Playoff Picture Becoming More Clear Ahead of Initial Set of CFP Rankings

Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Clemson are the favorites but there are still at least eight more teams holding onto College Football Playoff hopes.
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With each passing week, the path to the College Football Playoff for the nations top teams becomes more clear. 

The first set of College Football Rankings are set to be released on Tuesday night and there are still at least a dozen teams whose playoff hopes are still alive. 

AP Top 12:

1. Alabama: Outside of the first half against Georgia, this Alabama team hasn't really been tested, but their path is clear. Win out and they are in. The Tide have a home date with Auburn and a road contest with Arkansas left before what looks like a matchup with Florida in the SEC Championship Game. Dropping one of the two might not eliminate them, as they would still play in Atlanta, but lose to Florida and the Tide could be in trouble. One-loss team or not.

2. Notre Dame: Like Alabama, the Irish have a clear path. Win out and they are in. The real question lies in what would happen if they were to lose a potential rematch with Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. How do you keep a one-loss Irish team out whose only loss is to Clemson?

3. Ohio State: The Buckeyes have no margin for error. Win out and they are in. Lose one and they are done. While there are no more ranked teams left on their regular-season schedule, that Buckeyes defense showed it might have some flaws in their 42-35 win over Indiana. 

4. Clemson: The Tigers are hoping to just play a game this weekend after having Saturday's matchup with Florida State canceled three hours before kickoff. However, it does give a banged-up team one more week to get healthy and this is a Clemson team that must win out in order to secure one of the four playoff spots. 

5. Texas A&M: Like Clemson, the Aggies haven't played since November 7. However, unlike Clemson A&M does not control their own destiny. Having lost the head-to-head with Alabama, their chances of making it to Atlanta are slim and none. Despite owning a win over Florida, they will likely be sitting home that weekend hoping for a couple of upsets that could propel them into the top four. Assuming they win out of course.

6. Florida: The Gators have one path. Win their remaining games, including the SEC Championship.

7. Cincinnati: The Bearcats are a fun story, especially for those fans hoping to see a Group of 5 team break through and finally make the playoff. The chances of it actually happening though aren't very high. While certainly not impossible, they will need to run the table and get a ton of help. The only way they get in is by default.

8. BYU: The Cougars are in the same boat as Cincinnati. They must win out and have several teams in front of them lose. That list of teams could likely include the Bearcats depending on where the two teams are ranked in the initial playoff rankings. 

9. Oregon: At best, the Ducks can finish 7-0 and Pac-12 champions. Will that be enough to surpass teams that have played up to three or four more games than they have? Not very likely. Not without a lot of help. It's also worth noting that the Pac-12 are having a fairly high rate of cancellations already. 

10. Miami: The Hurricanes have one shot. Win out and hope either Clemson or Notre Dame stumbles on their way to the ACC Championship Game. They'll also have to win that game. 

11. Northwestern: The Wildcats are quietly sitting at 5-0. Their path is clear. Go undefeated and win the Big Ten, which would likely include having to knock off Ohio State in the conference championship game.

12. Indiana: The Hoosiers may be coming off a loss to Ohio State, but it was a close loss and while it definitely hurts, they aren't knocked out completely. Win out, win the conference championship and get some help, and maybe they could sneak in. Highly unlikely but it isn't out of the realm of possibility, it is 2020 and stranger things have happened.

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