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Path To The College Football Playoff: Who’s Still Alive After Week 11? What’s Going To Happen?

College Football News logo College Football News 11/12/2018 Pete Fiutak

Video by Sports Illustrated

Who's Out After Week 11?

No one …

Everyone stayed alive with a Chalk Saturday. All ten teams that were alive last week are still alive this week. Here's what each team has to do to stay alive and get into the party.

Group of Five: American Athletic Conference

UCF (9-0)

The Path to the College Football Playoff: The Knights can't catch a break, because no one big is losing. To have a shot, they need to win out against Cincinnati, USF, and in the American Athletic title, and then hope for championship chaos.

They need Northwestern to take the Big Ten title, and the Coastal to win the ACC, and for Washington State to lose again, and for a two-loss Big 12 championship, and for Notre Dame to lose. And even then …

What Will Happen: The Knights aren't going to blow it against Cincinnati or at USF, but they'll be in for a firefight in the American Athletic title game against wither SMU, Houston or Tulane. They'll win, go 12-0, and finish up in the top six - but not the top four - in the final rankings.

ACC & Notre Dame

Clemson (10-0)

The Path to the College Football Playoff: Just win out, and get the No. 2 seed at absolute worst. Beat Duke, get past South Carolina, and then take down Pitt or Virginia in the ACC title game.

Or, even if the Tigers lose a game, at 12-1 they might be so strong at this point that they'd likely get the nod over a 12-0 UCF and even a 12-1 Ohio State if its the Big Ten champ. However, that's rolling the dice considering how bad the ACC has been.

What Will Happen: The Tigers will keep this all going at home. They'll get a wee bit of a scare against either Duke or South Carolina, but they'll finish 13-0 and be the No. 2 see in the College Football Playoff, going to the Orange Bowl.

- Clemson 27, Boston College 7

Notre Dame (10-0)

The Path to the College Football Playoff: It all keeps on rolling. No starting quarterback? Whatever. The Irish rolled through Florida State, and now all they have to do is beat Syracuse in Yankee Stadium and take down USC in LA, and they're in at the three-seed. If they lose, though, they're out.

What Will Happen: They're going to get it done. Syracuse is going to be a big-time battle against a team playing with house money, and USC is a mess - that might be a job-saver moment for Clay Helton. Notre Dame could absolutely lose to either one, but it won't.

- Notre Dame 42, Florida State 13

NEXT: Big 12

Big 12

Oklahoma (9-1)

The Path to the College Football Playoff: There can't be another loss, and the Sooners are walking a very, very fine line to stay alive with their Defense Optional style. They get Kansas this week, and then they catch a break with two big games - likely - to show off.

Beat West Virginia in Morgantown, and then do it again in the Big 12 Championship. Or, Iowa State, or better yet, avenge the Texas loss in a rematch in the title game. Do either one, be 12-1, and OU would get the call in the pecking order over Washington State if it 12-1.

However, 12-1 Oklahoma would need Georgia to lose another game and needs Michigan or Notre Dame to lose, too. 12-1 Ohio State would be an issue, too, considering the Buckeyes would have to beat Michigan to get to the Big Ten Championship.

What Will Happen: Nah, because the big guys aren't going to blow it. Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Michigan will all get the job done, and Oklahoma will be the No. 5 team on the last team outside of the velvet rope.

- Oklahoma 48, Oklahoma State 47

West Virginia (8-1)

The Path to the College Football Playoff: It's hard because the Mountaineers will only have 12 games total - missing the NC State game because of the hurricane - but it's possible if they roll through Oklahoma State on the road, beat Oklahoma, and then beat OU again in the Big 12 Championship. If it's not the Sooners in the Big 12 title game, then Texas wouldn't be a bad other option.

What Will Happen: They'll lose to the Sooners twice in two amazing firefights. They'll hope for OU to get into the CFP to get the spot in the Sugar Bowl, but they'll end up getting one of the Big 12's better bowls with the Sooners going to New Orleans.

- West Virginia 47, TCU 10

NEXT: Big Ten

Big Ten

Michigan (9-1)

The Path to the College Football Playoff: The Wolverines are rolling defensively, and now they have to keep it all going and get a wee bit of help. They need to have no drama against Indiana and finally get the job done against Ohio State. Do that, beat Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship, and then hope for Georgia to lose once more.

As long as the Bulldogs don't go 12-1 with an SEC Championship, Michigan is in at 12-1. If Notre Dame loses again, or if Clemson loses, Big Ten champion Michigan is in.

What Will Happen: The Wolverines will get it done. Alabama will take care of Georgia, and Michigan will win its last three games on the way to the No. 4 seed.

- Michigan 42, Rutgers 7

Ohio State (9-1)

The Path to the College Football Playoff: The Purdue loss will be a killer when it comes to putting Ohio State up against the other options if they're all the same.

However, the Buckeyes can get in by winning at Maryland, beating Michigan, and then taking out Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship.

Do that, and then hope Georgia loses once more, and for Notre Dame to lose once. Considering it'll take a win over Michigan to win the Big Ten title, it's a coin-flip on whether or not 12-1 OSU gets in over 12-1 Oklahoma.

What Will Happen: The Buckeyes will stall out against Michigan in a tough loss, but the consolation prize will be the Rose Bowl as the Wolverines go off to the College Football Playoff.

- Ohio State 26, Michigan State 6

NEXT: Pac-12 & SEC


Washington State (9-1)

The Path to the College Football Playoff: The Cougars need a whole lot of help. The loss to USC on the road isn't too bad, but there's nothing in the non-conference schedule to like, and the Pac-12 isn't that great.

Beat Arizona and Washington, and then take out whatever comes out of South - probably Utah or Arizona State - and then pray.

The Cougars need Notre Dame to lose once, Georgia needs to lose, and hope for more chaos. Northwestern winning the Big Ten and/or a two-loss Big 12 champion would be a massive boost.

What Will Happen: The Cougars will get by Arizona in a battle, but lose in an emotional Apple Cup to Washington to not only miss out on the CFP, but lose the Pac-12 North, too.

- Washington State 31, Colorado 7


Alabama (10-0)

The Path to the College Football Playoff: As long as the Crimson Tide don't lose twice, they're in. The committee will love them if they lose to Auburn, or if they lose to Georgia, or if they sit everyone and lose to Citadel. They just can't lose two of the last three.

Win all three, though, and they're in as the No. 1 seed.

What Will Happen: They'll win all three and they're in as the No. 1 seed.

- Alabama 24, Mississippi State 0

Georgia (9-1)

The Path to the College Football Playoff: It's still all there for the taking. If the Bulldogs beat UMass and Georgia Tech, everything will be set up in a do-or-die SEC Championship against Alabama. Win, and get in as either the No. 2 or No. 3 seed - it won't matter.

What Will Happen: They'll had a dangerous game against Georgia Tech that will be more of a fight than they might like, but they'll win. They'll give Bama trouble, lose, and end up in the Sugar Bowl.

- Georgia 27, Auburn 10


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