College Football Playoff Eliminator: Week 10

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF ELIMINATOR – WEEK 10

An upset-minded Purdue took down another top-five team in Michigan State; they’ll get Ohio State in Columbus on Saturday. In a week where nobody in the thick of the playoff race – outside of Georgia – looked like they wanted a spot in the College Football Playoff (CFP), it looks as if the postseason race has dropped a lot of contenders out. Boise State’s clobbering of Fresno State probably eliminated them completely from New Years’ Six contention.

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

  1. Three-loss Power Five teams: A two-loss Power Five team that finds itself playing for a conference championship can also be playing for a CFP spot. Texas A&M, who eliminated Auburn this past week, still has some control in SEC play.
  1. Two-loss Group of Five teams: One-loss is enough to eliminate a Group of Five team from playoff contention. However, we will keep around the teams that can still finish the season undefeated or as a one-loss conference champion – which could be enough to get them into a New Years’ Six (NY6) bowl.
  1. Strength of schedule issues: The longer the season goes on, the clearer the picture gets as far as a team’s strength of schedule is concerned. Cincinnati continues to cling onto that win over Notre Dame, but the Irish keep winning and bolstering the Bearcat’s resume.

CONTROLLING THEIR OWN DESTINY (4 TEAMS)

#1 Georgia (9-0)

Georgia is the strongest team in college football right now. Not that they will, but if they were to lose, they would still find themselves in the CFP conversation. For the sixth time this year, their defense allowed seven points or fewer in dominating fashion over Missouri, 43-6. Tennessee and Georgia Tech are the only remaining threats on the schedule for the Bulldogs, but they have the SEC East locked up.

#2 Alabama (8-1): lost to Texas A&M, 41-38 (Week 6)

Bama’s six-point win over LSU was just one of the many close calls that teams in the playoff hunt experienced in Week 10.  QB Bryce Young (24/37, 302 yards, 2 TD) didn’t hurt his Heisman chances, but it is clear that there are some struggles that Arkansas and Auburn can take advantage of down the stretch.

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

The Michigan State loss certainly helped the Ducks, who took down Washington 26-16. The remaining opponents for Oregon all have winning records – Washington State, Utah, and Oregon State. The Pac-12 Championship doesn’t look like it’ll be a ranked opponent as Oregon’s only ranked win right now is Ohio State, which should keep them above the Buckeyes until further notice.

#4 Ohio State (8-1): lost to Oregon, 35-28 (Week 6)

Ohio State escaped a Nebraska team that has one-possession losses to three top-ten teams in Oklahoma, Michigan State, and Michigan. QB CJ Stroud (36/54, 405 yards, 2 TD / 2 INT) struggled against the Cornhusker’s defense but was able to pull away for the win. With Purdue, Michigan State, and Michigan still on schedule, the Buckeyes will have multiple opportunities to impress the committee. It’s simply – win out and you’re in.

WILL NEED SOME HELP IF THEY WIN OUT (6 TEAMS)

#7 Michigan State (8-1): lost to Purdue, 40-29 (Week 10)

Purdue’s thumping of Michigan State pushed them out of controlling their own destiny in the CFP race. With Ohio State and Penn State still on slate, there are still opportunities to impress the committee. RB Kenneth Walker III (146 yards, 1 TD) played well, but a classic Boilermaker upset consisted of the Spartans playing catch-up all game.

#5 Cincinnati (9-0)

Cincinnati escaped Tulsa on Homecoming with College GameDay in town. QB Desmond Ridder (3 total TD) almost gave the game away in the fourth quarter by fumbling in his own five-yard line. The Bearcat defense played tough down the stretch, but CFP hopes were greatly diminished with SMU losing to Memphis.

#8 Oklahoma (9-0)

Oklahoma had a bye last week and has to get through Baylor, Iowa State, and Oklahoma State before a rematch with one of those teams in the Big XII Championship. It’ll be interesting to see how the committee views an undefeated Sooners squad compared to a Cincinnati or one-loss champion in another conference.

#6 Michigan (8-1): lost to Michigan State, 37-33 (Week 9)

Michigan clobbered Indiana before their noon matchup with Penn State on Saturday. With Ohio State to close the season, there is still an outside shot that the Wolverines can be playing for the Big Ten Championship. RB Hassan Haskins (168 yards, 1 TD) leads a run-heavy offense into the final stretch of the season and a shot at the postseason.

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

Oklahoma State and Oklahoma are still on a collision course to close the season; they can potentially meet in two straight weeks if the Cowboys can get by TCU and Texas Tech. The defense has looked impressive all season, never allowing more than 24 points in a game this year. By winning out, there is a legitimate shot that the Big XII can sneak into the playoff, but they will need some help.

