College Football Playoff: Top 20 Ranking Of Teams With A CFP Path

Ranking the top teams in the College Football Playoff chase. Here’s our ranking of the 20 with a chance, and what has to happen.

Going into the 2022 season, which teams have the most realistic shot of making the College Football Playoff? Here’s our ranking of the 20 teams with a path to the playoff and what has to happen for each.


CFN Predictions of Every Game
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It’s really hard to make the College Football Playoff.

Just winning your conference championship isn’t enough, and if you’re a Group of Five program, going undefeated doesn’t necessarily guarantee anything.

What have we learned since the start of the CFP experience in the 2014 season? You win your Power Five conference and finish with one loss, you’re a mortal lock to get in. You go 11-1 with that one loss to the eventual powerhouse conference champ, and you’ve got a shot.

You lose two games, and there’s a fun bowl game somewhere with a delightful array of goods, services, and prizes waiting before your glorified exhibition, but you’re not going to the show.

What’s the path to the College Football Playoff for all of the top contenders? Below are the key games that matter for each team that can reasonably dream about being among the top four, along with whether or not they’ll make it in.

Before diving in, some ground rules …

Again, one loss and a Power Five championship, or unbeaten and a Group of Five title. Outside of a few special circumstances – SEC Championship loser, Notre Dame – two losses ends the run.

Schedules mean almost everything. Take just about anyone in the SEC West and put it just about anywhere else but the Big Ten East, and it would be a contender to get into the CFP. Oklahoma’s path is a whole lot different than Texas A&M’s.

Getting into the College Football Playoff and winning it require two very, very, very different skill sets. A team might have the schedule and magical formula to be one of the top four, only to find a two-piece of Alabama reality waiting behind the door.

The consensus odds to win the College Football Playoff are listed, but the goal is to find the teams that can get there. Here’s our ranking from the least likely among the top realistic options to make the College Football Playoff to the most likely.

This isn’t based on how good the teams are. This is about who controls their destiny, what has to happen, and the pecking order of 20 teams with the most realistic chances, starting with …

20. Cincinnati

Odds To Win the College Football Playoff: +20000
Must Win Game: at Arkansas, Sept. 3
Landmine To Sidestep: at SMU, Oct. 22
Where It Could All Go Wrong: at UCF, Oct. 29

Bottom Line: The College Football Playoff repeat appearance dream could be over right away with a trip to Arkansas. However, win that, and it’s Game On. Going to SMU and UCF in late October is a bear, but everything else – including the home date against Indiana – is doable. One loss, though, and the CFP is out. There will likely be more than one loss.

Will Cincinnati Make the College Football Playoff? No. The Bearcats will be great, but they’re not recreating the 2021 magic.
UC Preview | Top 10 PlayersSchedule

19. Tennessee

Odds To Win the College Football Playoff: +10000
Must Win Game: at Georgia, Nov. 5
Landmine To Sidestep: at South Carolina, Nov. 19
Where It Could All Go Wrong: at Pitt, Sept. 10

Bottom Line: It’s a HEAVY lift, but if the Vols somehow go 11-1 and get into the SEC Championship, the respect given to the schedule might be enough to keep them in the playoff hunt even with another loss. They’ll be good, but at Pitt, Florida, at LSU, Alabama, at Georgia, Kentucky, at South Carolina … that’s too nasty.

Will Tennessee Make the College Football Playoff? No, but they’re going to screw up someone’s CFP hopes.
UT Preview | Top 10 PlayersSchedule Analysis

18. Florida

Odds To Win the College Football Playoff: +9020
Must Win Game: Georgia (in Jacksonville), Oct. 29
Landmine To Sidestep: South Carolina, Nov. 12
Where It Could All Go Wrong: Utah, Sept. 3

Bottom Line: Florida will be much, much better under new head coach Billy Napier, but it’s not beating Utah, and Kentucky, and LSU, and South Carolina, and getting by Georgia, Tennessee, Texas A&M, and Florida State away from Gainesville. The College Football Playoff is too tough a goal, however, beat Georgia and the SEC East race gets interesting.

