All for Tennessee Official College Football Playoff Rankings Following Week 6: Vols Still In the Hunt

Jan 9, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; General view of the college football playoff trophy during media day at Phoenix Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 9, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; General view of the college football playoff trophy during media day at Phoenix Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee Volunteers still control their own destiny in the All for Tennessee official College Football Playoff rankings after Week Six.

Tennessee is still very much in the College Football Playoff race, and the only thing that Saturday’s loss meant is that the Vols have got to win out.

And we are going to reflect that in our College Football Playoff rankings this week. As we get set to bring them out following Week Six, it’s important to remind you guys of a few things once again.

Our official rankings are not power rankings, nor are they projections. They are solely based on four things: record, schedule strength, head to head, and quality wins.

We don’t care about margin of victory, style points, or when the wins happened. This is about a body of work on the football field.

Think of it as a sophisticated college basketball RPI.

Once we name our official Top Four, we’ll rank the teams who still control their own destiny in our next slide. Then we’ll rank teams still in the race. And our final slide will be a ranking of teams who are very much in the race but need help to stay in for whatever reason.

So teams on the final slide could rank higher than teams in other slides. However, they need more help to stay in.

Overall, there are now 21 teams that still technically have a shot at the College Football Playoff.

Five teams were eliminated altogether this past weekend. The Colorado Buffaloes, Arkansas Razorbacks, and North Carolina Tar Heels are gone with two losses apiece. Meanwhile, the Houston Cougars and Air Force Falcons both lost.

Group of Five teams with losses don’t get in. So the number has been trimmed a bit, but we still have a long way to go.

Here are the official All for Tennessee College Football Playoff rankings following Week Six of the college football season.

Dec 6, 2015; Grapevine, TX, USA; College football playoff executive director Bill Hancock speaks to the media during selection day at the Gaylord Texan Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Top Four In

1. Texas A&M Aggies

After beating the Tennessee Vols over the weekend, the new Realtime RPI rankings list the Texas A&M Aggies as having the No. 15 ranked strength of schedule in the country with a 6-0 record. Going into the bye week, that’s by far the toughest schedule of any undefeated team left. As a result, we have them No. 1 in our rankings.

Kevin Sumlin’s team is for real at least to this point, and they’ll stay at the top if they keep winning. After all, they’re in the SEC West. And up next for them is the Alabama Crimson Tide after a bye week.

2. Michigan Wolverines

This has nothing to do with Jim Harbaugh’s team dominating the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 78-0 last week. The Michigan Wolverines have the No. 24 ranked strength of schedule, and they have major quality wins over the Wisconsin Badgers, Penn State Nittany Lions, and Colorado Buffaloes. And this team shows no signs of slowing down as long as it keeps winning.

After all, up next they have the Illinois Fighting Illini, but then they face five straight Top 60 RPI teams, closing the year against the Ohio State Buckeyes.

3. Clemson Tigers

The Dabo Swinney, DeShaun Watson and the Clemson Tigers are in the exact same spot they were in last week. Following a huge win over the Louisville Cardinals, they blew out the Boston College Eagles. With the No. 31 ranked strength of schedule, the Tigers deserve to be here after what is now two quality wins over the Cardinals and the Auburn Tigers.

4. Alabama Crimson Tide

If we did a ranking of the best team in football, the Alabama Crimson Tide would be No. 1. But these rankings are based on schedule strength. And while the Arkansas Razorbacks helped to boost the schedule strength of Nick Saban’s team, they are still ranked No. 36 overall. However, that will go up quickly the rest of the year as they still have to play Tennessee, Texas A&M, LSU, and Auburn. And USC and Ole Miss could improve in the RPI over the next few weeks.

Nov 14, 2015; Waco, TX, USA; A general view of the College Football Playoff National Championship Trophy during the game between the Baylor Bears and the Oklahoma Sooners at McLane Stadium. Oklahoma won 44-34. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 14, 2015; Waco, TX, USA; A general view of the College Football Playoff National Championship Trophy during the game between the Baylor Bears and the Oklahoma Sooners at McLane Stadium. Oklahoma won 44-34. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Teams that Still Control their Own Destiny to Reach the College Football Playoff

1. Tennessee Volunteers

There are seven other undefeated teams on this list to get to, but for right now, the Tennessee Vols are ranked ahead of all of them. Despite a double-overtime loss to the Texas A&M Aggies on the road, Butch Jones’s team at 5-1 has one of the best resumes out there.

They have played the No. 1 ranked strength of schedule, and with the Aggies an SEC West team, they also have complete control over their own destiny to reach the College Football Playoff. With the Alabama Crimson Tide coming up this week, their schedule strength will remain No. 1.

2. West Virginia Mountaineers

They’ve only played four games, but the West Virginia Mountaineers have solid wins over the BYU Cougars, the Missouri Tigers, and the Kansas State Wildcats. With the No. 38 ranked strength of schedule, they belong here for right now. However, they can’t get higher since they’ve only played four games and still have no real quality win. But if they go undefeated in the Big 12, they’ll be fine.