#12 Wake Forest (8-1)

Wake lost to UNC in a shootout, 58-55. QB Sam Hartman (25/51, 398 yards, 5 TD (2 rush) / 2 INT) pushed his Heisman chances. This week’s game against NC State should decide the Atlantic Division, where they’ll likely meet Pitt for a NY6 bowl bid. A playoff spot is not out of reach, but it isn’t looking likely.

CHAOS WOULD HAVE TO OCCUR (1 TEAM)

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

The Irish handled Navy, 34-6, behind an efficient game from QB Jack Coan (23/29, 269 yards, 1 TD). The Irish will continue to move up but be subjected to a lower ranking thanks to their home loss to Cincinnati. Right now, the shaky conference play from top-ten teams is what Notre Dame needs to root for ahead of their final three games against Virginia, Georgia Tech, and Stanford.

WOULD NEED TO BE A TWO-LOSS CONFERENCE CHAMP (6 TEAMS)

#11 Texas A&M (7-2): lost to Arkansas, 20-10 (Week 4) & Mississippi State, 26-22 (Week 5)

It’s not over yet and as far as two-loss conference champions go, Texas A&M would have the best case out of any team if they can win-out and Alabama can find a loss (either to Arkansas or Auburn). With Ole Miss and LSU still on schedule, the Aggies will have to take care of business first.

#13 Baylor (7-2): lost to Oklahoma State, 24-14 (Week 5) & TCU, 30-28 (Week 10)

Baylor has had a good season so far, and the Big XII title is still not out of reach if they can continue to rely on the ground game of RB Abram Smith (1,055 yards, 11 TD). A CFP spot is extremely out of reach, but chaos could still occur as the November slate is destined for losses in other conferences.

#15 Ole Miss (7-2): lost to Alabama, 42-21 (Week 5) & Auburn, 31-20 (Week 9)

The win over Liberty helped and QB Matt Corral (20/27, 324 yards, 1 TD) played a clean game. Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, and Mississippi State are still on schedule, but the Rebels will need additional assistance to make the conference championship game. Alabama and Auburn both claim tiebreaker in a competitive SEC West.

#16 NC State (7-2): lost to Mississippi State, 24-10 (Week 2) & Miami, 31-30 (Week 8)

Wake Forest, Syracuse, and UNC stand in the way of the Wolfpack making the ACC Championship game. That schedule will be tough enough to make them one of the better two-loss teams heading into championship weekend. Right now, they would probably meet want to meet a ranked Pitt team in that game.

#21 Pittsburgh (7-2): lost to Western Michigan, 44-41 (Week 3) & Miami, 38-34 (Week 9)

Pitt’s losses are questionable for a Panthers squad that has looked like a top-15 team at times. A big win at Duke behind QB Kenny Pickett (28/43, 416 yards, 4 total TD) keeps them in the lead of the Coastal. UNC, Virginia, and Syracuse stand in the way of a shot at the ACC Championship.

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

Iowa doesn’t control their own destiny in the Big Ten West – that honor belongs to the Badgers of Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes are unimpressive, dull, and prone to random close-games and losses. Minnesota, Illinois, and Nebraska are three of the most frustrating teams to play in the Big Ten to close the year.

G5 & INDEPENDENTS WITH AN OUTSIDE SHOT AT A NY6 (6 TEAMS)

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

BYU plays Georgia Southern and USC on the road to finish out a strong season, but a playoff spot is pretty much out of reach. Two losses and no conference championship to play for won’t be enough for a CFP bid, but the committee hasn’t ruled out a NY6 spot thanks to the Cougars’ surprising ranking.

#23 UTSA (9-0)

It’s been a historic season for the Roadrunners, who took down 6-3 UTEP behind QB Frank Harris’ four touchdowns. They are undefeated and have an outside shot at a NY6 if they can beat UAB (the last remaining opponent with a winning record) to take the C-USA West Division.

(NR) Houston (8-1): lost to Texas Tech, 38-21 (Week 1)

Houston’s offense is electric (39 PPG) and they are the last remaining hope for Cincinnati to play a ranked team in the American if both reach the conference championship game. Winners of eight straight, the future Big XII-member Cougars can still make it to a NY6 bowl if they win out.

(NR) Louisiana (8-1): lost to Texas, 38-18 (Week 1)

The Ragin’ Cajuns dismantled Appalachian State in mid-October; that is by far their best win of the year. With Liberty still on the schedule and the possibility of facing App State or Coastal Caroline for the Sun Belt title, this is a team that can make a case for themselves in the NY6 bidding.

