Only 11 schools still have a legit shot to make the College Football Playoff

AP Photo/Richard ShiroAs of now, LSU, Clemson, and Ohio State appear to have a solid hold on playoff spots.
  • The College Football Playoff is rapidly approaching, and while we don’t quite have a handle on who will make the four-team slate, the field of potential contenders is dwindling.
  • The committee is set to release its second College Football Playoff rankings of the season Tuesday night, and major losses from the Alabama Crimson Tide and Penn State Nittany Lions are certain to shake up the top of the list.
  • As of now, LSU,Clemson, and Ohio State appear to have a solid hold on playoff spots, but a handful of undefeated teams and a few strong one-loss squads are still very much alive and vying for a bid.
  • Check out where the last 11 contenders stand heading into Week 12 of the season.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.


11. Oklahoma Sooners

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY SportsOklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb.

Record (AP rank): 8-1 (10)

Last week’s result: Beat Iowa State 42-41

Last week’s playoff rank: 9

The outlook: With a nasty loss to Kansas State already staining its resume, Oklahoma can’t afford close calls like it had this week against the Cyclones. Still, the Sooners have a decent shot at the playoffs, especially if they manage to take down the undefeated Baylor Bears on the road this weekend. Oklahoma will have to win out from there to bolster its claim for a playoff spot.


10. Utah Utes

Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY SportsUtah running back Devonta’e Henry-Cole.

Record (AP rank): 9-0 (12)

Last week’s result: Beat TCU 29-23

Last week’s playoff rank: 12

The outlook: An early-season loss to a mediocre USC squad significantly hinders Utah’s chances of making the playoff, but the Utes still have a solid chance of breaking through. Not only will they have to win out, but they will also have to hope that whichever team sits atop the Big 12 has a more significant blemish on its resume.


9. Baylor Bears

Associated PressBaylor quarterback Charlie Brewer.

Record (AP rank): 9-0 (12)

Last week’s result: Beat TCU 29-23

Last week’s playoff rank: 12

The outlook: Baylor didn’t do itself any favours by just barely outlasting the Horned Frogs in triple overtime on Saturday, but Charlie Brewer and the Bears are still undefeated nonetheless. If they run the table, the selection committee would have a hard time not including them in the playoff, but their next two games could spell trouble. Baylor will host Jalen Hurts and the No. 10 Oklahoma Sooners Saturday before welcoming the No. 22 Texas Longhorns to McLane Stadium one week later.


8. Penn State Nittany Lions

Mike Carter-USA TODAY SportsPenn State running back Devyn Ford.

Record (AP rank): 8-1 (9)

Last week’s result: Lost to Minnesota 26-31

Last week’s playoff rank: 5

The outlook: The Nittany Lions took a major hit Saturday with a 26-31 loss to the surging Minnesota Golden Gophers, but they still have a chance to snag a spot in the playoff. Penn State’s only compelling claim would involve running the table and exacting revenge against Minnesota in the Big Ten championship game. Even then, the best of the Pac-12 and Big 12 may have better cases for the final spot.


7. Alabama Crimson Tide

Associated PressAlabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Record (AP rank): 8-1 (4)

Last week’s result: Lost to LSU 41-46

Last week’s playoff rank: 3

The outlook: A College Football Playoff without Alabama is impossible to imagine simply because it is unprecedented; the Crimson Tide have competed in every College Football Playoff since its inaugural year in 2015. Tua Tagovailoa and his teammates still have a shot, but a few things have to go their way. LSU more than likely needs to win out for Alabama to have a shot at the fourth spot, but even so, an undefeated Baylor or one-loss Pac-12 champion may have a stronger case.


6. Oregon Ducks

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY SportsOregon running back Travis Dye and wide receiver Juwan Johnson.

