georgia State, 20-9 (Week 3)

UTEP (3-1): lost to Boise State, 54-13 (Week 2)

INDEPENDENTS (FBS) (4 TEAMS)

Army has started a silent 4-0 this year; Wisconsin, Wake Forest, and Liberty can all be potential opportunities for the Black Knights’ stock to rise. BYU’s schedule has pushed them to a No. 13 ranking with Utah State, Boise, and an undefeated Baylor coming up this October. Liberty lost a close one to Syracuse on Friday night, but they still have Ole Miss and Army on the schedule. Among all the Independents, Notre Dame has the most likely path to the playoff as they welcome No. 7 Cincinnati to South Bend this weekend.

Still in the hunt (3 teams):

#9 Notre Dame (4-0)

#13 BYU (4-0)

Army (4-0)

Current bubble (1 team):

Liberty (3-1): lost to Syracuse, 24-21 (Week 4)

MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE (2 TEAMS)

Eastern and Western Michigan remain the only two MAC teams with only one loss. Western Michigan’s upset of Pitt and win against San Jose State make them the conference’s best as MACtion begins.

Current bubble (2 teams):

Western Michigan (3-1): lost to Michigan, 47-14 (Week 1)

Eastern Michigan (3-1): lost to Wisconsin, 34-7 (Week 2)

MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE (6 TEAMS)

Fresno State continues to rise in the AP Poll thanks to their win over UCLA. QB Jake Haener (30/42, 378 yards, 5 TD, 1 INT against UNLV) is a legit Heisman contender for a Mountain West Conference that still has San Diego State and Wyoming sitting at 4-0.

Still in the hunt (2 teams):

San Diego State (4-0)

Wyoming (4-0)

Current bubble (4 teams):

#18 Fresno State (4-1): lost to Oregon, 31-24 (Week 1)

Nevada (2-1): lost to Kansas State, 38-17 (Week 3)

Utah State (3-1): lost to Boise State, 27-3 (Week 4)

Air Force (3-1): lost to Utah State, 49-45 (Week 3)

PAC-12 CONFERENCE (8 TEAMS)

Oregon continues to be the class of the league, sitting at 4-0 and the only undefeated Pac-12 team. Oregon State’s stock is rising following a win over USC. UCLA bounced back after a loss to Fresno State by beating Stanford; the Bruins will have a hard time jumping the Bulldogs, however, based on head-to-head and the weakness of the conference overall.

Still in the hunt (1 team):

#3 Oregon (4-0)

Early tumblers (3 teams):

Arizona State (3-1): lost to BYU, 27-17 (Week 3)

#20 UCLA (3-1): lost to Fresno State, 40-37 (Week 3)

Oregon State (3-1): lost to Purdue, 30-21 (Week 1)

Current bubble (4 teams):

Stanford (2-2): lost to Kansas State, 24-7 (Week 1) & UCLA, 35-24 (Week 4)

Utah (2-2): lost to BYU, 26-17 (Week 2) and San Diego State, 33-31 (OT) (Week 3)

USC (2-2): lost to Stanford, 42-28 (Week 2) & Oregon State, 45-27 (Week 4)

Washington (2-2): lost to Montana, 13-7 (Week 1) & Michigan, 31-10 (Week 2)

SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE (13 TEAMS)

Much like the Big Ten East, the SEC West has been outstanding so far this season. Ole Miss and QB Matt Corral have been lightning, and the true test comes in Tuscaloosa as they take on Alabama this Saturday afternoon. Arkansas has been on the constant rise and was able to bounce Texas A&M out of the top ten – they get Georgia and College GameDay this weekend.

Still in the hunt (5 teams):

#1 Alabama (4-0)

#2 Georgia (4-0)

#8 Arkansas (4-0)

#12 Ole Miss (4-0)

Kentucky (4-0)

Early tumblers (4 teams):

#10 Florida (3-1): lost to Alabama, 31-29 (Week 3)

#22 Auburn (3-1): lost to Penn State, 28-20 (Week 3)

LSU (3-1): lost to UCLA, 38-27 (Week 1)

#15 Texas A&M (3-1): lost to Arkansas, 20-10 (Week 4)

Current bubble (4 teams):

Tennessee (2-2): lost to Pitt, 41-34 (Week 2) & Florida, 38-14 (Week 4)

Mississippi State (2-2): lost to Memphis, 31-29 (Week 3) & LSU, 28-25 (Week 4)

Missouri (2-2): lost to Kentucky, 35-28 (Week 2) & Boston College, 41-34 (OT) (Week 4)

South Carolina (2-2): lost to Georgia, 40-13 (Week 3) & Kentucky, 16-10 (Week 4)

SUN BELT CONFERENCE (5 TEAMS)

Coastal dismantled UMass to stay unbeaten while App State’s one-point victory over Conference USA’s Marshall keeps the Sun Belt’s Group A afloat. South Alabama is undefeated from Group B; they close the season with Tennessee and Coastal in November.

