2019 College Football Playoff Rankings, Top 25 Projections: This Is Why the SEC Takes Week 13 Off

2019 College Football Playoff Rankings, Top 25 Projections: This Is Why the SEC Takes Week 13 Off article feature image
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Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Chris Olave

  • Updated 2019 College Football Playoff rankings will be released on Tuesday night, so we've updated our Top 25 projections.
  • Oregon suffered the biggest loss of Week 13, effectively eliminating the Ducks from the CFP discussion. It could also hurt Utah, should the Utes win out.
  • The College Football Playoff top 4 will likely remain the same, with LSU, Ohio State, Clemson and Georgia at the top.

Did Alabama just get handed a lifeline for a College Football Playoff spot?

Sort of. Oregon losing to Arizona State and Oklahoma again looking pedestrian against TCU is keeping the door open for the Tide.

The College Football Playoff committee has not seemed impressed with Oklahoma, so the path for Alabama is getting better. The Tide will need:

  • A win over Auburn (Alabama will be about -2.5)
  • Oregon (+1) to beat Utah in the Pac-12 title game
  • LSU (-4.5) to beat Georgia in the SEC title game
  • Clemson and Ohio State to win out

This doesn’t guarantee Alabama gets in, but it’s certainly possible under these circumstances.

Here is what we think the Top 25 will look like come Tuesday.

We’re not trying to rank the 25 best teams — that’s what our betting power ratings are for.

Projected Top 25 College Football Playoff Rankings

CFP Scenarios & Breakdown

We’ve broken down each College Football Playoff contender into one of three categories.

  • The elite teams that will be favored in all their remaining games and control their own path to the CFP.
  • Teams that aren’t guaranteed a spot if they win out but would definitely be in the mix. These teams would benefit from chaos elsewhere.
  • The teams that are guaranteed a spot if they win out but will be an underdog in at least one remaining game, so winning out is far from a sure thing.

We’ve also listed each team’s record, point spreads for their remaining games via our oddsmaker-style power ratings, and FiveThirtyEight.com’s playoff projection chances.

The Real CFP Contenders

Clemson

  • Record: 11-0
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 89%
  • Remaining Games: at South Carolina (-21)

Clemson had the week off and will close the season with South Carolina before being a four-touchdown favorite in the ACC Championship Game against Virginia or Virginia Tech.

We project Clemson at -28 vs. UVA and -30 vs. Virginia Tech.

Ohio State

  • Record: 11-0
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 79%
  • Remaining Games: at Michigan (-15.5)

The Buckeyes may not have covered against Penn State but got the best of both worlds — a close game that was never really that close. So they faced some adversity for the first time this year and still took care of business.

Ohio State will be a double-digit favorite against Michigan next week and against Wisconsin or Minnesota in the Big Ten Championship Game.

A College Football Playoff spot is very much the Buckeyes’ to lose.

LSU

  • Record: 11-0
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 69%
  • Remaining Games: Texas A&M (-15)

The Tigers rolled Arkansas, and Oregon’s loss could end up helping them a little bit, too.

If LSU does lose to Georgia in the SEC title, it should still get into the College Football Playoff. It just can’t trip up against Texas A&M at home next week.

Would Benefit From Chaos

Oklahoma

  • Record: 10-1
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 44%
  • Remaining Games: at OK State (-16)

The committee has shown its disdain for Oklahoma in the last two weeks, ranking the one-loss Sooners behind the likes of Oregon, Utah, Alabama and Minnesota at times.

The CFP committee says it approaches the Top 25 on a week-to-week basis, but after another narrow win over TCU on Saturday, it’s hard to imagine Oklahoma moving up. It feels like the Sooners need a lot of chaos to get in.

Utah

  • Record: 10-1
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 27%
  • Remaining Games: Colorado (-25)

The Utes’ situation doesn’t really change much with Oregon’s loss, other than make a win over the Ducks slightly less impressive.

But for the most part, things are the same — win out and win the Pac-12, hope LSU, Clemson and Ohio State hold serve, and hope the committee doesn’t fall back in love with Alabama.

Alabama

  • Record: 9-1
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 13%
  • Remaining Games: at Auburn (-2.5)

Alabama’s path seems a little easier after Oregon’s loss.

The Tide need:

  • A win over Auburn (-2.5)
  • Oregon (+1) to beat Utah in the Pac-12 title game
  • LSU (-4.5) to beat Georgia in the SEC title game
  • Clemson and Ohio State to win out

That certainly doesn’t guarantee the Tide a spot, but it’s a completely plausible scenario.

If you’re an Alabama fan, you’re now an Oregon fan, too.

Still Control Their Own Path, But Need an Upset

Georgia

  • Record: 9-1
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 50%
  • Toughest Games: at Georgia Tech (-28.5), LSU (+4.5)

Georgia will likely head to the SEC Championship Game with a CFP berth on the line, but does anyone feel good about the Dawgs’ chances right now?

The defense has been herculean in the last two months, but the offense looks timid and out of sync.

Minnesota

  • Record: 10-1
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 3%
  • Remaining Games: Wisconsin (+3.5)

I considered moving Minnesota to the eliminated section after its loss to Iowa on Saturday, but I do believe a one-loss, Big Ten champion Gophers team will get into the CFP.

Trouble is, they’ll need upsets over Wisconsin and Ohio State to get there.

Baylor

  • Record: 10-1
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 12%
  • Remaining Games: at Kansas (-15.5), Oklahoma (+9.5)

Baylor is back after I eliminated the Bears last week. Go figure.

With Oklahoma looking mortal, it’s definitely possible. Baylor needs to win out, have LSU, Clemson and Ohio State hold serve, and hope Oregon beats Utah. Then the Bears need to hope the committee doesn’t just put Alabama in.

Eliminated on Saturday

Penn State

  • Record: 9-2
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 0%
  • Remaining Games: Rutgers (-43)

Penn State fought valiantly at Ohio State on Saturday, but the Buckeyes are just a cut above the Nittany Lions right now.

Oregon

  • Record: 9-2
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 0%
  • Remaining Games: Oregon State (-18.5)

The Ducks didn’t control their own destiny to the College Football Playoff, but needed the least chaos to get in. It seemed like they needed to win out, and have Clemson, LSU and Ohio State all win their respective conference title games.

But after a loss to Arizona State, those dreams are dead.

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