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What No. 2 Iowa’s loss to Purdue means for the College Football Playoff

The Hawkeyes saw their chance at a special season end on their home turf.

Purdue v Iowa
Running back Ivory Kelly-Martin of the Iowa Hawkeyes is brought down during the first half by defensive end Kydran Jenkins of the Purdue Boilermakers at Kinnick Stadium on October 9, 2021 in Iowa City, Iowa.
Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

Chaos reigns once again in college football, a sport where no one is safe on any given weekend. In Week 7 of the 2021 season, the Iowa Hawkeyes were the latest team to find out the harsh realities of the College Football Playoff era. The Hawkeyes lost at home to the Purdue Boilermakers 24-7, greatly diminishing their chances at making the playoff this season.

Iowa now has the worst loss of the one-loss teams that would be considered contenders. The Hawkeyes looked like they would get blown out last week against Penn State before Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford left due to injury.

Iowa’s best path at the Playoff is to hope everything descends into true anarchy, no team is undefeated on the season. Add that to the Hawkeyes running the table and winning the Big Ten title, and you’ve probably got a recipe for a berth in the last four.

The Big Ten East will sort itself out amongst Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State. Those four teams are still in the mix for the playoff and now have some additional stock with Iowa’s loss, but the West is still under the control of Iowa. But Alabama, who suffered a loss to Texas A&M last week, might throw a wrench in any plans if they were to lose the SEC Championship Game to Georgia as well.

Cincinnati is the biggest beneficiary of Iowa’s misfortune. As a Group of 5 team, the Bearcats have the odds stacked against them regarding the College Football Playoff. But with another previously undefeated team going down, it opens the door for Cincinnati to set up a scenario where they’re in if the win out. Oklahoma State and Oklahoma will sort out the Big 12, but neither has looked as convincing as Cincinnati.

This is unfolding in a way Bearcats fans love, and the CFP committee loathes.