Still in the hunt (2 teams):

#16 Coastal Carolina (4-0)

South Alabama (3-0)

Current bubble (3 teams):

Appalachian State (3-1): lost to Miami, 25-23 (Week 2)

Louisiana (3-1): lost to Texas, 38-18 (Week 1)

Louisiana-Monroe (2-1): lost to Kentucky, 45-10 (Week 1)

THE ELIMINATED

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)

College Football Playoff Eliminator: Week 3

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF ELIMINATOR – WEEK 3

The Big Ten’s big statements and some close calls from the usual bluebloods of Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, and Oklahoma were the stories of the weekend. Alabama narrowly escaped Florida, who showed they can contend in the SEC East with Georgia.  Clemson had a hard time getting on the board against Georgia Tech, winning in bleak fashion 14-8. Ohio State’s slow offensive engine and defensive question marks kept them from escaping Tulsa until the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, Oklahoma was given a scare by one of the Big Ten’s worst in Nebraska.

As we get into conference play, some teams have already departed the playoff field. Group of Five and Independent teams Cincinnati, Fresno State, and BYU all made some noise on Saturday to move up in our contender’s arena.

Let’s run through the College Football Playoff (CFP) Eliminator criteria before breaking down the conferences:

  1. Three-loss Power Five teams: A two-loss Power Five team can absolutely make the CFP at the end of the season: see LSU, whose two losses in 2007 didn’t stop them from winning a BCS National Championship. A two-loss team would need a conference championship win and three losses would absolutely doom a team, even in the four-team system that exists.
  1. Two-loss Group of Five teams: Even though undefeated Group of Five teams have always been on the outside looking in (UCF in 2017 and 2018), I’d like to keep talking about the teams that are in the running for a New Years’ Six bid before eliminating them completely. One loss is pretty much enough to eliminate them from the CFP, but we’ll talk about the teams at the top who can still finish the season ranked. This guideline could also be used for the FBS Independents, although BYU and Notre Dame are still very much in contention.
  1. Strength of schedule issues: Outside of a few teams going undefeated, pretty much every program in the country needs additional assistance getting into the playoff. Cincinnati is the clear Group of Five favorite, and they already took down Indiana before an upcoming matchup with Notre Dame.

Now that we’ve established the guidelines, let’s look at where we stand conference by conference:

AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

It was a huge weekend for the American as Cincinnati took down Indiana on the road, an SMU miracle allowed them to beat Louisiana Tech, and Memphis handed Mississippi State a loss at the Liberty Bowl. Memphis and Cincinnati avoid each other in the regular season, which is good news for the potential ranked conference championship matchup at the end of the year.

Still in the hunt (3 teams):

#8 Cincinnati (3-0)

Memphis (3-0)

SMU (3-0)

Current bubble (2 teams):

UCF (2-1): lost to Louisville, 42-35 (Week 3)

Houston (2-1): lost to Texas Tech, 38-21 (Week 1)

Eliminated (6 teams):

Temple (1-2): eliminated with loss to Boston College, 28-3 (Week 3)

Tulane (1-2): eliminated with loss to Ole Miss, 61-21 (Week 3)

East Carolina (1-2): eliminated with loss to South Carolina, 20-17 (Week 2)

Navy (0-2): eliminated with loss to Air Force, 23-3 (Week 2)

Tulsa (0-3): eliminated with loss to Oklahoma State, 28-23 (Week 2)

USF (1-2): eliminated with loss to Florida, 42-20 (Week 2)

ACC

Clemson’s narrow escape of Georgia Tech will have to be left in the rearview mirror, but the remaining ACC schedule of opponents in wildly favorable to the Tigers. Pitt’s loss to Western Michigan was a big damper to the conference, as was Miami and Virginia Tech losing to Michigan State and West Virginia, respectfully. Virginia also suffered their first loss against UNC, 59-39.

