If we take a look at final yr, we had 15 teams alive within the Playoff race at this level. This yr there are 13. Which may not appear to be an enormous distinction, and perhaps it isn’t essentially. The variations, although, are far larger than simply the variety of teams nonetheless alive.
Along with the 13 teams remaining, there are solely two extra two-loss Energy 5 teams. That’s it. Two. Of the 13 contenders, Syracuse, Boston School, and N.C. State already have two losses. Syracuse and Boston School nonetheless have to play one another. Syracuse will even play Notre Dame in two weeks. We additionally already know that Georgia and Alabama will face one another within the SEC Championship Recreation. Oklahoma and West Virginia have but to play one another, and can possible face one another twice.
What does all of this mean? Two years in the past, I wrote about how sure teams had a one-game lead on the sector. That was how Clemson and Ohio State simply survived losses to make the Playoff, and Washington did as properly. Properly, this yr we’re taking a look at teams with a possible two-game lead on the sector. Who would the choice take, 11-2 Alabama or 11-2 Washington State? 11-2 Oklahoma? Alabama can lose its ultimate two SEC video games, and so long as the Tide beat Georgia, all Alabama must get within the Playoff is a loss by Washington State and for Oklahoma and West Virginia to separate their (doubtless) two video games. The identical state of affairs holds true for Clemson, so long as Boston School doesn’t win the ACC.
Ohio State has appeared horrible in its previous two video games. The Buckeyes would nonetheless probably be a Playoff staff in the event that they lose to Michigan State however win out. There are solely three actual contenders forward of a two-loss Ohio State group: Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Washington State.
Excellent news for the SEC… and UCF
This dearth of contenders is music for the SEC’s ears. If Georgia wins the SEC Championship Recreation–until Alabama additionally loses no less than one in every of its last two SEC video games–the convention solely wants a few outcomes to have damaged its method to get two Playoff teams. Once more, if Washington State, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Ohio State, and Michigan all lose yet one more recreation, then Alabama might be a Playoff lock earlier than even taking the sector on December 1st.
Clemson wants even lower than that. We gained’t see the Tigers jumped by the ACC Coastal champion even with an ACC Championship Recreation upset. Nobody within the Coastal has anyplace near a Playoff resume. Clemson can very probably take the sector for the ACC Championship Recreation figuring out it has a Playoff berth locked up. This was a state of affairs the CFP by no means needed to occur, however that’s what this yr has led to. A mixture of dominant top teams and actually no “second tier” ready proper behind them led to this.
This example can also be a dream state of affairs for UCF. Again when the Playoff began, I stated that a Group of 5 workforce wants two issues to get in. It wants a number of consecutive nice seasons and for the P5 contenders to falter. Properly, UCF checks off each packing containers, in main methods. The Knights haven’t misplaced in two seasons and personal the nation’s longest profitable streak. Additionally, there are simply no P5 contenders left. This isn’t like final yr, when the committee put three-loss teams forward of UCF. The one three-loss P5 staff with a resume deserving to leap UCF is Auburn, if the Tigers can handle to beat each Georgia and Alabama.
The information is even higher for UCF than simply that. There additionally simply aren’t any two-loss P5 teams. The Knights will leap each Kentucky and LSU in the event that they win out. They’ll bounce Ohio State if the Buckeyes lose once more. They want a few extra issues on top of that, positive, however UCF having a nonzer0 probability on the CFP feels much more believable than it ever did final season.
Week 10 CFP Implications: Teams Remaining in CFP Rivalry
We proceed one other season of my CFP Eliminator. Should you’re not already following, I’ll be eliminating teams all year long on this Twitter thread. I remove teams as we attain a stage the place, in a yr even with excessive chaos, there’s no affordable state of affairs for that staff to make the Playoff. Clearly, it’s theoretically potential for each workforce to finish up about 6-6. However that’s removed from affordable, so I’m not nervous about that risk. 2007 was probably the most chaotic season in current historical past, so my benchmark query all the time is, “Is there a scenario that gets this team in the Playoff? Does that scenario require significantly more chaos than 2007?” If the reply to that second query is “yes,” then the workforce is eradicated.
We are literally on tempo to move 2007 ranges of chaos, however that gained’t change how I remove teams this season. I touched on within the introduction and I’ll talk about this in full after the part on LSU.
We entered this week with 19 teams nonetheless alive. Six eliminations (Virginia, Texas, Iowa, Penn State, Kentucky, LSU) places us at 13 teams remaining.
ACC: Boston School, Clemson, N.C. State, Syracuse
Huge 12: Oklahoma, West Virginia
Massive Ten: Michigan, Ohio State
Independents: Notre Dame
Mountain West: None
Pac 12: Washington State
SEC: Alabama, Georgia
Solar Belt: None
The LSU conundrum
Fortunately, I have by no means been pressured to un-eliminate a workforce from Playoff rivalry. This week’s determination to remove LSU, although, was one of many hardest ones I needed to make. If a staff from the Massive Ten West wins the Massive Ten Championship Recreation, Washington State loses a recreation, and the Huge 12 sees just a little little bit of chaos, can LSU get in? Do the Tigers additionally want a UCF loss? What if Georgia wins the SEC Championship Recreation? Does the dominance of LSU’s win over Georgia get the Tigers in? Or does the loss to Alabama hold them out?