#22 San Diego State (8-1): lost to Fresno State, 30-20 (Week 9)

SDSU remains atop the Mountain West… um… West Division…. This weekend’s game against Nevada (7-2) will decide that division. A 17-10 victory of Hawai’i keeps the Aztecs ranked as one of the highest Group of Five teams, and Fresno State’s blowout loss to Boise only helped their NY6 chances.

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

The Chanticleers are without star QB Grayson McCall, but a balanced triple-option attack was good enough to beatdown Georgia Southern, 28-8. They need App State to drop a game to South Alabama, Troy, or Georgia Southern to get back in the conference championship mix.

HONORABLE MENTION – TEAMS HAVING GOOD SEASONS

Appalachian State (7-2), Utah State (7-2)

THE ELIMINATED

WEEK 10 (4 TEAMS)

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

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

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

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

WEEK 9 (7 TEAMS)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEEK 8 (10 TEAMS)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEEK 7 (10 TEAMS)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEEK 6 (11 TEAMS)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEEK 5 (16 TEAMS)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEEK 4 (12 TEAMS)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEEK 3 (21 TEAMS)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEEK 2 (15 TEAMS)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEEK 1 (1 TEAM)

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

College Football Playoff Eliminator: Week 9

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF ELIMINATOR – WEEK 9

The College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings have been released, giving us a clearer picture of where each team’s resume stands with the committee. From two-loss teams still in contention for conference championships and opportunities for Group of Five teams to make a move, this season has proven to be one of the most delicate yet; however, there are still wide-open possibilities of the CFP consisting of teams that have all been there before in Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State, and Oklahoma.

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

  1. Three-loss Power Five teams: A two-loss Power Five team that finds itself playing for a conference championship can also be playing for a CFP spot. See Auburn, whose only losses are to Penn State on the road and #1 Georgia. Beating Georgia in a rematch could be convincing enough for them to slide back in.
  1. Two-loss Group of Five teams: One-loss is enough to eliminate a Group of Five team from playoff contention. However, we will keep around the teams that can still finish the season undefeated or as a one-loss conference champion – which could be enough to get them into a New Years’ Six (NY6) bowl.
  1. Strength of schedule issues: This should come as no surprise, but teams with a harder schedule will get rewarded over teams with weaker ones. Even with Cincinnati sitting at 8-0, a one-loss Ohio State team that still has to play Michigan State and Michigan can get the nod over the Bearcats.

CONTROLLING THEIR OWN DESTINY (5 TEAMS)

#1 Georgia (8-0)

It’s Georgia’s world and the rest of college football is just living in it. The Bulldogs have been stellar this year and the defense has only allowed 30 points over the last five games (6.0 points per game). It doesn’t matter who is starting at QB because Stetson Bennett (1,157 yards, 12 TD / 4 INT) and JT Daniels are both capable of winning. Georgia should be favored to win out, with Tennessee being their toughest remaining opponent. Even a loss in the SEC Championship might not drop them from the top four.

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

The Crimson Tide still lead the SEC West with LSU, Arkansas, and Auburn still to go in conference play. QB Bryce Young (2,453 yards, 26 TD (2 rush) / 3 INT) is well within the Heisman conversation. The only Alabama loss came on a last-second field goal against Texas A&M, so there is no reason to believe that if the Tide win out they won’t secure a spot.

#3 Michigan State (8-0)

RB Kenneth Walker III (1,194 yards, 15 total TD) has been on fire this year. Scoring five touchdowns against Michigan, Walker has secured his current spot in the Heisman conversation. Games against Ohio State and Penn State to close out the year will be the biggest tests.

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

The remaining schedule for Oregon is Washington, Washington State, Utah, and Oregon State. The Pac-12 is on the outside looking in for a CFP spot, but the Ducks’ win at Ohio State can carry a lot of clout into the conversation. QB Anthony Brown (1,797 yards, 10 TD (6 rush) / 3 INT) has been good so far, but the wins need to be more impressive if Oregon wants to keep up with Ohio State’s strength of schedule.

#5 Ohio State (7-1): lost to Oregon, 35-28 (Week 6)

Ohio State’s offense has stars all over the field. WRs Garret Wilson (687 yards, 6TD) and Chris Olave (562 yards, 9 TD) can break away from defensive backs, while RB Treveyon Henderson (845 yards, 15 total TD) and QB CJ Stroud (2,270 yards, 23 TD / 3 INT) have been a force in the backfield. Although they have looked shaky at times, this is a team that can still win the Big Ten and find themselves in the CFP.

