The Eliminator: There's always next year, Nebraska and Florida State

We're five weeks into the 2019 college football season, and the rankings look a lot like they did a month ago.

The top six teams have remained the same though the first six polls --for the first time in the history of the AP Top 25, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Although the teams have moved positions, the top six teams have remained unchanged since the preseason.

If only that were the case for the 85 FBS teams that already have fallen out of contention for one of the four coveted spots in the College Football Playoff.

In the first 2019 edition of the Eliminator, 14 teams remain in contention for those four CFP berths, and nine of those are from the Big Ten or SEC, which means that crowd will continue to thin out. There are 31 other teams with work to do, but 85 teams have already been eliminated, including all of Conference USA and the Mid-American Conference.

Although the process is largely subjective, there are a few ground rules. Every team from a Group of 5 league with one loss is gone. So are teams from Power 5 leagues with three or more losses.

There are a few exceptions. Florida State already lost to Boise State and Virginia -- and nearly lost to Louisiana Monroe. Nebraska isn't coming back this season. Teams with multiple lopsided defeats (such as NC State and Syracuse) or an embarrassing Group of 5 loss (such as Illinois) are also gone.

Here's the first edition of the Eliminator:

Still in contention




Alabama Crimson Tide (5-0, 2-0 SEC)

Trending: Even

The Crimson Tide finally break a sweat in two weeks at Texas A&M.



Auburn Tigers (5-0, 2-0 SEC)

Trending: Up

If Gus Malzahn isn't careful, he'll end up with another seven-year contract extension.



Clemson Tigers (5-0, 3-0 ACC)

Trending: Down

The defending national champions sure don't look like one of the top four teams right now.



Florida Gators (5-0, 2-0 SEC)

Trending: Up

The Gators play No. 7 Auburn, No. 5 LSU and No. 3 Georgia in three of their next four games. Ouch.



Georgia Bulldogs (4-0, 1-0 SEC)

Trending: Up

Why are the ends of Georgia games always closer than they should be?



Iowa Hawkeyes (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten)

Trending: Even

No, this isn't a misprint. If the Hawkeyes can get through October unscathed, their Nov. 9 trip to Wisconsin looms rather large.



LSU Tigers (4-0, 1-0 SEC)

Trending: Up

With a potent passing game and frenetic pace, the Tigers look like a Big 12 team on offense -- and defense.



Notre Dame Fighting Irish (3-1)

Trending: Even

Notre Dame is counting on Michigan and USC being good to bolster its schedule strength. Yeah, the Irish aren't making the CFP.



Ohio State Buckeyes (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten)

Trending: Up

If the Buckeyes are still in the CFP hunt in late November, will they be penalized for playing Michigan on the final Saturday?



Oklahoma Sooners (4-0, 1-0 Big 12)

Trending: Up

Remember when everyone believed Jalen Hurts couldn't throw the ball? I guess SEC defenses are that good, huh?



Oregon Ducks (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12)

Trending: Even

The Ducks are starting to look like an SEC team. They've allowed six or fewer points in each of their past three games.



Penn State Nittany Lions (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten)

Trending: Even

Thank goodness for Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi's math skills.



Texas Longhorns (3-1, 1-0 Big 12)

Trending: Even

The Longhorns haven't yet beaten a team that matters, but they also haven't lost to a team they were supposed to beat, which wasn't the case the previous few seasons.



Wisconsin Badgers (4-0, 2-0 Big Ten)

Trending: Up

What's worse: being taunted by a crowd singing "Build Me Up Buttercup" or being trounced by an offense that still includes a fullback?

On the fence




Appalachian State Mountaineers (4-0, 1-0 Sun Belt)

Trending: Up

The Mountaineers beat North Carolina, which almost beat defending national champion Clemson.



Arizona Wildcats (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12)

Trending: Even

The Wildcats beat UCLA 20-17 without quarterback Khalil Tate (hamstring) and running back J.J. Taylor (leg).



Arizona State Sun Devils (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12)

Trending: Up

Herm Edwards' team has impressive road victories at Michigan State and Cal.



Baylor Bears (4-0, 1-0 Big 12)

Trending: Up

Matt Rhule's miracle work is nearly finished.



Boise State Broncos (4-0, 1-0 MWC)

Trending: Even

With UCF's loss, the Broncos look like the early favorites for the Group of 5's NY6 bowl bid.



