Survive and advance is an adage normally reserved for the NCAA basketball tournament. It's applicability to the College Football Playoff race was demonstrated with Florida State's narrow defeat of Boston College.
The Seminoles needed a late face-mask penalty to avoid giving the ball back to the Eagles with enough time for a potential game-winning field goal. The win keeps Mike Norvell's team unbeaten ahead of its showdown with Clemson this weekend and also part of the projected playoff field in this week's college football bowl projections. But the margin is now incredibly slim.
The new status is not all due to what happened with Florida State. There's the matter of some impressive teams that are lurking just behind the Seminoles.
Washington has looked dominant through three games and appear to be the favorite if the Pac-12 is going to break their playoff drought dating back to 2017. Notre Dame has already posted four wins and has an opportunity to notch a huge victory against Ohio State at home this week. The Buckeyes and Penn State are two teams in the Big Ten that are behind Michigan, but the Big Ten looks to be in great position to possibly have two teams with the SEC well off the pace this year besides Georgia.
There are some changes to address in the New Year's Six this week with Oklahoma and Fresno State joining the group. Alabama is out after another disappointing performance, while Tulane cedes its Group of Five spot. More adjustments are coming next week with seven games matching ranked opponents, so stay tuned.
Reminder: Some conferences may not fulfill their bowl allotment. Asterisks denote a replacement pick. Teams in bold have accepted berths.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: College football bowl projections: Florida State keeps playoff spot