WILL NEED SOME HELP IF THEY WIN OUT (6 TEAMS)

#6 Cincinnati (8-0)

Cincinnati is undefeated again heading into the November slate of American Athletic Conference games. QB Desmond Ridder (1,847 yards, 18 TD (1 rush) / 4 INT) and RB Jerome Ford (864 yards, 16 total TD) lead a Bearcats offense that has been stifled in recent weeks. College GameDay comes to town on Saturday against Tulsa with one-loss SMU and a potential conference championship game against one-loss Houston to close the season.

#8 Oklahoma (9-0)

Oklahoma has scraped by opponents all season but took care of Texas Tech in dominant fashion, 52-21. With Baylor, Iowa State, and Oklahoma State being the last three remaining games, this is a Sooners team that will have the strength of schedule and Power Five resume to get in the CFP if they run the table. A loss, even if that loss is avenged in the conference championship game, could certainly remove them from contention.

#9 Wake Forest (8-0)

An 8-0 start for Heisman hopeful QB Sam Hartman (2,475 yards, 22 TD (6 rush) / 3 INT) has Wake Forest in control of the ACC. Weaker than usual, this conference could be left out even if the Demon Deacons manage to run the table. The strength of schedule just isn’t there.

#7 Michigan (7-1): lost to Michigan State, 37-33 (Week 9)

Michigan doesn’t control their conference destiny, but the Wolverines and Michigan State still have to play Penn State and Ohio State in the Big Ten East. The Wolverines have relied heavily on the run game this season (239.9 yards per game) and even without a Big Ten championship game appearance, can still hypothetically slide in if they only have one loss (see Ohio State in 2016 and Alabama in 2017).

#11 Oklahoma State (7-1): lost to Iowa State, 24-21 (Week 8)

Oklahoma State started the year with one-possession wins over FCS Missouri State, Tulsa, and Boise State. They’re not super explosive on offense, but their defense has kept teams in check (18.0 points per game). Outside of the season finale against Oklahoma, there isn’t much that this schedule has to offer. Regardless, there are still opportunities for this team to have a chance.

#12 Baylor (7-1): lost to Oklahoma State, 24-14 (Week 5)

Baylor’s only loss is to Oklahoma State. Much like the Cowboys, the conference matchup against Oklahoma is the only true test remaining. The wins over Iowa State, Texas, and BYU certainly help, but the Bears will still need some chaos in front of them to make a case.

CHAOS WOULD HAVE TO OCCUR (4 TEAMS)

#10 Notre Dame (7-1): lost to Cincinnati, 24-13 (Week 5)

The Irish have been a mystery all season long and lost the all-important matchup with Cincinnati, 24-13. Their remaining schedule consists of Navy, Virginia, Georgia Tech, and Stanford – all of whom have the ability to take down a team without an identity. If Notre Dame can win out, they would still need a Cincinnati falter and additional chaos to reach another CFP.

(Not Ranked) SMU (7-1): lost to Houston, 44-37 (Week 9)

SMU’s loss to Houston was a major setback for the Mustangs, but an overall positive for the American as they now have two ranked teams for Cincinnati’s playoff chances. If SMU and QB Tanner Mordecai (2,625 yards, 32 TD (2 rush) / 8 INT) can beat Memphis, UCF, Cincinnati, and Tulsa, then they can meet Houston again for the conference championship in what should be a highly-ranked matchup.

(NR) Houston (7-1): lost to Texas Tech, 38-21 (Week 1)

Houston’s only loss came in Week 1 to Texas Tech, but it has been all Cougars since. The offense has put up 40+ points in five of eight games this year and has the opportunity to play Cincinnati in the conference championship game if all things go according to plan. Winning out would mean they get the NY6 bid.

(NR) UTSA (8-0)

The UTSA offense has come alive as of late and the Roadrunners are sitting at 8-0. With four games remaining, only UTEP (6-2) and UAB (5-3) will be opponents with winning records. The C-USA East representative in a conference championship game will be coming in with 3+ losses, making their schedule weaker than most. Regardless, a double-digit win season is within reach.

WOULD NEED TO BE A TWO-LOSS CONFERENCE CHAMP (7 TEAMS)

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

This is the best two-loss team in the country heading into the final stretch of the season. After taking down Ole Miss, Auburn has the chance to prove themselves against Texas A&M this week and Alabama at the close of the year. Win those games and a rematch with Georgia for the SEC title, and we are back in business for the Tigers to be considered for a CFP spot.