Will Florida Make the College Football Playoff? Ehhhhhhhh, Florida will be better than everyone thinks, but no. The schedule is too tough.
Florida Preview | Top 10 PlayersSchedule Analysis

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17. Penn State

Odds To Win the College Football Playoff: +9100
Must Win Game: Ohio State, Oct. 29
Landmine To Sidestep: Minnesota, Oct. 22
Where It Could All Go Wrong: at Purdue, Sept. 1

Bottom Line: Considering the Big Ten East is much tougher than the West, if the Nittany Lions can get by Auburn on the road early on and split the dates against Michigan and Ohio State, they’ll be favored in the Big Ten Championship. It’s all too daunting for an elite Penn State team, but this version doesn’t appear to be close to that. However, if Michigan could do it last year …

Will Penn State Make the College Football Playoff? No. The team isn’t strong enough to go 12-1 and win the Big Ten title.
Penn State Preview | Top 10 PlayersSchedule Analysis

16. LSU

Odds To Win the College Football Playoff: +7520
Must Win Game: Alabama, Nov. 5
Landmine To Sidestep: Tennessee, Oct. 8
Where It Could All Go Wrong: Mississippi State, Sept. 17

Bottom Line: Welcome to the SEC, Brian Kelly. Yeah, LSU might be able to stun Alabama if everything goes right, but can it go at least 12-1 with road games at Auburn, Florida, Arkansas, and Texas A&M, and home dates against Tennessee, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State? No, and all of that – and Alabama, too – comes with a season-opener against Florida State and whatever happens in the SEC Championship if everything goes right.

Will LSU Make the College Football Playoff? No. Kelly will have a good first year, and the team is good, but the schedule is too tough.
LSU Preview | Top 10 PlayersSchedule Analysis

NEXT: Top 15 College Football Playoff Chase Rankings

College Football Playoff 2022: Game lines for top-4 teams in fifth rankings

Game odds for the top four teams in the penultimate CFP rankings ahead of Championship Week.

We’re in the endgame now.

Only conference championship week stands between the College Football Playoff committee and their final rankings — the fifth iteration of which were released Tuesday night.

Georgia remains in the No. 1 spot while Michigan’s extraordinary win over Ohio State bumped the Wolverines up to No. 2 and knocked the Buckeyes back to No. 7. Cincinnati remains at No. 4 for a second consecutive week while Alabama holds steady at No. 3 after a dramatic overtime victory at Auburn.

The full rankings can be found here, but don’t get too attached.

Alabama and Georgia are set to meet in the SEC title game while Michigan prepares to take on Iowa in the Big Ten championship. College football is teetering on chaos and that doesn’t even include all the coaching changes this week.

Here’s a look at which teams have the best chance at surviving their final contests before bowl season begins.

All odds via Tipico Sportsbook.

College Football Playoff Chase: Ranking The 6 Teams Still Alive After Week 13

Who’s left in the hunt to get into the College Football Playoff? Six teams are still realistically alive, and we rate them based on how clear their paths are and the likelihood of getting in.

Who’s still alive in the chase to get into the 2021-2022 College Football Playoff? After Week 13, here are the 6 teams still alive and what they need to do to get in.


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Week 13 Roundup
Rankings CFN 1-130 RankingsAP | Coaches
Bowl Eligible TeamsWeek 13 Scoreboard
Week 14 opening lines | CFP Top 25 Prediction
Bowl Projections, CFP Predictions
Riley to USC, Napier to Florida: GAME ON

And now we’re down to six teams for four spots.

It stinks that the College Football Playoff isn’t expanded. It stinks that all the Power Five conference champions aren’t automatically in. It stinks that we still having to use words like eye-test and style points.

But that’s the deal.

Going into Championship Week, how do the six teams stack up, and which four are most likely to make it?

This isn’t based on how good the teams are. This is about who controls their destiny, what has to happen, and what the pecking order of these six teams are, starting with …

6. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (11-1)

Here’s the strange part about Notre Dame and its College Football Playoff chances.