Still in the hunt (2 teams):

Wake Forest (3-0)

Boston College (3-0)

Early tumblers (9 teams):

#9 Clemson (2-1): lost to Georgia, 10-3 (Week 1)

Virginia Tech (2-1): lost to West Virginia, 27-21 (Week 3)

NC State (2-1): lost to Mississippi State, 24-10 (Week 2)

Louisville (2-1): lost to Ole Miss, 43-24 (Week 1)

Syracuse (2-1): lost to Rutgers, 17-7 (Week 2)

Pittsburgh (2-1): lost to Western Michigan, 44-41 (Week 3)

Duke (2-1): lost to Charlotte, 31-28 (Week 1)

#21 UNC (2-1): lost to Virginia Tech, 17-10 (Week 1)

Virginia (2-1): lost to UNC, 59-39 (Week 3)

Current bubble (2 teams):

Miami (1-2): lost to Alabama, 44-13 (Week 1) and Michigan State, 38-17 (Week 3)

Georgia Tech (1-2): lost to Northern Illinois, 22-21 (Week 1) and Clemson, 14-8 (Week 3)

Eliminated (1 team):

Florida State (0-3): eliminated with loss to Wake Forest, 35-14 (Week 3)

BIG XII CONFERENCE

Oklahoma continues to play down to their competition, and their defense has been underwhelming through three weeks. The Big XII still has six undefeated teams, but nobody has established themselves as the clear and dominant frontrunner to challenge the Sooners. Oklahoma State is 3-0, with their wins coming from a total of only 13 points. Conference play opens up this weekend and should give us a clearer picture of who will rise to the top.

Still in the hunt (6 teams):

#4 Oklahoma (3-0)

TCU (2-0)

Baylor (3-0)

Texas Tech (3-0)

#25 Kansas State (3-0)

Oklahoma State (3-0)

Early tumblers (3 teams):

#14 Iowa State (2-1): lost to Iowa, 27-17 (Week 2)

West Virginia (2-1): lost to Maryland, 30-24 (Week 1)

Texas (2-1): lost to Arkansas, 40-21 (Week 2)

Current bubble (1 team):

Kansas (1-2): lost to Coastal Carolina, 49-22 (Week 2) and Baylor, 45-7 (Week 3)

BIG TEN CONFERENCE

Ohio State continues to drop, but the stock of Michigan, Michigan State, and Penn State are rising in the East. Iowa and Wisconsin are still the likely favorites in the West as the Big Ten is challenging the SEC with multiple teams deserving of being in the CFP conversation. With Penn State’s win over Auburn, the Big Ten East is the top division in the country through three weeks.

Still in the hunt (6 teams):

#6 Penn State (3-0)

#5 Iowa (3-0)

#20 Michigan State (3-0)

#19 Michigan (3-0)

Maryland (3-0)

Rutgers (3-0)

Early tumblers (4 teams):

#9 Ohio State (2-1): lost to Oregon, 35-28 (Week 2)

#18 Wisconsin (1-1): lost to Penn State, 16-10 (Week 1)

Purdue (2-1): lost to Notre Dame, 27-13 (Week 3)

Minnesota (2-1): lost to Ohio State, 45-31 (Week 1)

Current bubble (3 teams):

Indiana (1-2): lost to Iowa, 34-6 (Week 1) and Cincinnati, 38-24 (Week 3)

Nebraska (2-2): lost to Illinois, 30-22 (Week 0) and Oklahoma, 23-16 (Week 3)

Northwestern (1-2): lost to Michigan State, 38-21 (Week 1) and Duke, 30-23 (Week 3)

Eliminated (1 team):

Illinois (1-3): eliminated with loss to Maryland, 20-17 (Week 3)

CONFERENCE USA

UTSA is now the only 3-0 team out of C-USA after Marshall’s loss to East Carolina and Charlotte’s loss to Georgia State. A matchup with a strong Memphis (3-0) squad this weekend should propel one of them into ranking considerations and could be a deciding factor for a New Years’ Six bid later on. Many teams suffered their second loss of the season, sending them to elimination status.

