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College Football Playoff Picture Update: TCU, Michigan survive

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at Baylor Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

What appeared to be a special start to our college football Saturday, turned out to be pretty chalky. Both TCU and Michigan were on the ropes, but both found incredible ways to survive.

No. 4 TCU was down 28-20 on the road at Baylor with time ticking under three minutes. They forced a three and out, then Max Duggan and company quickly worked their way down the field.

Fresh out of timeouts, TCU pulled off a fire drill of a field goal attempt, rushing the entire unit onto the field and connecting for the win. It was pure chaos — college football at its finest.

The win keeps TCU’s undefeated season alive, now with just Iowa State and the Big 12 title game left. Sonny Dykes just keeps finding a way, and now finds himself likely two wins away from a College Football Playoff berth.

As the Horned Frogs were pulling off their miraculous comeback, No. 3 Michigan found themselves in big trouble. Illinois went up 17-10, and based on what the Michigan offense had shown for most of the day, scoring a touchdown to match that score seemed like a tall task.

However, as it turns out, they didn’t need to. The Wolverines put together back to back field goal drives to slash the lead down to 17-16, and then came up with a three and out with under two minutes to play. After exhausting all of their timeouts, Michigan got the ball back at the 50 yard line.

They converted a big fourth down to stay alive with just seconds to play, then booted another through the uprights to score a 19-17 win.

Clearly, none of this broke Tennessee’s way late. The Volunteers sit at No. 5 in the rankings, and could have essentially locked up a spot in the final four with a Baylor or Illinois win today. That didn’t happen, but there’s still an opportunity today.

You want to talk about eye test? Both teams in front of Tennessee just struggled with inferior opponents. Baylor was 6-4 while Illinois was 7-3 entering the day. South Carolina sits at 6-4 on the year. Tennessee winning convincingly tonight would do a lot for any head to head argument that the Volunteers might face in the coming weeks.

Without a chance to play for a conference title, Tennessee has to make their closing argument tonight and next week against an improving Vanderbilt team. While the results today weren’t what they could have been, opportunity still knocks for Tennessee in Columbia.