By Justin Parmer
Pac 12 after dark, UCF going down for the first time since 2016 in the regular season and Michigan getting absolutely smacked. Just another week in college football. As the fourth week comes to a close, let’s take a look at the remaining 34 teams left with a shot at the college football playoffs, and whose playoff dreams came to an end.
Regular Season Elimination Method
Group-of-five Method (and any independent not named Notre Dame)
Suffering a single loss on the season
Power-five Method (and Notre Dame)
Losing two games
Losing to a group-of-five school
Losing to an FCS school or lower
Losing a game by 30 or more points.
Teams remaining safe (17)
Clemson, Virginia, Wake Forest
Big Ten (5)
Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin
Big 12 (3)
Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma,
PAC Twelve (1)
Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Georgia, Florida
On the brink of elimination (17)
Arizona State (3-1)
The eliminator figured that the Sun Devils would make it onto this list at some point, but the eliminator wasn’t expecting for it to come this week. Unlike the Michigan State game, the offenses took center stage in this one. In the end, it came down to who had the ball at the end of the game. That happened to be Colorado. Arizona State should be proud though.
Had you told a Sun Devils fan they’d be 3-1 at this point in the season a month ago, they would be satisfied. Although this team’s run will most likely come to an end next week, it was good seeing Arizona State in the safe category for four iterations of the eliminator. However, should Sun Devils pull off the upset, it might eliminate them anyways.
Boston College (3-1)
Did we really think that Boston College was going to get axed against Rutgers of all teams? The eliminator thought not. The Eagles did the bare minimum to crush the worst Power-five school in all the land and rolled on to an easy 30-16 victory on the road. The Eagles soar on for another week, but here’s the kicker. Boston College is receiving a visit from an undefeated Wake Forest team. The rest of the ACC follows up after that. Time might be running out on the Eagles playoff hopes. You know, had they beaten Kansas, they wouldn’t have to worry about elimination next week.
Iowa State (2-1)
Sorry Iowa State, you’re a week late on the whole kicking the crap out of schools nobody hears about unless they make the NCAA basketball tournament trend. Oh, by the way, you also play a team who is currently undefeated this season. The only difference: the Cyclones have to go on the road for their first game of Big 12 play. Nothing to see here, move along everyone.
Wow. Wow. Just wow. The eliminator doesn’t even need to say anything, it just needs to refer everyone to Twitter, Facebook and, most importantly, the three reddit game threads that went on during this game. Everyone, and the eliminator dose mean everyone, is dancing on Michigan’s grave at the moment. Even Michigan fans are sick of hearing about Michigan football. Hate to be the party pooper here, but Michigan is not dead just yet.
Yes, this was a horrendous loss for the Wolverines when they had two weeks of game prep. Yes, Michigan’s offence looks atrociously bad. Yes, Jim Harbaugh has third-degree burns right now from sitting on the hotseat and adding gasoline to the chair. No, Wisconsin failed to kill Michigan off for good. For that to have happened, Wisconsin would have needed nine more points. Yet they showed mercy to khaki land.
The eliminator full well knows what is about to go down. Michigan is going to pull off a win at Penn State, beat an overrated Notre Dame at home by a touchdown or less, and run the table up until the Ohio State game; thus, causing more insufferable arrogance out of Ann Arbor propelling Michigan back into the playoff race. Long story short, Michigan ain’t going away for a very long time. The rest of America hopes and prays this is not the case.
Michigan State (2-1)
No need for the Spartans to get a game-tying field goal this week. The Spartans awoke from its offensive slump just in time this week, as Brian Lewerke torched Northwestern’s secondary all game long. A 31-10 victory just outside the windy city, was just what the doctor ordered for Michigan State. A visit to Indiana next week should also help the Spartans sneak back into the top 25. All of this before marching into the horseshoe to face off against Ohio State. Who’s averaging 46 points a game.
Mississippi State (3-1)
Playing in the SEC West is tough. Some really good teams can sometimes go without touching a bowl game, and every single game is a must-win. The Bulldogs picked up one of those crucial wins. A bad situation in Kentucky turned favorable for Mississippi State. The Bulldogs got one back today.
