A two-loss workforce has by no means made the College Football Playoff, however at No. 5 this week, LSU (9-2) inched one step nearer to creating historical past.
In essentially the most notable resolution from an in any other case predictable prime six, the CFP choice committee deemed the Tigers a notch above one-loss USC, which is coming off its greatest win of the season, a 48-45 highway victory in opposition to No. 18 UCLA. The Trojans even have a CFP High 25 win in opposition to No. 21 Oregon State, however the committee bumped LSU up one spot after Tennessee misplaced 63-38 to still-unranked South Carolina and dropped from No. 5 to No. 10.
That very same Tennessee workforce beat LSU 40-13 in Baton Rouge.
LSU, although, has wins in opposition to No. 7 Alabama and No. 20 Ole Miss, and the 32-31 additional time victory in opposition to the Tide on Nov. 5 is clearly carrying weight within the room, together with the very fact the Tigers have clinched the SEC West and can face Georgia within the SEC championship sport. With LSU on the bubble, there ought to be little doubt the Tigers can end within the prime 4 on Choice Day on Dec. 4 in the event that they beat Texas A&M on Saturday and Georgia within the SEC championship.
“It came up over and over again to make sure, and there’s reasons for both teams, but the committee at the end of the day saw the wins over Alabama and Mississippi as stronger than the wins over UCLA and Oregon State,” choice committee chair Boo Corrigan mentioned. “One area we still have questions on is the strength of the defense of USC, and looking at it in its entirety, we believe that LSU deserved to be ranked 5 and SC 6.”
The potential of LSU successful the SEC ought to concern each different contender — particularly the loser of the Ohio State-Michigan sport Saturday — as a result of it sustains the potential for two SEC groups ending within the prime 4.
Here is what the fourth of six rankings means to the most important rivalry video games of Week 13, ranked so as of their biggest influence:
Anger Index | 12-team bracket | Résumés |
1. Michigan at Ohio State
If Michigan wins: The Wolverines win the Large Ten East and place themselves because the Large Ten’s prime playoff contender. Ohio State would want Georgia to run the desk and beat LSU, eliminating the potential for two SEC groups (it is occurred twice earlier than: 2017 and 2021), and it will assist the Buckeyes tremendously if Notre Dame beats USC and knocks out the Pac-12. Ohio State could be banking on wins in opposition to Notre Dame and Penn State to impress the choice committee to get in on the expense of a one-loss ACC champion Clemson. Ohio State has 5 wins over present FPI top-40 groups — by a mean of twenty-two.4 PPG.
If Ohio State wins: The Buckeyes would win the Large Ten East and emerge because the league’s prime playoff contender. Michigan would want its win in opposition to No. 11 Penn State and sport movie to trump a Energy 5 convention champion. Very like Ohio State, Michigan wants Georgia to win the SEC and get rid of LSU and the potential for two SEC groups, and it wants USC to lose to Notre Dame and get rid of the Pac-12. Michigan’s greatest downside is its nonconference schedule (Colorado State, Hawai’i and UConn), which is the second weakest within the FBS. Proper now, although, Michigan is No. 4 in ESPN’s power of report metric, whereas Clemson is No. 6. If Michigan loses, it will have 4 wins in opposition to groups ranked at present within the prime 40 of FPI (PSU, Illinois, Iowa and Maryland) and two of these 4 wins have been by one possession.
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2. Notre Dame at USC
If Notre Dame wins: The Pac-12 is eradicated from the playoff as a result of its champion would have at the very least two losses, and USC is already wanting up at a two-loss workforce. A Notre Dame win would additionally assist Ohio State’s résumé, giving the Buckeyes one other small increase in case they do not beat Michigan.
