College Football Playoff Chase: Ranking Path Of The 9 Teams Still Alive

Who’s still alive in the chase to get into the 2023-2023 College Football Playoff? After Week 11, here are the nine teams still alive and what they need to do to get in.

Who realistically has a path to the College Football Playoff, and what are the chances of getting there?

If you really, really, really tried, there might be some way to figure out how Alabama could get in, and the College Football Playoff committee can choose to take anyone it wants, but for the most part there are nine teams still in the chase.

Ole Miss lost to Alabama last week – it’s realistically done. So is UCLA after losing to Arizona and Oregon after dropping the date against Washington.

No, this isn’t a ranking of how good the teams are right now. That’s for our 1-131 ranking of all the teams. This is based on 1) how easy and clean the path appears to be to get in, and most importantly, 2) the pecking order overall.

College Football Playoff Chase: Ranking Path Of The 9 Teams Still Alive

Contact/Follow @ColFootballNews & @PeteFiutak
CFN 1-131 Rankings | Rankings by Conference
College Football Playoff Prediction: Nov. 15
Bowl Bubble: Every School’s Bowl Situation
Week 12 Early Lines | Bowl Projections
AP Top 25 | Coaches Poll Top 25

9. LSU Tigers (8-2)

What LSU has to do to make the College Football Playoff: It has to be amazing the rest of the way – or even more amazing than it has been over the last few weeks.

It won the West. Start with the shocker that it’s a reloading LSU and not Alabama in the SEC Championship, and be amazed that Texas A&M flopped so hard and Ole Miss couldn’t rise up. The chance was there, and Brian Kelly’s team took it.

LSU has to roll past UAB and Texas A&M without so much as a small bump, and it has to look unstoppable against what needs to be a 12-0 No. 1 Georgia. Win the SEC Championship, and roll the dice.

Remaining Schedule: UAB, at Texas A&M, SEC Championship vs Georgia

Will LSU make the College Football Playoff? Nah. Actually, that’s a little too glib. If it wins out, then yes, it’ll be really, really, really hard to keep LSU out from a theoretical standpoint.

How do you put Georgia – and maybe Tennessee – in with a chance to win the national title and now the team that actually won the conference championship?

It’ll take everyone else melting down – a two-loss champion in the Big 12 and Pac-12 might be a must – but first it’s about taking care of home.

Assume the Tigers can’t get by Georgia, and don’t be totally shocked if Texas A&M rises up at home and comes up with something unbelievable. Even so, the path is there, even if it’ll take the College Football Playoff committee breaking precedent and putting in the first two-loss team.

8. North Carolina Tar Heels (9-1)

What North Carolina has to do to make the College Football Playoff: Win out by dominating Georgia Tech, NC State, and then Clemson in the ACC Championship.

It’s going to take a lot of help even if that happens, USC has to lose once more, and it would help if TCU doesn’t win the Big 12 Championship.

But if it comes down to 12-1 ACC Champion North Carolina and 11-1 also-ran Tennessee, the College Football Playoff committee has yet to take a one-loss Power Five champion unless there was another obvious must-have option – like unbeaten Notre Dame in 2018.

Remaining Schedule: Georgia Tech, NC State, ACC Championship vs Clemson

Will  North Carolina make the College Football Playoff? Nah – it’s too heavy a lift with too much traffic in the way even if it gets to 12-1 with an ACC title. If could be stunned by NC State, and it could lose to Clemson, and the other available options might be too good, so no. It might not make it in, but win out and it’ll come extremely close.

7. Tennessee Volunteers (9-1)

What Tennessee has to do to make the College Football Playoff: You know that 66-24 win over Missouri that Tennessee just came up with? Yeah, do that again against South Carolina and Vanderbilt on the road.

The Vols need Georgia to win out impressively to make the 27-13 loss on the road to the unquestioned No. 1 team in America as acceptable as possible. They need to be so dominant that it absolutely has to be included.

But they also need help.

Remaining Schedule: at South Carolina, at Vanderbilt

Will Tennessee make the College Football Playoff? Yeah, but it’s not going to be easy. Tennessee will do its part, but it’s out if Georgia, Big Ten champion, 12-1 or unbeaten TCU, and 12-1 Pac-12 champion USC are all options.

Assume the Trojans will drop a game, and the call is that TCU won’t win the Big 12. Would the College Football Playoff committee break precedent and take an 11-1 team that didn’t win its division over a 12-1 Power Five champion? Flip a coin.

NEXT: College Football Playoff Chase Rankings Top 6

College Football Playoff Chase Rankings Top 6

6. Clemson Tigers (9-1)

What Clemson has to do to make the College Football Playoff: Win the rest of the games, be 12-1, and get in. It might just be that simple.

Would a 12-1 ACC Champion get in over an 11-1 Tennessee? Flip a coin on that unless the Tigers are dominant against Miami, South Carolina, and in the ACC Championship over North Carolina.

Remaining Schedule: Miami, South Carolina, ACC Championship vs North Carolina

Will Clemson make the College Football Playoff? Yeah. At the end of the day, the College Football Playoff committee will – maybe – go with the Power Five conference champ over team that didn’t win its own division.