Yes, even though Kentucky is down to backup quarterback Sawyer Smith, Saturday’s win against the Wildcats could be the difference between making a bowl or sitting on the couch in December. And with Tennessee’s struggles, the Bulldogs could jump to seven wins on the year. The issue for Mississippi State now is a trip to Auburn will most likely end any talk of Bulldogs from Mississippi dancing in the playoffs. Sing your praises while you can.
Oh, the eliminator is supposed to be impressed by you beating Illinois on the road? Seriously, what is with all of the hype that surrounds this team? You really expect a team that went 4-8 last season to turn into a top 25 team in a season? Get out of here with that garbage. Now Nebraska gets to host college gameday as Ohio State prepares to choke this team into oblivion and beyond. Have fun getting torched on national tv to show how truly pathetic this team really is to a real Big Ten contender. Take your undeserved win and get out of the eliminator’s sights.
North Carolina State (2-1)
And here we see a wild Wolfpack, feasting on a wild Mid-American Cardinal. It’s easy prey for the Wolfpack. A delicious meal against a low tier FBS team after being wounded by a Mountaineer last week. Truly an inspiring win for this Wolfpack. Tune in next week to see this hungry NC State pack take on some underachieving Seminoles before heading into a bye week.
Notre Dame (2-1)
Notre Dame hung in there the entire way. This game embodied what we love about college football. Two college football iconic franchises trading blows in an electrifying atmosphere that comes down to the final minute of play. The eliminator is going to borrow what Kirby said about this game. It was unfortunate that one team had to lose. Notre Dame was the one who fell victim to this early season loss.
You might be wondering why Notre Dame is still in for now. After all they have no conference championship to claim, and they have one loss. They should be treated like Army; you may be claiming. The issue is Notre Dame is not on the same level of Army. Not that the eliminator agrees with that statement, but it’s a commonly accepted fact across the college football landscape.
There are only two ways to kill off any Irish playoff hopes. Either A, Notre Dame takes its second loss, or B, four of the power five conferences have champions with one loss or less. Unless Notre Dame takes a loss between now and December, we won’t know the Irish’s fate until Selection Sunday. Expect the Irish to camp out along the cliff for a while.
Oklahoma State (3-1)
Oklahoma State’s soft opening three weeks could only protect them for so long. The Cowboys put up one heck of a fight against Texas, trading blows with the 12th ranked Longhorns right up to the bitter end. The eliminator feels for the Cowboys on that one, but they should hold their heads high. If Oklahoma State plays like that the rest of the way, 9-3 is not out of the possibility. The key word in that statement is if. And if the Cowboys want to make it out alive next week, they must beat Kansas State who is shockingly undefeated. That may be too much for the Cowboys to handle.
This game was never in doubt. Oregon dominated the game all night long and cruised to a victory against a Stanford squad that loss to UCF. That is about the only good news the Ducks got this week as the Utes loss, Arizona State loss, and Washington State nearly blew a 28-point lead against Chip Kelly and UCLA. Safe to say the Ducks are getting zero help from the rest of the conference and it might cost them a shot at the college football playoffs. They’ll have to sit and watch what their opponents beat up on each other next week on bye.
Texas dodged a major bullet right there. In what was supposed to be a solid win for the Long Horns, turned into an airshow, with both teams playing Big 12 ball to its true form. In the end, the Long Horns came out victorious heading to the bye week. But if Texas secondary continues to look as bad as they have been against LSU and Oklahoma State, the eliminator has a hard time seeing Texas get passed Oklahoma.
Texas Tech (2-1)
No changes. Bye week.
Hey Pac 12, can you guys stop beating the heck out of each other for FIVE MINUTES? You do realize that in order to make the college football playoffs, you have to be near perfect or perfect. Yet this is the ninth team to fall. And we are just beginning conference play. Oh boy.
Simply put, Utah overlooked the Trojan horse. Although the Utes kept the scoring margin close on the road, the damage had already been done. The Utes sit very close to elimination along with the remaining Pac 12 survivors. Their only hope is for Washington State to keep winning. In fact, the Utes fate relies on Oregon, Washington, Washington State, USC and Stanford to keep winning outside the conference, or else the Utes are done for.
Wait a minute. So, if Utah is better than BYU, and BYU beat USC, than how does USC beat Utah? The world of college football is a strange place indeed.
Virginia Tech (2-1)
No changes. Bye week.
Alright Washington, we get it. You can stop beating up BYU. The good news is that California won their matchup this week against Ole Miss, making your loss to them look much better. The bad news is that we’ve gone over this a dozen times. Just beat the Trojans and you should be good, okay? For the sake of the entire Pac 12.
