The College Football Playoff rankings were released on Tuesday night and we were reminded of the truth: The SEC is the best conference in college football and it’s nowhere even close.
The SEC’s dominance this season was reflected in the College Football Playoff selection committee’s first ranking of the season, as one-loss LSU jumped undefeated Notre Dame for the #3 spot, joining #1 Alabama and #2 Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinals. If the rankings were to stay the exact same, which it obviously wont, there would be five SEC teams in the New Year’s Six bowls, including two in the semifinal.
The committee will be faced with a very similar scenario to last years playoff layout. Even if Alabama were to lose to LSU on Saturday night in Baton Rouge, Alabama will win out and finish 11-1. But, if LSU wins out, they would represent the West in the SEC Championship game, most likely facing Georgia for the second time in 2018. I have zero faith that Kentucky can beat Georgia, so I’m putting money on the Dawgs to make it to Atlanta.
Now, what happens if Michigan wins out and Notre Dame wins out? Undefeated Notre Dame will only be able to present one impressive win on their 2018 resume. Beating Michigan in the first game of the year by a touchdown. Here’s who else they’ve beaten:
Home: Notre Dame 24 Ball State 16
Home: Notre Dame 22 Vanderbilt 17
Road: Notre Dame 56 Wake Forest 27
Home: Notre Dame 38 Stanford 17
Road: Notre Dame 45 Virginia Tech 23
Home: Notre Dame 19 Pittsburgh 14
Home: Notre Dame 44 Navy 22
The Irish finish with @Northwestern, Florida State, Syracuse and @USC. According to TeamRankings, Notre Dame ranks 34th in strength of schedule. Alabama ranks 27th.
The question I ask is, would Alabama only beat Ball State by 8 points at home? Would they only beat Vanderbilt by 5 points at home? Beat Pittsburgh at home by 5? We all know that answer. You can talk about “survive and advance” all you want, but the committee looks at this stuff.
So, at the end of the year, regardless of what happens Saturday, Alabama is going to play in the College Football Playoff. They have absolutely dominated every single opponent on their schedule, outscoring their opponents 55-3 in the first quarter. That’s total and complete dominance. There’s no way Alabama is going to miss the playoffs even with a loss to LSU, which I believe is unlikely to happen anyway. But just in case the unthinkable happens, the committee will be forced to make the same choice they made last season:
Let the Tide prove you wrong.
Alabama would beat Clemson, Notre Dame, LSU and any other team in the country on a neutral field. Death Valley is the toughest place to play in the country and they’re playing at night. A loss there would not damage their 2018 resume whatsoever.
So, just to remind the fans of college football, don’t get your hopes up. Alabama will be right back where they were last year, playing for the all of the marbles.
The College Football Playoff rankings will shake up, but not significantly from here on out. Notre Dame wins out for sure, which will be Alabama’s biggest issue if the Tide get upset on Saturday. Michigan loses to Ohio State at the end of the year, which will bring an Ohio State argument to the table.
Think about this scenario for a second though:
If LSU beats Alabama and they both win out, then LSU loses to a one-loss Georgia in the SEC Championship game, what happens then? Total chaos.
The truth is, the committee once again has its hands full and is faced again with the fact that the playoff needs to be expanded to eight teams. That will absolutely remove all of the headache and confusion on deciding who deserves to have a chance to play for a championship.
The only remaining question is, when is the inevitable going to happen before we keep continuing to rob GOOD football teams of a deserving chance to play for a title?