Still in the hunt (1 team):

UTSA (3-0)

Current bubble (6 teams):

Florida Atlantic (2-1): lost to Florida, 35-14 (Week 1)

Marshall (2-1): lost to East Carolina, 42-38 (Week 3)

Western Kentucky (1-1): lost to Army, 38-35 (Week 2)

UAB (2-1): lost to Georgia, 56-7 (Week 2)

Charlotte (2-1): lost to Georgia State, 20-9 (Week 3)

UTEP (2-1): lost to Boise State, 54-13 (Week 2)

Eliminated (7 teams):

FIU (1-2): eliminated with loss to Texas Tech, 54-21 (Week 3)

Louisiana Tech (1-2): eliminated with loss to SMU, 39-37 (Week 3)

Middle Tennessee (1-2): eliminated with loss to UTSA, 27-13 (Week 3)

North Texas (1-2): eliminated with loss to UAB, 40-6 (Week 3)

Old Dominion (1-2): eliminated with loss to Liberty, 45-17 (Week 3)

Southern Miss (1-2): eliminated with loss to Troy, 21-9 (Week 3)

Rice (0-3): eliminated with loss to Houston, 44-7 (Week 2)

INDEPENDENTS (FBS)

BYU’s stock continues to rise after taking down a ranked Arizona State team. They’re now 3-0, all against the Pac-12. Notre Dame looked better against Purdue as they get Wisconsin and Cincinnati back-to-back. Liberty and Army also remained undefeated.

Still in the hunt (4 teams):

#15 BYU (3-0)

#12 Notre Dame (3-0)

Army (3-0)

Liberty (3-0)

Eliminated (3 teams):

UConn (0-4): eliminated with loss to Holy Cross, 38-28 (Week 2)

UMass (0-3): eliminated with loss to Boston College, 45-28 (Week 2)

New Mexico State (1-3): eliminated with loss to San Diego State, 28-10 (Week 1)

MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE

Western Michigan took down Pitt to spoil the Panther’s season, 44-41. Eastern Michigan’s lone loss is to Wisconsin. Those two Michigan teams are the only ones with one loss, as the MAC is establishing itself as the weakest of the Group of Five.

Current bubble (2 teams):

Western Michigan (2-1): lost to Michigan, 47-14 (Week 1)

Eastern Michigan (2-1): lost to Wisconsin, 34-7 (Week 2)

Eliminated (10 teams):

Ball State (1-2): eliminated with loss to Wyoming, 45-12 (Week 3)

Buffalo (1-2): eliminated with loss to Coastal Carolina, 28-25 (Week 3)

Central Michigan (1-2): eliminated with loss to LSU, 49-21 (Week 3)

Kent State (1-2): eliminated with loss to Iowa, 30-7 (Week 3)

Northern Illinois (1-2): eliminated with loss to Michigan, 63-10 (Week 3)

Toledo (1-2): eliminated with loss to Colorado State, 22-6 (Week 3)

Akron (1-2): eliminated with loss to Temple, 45-24 (Week 2)

Bowling Green (1-2): eliminated with loss to South Alabama, 22-19 (Week 2)

Miami (OH) (1-2): eliminated with loss to Minnesota, 31-26 (Week 2)

Ohio (0-3): eliminated with loss to Duquesne, 28-26 (Week 2)

MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE

Fresno State jumped into the rankings after beating UCLA, 40-37 and San Diego State is still undefeated after beating Utah in overtime, 33-31. Utah State (3-0) and Wyoming (3-0) are also undefeated after close wins this past weekend.

Still in the hunt (3 teams):

San Diego State (3-0)

Utah State (3-0)

Wyoming (3-0)

The current bubble (5 teams):

#22 Fresno State (3-1): lost to Oregon, 31-24 (Week 1)

New Mexico (2-1): lost to Texas A&M, 34-0 (Week 3)

Nevada (2-1): lost to Kansas State, 38-17 (Week 3)

San Jose State (2-1): lost to USC, 30-7 (Week 1)

Air Force (2-1): lost to Utah State, 49-45 (Week 3)

Eliminated (4 teams):

Boise State (1-2): eliminated with loss to Oklahoma State, 21-20 (Week 3)

Colorado State (1-2): eliminated with loss to Vanderbilt, 24-21 (Week 2)

Hawai’i (1-3): eliminated with loss to Oregon State, 45-27 (Week 2)

UNLV (0-3): eliminated with loss to Arizona State, 37-10 (Week 2)

PAC-12 CONFERENCE

UCLA’s loss to Fresno State and Arizona’s elimination at the hands of Northern Arizona highlighted a bad weekend for the Pac-12 South. Utah lost to San Diego State, Minnesota shut out Colorado 30-0, and BYU took down Arizona State to start the year 3-0 against the Pac-12.

