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As each week of college football action passes, fewer playoff contenders remain.
You can officially count out No. 6 Oregon, No. 9 Alabama, No. 11 Ole Miss and No. 12 UCLA from College Football Playoff contention following Saturday. Another contender, No. 4 TCU, proved its mettle with a tough win on the road over No. 18 Texas despite the Horned Frogs being a full touchdown underdog.
Here are the biggest takeaways from a wild Week 11 of the 2022 college football season.
Is TCU actually going to pull this off?!
Despite being seven-point underdogs, No. 4 TCU remained perfect on Saturday with a 17-10 win on the road over No. 18 Texas.
The Longhorns’ only touchdown came on defense, meaning TCU’s defense allowed just three points all game to a normally explosive attack. The Horned Frogs surrendered -0.454 expected points added per play against the Longhorns, their best mark since 2019.
TCU’s Lowest EPA Per Play Allowed Since 2019
TCU remains perfect on the season with a 10-0 record. If the Horned Frogs win their final three games, including the Big 12 championship, they’ll make their first College Football Playoff in school history. Not bad for a team that wasn’t even one of the 47 to receive a vote in the preseason AP poll.
USC is the Pac-12’s final hope at the playoff
No. 8 USC took care of business Friday night with a 55-17 drubbing of Colorado. Meanwhile, No. 6 Oregon suffered a soul-crushing 34-27 loss at home to No. 25 Washington. Joining the Ducks in heartbreak was No. 12 UCLA, which suffered a 34-28 home loss to Arizona. The Wildcats entered Saturday as the fifth-worst Power Five team (tied) in PFF’s power rankings.
After this weekend, the Trojans are the Pac-12's lone one-loss team. They’ll need to win out, including the conference championship, to have a chance at making the final four. Any other scenario means the Pac-12 won’t be included in the playoff for a sixth straight season.
To be fair, both No. 9 Alabama and No. 11 Ole Miss were longshots entering the week, but those pipe dreams officially ended when No. 7 LSU clinched the SEC West. The Tigers did so with a 13-10 win over Arkansas before the Crimson Tide’s 30-24 victory over the Rebels sealed it for good.
Now, three SEC teams still remain in contention — top-ranked Georgia, No. 5 Tennessee and No. 7 LSU. This will be only the second time in the playoff’s nine-year history that Alabama won’t be invited.
UCF is the new favorite to represent the Group of Five in a NY6 Bowl
No. 17 Tulane and No. 22 UCF's Week 11 bout didn’t have any playoff implications, but a New Year’s Six bowl game appearance was firmly in play.
The highest-ranked Group of Five conference champion is guaranteed a spot in one of those six bowl contests, and those two teams were the only ranked Group of Five schools heading into this week.
The Knights pulled off the 38-31 road victory over the Green Wave, thanks to a stellar performance on the ground from quarterback John Rhys Plumlee. The Ole Miss transfer ran for 176 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries, forcing five missed tackles along the way.
Now, UCF will be the highest-ranked Group of Five team and is the new favorite to win the American Athletic Conference, putting them that much closer to their first New Year’s Six bowl since 2018.
Sharpie Marvin Harrison Jr. in for WR1 in 2024
Marvin Harrison Jr. made all of America question the human body’s limits on Saturday with this absurd catch against Indiana.
I tore my ACL watching Marvin Harrison Jr. do this pic.twitter.com/4DHelh7VxZ
— Max Chadwick (@Chad_Maxwick) November 13, 2022
Harrison's 90.6 PFF grade leads college football among wide receivers, and he can’t even declare for the draft until next year. He’s the best wide receiver prospect since at least Ja’Marr Chase and looks like a top-five pick in 2024.
Put Harold Perkins near the top of your way-WAY-too-early 2025 big boards
You’ve probably already finalized your 2025 draft big board, but if the ink hasn’t dried, move up LSU linebacker Harold Perkins.
The true freshman earned a 93.3 pass-rushing grade against a very good Arkansas offensive line, the highest among all Power Five linebackers for the week. The former top-10 recruit finished with three sacks, six pressures and two forced fumbles on just 17 pass-rushing snaps. He now owns a 91.4 pass-rushing grade for the season, second-best among Power Five linebackers. He looks like another Micah Parsons in that he's an off-ball linebacker who rushes as well as an edge defender does.
You can sharpie in Harold Perkins in for LB1 in 2025. pic.twitter.com/95JJMe0Tgd
— Max Chadwick (@Chad_Maxwick) November 12, 2022
It’s ridiculously early to even discuss the 2025 NFL Draft, but Harold Perkins already looks like one of the top prospects.