Who can still make the College Football Playoff heading into Championship Weekend?

Nick Saban, Alabama Crimson Tide. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

These are the handful of teams still in the running to make the College Football Playoff.

Heading into the final turn, only four of these teams will make the College Football Playoff.

With LSU losing an unthinkable one to Texas A&M over Rivalry Weekend, the Bayou Bengals have been eliminated from playoff consideration with a third loss. As for Clemson losing an absolute heartbreaker at home to arch rival South Carolina, these Tigers will not be playing for a playoff berth when they take on North Carolina in the ACC Championship. The ACC is completely out of it.

So with Clemson and LSU down for the count, who still has an argument to make the big dance?

College Football Playoff: Who can still make it in when all is said and done?

College Football Playoff pretenders


Tennessee Volunteers

SEC (10-2)

Tennessee can put up points, but the Georgia and South Carolina losses are bad

Heading into the penultimate College Football Playoff rankings, the Tennessee Volunteers will find themselves somewhere around No. 7 or No. 8, depending on how the Selection Committee views a two-loss Utah Utes team. Even though Utah beating USC twice is not going to propel the defending Pac-12 champion Utes in, it could help Tennessee’s slim chances of getting up to No. 4.

For this to theoretically happen, Tennessee needs Georgia to beat LSU, Michigan to beat Purdue, TCU to lose badly to Kansas State enough to the point of being undeserving and for USC to lose to Utah twice. After that, the Vols might be in discussion for the last spot in with Alabama, assuming idle Ohio State moves up from No. 5 to No. 3. Still, Tennessee gave up 63 points to South Carolina.

Having the head-to-head over Alabama is Tennessee’s best chance at sneaking into the playoff.


Alabama Crimson Tide

SEC (10-2)

Alabama has two conferences losses, but narrow ones to Tennessee and LSU

As with Tennessee, the Alabama Crimson Tide do not have any real legs to stand on here. However, somebody has to be shoe-horned into the discussion at No. 6. Is Alabama deserving of getting in this season? No, but the Crimson Tide will so get that Bama bump heading into Selection Sunday. They do not have a marquee win, but lost two road games by only four points.

Alabama lost by a field goal to SEC East runner-up Tennessee in Knoxville. The Crimson Tide would later lose in Death Valley to SEC West winner LSU when Brian Kelly decided to go for two and the win in overtime. In reality, Alabama’s case is based on margin of defeat and past reputation alone. The Crimson Tide have good players, but this has not been one of Nick Saban’s better teams at all.

If Alabama were better coached, the Crimson Tide would be undefeated and favored over Georgia.

Let’s take a look at the teams who are not quite in, but are still very much in contention to get in.

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