Still in the hunt (1 team):

#3 Oregon (3-0)

Early tumblers (4 teams):

#24 UCLA (2-1): lost to Fresno State, 40-37 (Week 3)

Stanford (2-1): lost to Kansas State, 24-7 (Week 1)

Oregon State (2-1): lost to Purdue, 30-21 (Week 1)

USC (2-1): lost to Stanford, 42-28 (Week 2)

Current bubble (6 teams):

Arizona State (2-1): lost to BYU, 27-17 (Week 3)

Utah (1-2): lost to BYU, 26-17 (Week 2) and San Diego State, 33-31 (OT) (Week 3)

Colorado (1-2): lost to Texas A&M, 10-7 (Week 2) and Minnesota, 30-0 (Week 3)

California (1-2): lost to Nevada, 22-17 (Week 1) & TCU, 34-32 (Week 2)

Washington (1-2): lost to Montana, 13-7 (Week 1) & Michigan, 31-10 (Week 2)

Washington State (1-2): lost to Utah State, 26-23 (Week 1) and USC, 45-14 (Week 3)

Eliminated (1 team):

Arizona (0-3): eliminated with loss to Northern Arizona, 21-19 (Week 3)

SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE

The SEC West took a hit with Auburn’s loss at the Penn State whiteout game and Mississippi State’s faltering at Memphis. Still, the league is in good shape after a Florida-Alabama game that showed the Gators could compete with Georgia in the East.

Still in the hunt (6 teams):

#1 Alabama (3-0)

#2 Georgia (3-0)

#7 Texas A&M (2-0)

#13 Ole Miss (3-0)

#16 Arkansas (3-0)

Kentucky (3-0)

Early tumblers (7 teams):

#11 Florida (2-1): lost to Alabama, 31-29 (Week 3)

#23 Auburn (2-1): lost to Penn State, 28-20 (Week 3)

LSU (2-1): lost to UCLA, 38-27 (Week 1)

Tennessee (2-1): lost to Pitt, 41-34 (Week 2)

Mississippi State (2-1): lost to Memphis, 31-29 (Week 3)

South Carolina (2-1): lost to Georgia, 40-13 (Week 3)

Missouri (2-1): lost to Kentucky, 35-28 (Week 2)

Current bubble (1 team):

Vanderbilt (1-2): lost to East Tennessee State, 23-3 (Week 1) and Stanford, 41-23 (Week 3)

SUN BELT CONFERENCE

Coastal narrowly escaped Buffalo this past weekend, but Grayson McCall (13/19, 232 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT) continues to be one of the most accurate QBs in the country. South Alabama continued their undefeated campaign with a seven-point win over Alcorn State.

Still in the hunt (2 teams):

#17 Coastal Carolina (3-0)

South Alabama (3-0)

Current bubble (4 teams):

Appalachian State (2-1): lost to Miami, 25-23 (Week 2)

Troy (2-1): lost to Liberty, 21-13 (Week 2)

Louisiana (2-1): lost to Texas, 38-18 (Week 1)

Louisiana-Monroe (1-1): lost to Kentucky, 45-10 (Week 1)

Eliminated (4 teams):

Arkansas State (1-2): eliminated with loss to Washington, 52-3 (Week 3)

Georgia Southern (1-2): eliminated with loss to Arkansas, 45-10 (Week 3)

Texas State (1-2): eliminated with loss to Incarnate Word, 42-34 (Week 3)

Georgia State (1-2): eliminated with loss to UNC, 59-17 (Week 2)

College Football Playoff Eliminator: Week 2

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF ELIMINATOR – WEEK 2

Week 2’s non-conference slate of games did not disappoint as the AP Top 10 went through some major shakeups. As we did last week, we’ll eliminate some teams, place others on the bubble, and officially start ordering teams by their playoff chances. Teams can always rise back into the hunt after an early-season loss.

Let’s run through the College Football Playoff (CFP) Eliminator criteria before breaking down the conferences:

  1. Three-loss Power Five teams: A two-loss Power Five team can absolutely make the CFP at the end of the season: see LSU, whose two losses in 2007 didn’t stop them from winning a BCS National Championship. A two-loss team would need a conference championship win and three losses would absolutely doom a team, even in the four-team system that exists.
  1. Two-loss Group of Five teams: Even though undefeated Group of Five teams have always been on the outside looking in (UCF in 2017 and 2018), I’d like to keep talking about the teams that are in the running for a New Years’ Six bid before eliminating them from the playoff completely. One loss is pretty much enough to eliminate them from the CFP, but we’ll talk about the teams at the top who can still finish the season ranked. This guideline could also be used for the FBS Independents, although BYU and Notre Dame both have difficult schedules that I want to keep an eye on for the coming weeks.
  1. Strength of schedule issues: Outside of a few teams going undefeated, pretty much every program in the country needs additional assistance getting into the playoff. Cincinnati absolutely has the strength of schedule, as they travel to Indiana and Notre Dame in back-to-back games.

