Win and You’re In,
Lose and Chaos Ensues
Have you ever tried to fit a square into a round hole? How successful were you? That is the exact scenario we will be left with if anyone from the Top 4 loses this Saturday. Let’s look at just how chaotic things could be.
If #1 Clemson loses to #7 Miami…
The Tigers have the best resume of any team in the country. However, the also have one of the worst loses.
- Assuming Auburn, Oklahoma, USC and Wisconsin win: The Tigers will be included in the heated debate of Miami, Alabama and USC getting the 4th spot in the playoffs.
- The Committee would need to look at losses and wins by each team.
- Clemson owns wins against Auburn (#2), (#22) Virginia Tech and (#24) North Carolina State. However, the Tigers have a loss to FPI (#58) Syracuse. They would also have the loss to (#7) Miami.
- Alabama has wins against (#17) LSU and (#23) Mississippi State. While their resume doesn’t look as impressive, the Tide have only lost to (#2) Auburn. That loss was by double digits and the score wasn’t indicative of the domination by Auburn.
- The Trojans have only one win over a Top25 opponent in (#12) Stanford. However, if they are still in the discussion, we must look acknowledge their Pac12 Championship victory over Stanford as well. This gives them two wins over a Top25 ranked team. Their losses included a blowout by Notre Dame and a three-point loss to Washington State.
- Miami would have beaten (#1) Clemson, (#15) Notre Dame, and (#22) Virginia Tech. Their loss to Pittsburgh is almost as bad as Clemson’s loss to Syracuse but unlike Alabama, they weren’t dominated from the start.
- If the Committee values resume and what teams are doing now, Clemson would be in (assuming a close loss to Miami). If the Committee looks at losses, losing to Syracuse would be inexcusable and Alabama would receive the nod. USC unfortunately doesn’t have the resume to beat out Alabama and the Trojans also have an extra loss to a lower ranked team.
- If Clemson loses to Miami, the Committee would be in a very precarious place. The first scenario is the way it should be. The second would mean that the playoff system is so flawed, the NCAA would start an investigation.
- #1 Auburn vs #4 Miami and #2 Oklahoma vs #3 Wisconsin
- #1 Auburn vs #4 Alabama and #2 Oklahoma vs #3 Wisconsin
And if #2 Auburn loses to #6 Georgia?
While Auburn has beaten #1 Georgia and #1 Alabama in a three-week span, a third loss would take them out of the equation. Assuming the rest of the Top 4 takes care of business, there is very little debate on how this would turn out.
- The only two teams that would have a chance of making the playoffs in the fourth spot would be Georgia and Alabama.
- Georgia has the best resume of the two teams. The Bulldogs would own wins over (#2) Auburn, (#15) Notre Dame and (#23) Mississippi State. Their only loss was a blowout loss to Auburn. Like the Tide, they were dominated from the opening snap. While the score was very different, the game was scripted the same.
- Again, Alabama has only the two Top25 wins. They wouldn’t have the SEC Championship and the Tide also lost in devastating to fashion to Auburn.
- So, if Auburn loses to Georgia on Saturday, the only logical scenario would include: #1 Clemson vs #4 Georgia and #2 Oklahoma vs #3 Wisconsin.
Hope is alive for many if #3 Oklahoma loses
If the Sooners lose, there are more options available to the committee than with any other team in the Top 4. Assuming the Sooners become the only team to lose
- Miami would be in play with a close loss to Clemson.
- Oklahoma would be in play with a close loss to TCU.
- Alabama would be in play with Georgia losing a second game to Auburn.
- Penn State has two losses but would have an outside shot at #4 with Ohio States loss to Wisconsin.
- USC could try and make a case if they win the Pac12.
- TCU would also have an outside shot at the cracking the Top 4 if it were to blow out Oklahoma and dominate on Defense.
- The argument obviously reaches a point where no one will truly be happy. Miami would have two wins vs the Top25. Those wins were more dominating than Alabama’s wins but their loss to Pitt coupled with a close loss to Clemson, would probably put them in a second tier #4 contender.
- Joining Miami in the second tier would be USC and Penn State. USC was blown out by Notre Dame but beat Stanford who also beat Notre Dame. Both Trojan losses were to Top25 opponents.
- Penn State also lost to only Top25 opponents. The good news for the Nittany Lions is how the lost. PSU lost to Ohio State by 1 point and then Michigan State by 3. Neither of those games looked terrible. Unfortunately for Penn State, they do not own a win over a currently ranked Top25 opponent.
