There are just three weeks left in the 2019 college football season.
The third College Football Playoff rankings will be released Tuesday, and there are only two regular-season weeks remaining. What does that Playoff picture look like now?
Tua Tagovailoa’s season-ending hip injury could impact how the committee stacks Alabama with the rest of the one-loss teams. That list includes Minnesota, which lost 24-19 at Iowa on Saturday to fall from the ranks of the unbeaten. That preceded Baylor’s collapse in a 34-31 loss to Oklahoma. Those are major shakeups in the picture heading into Week 13.
With two weeks left in the regular season, there are three unbeaten Power 5 teams and eight teams with one loss. No two-loss team has made the College Football Playoff.
Sporting News’ breaks down the College Football Playoff picture every week. Here is a look at the Playoff picture heading into Week 13:
College Football Playoff: Four in
1. LSU (10-0)
The Tigers did not have a letdown in a 58-37 shootout against Ole Miss, and the Joe Burrow-for-Heisman tour continues to create distance from the competition. Burrow helped LSU build a 28-0 lead midway through the second quarter and hit 18 of his first 20 passes. The Tigers’ offensive machine has shown no signs of slowing down, and they will maintain the top spot in this week’s rankings as a result. LSU closes the season with home games against Arkansas and Texas A&M. The Tigers can clinch a date in the SEC championship game with a victory against the Razorbacks.
2. Ohio State (10-0)
The Buckeyes didn’t cover a 53-point spread against Rutgers, but they still cruised to a 56-21 victory on the road. Justin Fields (15 of 19, 305 yards, four touchdowns) might be working into the Heisman conversation, and defensive end Chase Young returns this week for the pivotal Big Ten East showdown against Penn State in Columbus. The home finale precedes The Game against Michigan. These are the true tests we’ve been waiting for with a team that is beating its opponents by an average of 41.7 points per game.
3. Clemson (11-0)
Wake Forest did not pose a challenge for the Tigers, who won 52-3 and now have a bye week before a rivalry game with South Carolina. The Tigers are at 26 wins and counting. Since the bye week after a 21-20 victory against North Carolina, Clemson has outscored six opponents by a combined score of 315-58. In case you haven’t noticed, Trevor Lawrence is 69 of 89 (77.5 percent) for an average of 260.3 passing yards per game the last four weeks. That comes with 13 touchdowns and no interceptions. Yeah, the Tigers are Playoff-ready again.
4. Georgia (9-1)
The Bulldogs impressed the committee with quality victories against Notre Dame and Florida, so the 21-14 victory at Jordan-Hare should keep them in the No. 4 spot in the third set of rankings. Jake Fromm threw three touchdowns, and Kirby Smart’s team continues to grind out victories with an old-school style. Georgia clinched a spot in the SEC championship game, and they can improve that resume even more with a victory against Texas A&M. Of the one-loss teams, they have the straightest path to the Playoff. Of the 11 teams in the hunt, the Bulldogs have given up the second-fewest points per game (10.5).
College Football Playoff: First two out
5. Oregon (9-1)
The Ducks remain in great position to make the Playoff despite a season-opening loss to Auburn. Justin Herbert led another convincing 34-6 victory against Arizona, and Oregon’s defense continues to play well in conference. The Ducks have won every game since that Auburn loss by double digits, and they are on a collision course with Utah in the Pac-12 championship game. They stand to benefit the most if Georgia loses.
6. Oklahoma (9-1)
The Sooners pulled off an epic comeback from a 28-3 deficit at Baylor to pull out a 34-31 victory in a Big 12 shootout. Oklahoma might not be ranked of Alabama in the rankings, but we will give him that for now. Jalen Hurts (297 passing yards, 114 rushing yards, four touchdowns) looks like he will be a Heisman finalist at this point, but this team cannot overlook TCU or Oklahoma State the next two weeks. A win next week clinches a spot in the Big 12 championship game.
College Football Playoff: Five to watch
7. Alabama (9-1)
Tagovailoa (hip) was injured in a 38-7 victory against Mississippi State, an injury that will be discussed by the committee at length. Mac Jones has been good in Tagovailoa’s place, but the Crimson Tide could be easier to pass on for that fourth Playoff team now, as harsh as that is. Alabama might have to settle for a New Year’s Day 6 bowl if there isn’t chaos around them. They need Oregon and Oklahoma to lose.
8. Utah (9-1)
The Utes housed UCLA 49-3 and are one step closer to winning the Pac-12 South with that impressive victory. The loss to USC and weak nonconference schedule are serious blemishes, but they remain a strong possibility because of a potential showdown with Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game. Utah has allowed just nine points per game in its last six victories. Kyle Whittingham has this team in position to make a run at that last spot, but there is work to do against Arizona and Colorado.
9. Minnesota (9-1)
The Gophers will get pushed down the pecking order after a 23-19 loss at Iowa, which Vegas saw coming considering (the Gophers were a three-point underdog). The Gophers still control their destiny in the Big Ten West and can get to the conference championship game with victories against Northwestern and Wisconsin. Minnesota, however, does not have the same pull as a one-loss team as others, and they will need to win out just to stay in the Playoff conversation.
10. Penn State (9-1)
The Nittany Lions did what they had to do in a 34-27 victory against Indiana, and they control their own destiny heading into another showdown with Ohio State. Penn State had a 11-point lead with 5:42 left against the Buckeyes in 2017 and a 12-point lead 8:00 left in 2018. The Nittany Lions have proven they can take Ohio State to the fourth quarter. Now, with the Big Ten East and CFP on the line, it’s time to finish that game.
11. Baylor (9-1)
The Bears might not be ranked this high, but this is a courtesy because, unlike Florida, they do not have two losses. Baylor will have to live with a total collapse in the loss to Oklahoma, and the good news is they can get a rematch with a win at Texas next week. The Bears are a feel-good story under coach Matt Rhule, but their resume is lacking compared to some of the other one-loss teams.