Sep 29, 2018; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers quarterback Joe Burrow (9) celebrates a touchdown against the Mississippi Rebels during the second half of a game at Tiger Stadium.


Seth Dunlap's College Football Playoff Power Tiers - Week 6

An updated look at every team with a shot at making the CFB Playoff

Seth Dunlap
October 03, 2018 - 7:30 pm

Every week of the college football season I update this list of possible College Football Playoff participants -- or, more aptly, College Football Playoff invitees.  College football's postseason is the most flawed of any major American sport, but it's the system we live with.  Unlike other sports dominated by true parity, college football is not, and therefore it's easier to group teams into one of four tiers; Playoff Favorites, Playoff Contenders, Playoff Long Shots, and the largest grouping, teams with No Shot.  

Like any power rankings, or in this case, power groupings, it is a subjective exercise.  The truth remains that the vast majority of college football teams started in the No Shot tier, whether it was a true lack of playoff-caliber talent (most) or schools with talent but without the pedigree to gain the selection committee's true attention and respect (a few).  There are no Butlers, VCUs, or George Masons here like the college basketball system allows. 

This is why we started the season with only 15 teams with any real chance at an invite to the Playoff.   Five weeks into the season and we've whittled that list down to 11, although two teams have made the improbable climb from No Shot to an appearance on this list, while six others have fallen out of contention.  One team dropped out of the list only to re-enter this week.

As we approach the mid-way point of the college football season, here's the updated Playoff Power Tiers.



  • Alabama (5-0)
  • Ohio State (5-0)
  • Clemson (5-0)

Notes:  These three teams have been the only ones in Tier 1 the entire season.  If they don't falter they'll be in.  There's a good chance that they'll get in with just one blemish on their resume.


  • Georgia (5-0)
  • Oklahoma  (5-0)
  • Notre Dame (5-0)
  • Washington (4-1)
  • LSU (5-0)

Notes:  Georgia is only a contender, and not a favorite, due to the selection committee's likely reluctance to put two SEC teams in the Playoff in back to back years.  They'll likely need to run the table, or beat Alabama in the SEC championship game as a one loss team.   Washington and LSU move up from long shots to contenders.  Washington has a real chance to get in if they go undefeated in Pac-12 play and win the conference championship game, with their only loss on the year being a defacto road game against Auburn.


  • West Virginia (4-0)
  • Michigan  (4-1)
  • Auburn (4-1)

Notes:  Michigan moves back into the rankings as they've found a path to playoff contention.  They'd need to run the table, including beating Ohio State, which would give them a spot in the Big Ten championship game.  A 12-1 Michigan team would have a real shot of getting in, especially if Notre Dame, their only loss, is among the playoff entrants.  


Dropped out:

  • Miami (Week 1)
  • Wisconsin (Week 3)
  • TCU (Week 3)
  • Michigan (Week 3)
  • Virginia Tech (Week 4)
  • Stanford (Week 5)
  • Penn State (Week 5)

Moved in:

  • LSU (Week 4)
  • West Virginia (Week 4)
  • Michigan (Week 6)
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