#14 Texas A&M (6-2): lost to Arkansas, 20-10 (Week 4) & Mississippi State, 26-22 (Week 5)

A&M is holding onto their win over Alabama, but two SEC losses keeps them behind in the standings for now. With Auburn and Ole Miss the next two weeks, and Auburn hosting Alabama at the end of the year, it’s not out of the realm of possibility for the Aggies to make the SEC Championship game with a chance to face the number one team in the country.

#16 Ole Miss (6-2): lost to Alabama, 42-21 (Week 5) & Auburn, 31-20 (Week 9)

It’ll take a lot for the Rebels to find their way back in the CFP conversation. With QB Matt Coral (2,202 yards, 15 TD (10 rush) / 2 INT) and numerous other offensive players injured, Ole Miss can be on upset alert when they host Liberty on Saturday. They will need Auburn and Alabama to both find a fluke loss going into the Iron Bowl to have a shot at the SEC West.

#20 Minnesota (6-2): lost to Ohio State, 45-31 (Week 1) & Bowling Green, 14-10 (Week 4)

Don’t look now, but the Golden Gophers are atop the Big Ten West race. If they manage to run the table and potentially beat Ohio State in the conference championship game (avenging their week one loss), there would still need to be a lot of chaos for them to get in. A one-loss Michigan State would even be considered for the Big Ten’s potential spot. Either way, we can’t eliminate Minnesota just yet.

#19 NC State (6-2): lost to Mississippi State, 24-10 (Week 2) & Miami, 31-30 (Week 8)

NC State has a close loss to Miami and lost to a bottom-tier SEC team. They have undefeated Wake Forest in two weeks in a game that should decide the Atlantic Division barring any further chaos.

#25 Pittsburgh (6-2): lost to Western Michigan, 44-41 (Week 3) & Miami, 38-34 (Week 9)

Pitt’s loss to Miami was a massive blow to their resume as they already had a home drop to Western Michigan. QB Kenny Pickett (2,755 yards, 26 TD (2 rush) / 3 INT) is still in the Heisman conversation, but this team will need to play better against UNC and Virginia down the stretch.

#22 Iowa (6-2): lost to Purdue, 24-7 (Week 7) & Wisconsin, 27-7 (Week 9)

Iowa is one of those teams that has struggled to get going following a 6-0 start. Their offense has scored two touchdowns in two straight losses in Big Ten West play, putting them behind to even reach the conference championship game.

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

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

BYU should be favored in their last three games (Idaho State, Georgia Southern, USC) thanks to the ground game of RB Tyler Allgeier (1,132 yards, 16 TD). This is a BYU squad that took down Utah, Arizona State, and Virginia – three teams still in the thick of their conference championship hopes.

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

Liberty has beaten nobody of note this year, but their final stretch consists of Ole Miss, Louisiana, and Army. Winning out and some chaos in the American could get them in a NY6 bowl, but a lot would have to happen still.

(NR) Louisiana (7-1): lost to Texas, 38-18 (Week 1)

The Ragin’ Cajuns dismantled Appalachian State in mid-October; that is by far their best win of the year. With Liberty still on the schedule and the possibility of facing App State or Coastal Caroline for the Sun Belt title, this is a team that can make a case for themselves in the NY6 bidding.

#24 San Diego State (7-1): lost to Fresno State, 30-20.

The Aztecs only loss came at home to Fresno State, a team that is 7-2 with their only losses being by three points to Hawai’i and seven points to Oregon. Due to that loss, SDSU no longer controls their conference destiny.

(NR) Coastal Carolina (7-1): lost to App State, 30-27 (Week 8)

The Chanticleers and TE Isaiah Likely (609 yards, 8 TD) were the darlings of the 2020 pandemic season. Now, they’ll need Appalachian State to drop one of their four remaining Sun Belt contests in order to get to the conference championship game.

HONORABLE MENTION – TEAMS HAVING GOOD SEASONS

Air Force (6-2), Appalachian State (6-2), Fresno State (7-2), Kentucky (6-2), Northern Illinois (6-2), Utah State (6-2), UTEP (6-2)

THE ELIMINATED

WEEK 9 (7 TEAMS)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEEK 8 (10 TEAMS)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEEK 7 (10 TEAMS)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEEK 6 (11 TEAMS)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEEK 5 (16 TEAMS)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEEK 4 (12 TEAMS)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEEK 3 (21 TEAMS)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEEK 2 (15 TEAMS)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEEK 1 (1 TEAM)

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

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)