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College Football Playoff Takeaway – Alabama is out

College Football Playoff Takeaway – Alabama is out

so long Alabama.

The No. 6 Crimson Tide was in a precarious position from the start, and the overtime loss exciting LSU on Saturday night essentially eliminated two losses to Alabama from this year’s College Football Playoff. No, this isn’t 2019, and it’s a far cry from the cigar-smoking undefeated national champions led by Joe Burrow, but first-year LSU coach Brian Kelly has a chance to make a different kind of history, as the Tigers can become the first two-loss team in the CFP .

If they can win Georgiaof course.

A clear No. 1 emerged for the selection committee on Saturday afternoon, as Georgia should be alone atop the second CFP ranking on Tuesday after its convincing 27-13 victory against Tennessee. Week 10 was quite the revelation in the SEC, as Georgia completely outplayed the No. 1 ranked team to take the lead in the SEC East, and LSU now leads the SEC West. Had LSU run the table and won the SEC, it would have defeated Alabama and Georgia along the way, making up for a 24-23 season-opening loss. Florida State and its 40-13 loss to Tennessee.

That’s the most realistic scenario in which the SEC can still get two teams in the playoff — LSU hands Georgia its only loss in the SEC championship game and the selection committee takes both the Tigers and the second-place Bulldogs. The possibility of the committee taking three SEC teams no longer seems realistic, as Tennessee was beaten soundly in a game that was less competitive than the final score.

While there’s a good chance Alabama still wins the West, LSU is unlikely to lose again. ESPN’s FPI favors LSU to win both remaining SEC games vs Arkansas and Texas A&M — unranked teams that have a combined score of 8-10. With LSU holding the tiebreaker, Alabama would have to win and LSU would have to lose (conference games only). If LSU wins next week and Alabama beats Ole Miss, the Tigers are SEC West champions.

Behind Georgia, throw darts, see where they land. It wasn’t exactly a day for the Big Ten, though Ohio State and Michigan both won and Clemson flopped in spectacular fashion in the Lady. Clemson’s loss helped Pac-12 hopes, but TCU remains undefeated after five defeats Texas Tech.

Five teams entered Saturday with at least a 50% chance to advance to the CFP, according to the Allstate Playoff Predictor, and three of them — Tennessee, Alabama and Clemson — lost.

In addition to the split that occurred in the SEC, here’s how the rest of Saturday’s results will affect who will ultimately finish in the top four:


The Big Ten’s two-team dream continues to fade

In the first quarter Saturday, No. 2 Ohio State trailed 1-8 Northwestern 7-0. No. 5 Michigan trailed 4-5 Rutgers 17-14 at halftime. The Wolverines ended up winning in a landslide, defeating Rutgers 52-17. Ohio State won an ugly 21-7.

With Clemson’s loss at Notre Dame, it opens the door for both Ohio State and Michigan to be in the top four of the selection committee on Tuesday as both are still undefeated, but the loser of their regular-season rivalry game will have a tough time making a case for a top-1 finish. four. Notre Dame beating Clemson helped at Ohio State, as the Buckeyes’ season-opening win against the three-loss Irish looks better. It’s possible Notre Dame will go top 25 by committee this week. If Ohio State doesn’t beat Michigan, its best wins would come against Notre Dame and Penn State.

The strength of Michigan’s schedule was an issue in the committee room last week, and that won’t change without a win against the Buckeyes. Entering this week, Michigan had the worst strength of schedule (81st) of any of the teams currently in the CFP top 15. Without a win against Ohio State, Michigan’s best wins would be against Penn State and Illinois. It didn’t help Michigan or Ohio State that Illinois lost on Saturday, as the Big Ten Championship is now guaranteed to feature a team with at least two losses from the West Division.

If the team doesn’t win its conference title, it faces a much higher bar in the selection committee’s boardroom because CFP protocol says the group must “unequivocally” consider it one of the top four in the country. When comparing the Ohio State-Michigan loser to other one-loss teams, the panel would use tiebreakers that include conference titles, strength of schedule, head-to-head competition and results against common opponents. If Ohio State loses to Michigan and Clemson ends up as the one-loss ACC champion, the committee would consider a Buckeyes win against the Irish, but that would only be one factor.


Clemson, ACC hanging in the balance

Clemson’s convincing loss to Notre Dame on Saturday should open up the No. 4 seed this week, but it could also have long-term implications for the Tigers, even if they win the ACC. Clemson won the ACC’s Atlantic Division on Saturday Syracuse lost it Pittbut the ACC is now guaranteed to have a champion with at least one loss.

That opens the door for debate, and it’s possible the selection committee could reward the one-loss Pac-12 champion or Big 12 champion instead of the Tigers. OregonThe lone loss came in the season opener against defending national champion Georgia, which is slated to be the No. 1 seed this week. The Ducks have won every game since then in mostly convincing fashion. Oregon also has more opportunities to impress the selection committee than Clemson, as the Ducks still face off Utah on Nov. 19 and should face another ranked opponent in the Pac-12 title game if they pull through.

And as long as TCU remains undefeated, Clemson should be worried. One-loss TCU could have the edge against Clemson if both win their leagues, but that would be a much bigger debate (see TCU section below).

The committee awarded Clemson the No. 1 ranking in part because of its wins against NC StateSyracuse and Wake Forest — but the latter two suffered their third loss of the season. If one is a loss North Carolina wins the ACC — not a stretch considering how Clemson has struggled this season — the ACC would almost certainly be left out of the CFP because of the Tar Heels’ weak schedule (No. 88 on Saturday) and weak defense (they allowed Appalachian State 61 points and surrendered 28 to Georgia State.)


TCU got some much-needed help, but faces lingering concerns

The fear of Alabama being one loss behind the committee’s No. 1 ranking lasted an incredible week. The Frogs won’t have to worry about that now that the Tide have suffered their second loss of the season. Clemson’s loss at Notre Dame also helped TCU, as that’s one less undefeated team it looks up to. Here’s the problem: TCU’s wins don’t look so great now that everyone else in the Big 12 has at least three losses.

Oklahoma State has imploded. Kansas State lost it Texas. Oklahoma is a four-loss team. Kansas eligible! Still unranked. If TCU loses at Texas or at Baylor, there’s no guarantee they’ll finish in the top four as the Big 12’s one-loss champion, especially if two of the Pac-12’s three one-loss teams stay that way until the conference title game. The good news for the Frogs is that while they may not win the resume debate against Clemson, at least they’ve played consistently better than the Tigers. However, this did not help them in the first ranking. TCU should also be concerned about the slim chances the SEC has of two teams finishing in the top four.



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