A two-loss crew 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 choice from an in any other case predictable high 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 street victory in opposition to No. 18 UCLA. The Trojans even have a CFP Top 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 similar Tennessee crew 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 time beyond regulation 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 high 4 on Selection 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 stated. “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 risk of LSU profitable 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 opportunity of two SEC groups ending within the high 4.
Here’s what the fourth of six rankings means to the most important rivalry video games of Week 13, ranked so as of their best impression:
Anger Index | 12-team bracket | Résumés |
1. Michigan at Ohio State
If Michigan wins: The Wolverines win the Big Ten East and place themselves because the Big Ten’s high playoff contender. Ohio State would wish Georgia to run the desk and beat LSU, eliminating the opportunity of two SEC groups (it is occurred twice earlier than: 2017 and 2021), and it could assist the Buckeyes tremendously if Notre Dame beats USC and knocks out the Pac-12. Ohio State can 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 Big Ten East and emerge because the league’s high playoff contender. Michigan would wish its win in opposition to No. 11 Penn State and sport movie to trump a Power 5 convention champion. Much like Ohio State, Michigan wants Georgia to win the SEC and get rid of LSU and the opportunity of two SEC groups, and it wants USC to lose to Notre Dame and get rid of the Pac-12. Michigan’s largest downside is its nonconference schedule (Colorado State, Hawai’i and UConn), which is the second weakest within the FBS. Right now, although, Michigan is No. 4 in ESPN’s power of document metric, whereas Clemson is No. 6. If Michigan loses, it could have 4 wins in opposition to groups ranked at present within the high 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 not less than two losses, and USC is already trying up at a two-loss crew. 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 sturdy, 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 if USC wins the Pac-12, although, and ends its season with three straight wins in opposition to CFP Top 25 opponents, there may nonetheless be a debate. USC wants Georgia to run the desk and get rid of LSU, together with the opportunity of two SEC groups within the high 4. The best-case state of affairs for USC can be for Ohio State to win the Big 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 would get difficult 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 can 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 stated. “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 crew in want of assist past an ACC title. No crew 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 Top 25 groups however shall be dinged by the committee for its 35-14 loss to Notre Dame in South Bend. If Clemson finishes within the high 4, that 21-point deficit can be the third-largest regular-season loss by a CFP semifinalist. The loss to Notre Dame, although, might be one issue that retains the Tigers out as a result of the committee additionally compares widespread opponents, and USC and Ohio State additionally could have performed Notre Dame. In order to have a sensible probability, Clemson must run the desk and hope for some mixture or the entire 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 stated. “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.
During the primary few rankings reveals, a typical chorus is obtainable: These rankings do not actually imply something.
Well, 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 crew not already within the high 4 or simply outdoors of it making the playoff. And given the dearth of great shakeups to the rankings with out a crew shedding (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 cause to argue with these selections.
1. Clemson Tigers (No. 8)
Let’s perform a little blind résumé assessment right here.
Team A: 10-1, No. 6 power of document, No. 56 power of schedule, three wins by a TD or extra over groups ranked within the high half of FBS, two wins vs. at present ranked groups, loss to a top-15 opponent.
Team B: 10-1, No. 9 power of document, No. 58 power of schedule, one win by a TD or extra over groups ranked within the high half of FBS, two wins vs. at present ranked groups, loss to a top-15 opponent.
Extremely related profiles, however you’d give Team A the slight edge, proper? Well, Team A is Clemson. Team 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? Well, USC misplaced by a degree to Utah, which was ranked on the time. Clemson misplaced by 21 to a Notre Dame crew that was not ranked on the time. Context issues.
Here’s 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’s a real ability concerned in turnover margin, however there’s additionally quite a lot of luck and situational variations concerned, too. Play a sport freed from turnovers and principally Clemson performed Notre Dame about the identical approach USC performed Utah. But, after all, these turnovers occurred, and a 21-point loss continues to be worse than a one-point defeat. But if we’re splitting hairs right here, it is price contemplating all of the context, not simply the surface-level metrics.
Of course, there’s one other concern with Clemson that pundits have mentioned: The Tigers aren’t doing something significantly nicely. USC’s offense is astounding, even when the protection is a multitude. Clemson is … fantastic. 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:
Team A: 10-1, 5-1 vs. FPI high 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.
Team B: 10-1, 5-1 vs. FPI high 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 crew? Maybe a slight edge for Team A, however each fairly evenly matched, proper? Well, Team B is that this 12 months’s Clemson crew. Team A is Clemson by 11 video games in 2016, when the Tigers went on to win a nationwide championship.