California Golden Bears (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12)

Trending: Even

The Bears' Pac-12 title hopes probably depend on the severity of quarterback Chase Garbers' right shoulder injury.



Colorado Buffaloes (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12)

Trending: Up

Shorts-wearing Buffaloes coach Mel Tucker might be the only FBS coach who has figured out global warming.



Duke Blue Devils (3-1, 1-0 ACC)

Trending: Up

Maybe the Jets should draft Quentin Harris.



Indiana Hoosiers (3-2, 0-2 Big Ten)

Trending: Even

The Hoosiers are halfway to bowl eligibility and still have Rutgers, Maryland and Purdue left on the schedule.



Iowa State Cyclones (2-2, 0-1 Big 12)

Trending: Down

The Cyclones miss running back David Montgomery and receiver Hakeem Butler more than some people believed they would.



Kansas State Wildcats (3-1, 0-1 Big 12)

Trending: Even

I think this is about the time Kansas State hits the wall.



Louisville Cardinals (2-2, 0-1 ACC)

Trending: Even

Scientists have determined that the lingering stench from the Bobby Petrino era will abate around 2023.



Memphis Tigers (4-0, 1-0 AAC)

Trending: Up

Move.The.Chains.Mane!



Miami Hurricanes (2-2, 0-1 ACC)

Trending: Down

Maybe Miami's offense needs a third-down chain to get things rolling again.



Michigan Wolverines (3-1, 1-1 Big Ten)

Trending: Down

If only Michigan could play Rutgers' defense every week.



Michigan State Spartans (4-1, 2-0 Big Ten)

Trending: Up

Nobody has a tougher three-game stretch in October than Michigan State: at No. 4 Ohio State, at No. 8 Wisconsin and home against No. 12 Penn State.



Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten)

Trending: Up

The Gophers have won four games by a combined 20 points.



Mississippi State Bulldogs (3-2, 1-1 SEC)

Trending: Down

With a home loss to Kansas State and a 33-point loss at Auburn, the Bulldogs have only a short-term lease here.



Oklahoma State Cowboys (4-1, 1-1 Big 12)

Trending: Up

Maybe T. Boone Pickens left Mike Gundy some dance lessons.



SMU Mustangs (5-0, 1-0 AAC)

Trending: Up

The Mustangs are ranked in the AP Top 25 for the first time since 1986, the year before the NCAA gave them the death penalty.



TCU Horned Frogs (3-1, 1-0 Big 12)

Trending: Up

The Horned Frogs play five of their next seven Big 12 games on the road.



Texas A&M Aggies (3-2, 1-1 SEC)

Trending: Down

Hey, at least there are only three top-five ranked teams left on the schedule. If the Aggies win them all ...



Texas Tech Red Raiders (2-2, 0-1 Big 12)

Trending: Down

The Red Raiders are really going to miss quarterback Alan Bowman, who is out for several weeks with a shoulder injury.



USC Trojans (3-2, 2-1 Pac-12)

Trending: Down

Yeah, that might have been it for Trojans coach Clay Helton.



Utah Utes (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12)

Trending: Up

That was the Utah defense we expected to see against USC two weeks ago. The Utes held Washington State to 252 passing yards -- it was averaging almost 500 -- and one touchdown pass (Anthony Gordon had nine against UCLA the previous week).



Virginia Cavaliers (4-1, 2-0 ACC)

Trending: Even

Somebody has to finish second in the ACC, right?



Virginia Tech Hokies (2-2, 0-2 ACC)

Trending: Down

I sure didn't want to see Bud Foster go out like this.



Wake Forest Demon Deacons (5-0, 1-0 ACC)

Trending: Up

The Demon Deacons are No. 11 in the FBS in total offense with 515 yards per game -- ahead of Penn State, Georgia, Texas and Clemson. The Demon Deacons are ranked in the AP poll for the first time since 2008.



Washington Huskies (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12)

Trending: Up

The Huskies have bounced back nicely after losing at Cal, winning three in a row to remain in the Pac-12 North hunt.



Washington State Cougars (3-2, 0-2 Pac-12)

Trending: Down

Not everything Mike Leach says is that funny.



West Virginia Mountaineers (3-1, 1-0 Big 12)

Trending: Up

The Mountaineers play No. 11 Texas, Iowa State, No. 6 Oklahoma and undefeated Baylor in October.

