College Football Playoff Rankings: 5 Teams Still Alive after Week 13 Release

The Week 13 College Football Playoff Rankings have been released, and we’re down to only the elite still having a shot at playoff glory.

As we’ve seen throughout 2016, the College Football Playoff has been impossible to predict. That hasn’t changed with only one week remaining, as it is now rivalry week and just as unpredictable as ever.

We do know a few things, though, as the picture begins to clear. We know that Alabama is likely in, even if it loses to Auburn. It’d make the SEC Championship a bit more interesting, but Alabama may even make it on a two-game losing streak.

I wish I were kidding, but there’s only four one-loss teams remaining. Since Ohio State and

Michigan still have to play, that’d leave only three one-loss teams. Starting to get the picture of chaos?

So I’m here to make things easier for us all. Or not, as things could change drastically over the next few days. But what we want to take a look at is the teams that are still alive after week 13.

We’ll exclude Alabama, Ohio State/Michigan and Clemson. Each of those teams controls its own destiny and doesn’t need help getting into the College Football Playoff. Instead, we’re going to look at 5 teams that are still alive and need a little help.

Nov 19, 2016; Pasadena, CA, USA; USC Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold (14) sets up to pass the football in the second half against the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

# 12 USC Trojans (9-3)

To hear Kirk Herbstreit talk about USC, one would think he went there and not Ohio State. Herbstreit went on an absolute war path for USC yesterday when making the ESPN rounds. His biggest claim was that the Trojans should be the second-most feared team in the country behind Alabama. It was all very convincing, but three losses is just too much at this point. The Trojans wouldn’t just need a little help, they’d need a miracle.  Their chances are on life support at best.

#9 Colorado Buffaloes

This is a tough spot for Colorado to be in. While the losses are respectable (USC, Michigan), the major wins are lacking. It doesn’t help that both of those teams are still in the College Football Playoff hunt, and head-to-head should trump all other factors. Colorado is on the rise, but will have to try to make a statement in a New Year’s Six game instead.

Nov 19, 2016; Fort Worth, TX, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys players react after the game against the TCU Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

#10 Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-2) (Kind of)

Mike Gundy has never been shy about what he believes. You’re not a man until you’re 40, and his team is a one loss team despite having two losses. Unlike his famous 40 rant, though, he does have a point about his team.

Big 12 and MAC officials agree that the crazy Hail Mary and lateral play that Central Michigan used to beat Oklahoma State never should have happened. But it did, and Oklahoma State has two losses. One of those losses is to a MAC team, which is killing the Cowboys.

Mike Gundy can call his team a one-loss team all he wants to. He can also claim the College Football Playoff Committee will treat them like one, which he has. But that doesn’t alter reality. Oklahoma State is lumped in with the rest of the two-loss teams and needs to absolutely throttle Oklahoma to have a chance at sneaking in the College Football Playoff.

Speaking of the Sooners…

Nov 19, 2016; Morgantown, WV, USA; Oklahoma Sooners defensive lineman Neville Gallimore (90) celebrates after sacking the quarterback during the third quarter against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

#8 Oklahoma Sooners (9-2)

I’m not going to lie, this one bothers me.

I understand Oklahoma has been impressive recently. But what do we play the games for if Oklahoma gets in? The Sooners were blown out by Ohio State and exposed in last year’s College Football Playoff.

Sure, Oklahoma’s win against West Virginia was impressive. But West Virginia has been exposed for a month now. The Big 12 will be decided in the state of Oklahoma, which is fitting. Oklahoma would have an impressive two-game win streak to end the season if they beat Oklahoma State, but is it enough to get them in?

I don’t think it should be, but it could happen. Several teams ahead of Oklahoma play each other or will in conference championships. The Sooners could very realistically find their way to the #4 spot, though I think they shouldn’t.

Nov 19, 2016; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Trace McSorley (9) makes a pass against Rutgers Scarlet Knights during first half at High Points Solutions Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

#7 Penn State Nittany Lions (9-2)

I’ll be the first to admit I was giddy when I saw Penn State triumph over Ohio State. I love chaos in college football, but I had no idea what I had just witnessed.

Since that moment, Penn State has been a legitimate threat to the College Football Playoff. Before that moment, the Lions lost to Pitt and were clobbered by Michigan. No one knew their fluky win over Ohio State would mean so much.

Since then, though, Penn State has been on a roll. The Lions have scored at least 39 and won by at least two scores in each game. No one seems to be talking about the Lions, but Penn State has a legitimate chance at the College Football Playoff.

Penn State needs Ohio State to beat Michigan and handle business themselves against Michigan State. That would put the Nittany Lions in the Big 10 Championship and in the driver’s seat to the College Football Playoff.

Nov 19, 2016; West Lafayette, IN, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Corey Clement (6) celebrates a touchdown with his teammates in the second half of the game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Ross Ade Stadium. The Wisconsin Badgers beat the Purdue Boilermakers 49-20. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

#6 Wisconsin Badgers (9-2)

Wisconsin is largely considered the best two-loss team in the country. That perk is understandable, as the two losses come to the #2 and #3 teams in the country. That also leave Wisconsin with a cleaner path to the College Football Playoff than most of the outsiders.

Wisconsin plays in the opposite division of Ohio State and Michigan. If the Badgers handle business, they’ll get either of them or Penn State in the conference championship game. If Wisconsin handles business, the Badgers likely have a great shot at making the College Football Playoff.

Nothing is guaranteed, though. If Penn State ends up being a division champion, things get interesting. Even is Wisconsin beat Penn State, would that be enough to catapult them ahead of Ohio State? I would think so, as conference championships should matter.

But Ohio State owns the heads up victory.

The Big 10 is loaded with crazy scenarios and could see two teams make the playoff to settle it.

Nov 19, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies linebacker Keishawn Bierria (7) races down the field for a 45-yard kick off return for a touchdown against the Arizona State Sun Devils after a failed onside kick attempt during the fourth quarter at Husky Stadium. Washington won 44-18. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

#5 Washington Huskies (10-1)

Washington has taken Baylor’s place this year. The Huskies have the ridiculously easy non-conference schedule, combined with a weak conference schedule. No offense to the Pac 12, but the conference’s best teams aren’t up to par with normal standards.

Oregon is lifeless, Stanford was exposed many times and USC took forever to figure themselves out. Washington’s loss to USC is what is keeping them out, but it is a very respectable loss. There is good news for the Huskies, though.

One loss will not keep the Huskies out of the College Football Playoff. Washington just has to handle business and everything will work out. The Huskies will have two opportunities for quality wins: Washington State and the Pac 12 Championship Game.

While neither of those games will be easy, the two combined will give Washington a difficult enough schedule to warrant a seeding in the College Football Playoff. IF the Huskies lose either, however, they’re out completely.

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