3. Ohio State Buckeyes

Right now, they have the No. 58 ranked strength of schedule. So we have to keep Urban Meyer’s Ohio State Buckeyes at No. 3 on this list, but they probably don’t mind. This team will get into the College Football Playoff if it wins out, and it has plenty of chances for quality wins. That starts this weekend with the Wisconsin Badgers, and the Michigan Wolverines are still around the corner.

4. Nebraska Cornhuskers

The Nebraska Cornhuskers are in the same position as the Ohio State Buckeyes. Hey, perhaps Mike Riley truly is the guy to get the program back to where it used to be. Anyway, they still haven’t played anywhere close to a decent schedule to be higher than this right now. However, like Ohio State, they’ll have their chances by playing the Buckeyes themselves along with the Wisconsin Badgers.

Jul 14, 2014; Irving, TX, USA; College football playoff executive director Bill Hancock with the new championship trophy during a press conference at the college football playoff headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Jul 14, 2014; Irving, TX, USA; College football playoff executive director Bill Hancock with the new championship trophy during a press conference at the college football playoff headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Teams Still in the Hunt for the College Football Playoff

1. Wisconsin Badgers

Their 4-1 with the No. 54 ranked strength of schedule and a quality win over the LSU Tigers. And with the Ohio State Buckeyes and Nebraska Cornhuskers coming up, the Wisconsin Badgers are in complete control of their own destiny to win the Big Ten Championship.

2. Washington Huskies

At 6-0, Chris Petersen’s Washington Huskies actually should be ranked higher than the Nebraska Cornhuskers in these rankings. But their No. 149 ranked strength of schedule is not likely to get any better. So if they’re the standard bearer for the Pac-12, the conference should once again be shut out of the College Football Playoff.

3. Baylor Bears

The Baylor Bears are 1,000 times worse than the Washington Huskies in terms of schedule strength. The only reason they’re on this slide is because it will move up with them playing in the Power Five. But their slate has been an embarrassment so far. Still, with an undefeated record and a chance to win the Big 12, they belong here.

4. Virginia Tech Hokies

Justin Fuente’s Virginia Tech Hokies took control of the ACC Coastal Division after dominating the North Carolina Tar Heels last week. With a loss and playing in that division, they’ll need some help to get to the College Football Playoff. But they’re definitely in the hunt.

5. N.C. State Wolfpack

Just like the Virginia Tech Hokies, the N.C. State Wolfpack are in the College Football Playoff hunt as well. Their early loss to the East Carolina Pirates doesn’t look good, however, and they’ll need some help to get to the final four.

6. Utah Utes

The Utah Utes don’t have much more of a leg to stand on than the Washington Huskies, but at least they are in control of their own destiny to win the Pac-12 South. And with one loss, that puts them in the College Football Playoff hunt for now.

7. Miami Hurricanes

Mark Richt’s Miami Hurricanes enjoyed cupcake city until last weekend, but a close loss to the Florida State Seminoles is nothing to be ashamed of. That’s also a non-divisional game. And since they control their own destiny to win the ACC, they control their own destiny to stat in the College Football Playoff hunt.

8. Arizona State Sun Devils

Just like Mark Richt’s team, the Arizona State Sun Devils enjoyed cupcake city until two weeks ago, when they lost to the USC Trojans. But USC has two losses in the Pac-12, and after a win over the UCLA Bruins, the Sun Devils have just as much of a shot as the Utah Utes to win the Pac-12. And that keeps them in the hunt.

Jan 13, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Genral view of the College Football Playoff trophy during a press conference at Renaissance Dallas Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 13, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Genral view of the College Football Playoff trophy during a press conference at Renaissance Dallas Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Ranking Teams that Still Need Help to Stay in the College Football Playoff Hunt

1. Louisville Cardinals

If we’re being honest, the Louisville Cardinals probably belong above eight other teams we’ve already mentioned. However, their tough loss to the Clemson Tigers puts them in a position where they need a lot of help. After all, they can’t reach the College Football Playoff without winning the ACC, meaning they need two Clemson losses.

2. Maryland Terrapins

The Maryland Terps suffered a terrible loss to the Penn State Nittany Lions last week, but D.J. Durkin’s team is technically in it. After all, what happens if they win out? And what if Penn State loses again, which is likely? Don’t take that to the bank, however. Maryland won’t win out.

3. Western Michigan Broncos

At 6-0, the Western Michigan Broncos are definitely a Group of Five team in the College Football Playoff hunt, but they need a ton of help to stay in it. After all, their schedule strength will never get above No. 125, so they’re in trouble.

4. Florida Gators

The Florida Gators actually have a worse strength of schedule than the Western Michigan Broncos right now. Ducking the LSU Tigers clearly helped save them a loss. Still, they’re 4-1. They just need Tennessee to lose again, and they’re right back in control of the SEC East race. That moves them from here to being in the hunt.

5. Boise State Broncos

Boise State joins Florida and Washington as another team running from competition. But the Broncos are still 5-0 and have got to be on the College Football Playoff’s radar screen at this point. With a tougher schedule than Western Michigan coming up, they have a chance to move into the hunt. But they will need help.

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