Better luck next season




Air Force Falcons (3-1, 1-1 MWC)

Trending: Up

The Falcons play the first leg of the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy at Navy on Saturday.



Akron Zips (0-5, 0-1 MAC)

Trending: Down

If only that giant pencil could erase the previous five weeks.



Arkansas Razorbacks (2-3, 0-2 SEC)

Trending: Up

Doesn't losing to San Jose State get you SEC probation?



Arkansas State Red Wolves (3-2, 1-0 Sun Belt)

Trending: Up

Alabama transfer Layne Hatcher had 440 passing yards with four touchdowns in his first start for the Red Wolves, a 50-43 win at Troy.



Army Black Knights (3-1)

Trending: Even

I really wanted the Black Knights to finish unbeaten to see what the CFP selection committee would do.



Ball State Cardinals (1-3, 0-0 MAC)

Trending: Even

The Cardinals were more than competitive in losses to Indiana and NC State.



Boston College Eagles (3-2, 1-1 ACC)

Trending: Down

There's an unwritten CFP rule that says you never recover from a 24-point loss to Kansas.



Bowling Green Falcons (1-3, 0-1 MAC)

Trending: Down

Scot Loeffler is like the Norv Turner of college football. He keeps getting jobs!



Buffalo Bulls (2-3, 0-1 MAC)

Trending: Down

The Bulls led Penn State at the half, lost at Liberty and Miami (Ohio) and beat Temple. Talk about an identity crisis.



BYU Cougars (2-3)

Trending: Down

After beating Tennessee and USC in back-to-back weeks in September, everything else this season is gravy.



Central Michigan Chippewas (2-3, 1-1 MAC)

Trending: Even

So that's where Jim McElwain ended up.



Charlotte 49ers (2-3, 0-1 CUSA)

Trending: Up

Rest assured your program is in good hands.



Cincinnati Bearcats (3-1, 0-0 AAC)

Trending: Up

The Bearcats were only one point worse than Nebraska was against Ohio State.



Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (3-2, 0-1 Sun Belt)

Trending: Even

The Chanticleers took down a Big 12 foe, albeit Kansas, in only their second season as a full FBS member.



Colorado State Rams (1-4, 0-1 MWC)

Trending: Down

Talk about bad luck: Rams quarterback Collin Hill tore the ACL in his left knee for the third time in college three weeks ago.



East Carolina Pirates (3-2, 0-1 AAC)

Trending: Up

The Pirates should have given Lincoln Riley a lifetime contract when he coached there.



Eastern Michigan Eagles (3-1, 0-0 MAC)

Trending: Up

The Eagles have a couple of quality road wins, at Coastal Carolina and Illinois.



Florida Atlantic Owls (3-2, 1-0 CUSA)

Trending: Even

I'm guessing Tennessee would take Lane Kiffin back in a heartbeat right about now.



Florida International Panthers (1-3, 0-2 CUSA)

Trending: Down

Remember that old saying about Jimmys and Joes? Butch Davis had some dudes at Miami.



Florida State Seminoles (3-2, 2-1 ACC)

Trending: Up

I'd stick with Alex Hornibrook.



Fresno State Bulldogs (2-2, 0-0 MWC)

Trending: Down

The Bulldogs got off to a rough start with close losses to USC and Minnesota, but they'll still be big factors in the MWC race.



Georgia Southern Eagles (1-3, 0-1 Sun Belt)

Trending: Down

Still the third-best FBS team in the state.



Georgia State Panthers (2-2, 0-1 Sun Belt)

Trending: Down

Still the second-best FBS team in the state.



Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (1-3, 0-1 ACC)

Trending: Down

I'd love to know what Geoff Collins is putting in his Waffle House cup now.



Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors (4-1, 1-0 MWC)

Trending: Up

The Rainbow Warriors can make a big statement at Boise State on Oct. 12.



Houston Cougars (2-3, 0-1 AAC)

Trending: Down

It kind of looked like Houston's defense decided to take a redshirt season before Week 1.



Kansas Jayhawks (2-3, 0-2 Big 12)

Trending: Down

Let me get this straight: The Jayhawks were using an extra coach to get this bad?



Kent State Golden Flashes (2-2, 1-0 MAC)

Trending: Even

The Golden Flashes had a week off before playing at Wisconsin. It won't help.