Record (AP rank): 8-1 (6)

Last week’s result: Beat USC 56-24

Last week’s playoff rank: 7

The outlook: The first-week loss to Auburn may be enough to keep the Ducks out of playoff contention, but they still have a decent shot at making it in. If we assume three spots will be allocated to the SEC champion, Big Ten champion, and an undefeated Clemson, the fourth spot will be a toss-up between one of the remaining SEC powerhouses, the Big 12 champion, or the Pac-12 champion. A few decisions need to fall in Oregon’s favour, but a Pac-12 championship will give them a substantial claim to a College Football Playoff bid.


5. Minnesota Golden Gophers

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY SportsMinnesota Golden Gophers defensive back Antoine Winfield Jr.

Record (AP rank): 9-0 (6)

Last week’s result: Beat Penn State 31-26

Last week’s playoff rank: 17

The outlook: I’m a bit higher on the Golden Gophers than most, but they have a perfect record and are fresh off of a 31-26 victory over the Penn State Nittany Lions – who were at the centre of the college football playoff conversation just a week ago. Upcoming contests against the No. 23 Iowa Hawkeyes and No. 15 Wisconsin Badgers will help bolster the Gophers’ case for a spot, but they will need a Big Ten championship win – likely over Ohio State – to secure their bid.


4. Georgia Bulldogs

Matt Stamey-USA TODAY SportsGeorgia quarterback Jake Fromm.

Record (AP rank): 8-1 (5)

Last week’s result: Beat Missouri 27-0

Last week’s playoff rank: 6

Key games remaining: Auburn on the road, Texas A&M at home, SEC championship game

The outlook: A mid-October loss at home to the unranked South Carolina Gamecocks may keep Jake Fromm and the Bulldogs from making the College Football Playoff. If LSU wins out, Alabama likely has a stronger case for a second SEC spot than Georgia does. Essentially, the Bulldogs need to win the SEC championship game to punch their ticket for the first time since 2018.


3. Clemson Tigers

AP Photo/Richard ShiroClemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

Record (AP rank): 10-0 (3)

Last week’s result: Beat NC State 55-10

Last week’s playoff rank: 5

Key games remaining: South Carolina on the road, ACC title game

The outlook: Trevor Lawrence’s Tigers haven’t lost, and given the dismal state of ACC football outside of South Carolina, it doesn’t appear as though they will. Clemson’s biggest test left will come against in-state rival South Carolina on the Gamecock’s home turf, but barring a disaster, it looks like the Tigers are a lock for their fifth consecutive College Football Playoff appearance.


2. Ohio State Buckeyes

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY SportsOhio State quarterback Justin Fields and wide receiver Austin Mack.

Record (AP rank): 9-0 (2)

Last week’s result: Beat Maryland 73-14

Last week’s playoff rank: 2

Key games remaining: Penn State at home, Michigan on the road, Big Ten title game

The outlook: The Buckeyes have been perfect, and losing star defensive end Chase Young didn’t seem to hinder there performance. Ohio State walloped Maryland 73-14 this week and is en route to a gimme against Rutgers on Saturday, but surviving the one-loss Nittany Lions and rival Wolverines in back-to-back contests may prove challenging. Should all go according to plan for the Buckeyes, an undefeated Minnesota squad could very well be waiting to fight them for a College Football Playoff spot in the Big Ten title game.


1. LSU Tigers

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY SportsLSU quarterback Joe Burrow.

Record (AP rank): 9-0 (1)

Last week’s result: Beat Alabama 46-41

Last week’s playoff rank: 2

Key games remaining: Texas A&M at home, SEC championship game

The outlook: The Tigers have been rolling all season despite a ridiculously challenging schedule that has included the No. 3, No. 10, and No. 11 teams in last week’s College Football Playoff rankings. Thie week’s win over Tua Tagovailoa and the Crimson Tide on their home turf has set LSU firmly ahead of the pack and seriously bolstered its bid for a spot in the playoff.


Now check out who will be the biggest stars in college basketball this season:

AP Photo/Gerry BroomeDuke point guard Tre Jones.

The top 15 players to watch this college basketball season, ranked

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