Who’s still alive in the chase to get into the 2023-2023 College Football Playoff? Before Week 13, here are the seven teams still alive and what they need to do to get in.
Tennessee is now out of the College Football Playoff mix after getting rocked by South Carolina, and any dream that North Carolina might have had went bye-bye after a shocking loss to Georgia Tech.
So now we’re down to seven teams realistically in the chase for the College Football Playoff. What do they need to do to get in, and who has the easiest and hardest path?
This isn’t a ranking of who the top seven teams are – that’s for our ranking of all 131 teams – this is about a combination of talent, clearest path, and overall pecking order.
College Football Playoff Chase Ranking Path Of The 7 Teams Still Alive
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7. LSU Tigers (9-2)
Remaining Schedule: at Texas A&M, SEC Championship vs Georgia
What LSU has to do to make the College Football Playoff: It has to look the part over the next two weeks.
The 41-10 win over UAB was what a team in the College Football Playoff is supposed to do, and the wins over Alabama and Arkansas were nice, but those were close, tight battles. Now it has to annihilate a mediocre Texas A&M team on the road and it needs to beat Georgia in the SEC Championship.
That, and it needs two of the three champions – assuming the Ohio State-Michigan winner doesn’t lose the Big Ten title – from the ACC, Big 12, and Pac-12 to have at least two losses.
Will LSU make the College Football Playoff? 1) It might have problems on the road against a Texas A&M team that will see this season finale as its World Cup final. 2) It’ll probably beat Texas A&M, but it probably won’t beat Georgia. 3) If it beats Georgia, it’s still probably not in over Georgia – unless it’s a blowout – and it’s unlikely that it’ll get help from three of the other four Power Five conference championships.
6. Clemson Tigers (10-1)
Remaining Schedule: South Carolina, ACC Championship vs North Carolina
What Clemson has to do to make the College Football Playoff: Win out and get help.
It actually caught a wonderful break that South Carolina is coming of the blowout win over Tennessee. Now, beating the Gamecocks would be a massive boost in the College Football Playoff chase with the rough performance against Notre Dame still fresh.
Sticking with the idea of a 12-1 Power Five conference champion getting in if there aren’t any other viable options, Clemson needs USC to lose once more – that’s the most realistic key possibility – and looking the part against South Carolina and North Carolina would be nice.
Will Clemson make the College Football Playoff? Sticking with the call throughout most of the year … yes. The call is that Clemson wins its final two games and TCU somehow has a problem either against Iowa State – unlikely – or in the Big 12 Championship.
The committee would almost certainly take a 12-1 ACC champion over a 12-1 Big 12 team without a championship. If that happens and if Georgia pushes LSU out of the way – and/or if USC loses once more – Clemson is in.
5. USC Trojans (10-1)
Remaining Schedule: Notre Dame, Pac-12 Championship
What USC has to do to make the College Football Playoff: Go 2-0.
The only reason USC isn’t in the top four is because it’s more likely to lose one of its final two games. However, if there were three options the committee had to take – SEC champion Georgia, the Big Ten champion, and 13-0 Big 12 champion TCU – 12-1 USC would 99% surely get the nod over 12-1 Clemson.
And why? Next up for USC is the Notre Dame team that whacked Clemson 35-14.
Will USC make the College Football Playoff? Yeah – let’s go with it. It’s going to be a fight, but after beating UCLA, if USC goes 2-0 with wins over Notre Dame and either Oregon, Utah or Washington in the Pac-12 Championship, it’s done. It’s not going to be easy, but the team rose to the challenge against the Bruins.
NEXT: College Football Playoff Chase Rankings Top 4
College Football Playoff Chase Rankings Top 4
4. TCU Horned Frogs (11-0)
Remaining Schedule: Iowa State, Big 12 Championship
What TCU has to do to make the College Football Playoff: Like USC, go 2-0 and get in.
Don’t buy into the false talking points and bizarre narrative pushed forward by some that the world has it out for TCU. No way, no how, NO CHANCE WHATSOEVER would a 13-0 Big 12 champion be left out. That was the case before last weekend and it still holds going into this week.
Now, 12-1 with a loss to Iowa State and a win in the Big 12 Championship would be a problem, and pretty much forget it – at least without a ton of help – if 12-0 TCU loses the conference title game.
Will TCU make the College Football Playoff? The call continues to be no, but that’s assuming Kansas State wins the regular season rematch in the Big 12 Championship – or if Iowa State’s defense rises up and rocks this week. However, if TCU wins out, it’ll be no worse than the 2-3 seed – it doesn’t really matter which one.
3. Michigan Wolverines (11-0)
Remaining Schedule: at Ohio State
What Michigan has to do to make the College Football Playoff: Beat Ohio State, win the Big Ten championship for the second year in a row, go back to the College Football Playoff.
Here’s the big problem – and it’s sort of why Michigan should probably be ranked lower than this. Michigan is done with a loss to Ohio State unless a whole slew of other big things happen.
If it beats Ohio State and loses to, say, Iowa in the Big Ten Championship, it still might be Game On for the College Football Playoff. But lose to the Buckeyes, and a few conference champions would have to have two losses.
Will Michigan make the College Football Playoff? No. The call continues to be Ohio State this week, but Michigan did it last year. If it beats the Buckeyes it’s not losing to whatever comes out of the West.
2. Ohio State Buckeyes (11-0)
Remaining Schedule: Michigan
What Ohio State has to do to make the College Football Playoff: Beat Michigan, win the Big Ten Championship, be the 2 seed at worst, 1 seed if Georgia loses.
Theres one key difference between Michigan and Ohio State losing – even though it’s at home, a loss to Michigan might not kill all College Football Playoff hope.
The Wolverines don’t have the resumé if it goes 11-1. A one-loss Ohio State beat Notre Dame – Clemson didn’t – and might still get in over a 12-1 Big 12 Championship loser TCU and probably over an ACC champion Clemson with a loss to South Carolina this week.
In other words, the possibilities are still open for the CFP if all goes wrong against That Team Up North.
Will Ohio State make the College Football Playoff? Yeah. The team is banged up and isn’t nearly as invincible as it probably should be considering the talent level, but this is the one game it has been waiting for – even more than anything that might happen after. It’s not going to blow it, and it almost certainly won’t lose the Big Ten Championship.
1. Georgia Bulldogs (11-0)
Remaining Schedule: Georgia Tech, SEC Championship vs LSU
What Georgia has to do to make the College Football Playoff: Win one of the next two games.
It might be a big of a hard sell to America that Georgia has to be in if it loses at home to Georgia Tech, but lose that, win the SEC Championship, and get in. Or, beat Georgia Tech, lose close to LSU, and still almost certainly get in.
At this point, with wins over Alabama, Oregon, Tennessee, and Ole Miss, it’ll be hard to keep the defending national champion out unless it loses its final two games or gets destroyed by LSU.
Will Georgia make the College Football Playoff? Yes. It’s going to take a meltdown for the Dawgs not to get in, even if it loses to LSU.