Ranking college football’s unbeatens, with an X factor for each

    Bill Connelly is a staff writer for ESPN.com.

No one wants to leave the party. Odds suggested we were going to lose someone from the list of college football unbeatens in Week 9, but it didn’t happen: TCU fended off West Virginia; Michigan and Georgia methodically pulled away from rivals Michigan State and Florida; Ohio State used a late surge to beat Penn State comfortably; and Tennessee just erased Kentucky in its best performance of the season.

Six is a pretty good number of unbeaten teams (Clemson had a bye last week) for this point in the season. In the College Football Playoff era, we are usually down to 4.6 power conference unbeatens by Week 10; there haven’t been more than six since 2015. With Georgia and Tennessee set to meet as top-five teams for the first time on Saturday, we’re guaranteed to lose at least one from this list in Week 10. Maybe someone else will decide it’s too late and head home. But the unbeaten train rolls into November, and it’s still relatively crowded.

Let’s rank unbeatens!

6. TCU

SP+ and FPI rankings: 10th and 14th

Odds of reaching 12-0, per SP+: 12.0% (last week: 5.6%)

What they did in Week 9: defeated West Virginia 41-31. Unable to consistently move through the Mountaineers’ defense from an efficiency standpoint, the Horned Frogs instead went over them with the deep ball. Max Duggan threw touchdown passes of 71, 55 and 29 yards, and TCU prevailed.

Week 10 opponent: Texas Tech (SP+ win probability: 79%). The Red Raiders are the ultimate wild card, having overachieved SP+ projections by 36.2 points (48-10 over WVU) and underachieved them by 25.0 points (45-17 loss to Baylor) in just the past two weeks. This looks like a comfortable TCU win on paper, but it depends on which Tech team shows up.

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