Week 12 Road to Santa Clara: Who's In?

Week 12 Road to Santa Clara: Who's In?


Week 12 Road to Santa Clara: Who's In?


The 2018 college football season is now hitting the stretch run and the number of teams fighting for the College Football Playoff is growing smaller each week.

Each week The Clemson Insider will take a look at the Road to Santa Clara and analyze the teams that still have a shot to make the playoff.

The picture is getting clearer as each week passes. The top five teams all won again this week.  Teams must now survive rivalry week on the march to the College Football Playoff.

Notre Dame was the most impressive top four team this week as they destroyed Syracuse.  The Irish will make the playoff with a win over Southern Cal next weekend.

Michigan didn’t play as well this week, but remains in good shape if they can defeat Ohio State this weekend.

The Big 12 will now need Oklahoma to run the table after West Virginia fell for the second time this year.  Even if the Sooners run the table they will need plenty of help.

The Pac-12 is not done yet as the chances for Washington State are increasing with troubles in the Big 12, but they will need plenty of help.

The top four of the rankings from the College Football Playoff committee aren’t likely to change Tuesday night.  We will see some movement from six to ten.

Who’s In?

If the College Football Playoff started this week the playoff would look like this:

  1. Alabama
  2. Clemson
  3. Notre Dame
  4. Michigan

All four teams are in control of their destiny right now. If the top four continue to win out the playoff is set. There is still a little work to be done by all four.

Let’s take a look at what the contenders look like after Week 12.

The Contenders

Atlantic Coast Conference

Clemson is on its way to the ACC Championship game once again and are just a win over South Carolina from having another perfect regular season.

The Tigers will remain at No. 2 in the latest rankings. Pitt has moved into both the AP and coaches poll and we will see if they will make the CFP rankings Tuesday night.

Clemson looks like they will finish No. 2 or No. 1 if Bama was to fall in the SEC Championship game.

Clemson (11-0): Nov. 24 (vs. South Carolina)


Alabama will remain at No. 1 but they looked human this week going into the third quarter tied with the Citadel.  Georgia will have to win out to make the playoff. Alabama could possibly lose to Georgia and still have a shot at the playoff, but that will be a big debate.

The remaining regular season games don’t look like challenges for either team. It will all come down to the SEC Championship game in Atlanta.

Alabama (11-0): Nov. 24 (vs. Auburn)

Georgia (10-1): Nov. 24 (vs. GT)

Big 12

West Virginia dropped from the list of contenders after falling to Oklahoma State.  Oklahoma is now the only remaining contender from the Big 12 and they will need plenty of help to make the playoff.  The Sooners defense once again struggled in a win over Kansas.

If Oklahoma loses at West Virginia this week the Big 12 will be left out of the playoff.  A two loss team will not make the playoff from the Big 12.

Oklahoma (10-1): Nov. 23 (at West Virginia)

Big Ten

Michigan and Ohio State both struggled this past weekend but got the win.  Ohio State had to go to the final seconds to hold off Maryland as the Terps failed on a two point conversion.  The Buckeyes are likely to drop in Tuesday night’s rankings from the committee.

Michigan will still be No. 4 and just needs to defeat Ohio State this weekend and then Northwestern in the Big Ten championship to make the playoff.

A two-loss Big Ten champ will not make the playoff.

Ohio State (10-1): Nov. 24 (vs. Michigan)

Michigan (10-1): Nov. 24 (at Ohio State)


The Pac-12’s chances of making the playoff have improved the last few weeks.  If the Big 12 has a two loss champion as well as the Big Ten then Washington State has a good shot to make the playoff if they can run the table.  The rivalry game with Washington awaits this weekend.

Washington State (10-1):  Nov. 24 (vs. Wash)


Notre Dame made a statement with a dominant win over Syracuse this weekend.  All that stands between the Irish and a spot in the playoff is a win over Southern California.

They won’t have a conference championship game, but they will have a strong strength of schedule.  The Irish now could possibly make the playoff even if they were to fall next weekend against the Trojans.

Notre Dame (11-0): Nov. 24 (at Southern Cal)


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