Kentucky Wildcats (2-3, 0-2 SEC)

Trending: Down

Big Blue Madness tips off on Oct. 11.



Illinois Fighting Illini (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten)

Trending: Down

I hope Lovie Smith doesn't shave until the Illini win another Big Ten game.



Liberty Flames (3-2)

Trending: Up

The Flames play New Mexico State twice during the regular season. Yeah, they'll qualify for a bowl game.



Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns (4-1, 1-0 Sun Belt)

Trending: Up

After a 10-point loss at Mississippi State, the Ragin' Cajuns have won four games in a row.



UL Monroe Warhawks (2-2, 1-0 Sun Belt)

Trending: Up

They almost beat Florida State.



Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (4-1, 2-0 CUSA)

Trending: Up

The Bulldogs are quietly on their way to another winning campaign under Skip Holtz.



Marshall Thundering Herd (2-2, 0-0 CUSA)

Trending: Even

A seven-point road loss at Boise State wasn't bad. A 38-point home loss to Cincinnati wasn't so good.



Maryland Terrapins (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten)

Trending: Down

That 43-point win over Syracuse seems like ages ago.



Miami (Ohio) RedHawks (2-3, 0-1 MAC)

Trending: Down

Scheduling Ohio State might have been a little ambitious.



Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (1-3, 0-0 CUSA)

Trending: Down

At least the Blue Raiders know they're not the worst FBS team in the state.



Missouri Tigers (3-1, 1-0 SEC)

Trending: Even

Barring a miracle from the suddenly very angry NCAA, the Tigers are ineligible for the postseason.



Navy Midshipmen (2-1, 1-1 AAC)

Trending: Even

The Midshipmen look to be back on track and possibly headed to a bowl game again.



Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten)

Trending: Down

Maybe Scott Frost's rebuilding job is going to take a little longer than we anticipated.



Nevada Wolf Pack (3-2, 0-1 MWC)

Trending: Even

Jay Norvell could use a few more dudes in his wolf pack.



New Mexico Lobos (2-2, 0-0 MWC)

Trending: Down

The Lobos have lost to Notre Dame and Liberty. They might want to stick with secular opponents.



New Mexico State Aggies (0-5)

Trending: Down

The Aggies might hire a search firm to help their football team find a conference home. I can think of 999 better ways to spend the money.



North Carolina Tar Heels (2-3, 1-1 AAC)

Trending: Up

Mack is almost back.



NC State Wolfpack (3-2, 0-1 ACC)

Trending: Down

The Wolfpack have a quarterback controversy on their hands.



North Texas Mean Green (2-3, 1-0 CUSA)

Trending: Even

Those losses to Cal and SMU aren't looking so bad.



Northern Illinois Huskies (1-3, 0-0 MAC)

Trending: Down

Little-known fact: Northern Illinois' lone victory over an SEC team came against, ahem, Alabama, 19-16 in 2003.



Northwestern Wildcats (1-3, 0-2 Big Ten)

Trending: Down

#idontcare



Ohio Bobcats (1-3, 0-0 MAC)

Trending: Down

The Bobcats allowed more than 480 yards of offense in each of their first three games.



Old Dominion Monarchs (1-3, 0-0 CUSA)

Trending: Down

The Monarchs put up admirable fights against Virginia Tech and Virginia -- and then lost to East Carolina. College football, man.



Ole Miss Rebels (2-3, 1-1 SEC)

Trending: Even

He was in.



Oregon State Beavers (1-3, 0-1 Pac-12)

Trending: Down

Winning football games at Oregon State is hard.



Pittsburgh Panthers (3-2, 0-1 ACC)

Trending: Up

A three-point victory over FCS foe Delaware almost counts as a loss.



Purdue Boilermakers (1-3, 0-1 Big Ten)

Trending: Even

The Boilermakers can't even look forward to playing Ohio State this season.



Rice Owls (0-5, 0-1 CUSA)

Trending: Down

The Marching Owl Band is still good.



Rutgers Scarlet Knights (1-3, 0-2 Big Ten)

Trending: Down

The only thing Rutgers needed was a Jersey guy named Nunzio leading its team.



San Diego State Aztecs (3-1, 0-1 MWC)

Trending: Up

Regardless of UCLA's record, the Aztecs' 23-14 win over the Bruins won't soon be forgotten.



