2019 College Football Playoff Rankings: Top 25 Projections After Week 11

2019 College Football Playoff Rankings: Top 25 Projections After Week 11 article feature image

Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Ed Orgeron

  • Updated College Football Playoff rankings will come out Tuesday, so we've got Top 25 projections ahead of the committee's latest findings.
  • Despite some upsets on Saturday, no one who entered the day with a shot at the CFP was completely eliminated.
  • But right now, Clemson, Ohio State and LSU are in the driver's seat to take three of the four spots, with the fourth a complete wild card.

We’re in here, folks. Games With Real Implications for the College Football Playoff Season.

Both No. 3 Alabama and No. 4 Penn State lost on Saturday, which doesn’t eliminate them, but does hamper their chances quite a bit.

The top three spots aren’t completely spoken for, but the picture is starting to become clear — Clemson, LSU and Ohio State all have a 70% chance or greater to get in.

Here, we’re projecting the College Football Playoff Top 25 ahead of the committee’s release on Tuesday.

These are not meant to judge each team — that’s where our betting power ratings come in. Those are predictive, forward-looking and rooted in true boxscore data, not just wins and losses.

Projected College Football Playoff Rankings

CFP Scenarios & Breakdown

We’ve grouped 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 in for their remaining games via our oddsmaker-style power ratings, and FiveThirtyEight.com’s playoff projection chances.

The Real CFP Contenders

Ohio State

  • Record: 9-0
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 71%
  • Remaining Games: at Rutgers (-52), vs. PSU (-15), at Michigan (-15.5)

The Buckeyes hold the top spot in our power ratings, and flexed their muscles on Saturday against Maryland in a 73-14 win.

Ohio State will be a double-digit favorite in all their remaining games, including the Big Ten Championship Game. Unless something were to happen to quarterback Justin Fields. Then we’d have to talk about this team missing the CFP.

college football week 5 betting picks-odds-favorite bets-collin wilson
Pictured: Justin Fields. Credit: Joe Maiorana, USA Today Sports.


  • Record: 10-0
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 85%
  • Remaining Games: vs. Wake Forest (-28), at South Carolina (-21)

Clemson will be a three-touchdown favorite in all of its remaining games, including the ACC Championship Game, so there’s little reason to expect the Tigers to miss out on the semifinals. They’ve reached the College Football Playoff in four straight years.


  • Record: 9-0
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 69%
  • Remaining Games: at Ole Miss (-18.5), at Arkansas (-32), Texas A&M (-15)

Welp, LSU did it. 

The Tigers went into Tuscaloosa, beat Alabama in a thriller and now very much control their path to the College Football Playoff. The Tigers would be about a 3-point favorite over Georgia in the SEC title game as it stands now.

Would Benefit From Chaos


  • Record: 8-1
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 12%
  • Remaining Games: at Mississippi State (-24), WCU (N/A), at Auburn (-9.5)

Alabama losing to LSU on Saturday obviously sets the Tide back, and to me, it feels like they would need extreme chaos elsewhere to reach the College Football Playoff. If the Tide beat Auburn, it will be their only résumé victory.

Some things Alabama should root for:

  • Oklahoma to lose again (to Oklahoma State, probably), but knock out Baylor.
  • Minnesota to lose to Wisconsin or Iowa, but beat Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship.
  • Utah or Oregon to lose again in the regular season, then have the two-loss team beat the one-loss team in the title game.
  • LSU and Georgia to lose in the regular season, which is unlikely considering their schedules, minus UGA’s trip to Auburn.

Even if LSU loses to Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, it’s hard to imagine Alabama gets in over a one-loss Tigers team.


  • Record: 8-1
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 30%
  • Remaining Games: at Baylor (-10.5), TCU ( -18.5), at OK State (-16)

It feels like everyone is sleeping on Oklahoma — a one-loss Sooners team has a great shot at reaching the College Football Playoff, and they’ll be double-digit favorites (or close) in all their remaining games.


  • Record: 8-1
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 33%
  • Remaining Games: Arizona (-19.5), at Arizona State (-11.5), Oregon State (-18.5)

Oregon was off this week, but the premise remains the same — win out, beat Utah in the Pac-12 title game, and hope some teams elsewhere lose.


  • Record: 8-1
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 21%
  • Remaining Games: UCLA (-19), at Arizona (-16), Colorado (-25)

Oregon and Utah have the exact same path. They’re not guaranteed a spot if they win out, but that’s all they can do at this point, and they’ll certainly be in the mix.

Still Control Their Own Path, But Need an Upset


  • Record: 8-1
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 34%
  • Toughest Games: at Auburn (-1.5), Texas A&M (-11.5), at Georgia Tech (-28.5)

Georgia’s loss to South Carolina didn’t disqualify it from the CFP. It just made the margin for error smaller.

The Dawgs look poised to win the SEC East and play LSU in the conference title game, but a win at Auburn next week is needed to stay in the playoff hunt.

Penn State

  • Record: 8-1
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 12%
  • Remaining Games: Indiana (-15.5), at Ohio State (+15), Rutgers (-43)

Penn State could have reached the playoff with a win over Minnesota and then a loss to Ohio State, but now the Nittany Lions need to upset the Buckeyes as a two-touchdown underdog to have any chance.

Geoff Burke, USA Today Sports. Pictured: James Franklin


  • Record: 9-0
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 16%
  • Remaining Games: vs. Oklahoma (+12), vs. Texas (-2)

Baylor needed a 51-yard field goal to force overtime and eventually beat TCU, so the dream lives on for now.

The Bears are 9-0 and will need to upset Oklahoma twice — and they’ll be a double-digit underdog — to have a shot at the College Football Playoff.


  • Record: 9-0
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 10%
  • Remaining Games: at Iowa (+7.5), Northwestern (-7.5), Wisconsin (+11.5),

Is it time to start taking Minnesota seriously?

The Gophers beat Penn State as a touchdown underdog on Saturday, but will still need to score two upsets as a sizable underdog to reach the College Football Playoff.

Eliminated on Saturday

Nobody! Congrats, guys. Everyone who entered the week with a shot at the College Football Playoff still has one.

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