This year's first College Football Playoff rankings will be revealed Tuesday, and there will be no shortage of headaches for the committee, as the 2019 season has produced perhaps the closest CFP race since the inception of the four-team format. While LSU, Ohio State, Alabama, Clemson and Penn State all have legit claims to a top-4 spot, the teams behind them are all jostling for position. Here are the teams with one loss in position to make the CFP.
The Bulldogs have recovered well from their unexpected loss to South Carolina, beating up on Kentucky and holding off Florida in their most important test of the season thus far. While they hold the advantage in the SEC East, the road ahead will not be any easier for Kirby Smart's team, as they still have to go on the road against No. 11 Auburn - the same team responsible for Oregon's one loss so far - and then would have to beat either LSU or Alabama in the SEC Championship to earn their spot. Still, if they win out, it would be hard to keep them out.
The Ducks are the Pac-12's best hope of reaching the playoff, the sole blemish on their record being a close loss against Auburn where they blew a late lead. Aside from that, they've gotten to this point by playing typical Oregon wide-open football, and last night it looked mighty impressive in its 56-24 stomping of USC. It'll have a week off to recharge for the remaining three games on its schedule, all in-conference.
Recency bias puts the Sooners farther down the list, but Oklahoma looked like a sure bet for the playoff until its loss to Kansas State last week. Now the Sooners are not even first in their own conference, let alone the nation. This bye week has to be welcomed, because the Sooners have still yet to face the team directly above them in the Big 12 - No. 12 Baylor - giving them their one chance to show the committee they deserve a spot in the CFP.
The Utes will need a lot of help to climb into the top four, but they kept their sliver of hope alive after coming back late to beat Washington in Husky Stadium. They now lead the Pac 12 South by virtue of USC's loss to Oregon, but nothing less than winning out will be enough for Utah to even enter the College Football Playoff conversation. None of their three remaining opponents (all in conference) look like a match for the high-scoring Utes, but nothing is certain in the Pac 12.