Is the best thing for the SEC for Alabama to lose to LSU?
The craziest thing that could happen for the playoff at this point would be for Alabama to lose to LSU this weekend.
That would create complete chaos for the playoff committee. The Crimson Tide have dominated their opponents so thoroughly that they have been considered a lock for the playoff. Alabama's schedule thus far has not been very difficult, but the Tides closest game this season was a 22 point win against Texas A&M. Their average scoring margin is +38.2 which is first in the nation.
But what if Alabama were to lose to LSU? That would mean LSU and Georgia would likely face off in the SEC Championship game for a spot in the playoff. Alabama would be 11-1 and not in the conference championship game, which is exactly where it sat last year before going on to win the national title.
However, Notre Dame wasn’t in the mix last year and the Big Ten champion had two losses. Would Alabama’s dominant squad be left out? Not likely. Especially after Ohio State was ranked No. 10 in the first playoff rankings.
The ironic thing is you could make the argument that the best thing that could happen for the SEC is for Alabama to lose to LSU. The only situation where the SEC could get two teams in the playoff is for Alabama to lose to the Tigers.
Since both Georgia and LSU already have one loss, there is no way both of those teams can make the playoff. But if LSU and Georgia face each other in Atlanta for the SEC championship game, one team is leaving as 12-1 and the SEC championship. Meanwhile, Alabama is sitting at home with their only loss being to a team who would be in the SEC champion. SEC fans may not realize it, but this is probably the best thing that could happen for the conference.
What the heck is going on in the Pac-12 South?
(ESPN 30 for 30 voice) What if I told you that through Week 9 of the college football season Utah was winning the Pac-12 South with two conference losses and every other member of the division had three losses?
Yes, you heard that correct. There is a five-way tie for second place in the Pac-12 South right now. Technically, Arizona and USC are ahead because they are 3-3 in conference and Colorado, Arizona State and UCLA are 2-3, but that is only because they have played one less conference game.
Before the season everyone kind of just thought that USC would win this division. Not because USC is really good but because who the heck else was going to win it?
The Trojans now are sitting at 4-4 after their 38-35 loss at home to Arizona State.
Your guess is as good as mine for what is going to play out in that division. Utah has three remaining conference games against ASU, Oregon and Colorado. It is possible the Utes win all three of those games and go on to face the winner of the Pac-12 North November 30th at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara. I could also see them losing all three of those games. The way things have played out so far in this division, you should expect the unexpected.
Is Northwestern going to win the Big Ten West? What does that mean for Michigan?
After Northwestern’s consecutive losses to Duke and Akron, I can tell you there were not a lot of people who thought the Wildcats would compete for a conference championship. But here were are in late October and Northwestern is in the driver’s seat in the West division.
Following Northwestern’s close 20-17 loss to Michigan, the Wildcats have won four straight including their most recent 31-17 victory over No. 20 Wisconsin. Northwestern at one point lead the game 31-10 and were never really threatened in the second half.
In addition to giving Wisconsin their second conference loss, Iowa lost to Penn State, meaning the Nittany Lions have two conference losses. Michigan State also beat Purdue 23-13, giving the Boilermakers their second conference loss. In other words, last weekend went about as well as Northwestern could have possibly asked for.
The Wildcats now sit alone on top of the West division with four of their five toughest conference games behind them (Purdue, Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State.) NU faces No. 3 Notre Dame this upcoming week but since the Irish are not in the Big Ten it won’t carry any conference ramifications.
After they play Notre Dame, the Wildcats travel to Iowa where the Big Ten West division will likely be decided. If Northwestern wins, it all but assured the will be headed to Indianapolis. If they lose, thing become much less sure and would be settled by a series of complicated tiebreakers.
Another question that arises from this situation is how this affects the conference’s chances at getting into the playoff. If Michigan or Ohio State were to face Wisconsin or Iowa in the championship game, it would probably be looked on more favorably by the college football playoff committee. However, if a 11-1 Ohio State or Michigan were to beat Northwestern it may not help them out as much.
Georgia is right back where it started.
Georgia completely laid an egg a couple of weeks ago in their 36-16 loss to LSU.
But after the Bulldogs' dominating 36-17 win over Florida last week they are right back where they started. Georgia completely controls its destiny going forward. Granted, it is a hard path, but it is in their hands nonetheless. Georgia faces No. 11 Kentucky this week, then the week after that they play Auburn. Lastly, they will have to beat either LSU or Alabama in the SEC championship game.
In some ways, this is the benefit of playing in the SEC. Sure, the gauntlet can get ridiculous sometimes. Georgia played LSU and Florida in consecutive games and now have to face No. 11 Kentucky. But at the same time, that gives them an opportunity to quickly avenge a loss they may get.
A lot of other teams aren’t afforded that opportunity in their conference. One loss in the SEC is far from a death sentence. Both Georgia and Alabama made the playoff last year with one loss in conference.
In other words, Georgia is right where it want to be, loss to LSU withstanding.
With the Texas loss, is the Big 12 eliminated from the playoff?
Just when everyone thought that Texas might actually be back, their ugly side emerged again.
The Longhorns lost last week to Oklahoma State, who was 4-3 entering the week. Texas was trailing 31-14 at half before making a late push.
When Texas went down, so did the Big 12’s best chance to have a team in the playoff. After beating Oklahoma, Texas was extremely well positioned to make the playoff despite their loss in the first game to Maryland. With two losses, the Longhorns are now eliminated.
However, Oklahoma is still alive in the debate. Their schedule is not all that impressive, with their best win being 52-27 against TCU. But by virtue of being 11-1, the Big 12 champion and being Oklahoma, it will be in the conversation.
The Sooners have also been winning their games handedly for the most part. Their average margin of victory is +23.2, good for fourth in the nation.
The other thing OU has going for them is they still have at least two big games left. Their last game of the season is against No. 12 West Virginia and they also have the Big 12 championship game which is between the top two teams in the conference based on record. That will probably be either Texas or West Virginia.
I have a hard time believing that the Sooners will be chosen over a one loss Ohio State or Michigan, but it is certainly possible that a shift of some sorts could occur and Oklahoma could find themselves in the playoff.