Michigan football bye week: How 6 fellow playoff contenders could be eliminated this weekend

Several College Football Playoff hopefuls face tough matchups Saturday

Chase Winovich and Bryan Mone celebrate a win over Michigan State at Spartan Stadium on Oct. 20, 2018, in East Lansing, Michigan. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - For the first time since August, Michigan football fans won't get to watch their team in action this weekend as Jim Harbaugh's team gets a bye ahead of its matchup with Penn State.

The off week comes at an interesting time for the Wolverines, who have vaulted into the top five of the AP Poll behind seven straight victories.

Earlier in the week, we broke down all the teams remaining in the College Football Playoff discussion and determined that Michigan is one of eight teams that still control their own destiny for the playoff.

But that doesn't mean other teams aren't in the mix. There are an additional eight teams that still have a chance to make the College Football Playoff, for a total of 16 total contenders.

While the bye week comes at a difficult time for Michigan in terms of halting momentum, it's a chance to see fellow playoff hopefuls drop off from the sideline.

READMichigan still has plenty to fix as Big Ten title race enters home stretch

October has been packed with upsets -- five top-10 teams were upset in the last two weeks -- so there's no reason to believe the final weekend of the month will be any different.

Five teams still alive for the College Football Playoff will take the field Saturday as underdogs, and another will do so as only a three-point favorite.

Here's a look at how contenders could drop like flies this weekend.

No. 9 Florida vs. No. 7 Georgia

Game details: 3:30 p.m. Saturday on CBS

The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party has a little extra sizzle this season, as both Florida and Georgia are ranked in the top 10.

Georgia is nearly a touchdown favorite but is coming off a 20-point loss to LSU two weeks ago. The Bulldogs don't have any impressive wins, so this is the first of a massive back-to-back against fellow SEC East contenders, Florida and Kentucky.

Florida, on the other hand, has won five straight, including a win over No. 5 LSU and another at Mississippi State. The Gators have been a pleasant surprise under first-year head coach Dan Mullen.

This is the only game in which a College Football Playoff contender will definitely fall from the ranks. Either Florida or Georgia will suffer a second loss and be eliminated from contention, while the other becomes the most likely to win the division if Kentucky doesn't win out.

No. 12 Kentucky at Missouri

Game details: 4 p.m. Saturday on SEC Network

Speaking of Kentucky, it will have its hands full on the road against a winless division opponent.

Despite a 6-1 record and No. 12 ranking, Kentucky is a touchdown underdog against Missouri, which is coming off a win over Memphis that snapped a three-game losing streak.

Kentucky controls its own destiny in the SEC East with a win at Florida and a home game against Georgia next week, so it is squarely in the mix for a College Football Playoff spot, as strange as that might sound.

A loss to Missouri would put an end to Kentucky's run, though.

No. 18 Iowa at No. 17 Penn State

Game details: 3:30 p.m. Saturday on ESPN

It's not surprising to see Iowa and Penn State meet as top-20 teams, but it's surprising that Iowa is the one with College Football Playoff hopes still intact.

Penn State has already lost twice in the Big Ten East Division, so it has no chance to win the conference and get into the playoff. Iowa, on the other hand, could still run the table and represent the Big Ten West in Indianapolis.

A 12-1 Iowa team with wins at Penn State, at Purdue and against the East Division champ would at least be in the conversation.

Penn State is almost a touchdown favorite at home and has a chance to snuff out another Big Ten team's championship hopes.

No. 14 Washington State at No. 24 Stanford

Game details: 7 p.m. Saturday on Pac-12 Networks

After knocking Oregon out of playoff contention last weekend, Washington State stands as the Pac-12's last one-loss team.

The Cougars face an uphill battle to get into the College Football Playoff discussion, but they're certainly still alive. Finishing the season with wins over Oregon, Stanford, Washington and the Pac-12 South champion would be a strong resume, even in a down year for the conference.

Stanford is favored by a field goal at home and barring an upset, the Pac-12's slim playoff hopes will be put to rest.

No. 16 Texas A&M at Mississippi State

Game details: 7 p.m. Saturday on ESPN

Even though Texas A&M already has two losses, it could possibly squeeze into the College Football Playoff if the mayhem continues around the country.

Texas A&M's losses came against Clemson and Alabama, the sports two most consistent powers during the CFP era. If the Aggies win out and Alabama loses, they'll have a chance to win the conference championship and finish 11-2.

Last year the CFP Committee put two SEC schools in the playoff, so it's not impossible that a two-loss SEC champ would get in if there aren't four other obvious choices.

No. 6 Texas at Oklahoma State

Game details: 8 p.m. Saturday on ABC

Texas is the only College Football Playoff contender on this list -- other than Georgia -- that's favored on Saturday.

The Longhorns are the last remaining undefeated team in Big 12 play and, at No. 6 in the AP Poll, the highest-ranked team in the conference.

Oklahoma State is a very inconsistent team, with blowout wins in four games -- including one over then-No. 17 Boise State -- and three losses to unranked teams.

Even though Texas has impressive wins over Oklahoma and Southern Cal, losses to Maryland and Oklahoma State would be difficult to overcome.

Quarterback Sam Ehlinger is a little banged up, so Texas needs to be careful during this road test.

Honorable mentions

No. 22 N.C. State at Syracuse

As a one-loss Power Five team, N.C. State would typically still be in the playoff conversation. But the canceled game against West Virginia not only left the Wolfpack with a 12th game, it took away a rare opportunity for a quality win.

The ACC is the weakest Power Five conference this season and N.C. State failed its only true test at Clemson. Even if the Tigers dropped two games and opened the door for N.C. State in the ACC Atlantic, an 11-1 resume with no wins over teams with fewer than three losses probably wouldn't be playoff-worthy.

That being said, Syracuse can officially eliminate N.C. State this weekend, though the Wolfpack is a two-point favorite.

No. 8 Oklahoma vs. Kansas State

This game wasn't included because it's unlikely it will even be competitive. Oklahoma would certainly be eliminated with a loss to Kansas State, but the game is at home, and the Wildcats are a losing team.

Oklahoma is playing for its College Football Playoff life every time out the rest of the season, but the next several weeks shouldn't be much of a test.

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