- TCU, in beating Oklahoma (by a significant margin) for the Big 12 Title, would have the regular season loss to Oklahoma and the loss to Iowa State. Since the Sooners also lost to the Cyclones, the argument for the Horned Frogs would surround their win over OU and the Big12 Championship. TCU also owns a win over (#19) Oklahoma State.
- Likewise, if Oklahoma loses in close fashion to TCU, they would still own the regular season win over TCU and their win over Oklahoma State. The added bonus for the Sooners comes in the road win over (#8) Ohio State. That game, they won handedly. Of course, losing at the wrong time could hurt them severely.
- The damn Crimson Tide just never seem to go away. They are lurking in the shadows waiting for someone to screw up. Being the only one-loss team here makes them very giddy. Resume will hurt them but probably not enough to keep them out.
- The scenarios are listed in the most likely to happen if Oklahoma loses.
- #1 Clemson vs #4 Alabama and #2 Auburn vs #3 Wisconsin
- #1 Clemson vs #4 TCU and #2 Auburn vs #3 Wisconsin
- #1 Clemson vs #4 USC and #2 Auburn vs #3 Wisconsin
Everyone is doubting #4 Wisconsin…Still
While I admit, I have been wrong about the Badgers for most of the season, you can’t ignore their strength of schedule. After compiling the Massey and FPI rankings, Wisconsin comes in with the 4th weakest schedule of anyone in the Top25. The most damning figure, Wisconsin has the weakest Power 5 Schedule of anyone ranked in the Top 40 of the FPI. So, what happens if Wisconsin loses to Ohio State, again, assuming everyone else wins?
- The only teams in contention for this spot would be Miami, Alabama and Ohio State.
- This is the only scenario for the Buckeyes. A win and you are probably in. whether they deserve this spot, that’s for the public to decide. With the Committee, their decision to leave out the Big Ten Champion over a team from the SEC that didn’t play for their Conference Title or a team from the ACC that lost the Title Game, would cause controversy that might need to be settled in the courts.
- So, the only way the Top 4 looks if only Wisconsin loses is:
- #1 Clemson vs #4 Ohio State and #2 Auburn vs #3 Oklahoma
And if more than one team loses…
If you must know, the zombie apocalypse could be solved before the Committee sorts this one out. However, it is likely we will have two or three loses that could shake things up.
- If Clemson and Wisconsin lose:
- Clemson could make the 4th spot with Miami at #3.
- Clemson could fall out and Miami take the 3rd spot with Ohio State at #4.
- Ohio State and Alabama could both make the playoffs with the 3rd and 4th spot respectively.
- Ohio State could still be left out and Miami slide in ahead of Alabama.
- If USC blows out Stanford, the Trojans could also fall behind Miami at the 4th spot.
- If Clemson and Oklahoma lose:
- Miami, Clemson, Alabama, and TCU are all likely be in the discussion. There are others depending on how the Pac12 Championship plays out and depending on the margins of victory in the SEC and B1G Championships. These are the most likely.
- If TCU blows out Oklahoma and Miami blows out Clemson, the Horned Frogs would join the Canes in the playoffs.
- If TCU squeaks by the Sooners and Miami blows out Clemson, Alabama is in with Miami.
- If Clemson loses a close one to Miami but TCU blows out the OU, Clemson is out, Miami and TCU are in.
- If Clemson loses by a small margin and TCU wins by less than 20, the Tigers and Canes are in the playoffs.
- If Clemson and Auburn lose:
- Auburn would be out. No three-loss team could ever make the playoffs. I know it is possible, but it won’t happen. EVER.
- Clemson would definitely be in if it lost a close game to Miami. No question. Your final four would be Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Miami and Clemson.
- The only way Alabama gets in with this scenario is if Miami beats Clemson by more than ten. The Committee would be forced to dismiss the Tigers and the Tide would be the only viable candidate left.
If three teams lose?
Anything goes. It could be any combination from the Top4 and all hell will break loose. A 3 loss Saturday by the Top 4 could cause the Earth to spiral out of control and crash into the sun.
So, what is going to happen Saturday?
Clemson will beat Miami 37-13 but will have 2 turnovers.
Auburn will beat Georgia in a very close game 24 – 23.
Oklahoma will beat TCU by more than two touchdowns.
Ohio State beats Wisconsin by double digits but the Committee puts Alabama in the 4th spot and leaves Ohio State out.
Guide Through The Chaos (College Football)
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