If USC wins: The Pac-12’s hopes would stay robust, and USC may leap LSU and crack the highest 4 within the committee’s fifth rating after the loser of Ohio State-Michigan falls out. Even when USC wins the Pac-12, although, and ends its season with three straight wins in opposition to CFP High 25 opponents, there may nonetheless be a debate. USC wants Georgia to run the desk and get rid of LSU, together with the potential for two SEC groups within the prime 4. One of the best-case situation for USC could be for Ohio State to win the Large Ten, as a result of the Trojans usually tend to win a résumé battle in opposition to Michigan as runner-up. With Notre Dame as a typical opponent with Ohio State, that might get tough relying on how the sport performs out. If Georgia, Ohio State and TCU are in, one-loss USC appears to have separated itself from one-loss Clemson within the committee assembly room. The query could be if the opponents of their respective convention championship video games change that notion, and if the committee is concerned extra by Clemson’s common offense, or USC’s porous protection.
“I think we’re looking for a stronger showing by the defense,” Corrigan mentioned. “As a committee, a more dominant win in those situations to continue to move forward.”
3. South Carolina at Clemson
If Clemson wins: The Tigers will keep away from elimination however stay a fringe CFP workforce in want of assist past an ACC title. No workforce ranked decrease than No. 7 at this level within the season has ever made the playoff. Clemson’s win in opposition to No. 16 Florida State continues to assist the Tigers, and North Carolina dropped solely 4 spots after its dreadful loss to Georgia Tech on Saturday. It additionally helped Clemson that Louisville popped into the rating this week at No. 25. Clemson may end the season with three wins in opposition to CFP High 25 groups however will likely be dinged by the committee for its 35-14 loss to Notre Dame in South Bend. If Clemson finishes within the prime 4, that 21-point deficit could be the third-largest regular-season loss by a CFP semifinalist. The loss to Notre Dame, although, may very well be one issue that retains the Tigers out as a result of the committee additionally compares frequent opponents, and USC and Ohio State additionally could have performed Notre Dame. As a way to have a sensible probability, Clemson must run the desk and hope for some mixture or all the following: a TCU loss, Georgia to run the desk and win the SEC, and a two-loss Pac-12 champion.
The committee has some questions on what it sees from Clemson’s offense.
“Will Shipley from Clemson is a dynamic player for them,” Corrigan mentioned. “I think they’ve had maybe a little bit of ups and downs with regards to the quarterback position that we’ve talked about in the room.”
If South Carolina wins: The ACC is eradicated. Clemson and Coastal Division champion North Carolina would every enter the convention title sport with two losses, and neither of them has performed nicely sufficient or has the résumé to compensate for that.
Through the first few rankings reveals, a typical chorus is obtainable: These rankings do not actually imply something.
Properly, at this level, that notion can largely be forgotten as a result of whereas there’s nonetheless a lot to be determined, there’s additionally little precedent for a workforce not already within the prime 4 or simply exterior of it making the playoff. And given the dearth of serious shake-ups to the rankings with no workforce dropping (see: USC stays behind LSU this week regardless of its massive win over UCLA), the committee has largely determined who it thinks is greatest, and some groups have an actual motive to argue with these choices.
1. Clemson Tigers (No. 8)
Let’s perform a little blind résumé overview right here.
Workforce A: 10-1, No. 6 power of report, No. 56 power of schedule, three wins by a TD or extra over groups ranked within the prime half of FBS, two wins vs. at present ranked groups, loss to a top-15 opponent.
Workforce B: 10-1, No. 9 power of report, No. 58 power of schedule, one win by a TD or extra over groups ranked within the prime half of FBS, two wins vs. at present ranked groups, loss to a top-15 opponent.
Extraordinarily comparable profiles, however you’d give Workforce A the slight edge, proper? Properly, Workforce A is Clemson. Workforce B is USC, ranked two spots greater and much better positioned to make the playoff if the established order largely holds.
Why is Clemson dinged in a approach the Trojans aren’t? Properly, USC misplaced by some extent to Utah, which was ranked on the time. Clemson misplaced by 21 to a Notre Dame workforce that was not ranked on the time. Context issues.
