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Week 13 College Football Playoff Eliminator: Is TCU the Team of Destiny?

Week 13 College Football Playoff Eliminator: Is TCU the Team of Destiny? article feature image
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Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: A College Football Playoff National Championship pylon.

We’re drawing closer and closer to the finish line. This week marks the final Saturday of the regular season, followed by conference championship weekend.

After that, we’ll know which four teams will make up the 2022 College Football Playoff.

Week 12 provided a great deal of drama, with all top-four teams receiving a scare from their opponents. North Carolina and Tennessee were upset, and the Pac-12 picture cleared up quite a bit.

Entering last Saturday, I had eliminated 118 of the 131 FBS teams from games played in Weeks 1-11. That left us with 13 playoff hopefuls remaining heading into the final stretch of the regular season. That number now decreases to nine, with four more schools sent home in Week 12.

We now have nine teams fighting for four spots, and as always, they’re sorted into our three distinct tiers. Let’s start off by taking a look at the latest quartet sent to the wayside.


Eliminated From College Football Playoff in Week 12

1.

North Carolina Tar Heels

The Tar Heels were a longshot to begin with, but the loss to Georgia Tech officially ended all hope.

2.

Tennessee Volunteers

Everything went wrong for the Vols in Columbia, and the dream season now won’t be ending in a playoff berth. You have to feel for Hendon Hooker.

3.

UCLA Bruins

The Bruins played in a classic with USC but ultimately came up short. UCLA can no longer make the Pac-12 Championship game.

4.

Utah Utes

The Utes’ third loss of the season came at the hands of Oregon and officially ended any hopes Kyle Whittingham’s team had left.


Eliminated in Weeks 1-11

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.
  • 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.
  • Lastly, I reserve the right to eliminate any team that simply does not have a realistic path to the playoff.

Here are the latest tiers:

Collin Wilson’s Top CFP Futures for Week 13

All “To Make the Playoff” odds are as of Tuesday, Nov. 22 and via DraftKings.


Firmly in the Mix (4)

There’s never been a year in which we’ve had this many teams stay unbeaten this late in the year. This group of four just keeps winning, but we know this list will shrink to at least three by this time next week. The plot thickens.

Georgia Bulldogs (-20000)

Assuming the Bulldogs handle their business this week against Georgia Tech, I think it’s safe to declare Georgia as one of the four playoff teams. Even with a loss to LSU in Atlanta, I don’t really see any way the Dawgs fall outside the top four.

Michigan Wolverines (+150)

Michigan was put to the test by Illinois before surviving on a last-second Jake Moody field goal. Now, a trip to Columbus awaits with everything on the line. It will be hard to overcome a really poor nonconference schedule if the Wolverines can’t get it done on Saturday.

Ohio State Buckeyes (-750)

The Buckeyes will receive the No. 1 or No. 2 seed if they beat Michigan and the Big Ten West champ over the next two weeks. If Ryan Day’s team suffers a close loss to the rival Wolverines on Saturday, they will still be firmly in the conversation.

A Notre Dame win over USC would help considerably in that scenario, as it would knock out the Pac-12 and also strengthen the Buckeyes’ early win over the Irish.

TCU Horned Frogs (-150)

Team of destiny vibes.

The Horned Frogs escaped again against Baylor after Max Duggan led them down the field in the final moments in Waco. TCU is obviously a lock at 13-0 with a Big 12 title, but the interesting scenario is how the Frogs would stack up at 12-1 with a close loss in Arlington.


Hanging in There (3)

Each team in this tier has suffered a loss of some variety. There’s still a clear pathway to playoff consideration — just less room for error the rest of the way.

Clemson Tigers (+210)

Everybody wrote the Tigers off after their loss to Notre Dame. Clemson has responded with two strong performances, and the Tennessee loss helped their cause.

Dabo Swinney’s team finishes the regular season with the same South Carolina team that just pulled off a major upset over the Vols.

LSU Tigers (+650)

The Tigers winning out would create a potentially historic scenario. No two-loss team has ever made the playoff, but if LSU were to win the SEC, it would have a really compelling case.

First things first, however, LSU must take care of business in College Station to stay alive.

USC Trojans (+155)

In my opinion, the Trojans are pretty close to a lock for the playoff if they win their final two games. I don’t see the Michigan-Ohio State loser staying ranked ahead of a team that would have ended its season with three consecutive victories over ranked opponents.

USC took care of UCLA. Now, it’s on to Notre Dame at the Coliseum.


Would Need a Miracle (2)

Both the Ducks and the Huskies still have a route to winning the Pac-12. Do that, and hope for absolute chaos in the other conferences. You never know.

1.

Oregon Ducks (+1800)

2.

Washington Huskies

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