It controls nothing, but it’s easily the first alternate if chaos kicks in.

For example. If Georgia beats Alabama in the SEC Championship – and let’s say it’s relatively convincing – and then let’s say Cincinnati loses to Houston in the American Athletic Conference championship, who’s that fourth team along with Georgia, (assume) Michigan, and (assume) Oklahoma State?

11-1 Notre Dame gets in over 12-1 Cincinnati, and it probably gets in over 11-2 Alabama.

And why?

That Cincinnati loss came way back in early October. Since then there was a decent 32-29 fight with Virginia Tech, and the Irish destroyed everything in their path the rest of the way.

Granted, beating Stanford, Georgia Tech, and Navy isn’t that big a deal – all three have three wins – and beating USC isn’t all that important this year. However, the wins over Wisconsin and Purdue matter, the win over North Carolina matters, and 11-1 will probably matter.

Again, there’s no destiny controlling here. The Irish cake is baked with no conference title game to play for – this would’ve been the year to be in the ACC – and now it needs two losses out of Cincinnati, Michigan, Oklahoma State, and Alabama to do this.

5. Cincinnati Bearcats (12-0)

Cincinnati is realistically in with a win over Houston in the American Athletic Conference Championship. However, it needs one key loss elsewhere to seal the deal.

Why isn’t this a lock at 13-0?

Start with the monster helper that Cincinnati got to play East Carolina while all the top Power Five teams in the mix were killing themselves in huge rivalry showdowns. The committee notices that.

Cincinnati needs either Alabama, Michigan, or Oklahoma State to lose, and it probably can’t get in if all three of them win.

After the weird close-call clunker win over Auburn, we’re done with the idea that the committee would put in a two-loss Alabama – if it loses to Georgia, even in a good, tough fight – over a 13-0 American Athletic Conference Cincinnati. If that happens there’s a problem.

However, at this point, assume Oklahoma State is in with a win – more on that in a moment – and Michigan is a lock with a win.

Cincinnati has to beat Houston and then catch a wee bit of a break, and here’s why …

NEXT: Top 4 College Football Playoff Chase Rankings

College Football Playoff Chase: Ranking The 8 Teams Still Alive After Week 12

Who’s left in the hunt to get into the College Football Playoff? Eight teams are still realistically alive, and we rate them based on how clear their paths are and the likelihood of getting in.

Who’s still alive in the chase to get into the 2021-2022 College Football Playoff? After Week 12, here are the 8 teams still alive and what they need to do to get in.


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Week 12 Roundup
Rankings AP | Coaches | CFN 1-130 Rankings
Week 13 opening lines | CFP Top 25 Prediction
Bowl ProjectionsWeek 12 scoreboard
Big Game Reaction: Utah, OSU, OU, Bama
Bowl Bubble: Who still has a shot?

Unless everyone starts losing – like, if Georgia Tech beats Georgia, Auburn beats Alabama, and it gets even weirder from there – there are realistically eight teams left in the College Football Playoff chase.

Wake Forest tapped out, Michigan State was done 30 seconds after getting off the bus in Columbus, and Oregon ran into a Utah buzzsaw.

Those three won’t be joining us for the rest of the College Football Playoff season. Who’s left?

Here’s the ranking of the eight remaining teams based on 1) ease of path to get in, and most importantly, 2) the pecking order, starting with …

8. Oklahoma Sooners (10-1)

It keeps having to be said over and over and over again, don’t assume the College Football Rankings right now hold after the conference championships are done.

Did you win your Power Five conference championship, and did you go unbeaten or finish 12-1? The precedent has been set from the start that you’re in if you do that, and if there isn’t another obvious option.

2017 Ohio State remains the only 12-1 Power Five champ not to get in, and that’s because the committee invoked the Because It’s Alabama clause on an 11-1 team that lost to Auburn – and because Ohio State got obliterated by Purdue.

Oklahoma might not have the best resumé, but the loss to Baylor isn’t that bad. If it beats Oklahoma State twice, it’ll be one of – at most – three 12-1 Power Five conference champs.