The Tigers might need the Tigers of LSU to lose, and it definitely needs USC to lose, but both of those things will probably happen. Our bowl projections? TCU doesn’t win the Big 12 title, USC loses, and the committee takes the three Power Five conference champs – Georgia and Big Ten champion – that went 12-1 or are unbeaten.

College Football Playoff Top 25 Prediction

5. USC Trojans (9-1)

What USC has to do to make the College Football Playoff: Win out.

Don’t buy into the idea that USC would get passed over by an 11-1 Tennessee or an 11-1 Ohio State-Michigan loser, and don’t assume the committee would take a two-loss SEC champion LSU, either.

The committee has already spoken by putting USC at 8, and that’s before the tough part of the schedule.

If the Trojans can win at UCLA, beat Notre Dame, and take down whatever is there – Oregon or Utah – in the Pac-12 Championship, then it’s in over a 12-1 ACC champion, it’s in over a 12-1 TCU if it wins the Big 12 Championship – and loses before that – and it’s in over 11- 1 Tennessee …

Remaining Schedule: at UCLA, Notre Dame

Will USC make the College Football Playoff? Let’s just call it a maybe on 12-1 USC getting in over the Vols. The call is no, USC won’t make the College Football Playoff, and not because it doesn’t have the path. It’s because it’ll likely lose one of its last three games.

NEXT: College Football Playoff Chase Rankings Top 4

College Football Playoff Chase Rankings Top 4

4. TCU Horned Frogs (10-0)

What TCU has to do to make the College Football Playoff: Win three more games, get into the College Football Playoff.

It gets asked over and over again so this needs to be repeated: no way, no how, NO CHANCE WHATSOEVER is a 13-0 Big 12 Champion TCU left out.

Not for 11-1 Tennessee, not for 12-2 SEC Champion LSU, not for a 12-1  Pac-12 Champion USC or a 12-1 ACC Champion Clemson or North Carolina. Go 3-0 and get in.

Go 2-1, and as long as that loss isn’t a blowout and it isn’t in the Big 12 Championship, TCU will need some help. 12-1 USC would be in over TCU, but the ACC Champion is a different argument.

Remaining Schedule: at Baylor, Iowa State, Big 12 Championship

Will TCU make the College Football Playoff? The path is crystal clear, but the call is no, TCU won’t make it into the College Football Playoff.

It’s a projection, but Kansas State will win the Big 12 Championship game and/or TCU will drop one of the last two regular season games. Again, though, win three more and get in.

3. Michigan Wolverines (10-0)

What Michigan has to do to make the College Football Playoff: This all goes for Ohio State, too. Beat the other side in that Buckeye-Wolverine showdown, win the Big Ten Championship, and in.

That means the Illinois game this week doesn’t matter as long as it’s not a 44-0 drubbing or something like that. The overall schedule isn’t good enough, but whatever – the 12-1 Big Ten Champion is absolutely in, and Michigan might just win three straight to be no worse than the 2 seed.

Remaining Schedule: Illinois, at Ohio State

Will Michigan make the College Football Playoff? No, because the call is that it’ll lose to Ohio State. And no, 11-1 Michigan doesn’t get the same consideration that 11-1 Tennessee will – the schedule isn’t even remotely close to being as good.

2. Ohio State Buckeyes (10-0)

What Ohio State has to do to make the College Football Playoff: Again, everything said about Michigan applies here.

As long as it’s not a brutally ugly loss, the Maryland game this week doesn’t matter. Beat Michigan, win the Big Ten Championship, and get in as the 2 or 3 seed. Go unbeaten, and get in as no worse than the 2.

Remaining Schedule: at Maryland, Michigan

Will Ohio State make the College Football Playoff? Yup. It doesn’t matter how it looks, it doesn’t matter if the Buckeyes win the next three games 2-0, they’re in if they beat Michigan and win the Big Ten Championship. They’ll do that.

1. Georgia Bulldogs (10-0)

What Georgia has to do to make the College Football Playoff: Win one of the next two games against Kentucky and Georgia Tech, win the SEC Championship, and in no matter what.

Of course, going 13-0 and winning the SEC title would guarantee the 1 seed, but 12-1 in this case should work, too. As long as it’s not an annihilation against LSU, the committee almost certainly would take 12-1 SEC Championship loser Georgia over a 12-1 ACC Champion and would definitely take it over 11-1 Tennessee.

Remaining Schedule: at Kentucky, Georgia Tech, SEC Championship vs LSU

Will Georgia make the College Football Playoff? Yeah. Georgia did what it needed to do and punched its ticket to the SEC Championship. Win the next two games, and it’s almost certainly in no matter what.

CFN 1-131 Rankings | Rankings by Conference
College Football Playoff Prediction: Nov. 15
Bowl Bubble: Every School’s Bowl Situation
Week 12 Early Lines | Bowl Projections
AP Top 25 | Coaches Poll Top 25

Story originally appeared on College Football News