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Brad Edwards: 9 teams, including Alabama, still have CFP life
Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) throws under pressure from Ole Miss Rebels linebacker Troy Brown (8) during the Nov. 12, 2022 game at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi. (Credit: Gary Cosby Jr./USA TODAY Sports)

Brad Edwards: 9 teams, including Alabama, still have CFP life

(BVM) — Last week, I read an article breaking down the eight teams that still had a chance to reach the College Football Playoff.

This week, in my opinion, nine teams are now in the running.

Make sense? Of course not, but it’s college football. Sometimes, things that are completely unthinkable (Tennessee losing to South Carolina) actually transpire, causing us to recalibrate our assumptions.

Five teams don’t need to do any more than win out to reach a national semifinal on Dec. 31. Some may only need to win one more game.

A few other teams need some help, but even for the longest shot of the group, it won’t take any single result as unlikely as Tennessee’s loss last weekend. That’s what makes these hypotheticals so compelling.

Here are your Playoff contenders, including one in particular that most fans don’t want to see back among the last four teams standing.


Win final two games: In the Playoff, almost certainly as the top seed.

Win one of final two games: Probably still in the Playoff, just not as the top seed.

Ohio State

Win this week and next: In the Playoff as the No. 2 seed if Georgia wins out; as the No. 1 seed if UGA drops a game.

Lose this week: Playoff chance isn’t completely gone, especially if LSU loses again and Notre Dame beats USC.


Win this week and next: In the Playoff as the No. 2 seed if Georgia wins out; probably as the No. 1 seed if UGA loses.

Lose this week: Playoff chance isn’t completely gone, but schedule weakness would be a major hurdle to overcome. Might need the aid of an upset or two on championship weekend.


Win final two games: In the Playoff.

Win one of final two games: Possibly not fatal. Hard to say which would be worse – losing to last-place Iowa State this weekend or losing the Big 12 title game next weekend and not being a conference champion. TCU would be a 1-loss team with a very strong schedule, even though it might have just one top-20 win.


Win final two games: In the Playoff. A win over No. 1 Georgia would be enough to guarantee LSU a ranking above the Ohio State-Michigan loser and also prevent the Tigers from being leaped from behind.

Lose one of final two games: Out of the Playoff.


Win final two games: Probably in a solid position. This would be quite a boost to the USC resumé, but it wouldn’t guarantee a top-four finish. If there are no upsets ahead of them (Ohio State beats Michigan, Georgia beats LSU), the Trojans would seem to be in really good shape. LSU beating Georgia is the one result SC doesn’t want to see.

Lose one of final two games: Out of the Playoff.


Win final two games: Still in need of help. Clemson basically needs everything that USC needs, plus a loss by the Trojans. The committee would consider the Ohio State-Michigan loser against a one-loss Clemson, and the Buckeyes might prevail if it comes to that.

Lose one of final two games: Out of the Playoff.

Most people wouldn’t go any further than these seven teams when discussing Playoff possibilities, but (once again) if Tennessee can lose to South Carolina, other results that could breathe life into these last two teams are also possible.


Bama was left for dead following its second loss in early November, but consider this scenario.

This weekend:

–Bama beats Auburn by at least three scores

–Ohio State beats Michigan by at least three scores

–Notre Dame beats USC

Next weekend:

–Georgia beats LSU

–North Carolina beats Clemson

–USC wins Pac-12

If all these things happen, Georgia, Ohio State and TCU (as long as it didn’t lose twice) are in the Playoff. Alabama wouldn’t necessarily be the final team in, but you should be able to see the potential for the Tide getting that spot.

And if Kansas State were to lose this week and let Texas into the conference title game, Bama could be further boosted by a road win against the Big 12 champion. Just food for thought.


Pretty much nobody is still mentioning Oregon as a Playoff contender, but let’s take the above scenario for Alabama and change a couple of things.

–Bama has a close win (or a loss) against Auburn

–USC beats Notre Dame and then loses to Oregon in the Pac-12 title game

Even if Alabama doesn’t have the close win against Auburn, the committee would still have plenty of reasons to argue for Oregon to be ranked ahead of Bama. No question the Tide would have better losses, but the Ducks would have better wins and also be a conference champion.

The odds that everything mentioned above would fall into place for Clemson are slim, and even less likely for Alabama and Oregon. But if your college football fandom goes back to at least 2007, you know that crazy things can occur in the final couple of weeks of a season.

Last weekend was a great example of what can happen to top teams when the pressure escalates in the closing weeks. We’ll soon see whether that turns out to be an aberration… or an omen.

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