Get to 12-1, and Oklahoma is likely in. Blowout Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Championship – and maybe in Stillwater this week – and it’s a done deal.

So why the lowest-ranked team on the list? The call is that OU doesn’t beat Oklahoma State twice, if it even gets the second chance. That, and the committee really might not like this Sooner team and the rankings aren’t just a mirage.

7. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10-1)

The College Football Playoff committee has been in a strange bind when it comes to Notre Dame.

It blew out Wisconsin, and the wins over Purdue, North Carolina, and Virginia – even though the Cavaliers were without QB Brennan Armstrong – are among the eight wins over Power Five programs, and there will certainly be a ninth at Stanford this weekend.

It’s been a bit of a stunner through the early process that the committee hasn’t put the Irish one spot behind Cincinnati and kept them behind Michigan and Michigan State – at least until this week. It’s as if they’re being punished for being the one good team on Cincinnati’s schedule, and losing.

Here’s the strange part, though. Notre Dame is blowing out teams like it wishes Cincinnati had done over the last several weeks.

107-9.

That’s the three-game combined total against Navy, Virginia, and Georgia Tech, but there’s no getting into the College Football Playoff unless 1) Cincinnati loses to free the Irish to move up, and/or 2) there’s a two-loss Big 12 champion, and/or 3) the Big Ten West wins the Big Ten championship.

It’s more likely than you might think.

NEXT: Top 6 College Football Playoff Chase Rankings

College Football Playoff Chase: Ranking The 11 Teams Still Alive After Week 11

College Football Playoff chase: there are 11 teams realistically left in the hunt to get into the top four. We map out everything that has to happen for each one to get in.

Who’s still alive in the chase to get into the 2021-2022 College Football Playoff? After Week 11, here are the 11 teams still alive and what they need to do to get in.


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Week 11 Roundup
Rankings AP | Coaches | CFN 1-130 Rankings
Week 12 Early Line Predictions | Heisman Race
College Football Playoff Chase, Who’s Alive?
Bowl Projections | Week 11 Scoreboard, Predictions
Big Game Reactions: Baylor, Mich, Ole Miss, more
Coach Hot Seat Top 10 | Bowl Bubble: Who’s In, Out

Throughout the last few weeks of doing this, the College Football Playoff chase has been about who realistically has the easiest and hardest paths to get in.

But enough of that.

No more being cheeky about it. No more throwing a cookie to an unbeaten UTSA team that has no chance of getting into the top four – but is very much alive for the New Years Six race.

There are 11 teams remaining in the College Football Playoff chase, and here’s ranking their chances and what has to happen to get in.

Before it was about the cold, hard reality of what each team had to do. We’re now ranking them based on if we think it could happen, or not.

No. 1 is going to get in, No. 11 isn’t, and everything in between falls into place, starting with …

11. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (9-1)

It’s a wonderful story, but there are a whole lot of massive walls Wake Forest would have to scale to get in, and it starts by first just getting into a position to have the discussion.

Is Wake Forest good enough to get by Clemson on the road? Maybe. Is it good enough to get by a renewed and improved Boston College team that got better since starting QB Phil Jurkovec returned? Maybe.

Is it good enough to get by Clemson and Boston College on the road, and then take down – most likely – Pitt in the ACC Championship? It’s almost certainly going to slip in one of those three games, but even if it doesn’t, there’s still a whole lot of traffic in the pecking order.

What’s the one signature win? It would be the ACC Championship if that happens, but there really isn’t one. NC State? Ehhhhh, okay.

This is how the College Football Playoff committee works, by the way.

It would look at Wake Forest’s loss to North Carolina, point out that 11-1 Notre Dame beat North Carolina, and there’s the hard ceiling to get through.

However, go 12-1, win your Power Five conference title, and good things will probably happen.

10. Oklahoma Sooners (9-1)

This is the “we don’t really believe in you anymore” ranking.

Oklahoma still sort of controls its own destiny.

