Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan, TCU and USC all survived tough games, but Tennessee was tripped up, clearing up the College Football Playoff picture.
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‘Survival Saturday’ brings more clarity to College Football Playoff picture

ATHENS — It was “Survival Saturday” in the race for the College Football Playoffs, and all that mattered was getting the “W.”

Style points were nowhere to be found for the elite, with Georgia’s smash-mouth 16-6 win amid frigid temperatures at Kentucky looking like a thing of beauty compared to other top programs.

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Here’s a look at the contenders and their outlooks and remaining games:


Bulldogs should maintain No. 1 spot by winning out and fall no lower than two, unless in the very unlikely event they lose one of the final two games, in which case they would still make the CFP as the No. 4 seed.

Schedule: vs. Georgia Tech, SEC CG vs. LSU

Ohio State

Buckeyes can grab the No. 1 seed if they win out impressively enough and Georgia struggles, and it’s still possible to get in with a loss to Michigan -- provided TCU or USC loses another game.

Schedule: vs. Michigan, Possible Big Ten CG


The Wolverines must surely win out to make the CFP because of their poor non-conference schedule, barring a slew of upsets in P5 championship games.

Schedule: at Ohio State, Possible Big Ten CG


The Horned Frogs are looking more like a team of destiny after their last-second win over Baylor. TCU must likely to win out to make CFP.

Schedule: vs. Iowa State, Big 12 CG vs. Kansas State/Texas


The Trojans survived a late-night shootout in the Rose Bowl, and Caleb Williams sealed a trip to New York while improving his Heisman Trophy odds. Win out, and they are in. Lose either of the next two games, and they are out.

Schedule: vs. Notre Dame, P12 CG vs. Oregon/Washington/Utah


The Tigers were another benefactor of Tennessee’s loss but still would need to beat Georgia and maybe get a little help with a TCU or USC loss. No two-loss team has made the CFP, so it will take some extenuating circumstances.

Schedule: at Texas A&M, SEC CG vs. Georgia


The Tigers were the biggest benefactor of Tennessee’s loss, but Clemson must win out impressively and get a little help and a favorable not from the CFP as a conference championship game winner. North Carolina’s loss to Georgia Tech did not help Clemson’s case.

Schedule: vs. South Carolina, ACC CG vs. North Carolina

Crystal Ball

Projected four-team CFP field

1. Georgia

2. Ohio State

3. TCU

4. Clemson

NFF-Super 16 ballot

(Mike Griffith)

1. Georgia (11-0)

2. Ohio State (11-0)

3. Michigan (11-0)

4. TCU (11-0)

5. USC (10-1)

6. Clemson (10-1)

7. LSU (9-2)

8. Alabama (9-2)

9. Washington (9-2)

10. Oregon (9-2)

11. Tennessee (9-2)

12. Penn State (9-2)

13. Kansas State (8-3)

14. Notre Dame (8-3)

15. Florida State (8-3)

16. UCLA (8-3)

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