Here is some further context: Clemson surrendered 21 factors to Notre Dame on two turnovers and a blocked punt. USC was truly +1 in turnover margin in opposition to Utah (although it did not flip into factors). There is a real talent concerned in turnover margin, however there’s additionally a number of luck and situational variations concerned, too. Play a sport freed from turnovers and mainly Clemson performed Notre Dame about the identical approach USC performed Utah. However, in fact, these turnovers occurred, and a 21-point loss remains to be worse than a one-point defeat. But when we’re splitting hairs right here, it is value contemplating all of the context, not simply the surface-level metrics.
In fact, there’s one other subject with Clemson that pundits have mentioned: The Tigers aren’t doing something notably nicely. USC’s offense is astounding, even when the protection is a multitude. Clemson is … wonderful. There’s little or no to get enthusiastic about — even when there’s nothing to particularly critique both.
So let’s take a look at one other comparability:
Workforce A: 10-1, 5-1 vs. FPI prime 50, 36.5 factors per sport and 19.7 factors per sport allowed vs. FBS foes, 48.7% offensive success charge vs. FBS, 62.7% defensive success charge, 5 wins by greater than a landing.
Workforce B: 10-1, 5-1 vs. FPI prime 50, 34.7 factors per sport and 20.8 factors per sport allowed vs. FBS foes, 47.2% offensive success charge vs. FBS, 62.6% defensive success charge, seven wins by greater than a landing
Who’s been the extra spectacular workforce? Possibly a slight edge for Workforce A, however each fairly evenly matched, proper? Properly, Workforce B is that this yr’s Clemson workforce. Workforce A is Clemson by means of 11 video games in 2016, when the Tigers went on to win a nationwide championship.
Clemson may not be nice at something in the meanwhile, nevertheless it’s fairly good at almost all the things. And Clemson’s loss would possibly look ugly, however when the Tigers have prevented turnovers, they’ve dealt with their competitors with ease.
And but, right here they’re, ranked No. 8 — a rating that appears to come back with a message from the committee. Clemson won’t solely have to win out, nevertheless it must have a number of different issues go proper if it desires to make the playoff. No workforce ranked exterior the highest seven at this level has ever made the ultimate 4.
2. Tennessee Volunteers (No. 10)
When South Carolina hangs 63 on you, there’s actually no method to put a bow on that and make it look good. It was a brutally dangerous loss for the Volunteers. However the committee is meant to keep away from recency bias and take a look at the whole lot of the season, not simply what occurred final week. And that brings us to this necessary level: Tennessee, LSU and Alabama all have two losses. Tennessee has wins over each LSU and Alabama. Alabama and LSU are each ranked forward of Tennessee.
If the committee’s level is that Tennessee was overrated earlier than and the South Carolina sport revealed some beforehand unknown flaw, then OK. Dropping the Vols is sensible. However then the losses suffered by LSU and Alabama by the hands of Tennessee ought to be reevaluated, too.
There isn’t any absolute math, no good method for creating playoff rankings. However the obvious and best metric is head-to-head efficiency, as a result of for all we will say we predict we find out about groups, nothing issues greater than what truly occurs on the sphere. So when all else is equal, head-to-head ought to be the final word line of demarcation. As a substitute, the committee has determined that one dangerous loss to South Carolina is extra vital than head-to-head wins over two groups it ranks greater.
3. Washington Huskies (No. 13)
That case we simply made for Tennessee? Copy and paste that right here. Washington has the identical report as Oregon, beat Oregon head-to-head, and whereas it additionally has a worse total loss, it has the higher total résumé.
4. Coastal Carolina, Troy and UTSA (all unranked)
There isn’t any good argument for a Group of 5 workforce to make the playoff this season, as there was in most previous years. However the race for a New 12 months’s Six bid stays broad open. The one downside is, the committee has mainly determined that whoever wins the American Athletic Convention deserves the bid, wholly ignoring UTSA (8-2 with solely a two-point loss to Houston and a loss to No. 23 Texas).