If it beats Iowa State, and wins at Oklahoma State, and beats Oklahoma State again or gets by Baylor in the Big 12 Championship, yeah. it’s probably in.

I speak College Football Playoff committee. Don’t believe anything else you’re hearing.

12-1 Big 12 champion Oklahoma gets in over a one-loss Wake Forest, a 13-0 Cincinnati – okay, let’s just call that a toss-up depending on how the Bearcats play the rest of the way out – and an 11-1 Notre Dame. Power Five conference championships matter to this group.

However, if it’s down to one spot, it doesn’t get in over a one-loss Pac-12 champion Oregon, or a one-loss Big Ten champ. However, if Oklahoma wins out and Alabama suffers a second loss along the way … in.

After not coming up with a truly strong win over the first nine games and then failing miserably in the first huge test against an okay-not-amazing Baylor team, yeah, we don’t really believe in you anymore, Oklahoma.

Win out, though, and that might not matter.

9. Michigan State Spartans (9-1)

Back in the old days of the BCS, 2008 was one of the biggest whoppers of a season because it was giant mess for two spots, not four. Part of the big whoop was with the old Big 12 South.

Oklahoma and Texas were monsters, and Texas Tech rose up and became a factor.

The Red Raiders shocked Texas in a thriller – it was the Longhorns’ only loss of the regular season – and Texas beat Oklahoma earlier on. Texas, OU, and Texas Tech finished in a three-way tie for the division, but Oklahoma got the call to the Big 12 Championship partly because it annihilated Texas Tech 65-21 late in the year.

Fast forward to 2021. Ohio State and Michigan aren’t exactly the same sort of powerhouses that 2008 Oklahoma and Texas were, but they’re close. Michigan State appears to be the Texas Tech in this scenario.

Now, for this comp to work, Michigan would have to beat Ohio State, and Michigan State – who beat Michigan in a close thriller – already has a loss to Purdue so there can’t be a three-way tie, but basically, this is a painfully long-winded way of saying Michigan State is likely the No. 3 team in a division with three great teams.

There’s a chance to blow past that against a shakier-than-it seems Ohio State this week, but then the Spartans would have to beat Penn State, and then it would likely have to beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship.

On the plus side, Michigan State controls its destiny. Beat the Buckeyes, beat the Nittany Lions, and beat – most likely – the Badgers, and in, no questions, no doubt, no drama. In.

It’s probably not going to happen, though.

NEXT: Top 8 College Football Playoff Chase Rankings

College Football Playoff Rankings: Top 25 Instant Reactions

The second round of the College Football Playoff rankings were released, here are 25 instant reactions from the November 9th version

The second round of the College Football Playoff rankings were released, here are 25 instant reactions from the November 9th version


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College Football Playoff Rankings: Top 25 Instant Reactions

Rankings CFP | CFN | AP | Coaches

25. The College Football Playoff committee basically held serve

It’s not bad. There were a few questionable calls, but nothing all that insane. It was a tough week because everyone but Georgia stunk – at least up top – so there wasn’t much room for movement. The committee didn’t do anything crazy, but there will be a whole lot happening next week after a big weekend of games coming up.

24. San Diego State beat Utah, so …

The committee process is all about getting the pecking order right through the meticulous way of going through each factor – more on the big debate in a moment.

San Diego State lost to Fresno State, and for those who stay up until the wee hours of the morning, it hasn’t looked great in a slew of other games. But if Utah is in at 6-3, putting SDSU in – the Aztecs won 33-31 between the two – was a must.

23. The Penn State factor, Part 1

Penn State should’ve been in somewhere. YEAH, the loss to Illinois is a killer, but it beat Auburn (17), beat Wisconsin (18) in Madison, and lost to Iowa after losing QB Sean Clifford early on and lost in a good fight with Ohio State. Not a big deal – it’ll get in the top 25 if it beats Michigan – but there wasn’t much respect.

22. Watch out for Houston

It’s not ranked, but it’s about to play a huge role. The opening day loss to Texas Tech is a drag, but it wasn’t that bad – the Red Raiders are currently 5-4. There aren’t a slew of great wins, and the schedule isn’t going to get a whole lot stronger. However, that doesn’t matter.

