Eliminator Week 9: Duke, Pitt, Temple hit the dusty trail

It's never good when officiating mistakes decide a game's outcome.

It's really not good when officiating mistakes decide a game's outcome after officials review replays for nine minutes!

On Sunday, the ACC suspended the on-field officiating crew, as well as the replay official and communicator, for two games for botching Miami's wild kickoff return for a touchdown in a 30-27 victory over Duke on Saturday.

In a statement, the ACC said officials missed an illegal block in the back, failed to reverse a ruling that a Miami player's knee wasn't down (it was) when he lateraled and failed to penalize the Hurricanes after a player ran onto the field from the sideline during the improbable play.

Other than those mistakes, the officials got the play exactly right.

Unfortunately, it was Duke's second loss of the season. If we could overturn the outcome, we'd do it because the egregious errors might very well prevent the Blue Devils from winning the ACC's Coastal Division.

Alas, we can't change the result, so the Blue Devils join Pittsburgh and Temple as FBS teams eliminated from consideration for the four spots in the College Football Playoff. After nine weeks, 107 of 128 FBS teams have been eliminated, which leaves 21 teams in the hunt for the four spots.

Here's where the FBS stands after Week 9:

Jump to sections: Better luck next season | Previously eliminated | Who's in | Still in contention | On the fence

Better luck next season

Duke Blue Devils

Trending: EVEN

It only seems like Duke football coach David Cutcliffe is paying for all the favorable calls Coach K has received over the years.

Pittsburgh Panthers

Trending: DOWN

After winning four one-score games this season, the Panthers fell 26-19 to North Carolina on Thursday. Pitt is still ahead of schedule in coach Pat Narduzzi's first season.

Temple Owls

Trending: UP

By going nose-to-nose with Notre Dame in a 24-20 loss Saturday, the Owls proved they're no longer the hapless team they used to be. Temple can still win the American and earn a trip to a New Year's Six bowl game.

Previously eliminated

Eliminated in Week 1 (30 teams): Akron Zips, Arkansas State Red Wolves, Army Black Knights, Bowling Green Falcons, Central Michigan Chippewas, Charlotte 49ers (not bowl-eligible), Colorado Buffaloes, Eastern Michigan Eagles, Florida Atlantic Owls, Georgia Southern Eagles, Georgia State Panthers, Idaho Vandals, Kansas Jayhawks, Kent State Golden Flashes, Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns, Louisiana Monroe Warhawks, New Mexico State Aggies, SMU Mustangs, Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles, Texas San Antonio Roadrunners, Texas State Bobcats, Troy Trojans, Tulane Green Wave, UCF Knights, UNLV Rebels, UTEP Miners, Vanderbilt Commodores, Washington State Cougars, Western Michigan Broncos, Wyoming Cowboys

Eliminated in Week 2 (27 teams): Appalachian State Mountaineers, Arkansas Razorbacks, Ball State Cardinals, Buffalo Bulls, Cincinnati Bearcats, Colorado State Rams, East Carolina Pirates, Florida International Golden Panthers, Fresno State Bulldogs, Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Louisville Cardinals, Marshall Thundering Herd, Maryland Terrapins, Massachusetts Minutemen, Miami (OH) RedHawks, Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, Nevada Wolf Pack, New Mexico Lobos, North Texas Mean Green, Rice Owls, San Diego State Aztecs, San Jose State Spartans, South Alabama Jaguars, South Florida Bulls, Utah State Aggies, Virginia Cavaliers

Eliminated in Week 3 (14 teams): Air Force Falcons, Auburn Tigers, Boston College Eagles, Connecticut Huskies, Iowa State Cyclones, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Northern Illinois Huskies, Old Dominion Monarchs, Purdue Boilermakers, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, South Carolina Gamecocks, Texas Longhorns, Tulsa Golden Hurricane, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Eliminated in Week 4 (nine teams): Arizona State Sun Devils, BYU Cougars, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Ohio Bobcats, Oregon State Beavers, Tennessee Volunteers, Virginia Tech Hokies, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Washington Huskies

Eliminated in Week 5 (four teams): Arizona Wildcats, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Texas Tech Red Raiders

Eliminated in Week 6 (12 teams): Georgia Bulldogs, Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Kansas State Wildcats, Miami Hurricanes, Missouri Tigers, Navy Midshipmen, NC State Wolfpack, Oregon Ducks, Syracuse Orange, USC Trojans, West Virginia Mountaineers

Eliminated in Week 7 (6 teams): Boise State Broncos, Kentucky Wildcats, Northwestern Wildcats, Ole Miss Rebels, Penn State Nittany Lions, UCLA Bruins

Eliminated in Week 8 (2 teams): California Golden Bears, Texas A&M Aggies

Who's in

Finally, we'll have a better understanding of where the top contenders stand when the College Football Playoff selection committee releases its first Top 25 rankings Tuesday night. Who knows which teams are going to be in the top four in the beginning? A year ago, three SEC teams (Mississippi State, Auburn and Ole Miss) were ranked in the top four along with FSU, and not one of the aforementioned SEC teams ended up making the playoff. Based on on-field results and the eye test, I'll go with Clemson, Baylor, TCU and LSU for now. Obviously, the chances of both the Bears and Horned Frogs making the playoff are pretty slim.

Still in contention

Alabama Crimson Tide

Trending: EVEN

Hey, Crimson Tide, if there's a state championship title missing from your trophy case, I think I saw it in Oxford, Mississippi.