Now that we’ve established the guidelines, let’s look at where we stand conference by conference:

AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

Cincinnati and UCF continue to lead the Group of Five’s best conference. All four of the AAC’s 1-0 teams head into Week 3 at 2-0, which is a good sign for the conference.

Still in the hunt:

#8 Cincinnati (2-0)

UCF (2-0)

UCF was the first one out of the AP’s top 25 this week. Their Week 1 win against Boise State looks strong as did QB Dillon Gabriel (312 yards, 2 TD) in a Week 2 blowout of Bethune-Cookman.

Memphis (2-0)

SMU (2-0)

The current bubble:

Tulane (1-1): lost to Oklahoma, 40-35 (Week 1)

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

Temple (1-1): lost to Rutgers, 61-14 (Week 1)

Eliminated:

East Carolina (0-2): eliminated with loss to South Carolina, 20-17 (Week 2)

Navy (0-2): eliminated with loss to Air Force, 23-3 (Week 2)

Tulsa (0-2): eliminated with loss to Oklahoma State, 28-23 (Week 2)

USF (0-2): eliminated with loss to Florida, 42-20 (Week 2)

ACC

The ACC bounded back after a rough start from the top of the league in Week 1. Getting a few more teams ranked in the coming weeks is still a real possibility that can help the conference’s playoff chances. It will be interesting to see where Clemson and Ohio State land in the CFP rankings if they both dominate their conferences.

Still in the hunt:

#15 Virginia Tech (2-0)

VT will continue to rise if they can beat West Virginia and Richmond. The real test is a home contest against Notre Dame on October 9th. The Irish will be coming off a matchup against Cincinnati and could be vulnerable for a Hokies team that has a bye week then.

Pitt (2-0)

Boston College (2-0)

Virginia (2-0)

Wake Forest (2-0)

Early tumblers:

#6 Clemson (1-1): lost to Georgia, 10-3 (Week 1)

NC State (1-1): lost to Mississippi State, 24-10 (Week 2)

#21 UNC (1-1): lost to Virginia Tech, 17-10 (Week 1)

#24 Miami (1-1): lost to Alabama, 44-13 (Week 1)

Louisville (1-1): lost to Ole Miss, 43-24 (Week 1)

Syracuse (1-1): lost to Rutgers, 17-7 (Week 2)

Georgia Tech (1-1): lost to Northern Illinois, 22-21 (Week 1)

Duke (1-1): lost to Charlotte, 31-28 (Week 1)

The current bubble:

Florida State (0-2): lost to Notre Dame, 41-38 (OT) (Week 1) & Jacksonville State, 20-17 (Week 2)

BIG XII CONFERENCE

The Big XII’s biggest storyline of the weekend was Texas’ loss to Arkansas. Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech scraped by in Week 2 to stay unbeaten as Oklahoma and Baylor bounced back after close wins in Week 1.

Still in the hunt:

#3 Oklahoma (2-0)

TCU (2-0)

TCU’s two-point win over Cal put them closer to a top 25 ranking. The play of RB Zach Evans (22 carries for 190 yards, 1 TD) will be crucial when they see an impressive SMU defense in two weeks.

Baylor (2-0)

Texas Tech (2-0)

Kansas State (2-0)

Oklahoma State (2-0)

Early tumblers:

West Virginia (0-1): lost to Maryland, 30-24 (Week 1)

#14 Iowa State (1-1): lost to Iowa, 27-17 (Week 2)

Texas (1-1): lost to Arkansas, 40-21 (Week 2)

Kansas (1-1): lost to Coastal Carolina, 49-22 (Week 2)

BIG TEN CONFERENCE

The Ohio State loss to Oregon should be a wakeup call for the Buckeyes’ defense. The performance of Iowa over Iowa State is noteworthy in the West, as the Hawkeyes moved up to No. 5 in the AP Poll this week.

Still in the hunt:

#5 Iowa (2-0)

Iowa’s win in the CyHawk Series was huge for the Big Ten as the Hawkeyes’ defense stifled Iowa State QB Brock Purdy (12/27 for 138 yards and 3 INT). They draw Penn State in interconference play this year; the Nittany Lions look to have bounced back from a fluke 2020 season.