What does is that it’s probably going to play Cincinnati for the American Athletic Conference championship. If the Cougars win out, it’s probably pushing the Bearcats out of the New Year’s Six, much less the College Football Playoff.

21. Louisiana is probably on the Top 25 bubble

Someone from the Sun Belt will end up being in the top 25, but it probably won’t be until the end. Louisiana destroyed Appalachian State, but it doesn’t have any great wins and isn’t looking all that impressive. The only loss is to Texas in the opener, and it gets at Troy, at Liberty, ULM to close. If it wins out, it’ll be deep in the mix for a New Year’s Six appearance.

NEXT: College Football Playoff Reactions

College Football Playoff 2022: Game lines for top-6 teams in second rankings

Which top six teams are on upset alert after the second College Football Playoff ranking?

The first iteration of the College Football Playoff rankings this season have already crumbled.

Last week’s No. 3 team, Michigan State, went from knocking off rival Michigan at home to an 11-point loss at Purdue while every other top six team found a way to win. That should get a bit easier for some of the top teams in the CFP committee’s second rankings as a number of schools prepare for matchups that’d be more enticing in early September than mid November.

Once again, it’ll be a team outside the top six with the biggest opportunity to impact the rankings as No. 19 Purdue travels to Columbus for a showdown with Ohio State.

Let’s dig into this week’s lines as the stakes continue to get higher.

All odds via Tipico Sportsbook.

College Football Playoff Chase: Ranking The 13 Teams Still Alive After Week 10

Who’s still alive to get into the 2021-2022 College Football Playoff? After Week 10, here’s our ranking of the 13 teams still in the chase.

Who’s still alive in the chase to get into the 2021-2022 College Football Playoff? After Week 10, here’s our ranking of the 13 teams still in the mix.


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CFN 1-130 Rankings | Week 10 scoreboard
Bowl Projections, College Football Playoff Predictions
Week 11 opening lines | AP | Coaches
College Football Playoff Top 25 Prediction
Big Game Reaction: Purdue, UNC, Bama, more

Unfortunately, after key losses last weekend, we’re afraid Baylor and Auburn won’t be joining us for the rest of the season.

Where we’re going, they cannot follow.

To realistically be in the College Football Playoff chase in November, you have to 1) still be unbeaten, 2) be an unbeaten Power Five team, or 3) have some ridiculously strange circumstances to overcome parts one and two.

There are still 13 teams still alive, and it’s really more like 11 still in the hunt. These teams all have a reasonable path to dream of getting into the final four, and we’re ranking them based on how much control they have over their respective destinies.

This isn’t a College Football Playoff ranking projection – that’s this. This is all based on likelihood of getting in and the clearest paths.

13. UTSA Roadrunners (9-0)

So you know when Cincinnati was struggling so much with Tulsa this weekend … and, to a certain extent, Tulane the weekend before … and Navy the weekend before that? Everyone was talking about what that meant for the College Football playoff chase.

UTSA cares about the New Year’s Six bowl hunt.

The top-ranked Group of Five conference champion according to the CFP at least gets a New Year’s Six bowl bid. This year, that’s likely going to be the Fiesta. Conference USA has yet to have a team represented in the high-profile bowl.

So no, your Roadrunners of UTSA don’t have the slightest realistic shot at getting into the College Football playoff even if they do go 13-0 with a Conference USA championship and a win at Illinois on the resumé.

However, if there are a bunch of two-loss Power Five conference champs and Cincinnati loses once, UTSA would at least be in an interesting discussion.

If UC loses, though, getting that New Year’s Six slot would be on the table.

12. Texas A&M Aggies (7-2)

With the 20-3 win over Auburn, things just changed in a huge way for Texas A&M.

Now, even with losses to Arkansas and Mississippi State, there’s a case to be made that this could and should be the first ever two-loss team to get to the College Football Playoff.