Baylor Bears

Trending: EVEN

Life after Seth Russell begins for the Bears on Thursday at Kansas State, as freshman quarterback Jarrett Stidham makes his first career start. I bet Art Briles would figure out how to score 40 points with 410-pound lineman LaQuan McGowan under center.

Clemson Tigers

Trending: EVEN

TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin gets a high-five from West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen, but an NC State assistant shoves Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson. Tigers coach Dabo Swinney is right: His team doesn't get enough respect.

Florida Gators

Trending: UP

Welcome to the club, Jim McElwain. In his first season, he became the fifth Florida coach to defeat a Mark Richt-coached Georgia team. It's not as exclusive as Augusta National Golf Club, however, as Ron Zook is a member.

Iowa Hawkeyes

Trending: UP

You say the Hawkeyes haven't beaten anybody good? Iowa has three victories over FBS teams that currently have winning records. That's as many such wins as No. 1 Ohio State has at this point. Overall, ESPN Stats & Info projects that Iowa plays the fourth-easiest schedule among FBS teams.

LSU Tigers

Trending: EVEN

How unbalanced is LSU's offense? According to ESPN Stats & Info, the Tigers run on 70 percent of their plays, the highest percentage of any non-triple option offense in FBS.

Michigan State Spartans

Trending: EVEN

The Spartans must have felt like Jason Bourne the past few weeks. Their improbable victory over Michigan on a 38-yard return of a muffed punt was pretty dramatic, but Georgia Tech's return of a blocked field goal to beat Florida State was better, and Miami's ridiculous kick return to, ahem, defeat Duke might have been the best. Like the Bourne trilogy, the original didn't seem quite as good as the sequels.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Trending: EVEN

After defeating Temple, Notre Dame has a 28 percent chance to win out, which is the best percentage of any one-loss Power 5 team, according to ESPN Stats & Info. A Nov. 28 trip to No. 9 Stanford is the most difficult remaining obstacle.

Ohio State Buckeyes

Trending: EVEN

Better call Saul. Buckeyes quarterback J.T. Barrett was cited for driving while impaired Saturday morning, and he was immediately suspended from playing in next week's game against Minnesota. He is eligible to return for a road trip to Illinois the following week.

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Trending: EVEN

There's no place like the road for the Pokes, who have won five straight games away from home and 25 of their past 35 road battles.

Stanford Cardinal

Trending: EVEN

Who didn't know Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan would win a game with his legs this season? Stanford's 30-28 victory Saturday at Washington State was the 31st win of Hogan's career, which ties him with Andrew Luck for most in school history and ties him with Michigan State's Connor Cook for most among active FBS quarterbacks.

TCU Horned Frogs

Trending: UP

Remember when we were worried about TCU's defense? The Horned Frogs held West Virginia to 327 yards of offense -- its lowest output since 2013 -- and threw a shutout for three quarters in a 40-10 win Thursday.

On the fence

Florida State Seminoles

Trending: UP

Is there a quarterback controversy at FSU? Backup Sean Maguire threw for 348 yards with three touchdowns Saturday in a 45-21 win over Syracuse. Starter Everett Golson missed the game with a concussion. Who starts in next week's showdown at No. 3 Clemson? Maguire led the Seminoles to a 23-17 win over the Tigers last season, when starter Jameis Winston was suspended for the game.

Houston Cougars

Trending: UP

The Cougars blasted Vanderbilt 34-0 on Saturday. They beat the Commodores by 17 points more than Georgia, 23 more than Ole Miss and 25 more than South Carolina. And Missouri lost to Vanderbilt. Go SEC!

Memphis Tigers

Trending: EVEN

It might be the biggest month in Memphis football since Reggie White was chasing quarterbacks for the Showboats three decades ago. The undefeated Tigers host Navy on Saturday, followed by road trips to No. 18 Houston and No. 23 Temple.

Michigan Wolverines

Trending: EVEN

Compared to Minnesota's coaching staff in the final seconds of the Gophers' 29-26 loss to the Wolverines on Saturday, ACC officials looked competent.

North Carolina Tar Heels

Trending: UP

Since losing to South Carolina on opening night, the Tar Heels have won seven games in a row -- their longest win streak since 1997. But come on, UNC's schedule (two FCS opponents!) makes Iowa's slate look difficult.

Oklahoma Sooners

Trending: UP

Once Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer retires at the end of the season, Oklahoma's Bob Stoops and Iowa's Kirk Ferentz will be the longest-tenured coaches in FBS. Both were hired at their respective schools in 1998; one of them has won a conference title in the past 10 seasons.

Toledo Rockets

Trending: EVEN

Move aside NCIS and Neil Patrick Harris. #MACtion is about to take over again, and the Rockets are scheduled to play Tuesday night each of the next three weeks. After hosting Northern Illinois this week, the Rockets play road games at Central Michigan and Bowling Green.

Utah Utes

Trending: EVEN

Serious question: Are the Utes still playing football? Since losing to USC 42-24 two weeks ago, it almost seems like they've fallen off the face of the earth. Utah is right where coach Kyle Whittingham wants it to be: flying under the radar and lurking in the Pac-12 South.

Wisconsin Badgers

Trending: EVEN

Full disclosure: We've been waiting a few weeks for the Badgers to lose so we can eliminate them from the playoff because they don't have much of a chance of actually making it. Unfortunately, they play in the Big Ten West, where it's pretty difficult to lose.