#10 Penn State (2-0)

#25 Michigan (2-0)

Michigan State (2-0)

Maryland (2-0)

Rutgers (2-0)

Purdue (2-0)

Early tumblers:

#9 Ohio State (1-1): lost to Oregon, 35-28 (Week 2)

#18 Wisconsin (1-1): lost to Penn State, 16-10 (Week 1)

Minnesota (1-1): lost to Ohio State, 45-31 (Week 1)

Northwestern (1-1): lost to Michigan State, 38-21 (Week 1)

Indiana (1-1): lost to Iowa, 34-6 (Week 1)

Nebraska (2-1): lost to Illinois, 30-22 (Week 0)

The current bubble:

Illinois (1-2): lost to UTSA, 37-30 (Week 1) & Virginia, 42-14 (Week 2)

CONFERENCE USA

C-USA is down to only three 2-0 teams heading into Week 3 with Marshall, Charlotte, and UTSA leading the way.

Still in the hunt:

Marshall (2-0)

The Thundering Herd offense will rely heavily on QB Grant Wells (34/47 for 347 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT against NC Central) in C-USA play this year. East Carolina and App State will be good nonconference tests before heading into C-USA East play.

Charlotte (2-0)

UTSA (2-0)

The current bubble:

Louisiana Tech (1-1): lost to Mississippi State, 35-34 (Week 1)

Florida Atlantic (1-1): lost to Florida, 35-14 (Week 1)

Middle Tennessee (1-1): lost to Virginia Tech, 35-14 (Week 2)

Western Kentucky (1-1): lost to Army, 38-35 (Week 2)

FIU (1-1): lost to Texas State, 23-17 (OT) (Week 2)

UAB (1-1): lost to Georgia, 56-7 (Week 2)

Old Dominion (1-1): lost to Wake Forest, 42-10 (Week 1)

North Texas (1-1): lost to SMU, 35-12 (Week 2)

UTEP (2-1): lost to Boise State, 54-13 (Week 2)

Southern Miss (1-1): lost to South Alabama, 31-7 (Week 1)

Eliminated:

Rice (0-2): eliminated with loss to Houston, 44-7 (Week 2)

INDEPENDENTS (FBS)

Notre Dame’s narrow escape of Toledo was difficult to watch as they dropped out of the top 10 this week. The big mover was BYU, who took down a ranked Utah squad for the first time since 2009.

Still in the hunt:

#12 Notre Dame (2-0)

#23 BYU (2-0)

BYU utilized the return of RB Tyler Allgeier (27 carries for 97 yards) and the play of QB Jaren Hall (18/30 for 149 yards, 3 TD) to control Utah’s defense the entire game. The schedule is strong enough for BYU to be the highest ranked independent, especially if Notre Dame drops a game.

Army (2-0)

Liberty (2-0)

Eliminated:

UConn (0-3): eliminated with loss to Holy Cross, 38-28 (Week 2)

UMass (0-2): eliminated with loss to Boston College, 45-28 (Week 2)

New Mexico State (0-3): eliminated with loss to San Diego State, 28-10 (Week 1)

MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE

The MAC’s strongest performer was Toledo, who almost went on the road and beat Notre Dame in a packed house. None of the conference members made it through Week 2 without a blemish.

The current bubble:

Toledo (1-1)

A primetime television game didn’t stop Toledo from heavily competing with Notre Dame, knocking them out of the AP top 10. A balanced rushing attack and a pretty decent O-line performance should be a confidence booster for this Rockets’ team.

Central Michigan (1-1): lost to Missouri, 34-24 (Week 1)

Kent State (1-1): lost to Texas A&M, 41-10 (Week 1)

Ball State (1-1): lost to Penn State, 44-13 (Week 2)

Eastern Michigan (1-1) lost to Wisconsin, 34-7 (Week 2)

Western Michigan (1-1): lost to Michigan, 47-14 (Week 1)

Buffalo (1-1): lost to Nebraska, 28-3 (Week 2)

Northern Illinois (1-1): lost to Wyoming, 50-43 (Week 2)

Eliminated:

Akron (0-2): eliminated with loss to Temple, 45-24 (Week 2)

Bowling Green (0-2): eliminated with loss to South Alabama, 22-19 (Week 2)

Miami (OH) (0-2): eliminated with loss to Minnesota, 31-26 (Week 2)

Ohio (0-2): eliminated with loss to Duquesne, 28-26 (Week 2)

MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE

The Mountain West’s strong start to the season includes six 2-0 teams (highest amongst the Group of Five). I like the Mountain West’s chances to have a few teams see an appearance in the AP Poll this year.

