College Football Playoff Eliminator for Week 8: Tennessee, Michigan Among 19 Teams Firmly in Mix for National Championship
Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: The College Football Playoff logo on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium.
We’re back for the third week of Action Network’s Eliminator column.
In the first edition, 79 teams were eliminated in Weeks 1-5. Thirteen more joined them following the results of Week 6. As for this week? Well, we’ve got seven more teams sent home after a crazy Saturday of college football.
This leaves us with 32 of the 131 FBS teams still alive and sorted into three distinct tiers. To begin, let’s take a look at the latest teams that were sent packing.
Eliminated From College Football Playoff in Week 7
Eliminated in Weeks 1-6
As always, here are the ground rules that will be in place all year:
- Any loss eliminates a Group of Five team immediately. In the history of the CFP, there has only been one Group of Five team to make the playoff — last year’s undefeated Cincinnati Bearcats. A one-loss Group of Five team is simply not making the playoff in the current format.
- Auto-elimination for any Power Five team that loses a third game. To this point, there has never even been a two-loss team that made the playoff. There have been a few that have been close over the years, but there will certainly not be a three-loss team among the final four. Hence, why Wisconsin, West Virginia, Michigan State and others were all sent packing.
- Any two-loss Power Five team that has been eliminated from conference championship contention will also be eliminated in this column. Given that we’ve never seen a two-loss team make it to this point, it’s safe to assume a two-loss team would need to win its respective conference to have any chance.
- Lastly, I reserve the right to eliminate any team that simply does not have a realistic path to the playoff. I took it easy on a few teams this week, as you'll see below, but I can’t guarantee that will be the case moving forward.
Now, let's dive into the tiers for the remaining 32 teams.
All "To Make Playoff" odds are as of Tuesday, Oct. 18 and via PointsBet.
Firmly in the Mix (10)
The 10 teams in here remain in complete and total control of their destiny as we enter the stretch run of the season. Win out, and it’s hard to envision any scenario where any is left out.
Alabama Crimson Tide (+125)
The Tide are the only team in this tier with a loss, but the track record speaks for itself. There's a clear path to the playoff, but Alabama does have some tricky games left, including a trip to Oxford.
Clemson Tigers (-115)
The Tigers just keep on winning and have an opportunity to all but wrap up the ACC’s Atlantic Division with a victory over Syracuse on Saturday.
Georgia Bulldogs (-600)
The Bulldogs head to their bye week with a perfect record and now turn their focus to a stretch run that will be headlined by a showdown against Tennessee in Athens.
Michigan Wolverines (+105)
The Wolverines were dominant in a 41-17 victory over Penn State. Keep winning, and there could be a pathway to the playoff for Michigan even with a loss in Columbus to end the year.
Ole Miss Rebels
Kudos to Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss for getting to this point, but things are about to crank up a handful of notches, starting with this week’s trip to Baton Rouge.
Ohio State Buckeyes (-600)
The Buckeyes continue to be dominant in the Big Ten, and it’s flat-out hard to see any way this team doesn’t enter the Michigan game sitting at 11-0.
The magical ride continues for the Orange after a victory over NC State in the Carrier Dome. Next up? A trip to Clemson with everything on the line.
Tennessee Volunteers (+150)
What a statement from the Vols on Saturday in one of the best games we’ve seen in some time. Tennessee now finds itself in a really good position the rest of the way.
TCU Horned Frogs
Things were looking bleak for the Frogs entering the fourth quarter on Saturday, but Sonny Dykes’ team found a way to come back and get it done. Kansas State comes into town next.
The Bruins were on a bye this weekend, and now they head north to take on Oregon with College GameDay in town. Win in Eugene, and UCLA’s playoff prospects start to look really interesting.
Hanging in There (9)
Each team in this tier has suffered a loss of some variety. That said, there's still a clear pathway to the playoff — just less room for error the rest of the way.
Illinois Fighting Illini
What a story Illinois continues to be. The Illini control their path in the Big Ten West and get a bye week to rest up before the stretch run.
Kansas State Wildcats
The Wildcats have an opportunity to catapult themselves right back into the thick of things with a road win at TCU on Saturday.
North Carolina Tar Heels
The Tar Heels remain flawed defensively, but this offense has been stellar all year. They're the clear frontrunner in the ACC Coastal.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
The Pokes really let one slip away, blowing a 14-point fourth-quarter lead in Fort Worth. There's not much margin for error the rest of the way now.
The Ducks have been extremely methodical ever since the opening week loss to Georgia. Up next? A chance to take down unbeaten UCLA and sit alone atop the Pac-12 standings.
Penn State Nittany Lions
It was a really discouraging effort from the Nittany Lions in the Big House. It's ard to see this group having the firepower to hang with Ohio State in a few weeks.
The Longhorns continue to be the lone two-loss team in this tier. There’s no margin for error, but Texas has plenty of chances to keep bolstering its stock.
The Trojans are undefeated no more after squandering a fourth-quarter lead at Utah. That said, everything is still in front of them.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Wake Forest could be sitting in the driver’s seat if it had pulled out the overtime battle with Clemson. Instead, the Deacs will likely miss out on the ACC Championship game and need to get some help.
Would Need a Miracle (13)
It’s hard to see a path to the playoff for any group listed below. To have a chance, any team in this tier would need to be perfect the rest of the way, and then get a little help in other leagues.