Washington State (3-1)
What? What? What was that? What type of magical sorcery did the eliminator just witness? How the heck do you blow a 49-17 lead at home in 20 minute at homes? How do you let Chip Kelly score 50 points in the second half!? How do you let UCLA take you down period? The eliminator is just at a loss for words. That really just happened. The eliminator watched the game while the rest of the nation was asleep, and it still can’t believe the stupidity it just witnessed. Way to waste Anthony Gordon’s spectacular night. Only in Pac 12 after dark the eliminator guesses.
The eliminator is going to reiterate this again. Can you guys stop beating the heck out of each other for FIVE MINUTES? The Pac is now down to only one team undefeated in week four! And it’s California. The Pac 12 has been outclassed, outperformed and outdueled by every conference team it has faced thus far, and it has shown. They call themselves a Power-five conference but independents, Mountain West and AAC teams have had their number all year long. Even if they win in the non-conference, the big team’s trip over themselves in conference. You know what, screw it. The eliminator has had enough of the Pac 12. If California goes down next week against Arizona State, the whole conference gets the axe except for Arizona State and Oregon. Arizona State because the eliminator feels it’s unjustified to eliminate a team for winning and Oregon because should Oregon run the table, their loss to Auburn is forgivable. So, no pressure California. You only have the hopes of both Washington’s, Utah and your own ambitions hanging in the balance.
Method of elimination: Loss to group-of-five school
This is your yearly reminder that yes Arkansas is actually an SEC team and no, there is no such thing as relegation in American sports. The eliminator would also like to point out that Arkansas was eliminated this year by San Jose State. Oh boy. Razorbacks, you escaped the eliminator multiple times this season by playing down to your competition but the eliminator finally gotcha. Seriously though, this team hasn’t been relevant since the late 80s. Their best coach this millennium is Bobby Petrino. If the eliminator is saying Bobby Petrino is better at you in something, there is a serious problem. Seats are getting hotter in Arkansas; the eliminator can sense it.
Method of elimination: Loss to group-of-five school
Another team falls victim to the AAC. TCU was in shock just like the rest of us as SMU found a way to beat the Horned Frogs for only the third time this millennium. This one is gonna sting for a while too for TCU, as the Horned Frogs are a team on the bubble for a bowl game this season. With the loss to SMU, TCU will have to pick up an extra win somewhere unexpected if they want to play in mid to late December. It’s a long road for TCU. One they might not be able to overcome.
Method of elimination: Two losses
The loss of quarterback Terry Wilson has decimated this team far more than we’ve realized. Kentucky didn’t go out in a blaze of glory. No final rally, no comeback. No, the Wildcats just simply rolled over and let the Bulldogs have their field day. It’s seems as though the miss field goal at home against Florida deflated this team far beyond repair. A program on the rise over the past few years, now reduced to nothing and what ifs. Don’t worry Wildcats, basketballs a month away.
Method of elimination: Two losses
Don’t worry Louisville, like you’re in-state counterpart basketball season is just around the corner. In the meantime, there needs to be football played for 60 minutes. Louisville never got the memo, in their first 15 minutes against Florida State. By the time they rolled around towards a realization, the damage had been done. Louisville gets sent home packing in week 5.
North Carolina (2-1)
Method of elimination: Loss to group-of-five school/two losses
Oh, ignorant North Carolina. You knew what you were doing when you scheduled Appalachian State on your schedule. Word of advice to all power five teams. Never schedule Appalachian State. They are notorious for beating power fives schools. Yet UNC thought it was a good idea nonetheless. One blocked field goal later and it was 2007 all over again. Gotta hand it to the Tar Heels though. They lasted longer than anyone thought they would. Now back into the eliminated anonymous program with you.
Method of elimination: Two losses
If you have followed the Northwestern football program over the past decade, this should come as a surprise to no one. For whatever reason imaginable Pat Fitzgerald and crew always get off to a bad start and are usually eliminated around this time. Although to be fair, this year the Wildcats did have a pretty rough schedule to start off the year.
This should not, however, excuse your defense for letting Brian Lewerke score three touchdowns. With their second loss of the year, this not only leaves the Wildcats eliminated, but it’s almost guaranteed now that the Wildcats are out of the division race as well. Tough times on the Lakefront indeed.
