College Football Playoff Projections Week 9: No Pac 12 or Big Ten Teams in Top 4

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Oct 24, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Oregon Ducks running back Byron Marshall (9) celebrates with quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) after catching a touchdown pass against the California Golden Bears in the third quarter at Levi

Here are the teams still in the College Football Playoff Race but in need of some help to get there:

1. Arizona Wildcats, Oregon Ducks, and Utah Utes

The three 1-loss Pac-12 teams outside of Arizona State are all in the best position to have control of their own destiny. The Sun Devils are already there. But just like the Sun Devils, the Arizona Wildcats, Utah Utes, and Oregon Ducks all control their own destiny in terms of a shot at the Pac-12 championship. And right now the Pac-12 is on the outside looking in, but that’s due to Notre Dame and the Big 12. If Notre Dame can lose, which might happen to Arizona State, then all three of these teams would be in control of their own destiny again if they keep winning. Otherwise, TCU, Baylor, and Kansas State all have to have at least 2 losses, which is very possible, every SEC team has to have at least 2 losses, which is possible but unlikely, or Florida State has to lose, which is incredibly unlikely. Still, that’s a lot of chances for one of these teams to get back in the race, so they’re tied at the top among teams still in the playoff race but also in need of some help.

4. Alabama Crimson Tide

The Alabama Crimson Tide are back as a serious contender now in the College Football Playoff thanks to Ole Miss losing. Now, all they need to assure that they control their own destiny is for the Rebels to lose one more game, and Auburn and Mississippi State are still on the schedule. That would put this team right back in the driver’s seat of the SEC West race if it keeps winning. The Tide aren’t out of it yet by any stretch, but they simply need one specific thing to happen. And that one thing is very possible.

5. TCU Horned Frogs

Like Alabama, TCU needs one specific thing to happen, for Baylor to lose again, and that’s also highly possible. But unlike Alabama, TCU probably can’t really fall back on the possibility of a conference runner up making the Big 12 title game the way Alabama can in the SEC, so if Baylor doesn’t lose, they have nothing to fall back on. That’s why we put the Horned Frogs below the Tide for right now, although they would be in control of their own destiny more than any of these teams with a Bears loss.

6. Auburn Tigers

To be in certain contention for the College Football Playoff, the Auburn Tigers need one specific team to lose as well. But that team has to lose twice. With Mississippi State still undefeated, Auburn can’t afford to slip up again, and they desperately need the Rebels and the hated Crimson Tide to come through for them against the Bulldogs. Otherwise, they’ll need a lot of luck to get into the College Football Playoff, so we can’t feel as confident in their chances as Alabama’s and TCU’s.

7. Michigan State Spartans, Ohio State Buckeyes, and Nebraska Cornhuskers

We dropped Minnesota from this list, but all three of these teams control their destinies to make it to 12-1 and win the Big Ten championship. Still, it’s not an either/or for the Big Ten to make it. It’s an “and” as in multiple things have to happen for a team from this conference to have a shot. A Florida State AND Notre Dame loss is one way. That would be the easiest. Otherwise, all of the Pac-12 and Big 12 teams have to come away with 2 losses, or Florida State or Notre Dame has to lose while either the Big 12 or Pac-12 has no teams with less than 2 losses. A 2-loss SEC team should still get in over a 1-loss Big Ten team this year. But those are things mentioned are still possible, so these Big Ten teams have a shot. They simply need a lot of help.