Still in the hunt:

Nevada (2-0)

San Diego State (2-0)

A dominant win over lowly Arizona showed off the Aztec’s strong rushing attack as they finished with 271 yards on the ground. They get Utah this week, which would be a massive statement win. The Utes are coming off their first loss to BYU since 2009.

Utah State (2-0)

Air Force (2-0)

Wyoming (2-0)

New Mexico (2-0)

The current bubble:

Fresno State (2-1): lost to Oregon, 31-24 (Week 1)

Boise State (1-1): lost to UCF, 36-31 (Week 1)

San Jose State (1-1): lost to USC, 30-7 (Week 1)

Eliminated:

Colorado State (0-2): eliminated with loss to Vanderbilt, 24-21 (Week 2)

Hawai’i (1-2): eliminated with loss to Oregon State, 45-27 (Week 2)

UNLV (0-2): eliminated with loss to Arizona State, 37-10 (Week 2)

PAC-12 CONFERENCE

The firing of Clay Helton at USC and Oregon’s win at Ohio State were the highlights of the Pac-12’s weekend. Oregon now controls their own playoff destiny.

Still in the hunt:

#4 Oregon (2-0)

#13 UCLA (2-0)

The Bruins received a much-deserved bye after helping their conference with a win over LSU in Week 1. They have a tough Fresno State squad this weekend, who only lost to Oregon by seven.

#19 Arizona State (2-0)

Early tumblers:

Colorado (1-1): lost to Texas A&M, 10-7 (Week 2)

Utah (1-1): lost to BYU, 26-17 (Week 2)

Stanford (1-1): lost to Kansas State, 24-7 (Week 1)

USC (1-1): lost to Stanford, 42-28 (Week 2)

Oregon State (1-1): lost to Purdue, 30-21 (Week 1)

Washington State (1-1): lost to Utah State, 26-23 (Week 1)

The current bubble:

Arizona (0-2): lost to BYU, 24-16 (Week 1) & San Diego State, 38-14 (Week 2)

California (0-2): lost to Nevada, 22-17 (Week 1) & TCU, 34-32 (Week 2)

Washington (0-2): lost to Montana, 13-7 (Week 1) & Michigan, 31-10 (Week 2)

SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE

The SEC West is the nation’s top division. Arkansas’ upset win over Texas proved that, along with the offensive showcases of Ole Miss and Auburn. And of course, Alabama.

Still in the hunt:

#1 Alabama (2-0)

#2 Georgia (2-0)

Georgia QB Stetson Bennett threw five TDs on only ten completions against UAB on Saturday. They have a balanced rushing attack and arguably the best defense in the country heading into Week 3.

#7 Texas A&M (2-0)

#11 Florida (2-0)

#17 Ole Miss (2-0)

#20 Arkansas (2-0)

#22 Auburn (2-0)

Kentucky (2-0)

Mississippi State (2-0)

South Carolina (2-0)

Early tumblers:

LSU (1-1): lost to UCLA, 38-27 (Week 1)

Tennessee (1-1): lost to Pitt, 41-34 (Week 2)

Missouri (1-1): lost to Kentucky, 35-28 (Week 2)

Vanderbilt (1-1): lost to East Tennessee State, 23-3 (Week 1)

SUN BELT CONFERENCE

App State gave Miami (FL) a scare over the weekend as Coastal Carolina dismantled Kansas. QB Grayson McCall has been electric and efficient for Coastal and is a huge reason for their current success.

Still in the hunt:

#16 Coastal Carolina (2-0)

South Alabama (2-0)

The only other 2-0 team in the Sun Belt will play host to HBCU Alcorn State on Saturday night. Their final three games of App State, Tennessee, and Coastal is the toughest stretch regarding conference members.

The current bubble:

Appalachian State (1-1): lost to Miami, 25-23 (Week 2)

Troy (1-1): lost to Liberty, 21-13 (Week 2)

Arkansas State (1-1): lost to Memphis, 55-50 (Week 2)

Texas State (1-1): lost to Baylor, 29-20 (Week 1)

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

Louisiana-Monroe (0-1): lost to Kentucky, 45-10 (Week 1)

Georgia Southern (1-1): lost to Florida Atlantic, 38-6 (Week 2)

Eliminated:

Georgia State (0-2): eliminated with loss to UNC, 59-17 (Week 2)