Clemson won’t be nice at something for the time being, but it surely’s fairly good at practically every part. 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 return with a message from the committee. Clemson won’t solely have to win out, but it surely must have quite a lot of different issues go proper if it desires to make the playoff. No crew ranked outdoors 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 solution to put a bow on that and make it look good. It was a brutally unhealthy loss for the Volunteers. But the committee is meant to keep away from recency bias and have a look at the whole thing of the season, not simply what occurred final week. And that brings us to this vital 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 smart. But then the losses suffered by LSU and Alabama by the hands of Tennessee ought to be reevaluated, too.
There’s no absolute math, no excellent components for creating playoff rankings. But the obvious and best metric is head-to-head efficiency, as a result of for all we are able to say we predict we find out about groups, nothing issues greater than what truly occurs on the sector. So when all else is equal, head-to-head ought to be the last word line of demarcation. Instead, the committee has determined that one unhealthy 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 document as Oregon, beat Oregon head-to-head, and whereas it additionally has a worse general loss, it has the higher general résumé.
4. Coastal Carolina, Troy and UTSA (all unranked)
There’s no good argument for a Group of 5 crew to make the playoff this season, as there was in most previous years. But the race for a New Year’s Six bid stays broad open. The solely downside is, the committee has principally determined that whoever wins the American Athletic Conference deserves the bid, wholly ignoring UTSA (8-2 with solely a two-point loss to Houston and a loss to No. 23 Texas).
Perhaps the lackluster efficiency of Conference USA explains that oversight, however the Sun 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 street loss to No. 20 Ole Miss) get no love both. There’s no clear-cut greatest crew outdoors the Power 5 this 12 months, but it surely seems like what may simply be a six- or seven-team race for the New Year’s Six spot is being boiled right down to a few video games deciding the American as a substitute.
5. Minnesota (unranked)
We’re shedding no tears for the Gophers. Lose to Iowa, and earn no pity. That’s a easy rule. But it is price mentioning that Minnesota is 7-4, ranked No. 17 in SP+ and No. 21 in FPI. No unranked crew in both metric ranks greater. Then once more, do not lose to Iowa.
How a 12-team playoff would look
Everyone with the facility to develop the College Football Playoff desires the sector to develop to 12 groups in time for the 2024 season.
But at present, growth is scheduled to start in 2026. So whereas discussions proceed on learn how to transfer up the timeline, we’re having a look at how a 12-team playoff would look at this time based mostly on the already-determined mannequin launched by the commissioners and presidents.
The subject shall 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 different eight groups will play within the first spherical, with the upper seeds internet hosting the decrease seeds on campus or at one other website of their alternative.
Here’s what the playoff would appear to be if the 12-team format have been in place at this time:
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
Record: 11-0 | SOS: 43 | SOR: No. 2
Biggest win: Nov. 5 vs. Tennessee
Last playoff look: 2022 CFP National Championship: No. 3 Georgia 33, No. 1 Alabama 18
No. 2 Ohio State
Record: 11-0 | SOS: 54 | SOR: No. 3
Biggest win: Oct. 29 at Penn State, 44-31
Last playoff look: 2021 CFP National Championship: No. 1 Alabama 52, No. 3 Ohio State 24
No. 3 Michigan
Record: 11-0 | SOS: 74 | SOR: 4
Biggest win: Oct. 15 vs. Penn State, 41-17
Last playoff look: 2022 playoff semifinal on the Orange Bowl: No. 3 Georgia 34, No. 2 Michigan 11
No. 4 TCU
Record: 11-0 | SOS: 35 | SOR: 1
Biggest win: Nov. 12 at Texas, 17-10
Last playoff look: Never
No. 5 LSU
Record: 9-2 | SOS: 15 | SOR: 8
Biggest win: Nov. 5 vs. Alabama, 32-31
Last playoff look: 2020 CFP National Championship: No. 1 LSU 42, No. 3 Clemson 25
No. 6 USC
Record: 10-1 | SOS: 58 | SOR: 9
Biggest win: Nov. 19 at UCLA, 48-45
Last playoff look: Never
No. 8 Clemson
Record: 10-1 | SOS: 56 | SOR: 6
Biggest win: Oct. 15 at Florida State, 34-28
Last playoff look: 2021 playoff semifinal on the Sugar Bowl: No. 3 Ohio State 49, No. 2 Clemson 28