San Jose State Spartans (2-2, 0-1 MWC)

Trending: Even

Yeah, the Spartans really did beat Arkansas. It's not a misprint on our website.



South Alabama Jaguars (1-4, 0-1 Sun Belt)

Trending: Down

It's hard to believe the Jaguars had Nebraska on the ropes in Week 1.



South Carolina Gamecocks (2-3, 1-2 SEC)

Trending: Up

Hey, there are only three top-10-ranked opponents left on the schedule.



South Florida Bulls (1-3, 0-1 AAC)

Trending: Down

No, really, Charlie Strong did win 17 of his first 19 games at USF.



Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (3-2, 1-0 CUSA)

Trending: Even

True story: A college coach once told Golden Eagles QB Jack Abraham that he'd never play Division I football.



Stanford Cardinal (2-3, 1-2 Pac-12)

Trending: Down

I never thought I'd see the day when Stanford couldn't block.



Syracuse Orange (3-2, 0-1 ACC)

Trending: Down

It seems Syracuse remembered it's a basketball school playing in a basketball league.



Temple Owls (3-1, 0-0 AAC)

Trending: Up

Limiting your old coach's new team to only two points has to feel good.



Tennessee Volunteers (1-3, 0-1 SEC)

Trending: Down

Sorry, I used all of my Tennessee jokes.



Texas State Bobcats (2-3, 1-0 Sun Belt)

Trending: Up

After a three-game skid, the Bobcats have won back-to-back games.



Toledo Rockets (3-1, 0-0 MAC)

Trending: Up

With wins over Colorado State and BYU in nonconference play, the Rockets look like the early favorites in the MAC.



Troy Trojans (2-2, 0-1 Sun Belt)

Trending: Even

The Trojans had the ball at Arkansas State's 8-yard line in the final seconds, but a lineman was hurt and the 10-second runoff ate up the remaining time in a 50-43 loss.



Tulane Green Wave (3-1, 1-0 ACC)

Trending: Up

The Green Wave face big AAC road games at Memphis, Temple and SMU.



Tulsa Golden Hurricane (2-2, 0-0 AAC)

Trending: Down

After winning just five games total the past two seasons, at least the Golden Hurricane is starting to show signs of life again under Philip Montgomery.



UAB Blazers (3-1, 0-1 CUSA)

Trending: Even

The Blazers couldn't overcome four interceptions in a 20-13 loss at Western Kentucky.



UCF Knights (4-1, 1-0 AAC)

Trending: Even

Come on, you know they weren't going to let you in even if you were undefeated.



UCLA Bruins (1-4, 1-1 Pac-12)

Trending: Down

Chip Kelly's fastball now resembles Phil Niekro's.



UConn Huskies (1-3, 0-1 AAC)

Trending: Down

At this point, the Alliance of American Football wouldn't want the Huskies.



UMass Minutemen (1-4)

Trending: Up

Yes, there is an FBS team worse than UMass this season.



UNLV Rebels (1-3, 0-1 MWC)

Trending: Down

Like Oregon State, winning football games at UNLV is hard.



Utah State Aggies (3-1, 2-0 MWC)

Trending: Up

Might the Aggies' high-powered offense give LSU problems on Saturday?



UTEP Miners (1-3, 0-1 CUSA)

Trending: Down

Baby steps, Miners. Baby steps.



UTSA Roadrunners (1-3, 0-1 CUSA)

Trending: Down

Some UTSA fans are already clamoring for a coaching change and hiring a certain Texas high school coach (formerly of Baylor).



Vanderbilt Commodores (1-3, 0-2 SEC)

Trending: Down

At least the Commodores can still play for the state championship.



Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (2-2, 2-0 CUSA)

Trending: Down

Seriously, I had to look for Central Arkansas -- who beat them -- on a map.



Western Michigan Broncos (3-2, 1-0 MAC)

Trending: Up

The Broncos beat Georgia State by 47. The Panthers beat Tennessee by eight. Would Western Michigan beat the Volunteers by 55?



Wyoming Cowboys (4-1, 1-0 MWC)

Trending: Up

After upsetting Missouri 37-31 in their opener, the Cowboys are 2-0 vs. SEC teams in Laramie, Wyoming. The Pokes defeated Ole Miss 37-32 in 2004.

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