But it needs a one-loss Alabama – who it beat 41-38 in early October – to lose again before the SEC Championship.

The Tide still have to deal with Arkansas at home and Auburn on the road. If they’re still as shaky as they were against LSU on Saturday, dropping one of those team isn’t out of the question.

If Bama loses, and A&M closes out with wins over Ole Miss, Prairie View A&M, and at LSU, it’s off to the SEC Championship to face Georgia. If it wins that, even with two losses, no way and no how does the committee leave out a red-hot SEC champion with wins over Alabama, Georgia, Auburn, Ole Miss, and LSU.

But that doesn’t happen unless the Tide help the cause.

11. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-1)

Call this ranking a possible rental.

Yes, Notre Dame lost to Cincinnati. However, the Bearcat schedule is full of layups and the team is having a hard time getting the ball to go down. Don’t be the slightest bit shocked if Notre Dame moves ahead of Cincinnati at some point in the CFP ranking process.

While the Bearcats close out with more mediocre Group of Five teams, Notre Dame finishes with at Virginia, Georgia Tech, and at Stanford to end its season with nine games against Power Five programs and possible wins against all of them.

However, it’s still going to take at least two multi-loss Power Five champions – like in the ACC and Pac-12, most likely – and Alabama can’t beat Georgia in the SEC Championship, and there would have to be a major controversial call.

Or, Cincinnati might just lose at some point and the door would be open for the Irish.

HOWEVER … not getting to play in a conference championship matters. It didn’t in the past for 12-0 Notre Dame. It sure as shoot would for the 11-1 version.

NEXT: Top 10 College Football Playoff Chase Rankings

College Football Playoff Rankings: 5 Random Day After Thoughts

The day after the first batch of College Football Playoff rankings were released, here are five random thoughts about what the CFP committee came up with and told the rest of college footballd.

The day after the first batch of College Football Playoff rankings were released, here are five random thoughts about what the CFP committee came up with.


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College Football Playoff Rankings: 5 Random Day After Thoughts

CFP Rankings: Reaction to every slot
College Football Playoff Rankings

5. Oklahoma is more than okay, even at 9

13-0 Big 12 Champion Oklahoma is absolutely in the 2021-2022 College Football Playoff.

There’s ZERO chance it’s out if it wins out. None. No way, no how, and in no reasonable or rational scenario would the College Football Playoff committee leave out an unbeaten Power Five conference champion – that includes Wake Forest, by the way, but that’s not happening.

Don’t get into any sort of a twist at OU being at 9 to start. It still has to play Baylor (12), Oklahoma State (11), and it probably has to deal with one of those two a second time in the Big 12 Championship – if all goes well.

By the way, it’s not a total lock like 13-0 would be, but 12-1 Big 12 Champion Oklahoma would almost certainly get in, too.

College Football Playoff Rankings Day After Thoughts
The sneaky-interesting ranking was …
Arkansas really is the the one big whiff
Cincinnati at 6 is fine … really
Oregon isn’t necessarily safe at 4

NEXT: The sneaky-interesting ranking was …

College Football Playoff Chase: Ranking The 15 Teams Still Alive After Week 9

Who has the easiest and hardest paths among the teams still realistically in the College Football Playoff chase? Here’s our ranking of the 15 teams still alive and their ease of possibly getting in.

Who’s still alive in the chase to get into the 2021-2022 College Football Playoff? After Week 9, here’s our ranking of the 15 teams still in the mix.


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Six teams tapped out of the chase among those with a realistic shot of getting into the College Football Playoff.

There’s always something crazy that could happen, but you’re almost certainly not getting in if you’re a Power Five program with multiple losses, or a Group of Five team with one loss. It might not seem fair, and this needs to change with an expanded playoff, but that’s the deal.

Pitt, Iowa, Kentucky, Ole Miss, San Diego State, and SMU – thanks. The New Year’s Six bowls are still on the table by winning out and catching a break, but the College Football Playoff? Nah.

So now we’re down to 15 teams out of 130 who are are still alive for this thing. We rank their chances of getting in from the ones who need the most help, to the ones who still control their own respective destinies.