Texas A&M (2-1)
Method of elimination: Two losses
Once again, we turn our attention to yet another team that had too little too late. The Aggies at least made it a respectful game, but the orange Tigers were too much for the purple Tigers. With the second loss on the season, the Aggies were sent to the elimination chamber. The diagnostic for this team’s downfall is as clear as day. Having to play in the SEC West and playing Clemson. This team never had a chance. Have fun in the Liberty Bowl Aggies.
Method of elimination: Eliminated by proxy
This is a unique type of elimination: an elimination by proxy. Navy had the schedule at the beginning of the season to sneak by the eliminator’s first round of cuts. The only problem for the Sea loving Midshipmen, was that every good opponent Navy will face later on this season, is no longer good enough. Houston and UCF’s losses in particular were the two torpedoes that sank the Midshipmen’s SS playoff hopes. Even a conference championship victory against UCF won’t be enough to turn the tide. The eliminator hates to say this, but this is honestly the best way to go for Navy. Besides, Navy has a bigger fish to fry, also known as beating Army.
Undefeated 2017 champions they say. “We got robbed by the committee last year,” they said. We would have won with our Quarterback they said. What’s the excuse this time UCF fans? How will you enlighten the rest of the world with how great the Knights are, and how you still deserve a shot at the most prestigious prize in NCAA athletics?
Guess what? UCF loss to Pitt on a makeshift Philly Special. A team you destroyed a year ago, comes back to strike a fatal blow into the UCF playoff hopes. There is no way UFC is coming back from that blow. But then again, the eliminator doesn’t think UCF’s loss should be celebrated by the rest of the group of five outside of Idaho.
UCF carried the torch of hope for the group-of-five for two years strong. The Knights were a beacon of hope that one day the group-of-five would make the playoffs. But with the fall of UCF this week it looks like the group-of-five won’t have a team strong enough to make the playoffs for a long time. The rest of the power five dances on UCF’s grave.
Total number of teams eliminated: 86
The following games are elimination games, because no matter who wins, one team will meet a criteria that will deem them unworthy of entering the college football playoffs. Here are the elimination games for week two. All times are eastern standard time.
9/27 Arizona State vs California (10:30PM)
9/28 Washington State vs Utah (10:00PM)
Illinois (Big 10)
Indiana (Big 10)
Maryland (Big 10)
Colorado (PAC 12)
USC (PAC 12)
Stanford (PAC 12)
South Carolina (SEC)
Rutgers (Big Ten)
Kansas (Big 12)
Oregon State (Big 12)
West Virginia (Big 12)
Northern Illinois (MAC)
Western Michigan (MAC)
Florida State (ACC)
Georgia Tech (ACC)
Purdue (Big 10)
FAU (Conference USA)
Middle Tennessee (Conference USA)
Kent State (MAC)
Miami (OH) (MAC)
UCLA (Pac 12)
Arizona (Pac 12)
East Carolina (AAC)
Alabama-Birmingham (Conference USA)
Charlotte (Conference USA)
Florida International (Conference USA)
Louisiana Tech (Conference USA)
Marshall (Conference USA)
North Texas (Conference USA)
Rice (Conference USA)
Southern Mississippi (Conference USA)
Texas San-Antonio (Conference USA)
Western Kentucky (Conference USA)
Ball State (MAC)
Bowling Green (MAC)
Central Michigan (MAC)
Eastern Michigan (MAC)
Air Force (Mountain West)
Boise State (Mountain West)
Colorado State (Mountain West)
Fresno State (Mountain West)
Hawaii (Mountain West)
Nevada (Mountain West)
New Mexico State (Mountain West)
San Jose State (Mountain West)
UNLV (Mountain West)
Utah State (Mountain West)
Wyoming (Mountain West)
Appalachian State (Sun Belt)
Arkansas State (Sun Belt)
Coastal Carolina (Sun Belt)
Georgia State (Sun Belt)
Georgia Southern (Sun Belt)
Louisiana (Sun Belt)
Louisiana Monroe (Sun Belt)
South Alabama (Sun Belt)
Troy (Sun Belt)
Texas State (Sun Belt)
New Mexico State (Independent)
*Missouri is bowl ineligible but is currently in the appeals process.
Edited by Emma Moloney | firstname.lastname@example.org