Maybe the lackluster efficiency of Convention USA explains that oversight, however the Solar Belt has truly been fairly good this season, and but Coastal Carolina (9-1) and Troy (9-2 with a four-point loss on a last-second Hail Mary to Appalachian State and a highway loss to No. 20 Ole Miss) get no love both. There isn’t any clear-cut greatest workforce exterior the Energy 5 this yr, nevertheless it looks like what may simply be a six- or seven-team race for the New 12 months’s Six spot is being boiled right down to a few video games deciding the American as an alternative.
5. Minnesota (unranked)
We’re shedding no tears for the Gophers. Lose to Iowa, and earn no pity. That is a easy rule. However it’s value mentioning that Minnesota is 7-4, ranked No. 17 in SP+ and No. 21 in FPI. No unranked workforce in both metric ranks greater. Then once more, do not lose to Iowa.
How a 12-team playoff would look
Everybody with the ability to develop the College Football Playoff desires the sphere to develop to 12 groups in time for the 2024 season.
However at present, enlargement is scheduled to start in 2026. So whereas discussions proceed on the best way to transfer up the timeline, we’re having a look at how a 12-team playoff would look at present primarily based on the already-determined mannequin launched by the commissioners and presidents.
The sphere will likely be composed of the choice committee’s six highest-ranked convention champions and its subsequent six highest-ranked groups. The 4 highest-ranked convention champions will earn the highest seeds and a first-round bye. The opposite eight groups will play within the first spherical, with the upper seeds internet hosting the decrease seeds on campus or at one other web site of their selection.
Here is what the playoff would seem like if the 12-team format have been in place at present:
Seeds with byes
2. Ohio State
(convention champs in daring)
11. Penn State
First-round video games
No. 12 Tulane at No. 5 Michigan
No. 11 Penn State at No. 6 LSU
No. 10 Tennessee at No. 7 Alabama
No. 9 Oregon at No. 8 Clemson
Quarterfinal video games
No. 9 Oregon-No. 8 Clemson winner vs. No. 1 Georgia
No. 10 Tennessee-No. 7 Alabama winner vs. No. 2 Ohio State
No. 11 Penn State-No. 6 LSU winner vs. No. 3 TCU
No. 12 Tulane-No. 5 Michigan winner vs. No. 4 USC
No. 1 Georgia
Report: 11-0 | SOS: 43 | SOR: No. 2
Greatest win: Nov. 5 vs. Tennessee
Final playoff look: 2022 CFP Nationwide Championship: No. 3 Georgia 33, No. 1 Alabama 18
No. 2 Ohio State
Report: 11-0 | SOS: 54 | SOR: No. 3
Greatest win: Oct. 29 at Penn State, 44-31
Final playoff look: 2021 CFP Nationwide Championship: No. 1 Alabama 52, No. 3 Ohio State 24
No. 3 Michigan
Report: 11-0 | SOS: 74 | SOR: 4
Greatest win: Oct. 15 vs. Penn State, 41-17
Final playoff look: 2022 playoff semifinal on the Orange Bowl: No. 3 Georgia 34, No. 2 Michigan 11
No. 4 TCU
Report: 11-0 | SOS: 35 | SOR: 1
Greatest win: Nov. 12 at Texas, 17-10
Final playoff look: By no means
No. 5 LSU
Report: 9-2 | SOS: 15 | SOR: 8
Greatest win: Nov. 5 vs. Alabama, 32-31
Final playoff look: 2020 CFP Nationwide Championship: No. 1 LSU 42, No. 3 Clemson 25
No. 6 USC
Report: 10-1 | SOS: 58 | SOR: 9
Greatest win: Nov. 19 at UCLA, 48-45
Final playoff look: By no means
No. 8 Clemson
Report: 10-1 | SOS: 56 | SOR: 6
Greatest win: Oct. 15 at Florida State, 34-28
Final playoff look: 2021 playoff semifinal on the Sugar Bowl: No. 3 Ohio State 49, No. 2 Clemson 28