Finally, I’m leaving LSU eradicated. The Tigers want simply an excessive amount of to get again within the image. Additionally, the committee might be extremely hesitant to place LSU in a bracket with a group that already beat them 29-Zero. But when we do see final chaos and LSU can win its final three video games, the Tigers are completely in “first team out” territory proper now. I freely admit that. LSU is eradicated from Playoff rivalry as a result of the chances of getting in are infinitesimal. It might take an excessive amount of chaos. However a path isn’t unimaginable.
Two Group of 5 teams in New Years’ Six?
I’ll contact on this extra within the coming weeks if the established order stays, however proper now we’re critically taking a look at seeing two Group of 5 teams in New Years’ Six bowls. The exact same elements mentioned above means there are very few good candidates for NY6 at-large bids. There are, nevertheless, a number of robust Group of 5 candidates.
First, let’s go over the at-large state of affairs. The semifinal video games are the Orange and Cotton Bowls. So so long as the ACC champion is within the semifinals (Clemson virtually definitely can be), there isn’t a want for an ACC at-large staff. If Syracuse wins out, the Orange shall be an at-large workforce. However even one loss from the Orange in all probability places them behind a number of Group of 5 teams I’ll point out under.
The Rose and Sugar Bowls are assured Pac 12 vs Huge Ten and SEC vs Huge 12 matches, respectively. Regardless of who makes the Playoff, we’ll appears from these 4 conferences in these video games. Subsequently, no less than each Alabama and Georgia (and perhaps one other SEC group, if each of these make the CFP) will probably be out of the at-large pool. The identical goes for Washington State, probably the one NY6-worthy Pac 12 staff. Equally, assuming just one group from each the Huge Ten and Massive 12 make the Playoff, that leaves one in every of Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and West Virginia as at-larges. (The opposite three might be in both the CFP, Rose Bowl, or Sugar Bowl.)
Who’s left within the at-large pool? LSU or Kentucky shall be NY6 locks in the event that they win out. A minimum of one Group of 5 staff is assured an at-large (or a CFP spot). But when one of many Huge Ten/Massive 12 four-pack talked about above loses a few video games? Or if LSU or Kentucky drops one other recreation, whereas Notre Dame retains profitable? Who’s left?
The reply comes from the Group of 5. Proper now, Utah State and Fresno State look headed for a collision course within the Mountain West Championship Recreation. If these teams are every 11-1 once they meet, that may make a robust NY6 resume. Or if UAB can win out (together with an upcoming recreation towards Texas A&M), the Blazers will have a robust case. Assuming UCF additionally wins out, we might very nicely see two Group of 5 teams earn spots in NY6 bowls. What three-loss group this yr would you’re taking over 12-1 Fresno State or Utah State? The reply isn’t many. After a few extra weeks of P5 parity (except for the very top), the reply will doubtless be none.
Week 11 Implications
On Thursday night time, Wake Forest will problem N.C. State and probably get rid of the Wolfpack (and assist the Group of 5). On Friday night time, Fresno State will attempt to hold its rising NY6 hopes alive on the blue turf towards Boise State.
Alabama’s recreation on Saturday towards Mississippi State won’t have an effect on the Tide a lot, however an Alabama win would definitely knock Mississippi State under Utah State and Fresno State within the NY6 race. The identical goes for LSU’s journey to Arkansas (and Kentucky’s journey to Tennessee). If the Tigers endure a letdown towards the hapless Razorbacks, it might be robust to maintain LSU above a dominant Mountain West staff. An identical curiosity applies to the Auburn-Georgia recreation. Georgia continues to be within the Playoff race with a loss. A Georgia win, however, would maintain Auburn under the Mountain West pair for NY6 functions.
Penn State hosts Wisconsin in a recreation with no CFP implications. Nevertheless, Northwestern will all however lock up the Huge Ten West with a Penn State win. A Wisconsin win, then again, can be higher for the Mountain West NY6 hopefuls. Ohio State has a troublesome street recreation towards Michigan State. A Buckeyes loss can be nice information for UCF, however the Mountain West pair want to see Ohio State win. Michigan State has a win over Utah State, so a 9-Three Michigan State staff will in all probability have a robust NY6 resume.
Troy and Georgia Southern face off in a pivotal Solar Belt East matchup, although it means far much less with Georgia Southern’s loss to ULM this previous week. And regulate Clemson-Boston School. The Tigers primarily lock up a Playoff berth with a win. The Eagles, then again, nonetheless management their very own ACC Atlantic future. If Boston School wins out, we might undoubtedly see two ACC teams within the Playoff.
For now, although, due to the large lead that the top contenders have on the sector, the NY6 race–and if two Group of 5 teams can get in–is way extra fascinating and instant than any potential CFP shakeups.