This isn’t a College Football Playoff ranking projection – that’s this. This is all based on likelihood of getting in and the clearest paths. Starting with the dreamiest of the dreamy …

15. UTSA Roadrunners (8-0)

It’s not happening, but with San Diego State losing to Fresno State and SMU dropping a thriller to Houston, there’s Cincinnati, there’s UTSA, and that’s it for the unbeatens among the Group of Five programs.

UTSA would need to win out against at UTEP, Southern Miss, UAB, and at North Texas – and then win the Conference USA Championship – doing it with the types of blowouts that Cincinnati isn’t getting against its weak slate. It would also need the entire Power Five conference world to melt down.

Again, it’s not happening, but getting a New Year’s Six bowl could be on the table no matter what Cincinnati does.

14. Texas A&M Aggies (6-2)

No, a two-loss team has never made it into the College Football Playoff. However, A&M has the win over Alabama – that’s the key to the dream of getting in.

Win out against Auburn, at Ole Miss, Prairie View A&M, and at LSU, and hope for one stunning defeat by Alabama somewhere – maybe against LSU on the wrong day, or Arkansas, or at Auburn – and it’s off to the SEC Championship. Win that, and no way, no how, no chance is the team that Alabama, and Georgia will be left out.

But, again, it only works with an Alabama loss somewhere.

13. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-1)

This one is totally not fair, but Notre Dame has a rock-hard Cincinnati ceiling it might not be able to bust through.

Remember, these rankings are based on who has the clearest paths and who controls their own destiny.

The Irish will be a top ten team in the College Football Playoff rankings and will move up to around the top five, but even if Cincinnati loses once, that 24-13 home loss is a killer.

Notre Dame would need to win out – Navy, at Virginia, Georgia Tech, at Stanford – and hope for a whole bunch of multi-loss Power Five champions.

Again, this about being in control, and Notre Dame isn’t as long as Cincinnati keeps winning. However, it’s the same deal for …

12. Cincinnati Bearcats (8-0)

Cincinnati is going to be in the top four of the College Football Playoff rankings at some point, if not be up there in the first batch that comes out on Tuesday, November 2nd.

Here’s the problem.

Once the entire regular season is over – including the conference championship – the College Football Playoff committee has the unwritten rule of starting with this one big question.

“Did you win your Power Five conference championship?”

That’s followed up by, “did you win going unbeaten or finish 12-1?”

DO NOT ASSUME that Cincinnati being in the top four means it’s going to stay there. It needs Wake Forest to lose – probably twice – and it will. It needs Oregon to lose – it probably will – and it can’t have Alabama winning the SEC Championship and be 12-1 along with Georgia finishing 12-1.

It can’t have an unbeaten or one-loss Big Ten champion or an unbeaten or one-loss Big 12 champion to go along with two other viable options. A whole lot of things have to go right for a 13-0 Cincinnati to get in.

For what it’s worth, we think it’ll happen, but Cincinnati doesn’t control its path, and for now, neither does …

11. Michigan Wolverines (7-1)

There’s a funky scenario that hasn’t been discussed and almost certainly won’t happen, but it’s worth a theoretical hypothetical – if that can be such a thing.

Michigan State wins out and goes 13-0, and Michigan wins out by beating Indiana, at Penn State, at Maryland, Ohio State. Because that 37-33 loss on the road to the Spartans was such a close fight – unlike, say, Texas A&M’s only loss at Alabama last year a 52-24 blowout – would both brothers get in?

That’s almost certainly not going to happen on any level. Here’s the more likely scenario, if you can buy into the idea that Michigan can beat Ohio State.

Either 1) Michigan State loses twice – with the remaining Spartans’ schedule, that’s possible; more on that in a moment – or 2) Ohio State beats Michigan State and Michigan wins out, which would then likely help the Wolverines because the win over Wisconsin would potentially be the difference in the Big Ten East tie-breaker world …

Again, more on that in a bit.

NEXT: Top 10 College Football Playoff Chase Rankings