Man, if James Franklin is worth $75 million, what is Jim Harbaugh worth?

Harbaugh turned The Game into The Blowout … and just like that blew up every bit of conventional wisdom about the College Football Playoff race.

Chaos is awesome. And Rivalry Week provided more than its share. That’s what I’m overreacting to in and around the SEC as we keep our eye on the coaching carousel.

10. What now?

We’ve never had a 2-loss team qualify for the College Football Playoff.

That soon could change, thanks to Michigan’s stunning demolition of Ohio State, which smashed open the door to the Playoff.

The ACC will produce a 2-loss champion. The Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 might, too. What happens if all 4 leagues do that?

Utter chaos.

Georgia is in no matter what happens next week in the SEC title game against Alabama. The Tide also are in with a win next Saturday, most certainly out with a 2nd loss.

Suddenly and rather dramatically, Notre Dame is back in the Playoff hunt after concluding its regular season 11-1.

Cincinnati is as close to a lock as possible — assuming they finish undefeated. All the Bearcats need to do is beat 11-1 Houston in the AAC title game. That won’t be easy. Houston’s offense is every bit as explosive as Cincy’s. Its defense is only slightly inferior.

The only way this could be any better is if every Power 5 conference title game came with an automatic bid. Instead, we’re likely to get another year when at least 2 of them — and possibly 3 of them — won’t matter at all.

9. Turns out, OSU’s defense really wasn’t Playoff ready

There were plenty of signs early in the Oregon loss. The Ducks ran for 269 yards and 3 TDs. There were plenty of whispers then, too: If Oregon could do that to OSU’s revamped front seven, what amount of damage could Michigan’s smashmouth approach inflict?

Saturday, we found out.

The scoreboard will describe it as a 15-point victory, but that doesn’t do it nearly enough justice.

That was a physical beatdown.

Michigan ran the ball 41 times for 297 yards and all 6 of its touchdowns.

OSU knew it was coming. And couldn’t stop it.

Michigan came in averaging 169 yards rushing vs. B1G defenses. It almost doubled that total en route to producing its largest total vs. a conference team since 2018.

It was their highest rushing total vs. Ohio State this century.

Michigan didn’t just run Ohio State out of town. It ran the Buckeyes out of the Playoff.

8. Bryce Young saved Alabama’s season … did he just win the Heisman, too?

Others are going there, but I just can’t. Not on a day where he completed fewer than half of his passes and couldn’t find the end zone until the 4th quarter.

Having said that, that 97-yard game-tying TD drive was the stuff of legend.

On that drive, Young absolutely looked like the gutsiest quarterback in America.

He accounted for every yard. He passed for 85 yards and ran for 12.

The final throw, a perfect strike to Ja’Corey Brooks for a 28-yard TD, will go down as one of the best and most important in Iron Bowl history.

7. Silver lining on Jameson Williams’ ejection …

At least it happened in the first half of Alabama’s Iron Bowl thriller over Auburn.

Had that same hit — sorry, Bama fans, it was targeting — happened after the break, he would have had to sit out the first half of next week’s SEC title game against Georgia.

I’ve written this for months, but the biggest difference between this Alabama offense and the past 4 versions is, outside of Williams, there isn’t a game-changer.

We saw more evidence of that Saturday after his exit.

Alabama pulled it out. Somehow. But without Williams, this is the most average I’ve seen Alabama look on offense since Jake Coker was taking snaps. And unlike that group, this Tide team doesn’t have a 230-pound bailout named Derrick Henry.

6. Even if you’re not a Bama fan, you should want Bama to win it all … every year


Nick Saban and his wife, Miss Terry, team up to build a home for a family in need every time Alabama wins a national championship.

This is what it’s all about.

5. My favorite Georgia stat

Georgia allowed 18 rushing touchdowns in 2018.

Kirby Smart’s next 3 versions have allowed 2 (2019), 8 (2020) and 2 (2021).

That stat is more important than ever this year because there isn’t a quarterback among the Playoff hopefuls who is capable of producing a 330-yard, 4-TD day against the Dawgs. Not even Bryce Young.

They’ll need help from the running game. Good luck getting it.

4. The 4 Playoff teams are …

1. Georgia, 2. Michigan, 3. Alabama, 4. Cincinnati, 5. Oklahoma State, 6. Notre Dame

This race is fascinating. Unless Michigan and Cincinnati lose their conference title game next week, I can’t see Alabama losing to Georgia and still making the Playoff. Not over a 1-loss Power 5 conference champion.

In theory, a 1-loss Big 12 champion still has a shot at the Playoff, but only if Michigan or Alabama or Cincy lose. And Notre Dame just completed an 11-1 season — its only loss coming against a team currently in the Playoff top 4, Cincinnati. The Irish can’t help their résumé, though. The good news in this season of continued chaos? They can’t hurt it, either.

3. Is it possible the B1G gets shut out of the Playoff?

Normally, we spend all season discussing and detailing how the SEC eats its own.

This year, the Big Ten has done that.

The B1G has had 3 teams in the top 10 most of the year. Two weeks ago, they had 4 teams in the top 8 of the Playoff rankings. Then those teams started beating up on each other.

Ohio State’s Playoff hopes are done. What happens if Michigan loses to Iowa in the B1G title game? Iowa has 2 losses — both by double digits. It has, by far, the worst offense of any potential Playoff team.

If Iowa played Georgia in a semifinal, the Hawkeyes might not reach 7 — first downs. I don’t see any way Iowa makes the Playoff even with a 10-point win over Michigan (which I don’t think will happen, anyway).

But if Iowa wins, is it possible that a league that has dominated the top 10 all season gets shut out of the top 4?

It’s possible. The choice would then become 2-loss Michigan, 2-loss Ohio State or … 2-loss Michigan State? Sorry, Sparty, but there’s no way a team that lost by 49 is becoming the first 2-loss Playoff team.

2. Why Tyler Badie has to be 1st-team All-SEC

Mizzou isn’t exactly RBU, so one of the biggest offseason questions was how the Tigers planned to replace Larry Rountree’s production.

Rountree wasn’t just another running back. He was the Tigers’ workhorse for most of his career. Rountree rushed for 1,216 yards as a sophomore and just missed adding 2 more 1,000-yard seasons. After Drew Lock left, Rountree became the face and focal point of the Tigers’ offense.

Nobody expected Tyler Badie to match Rountree’s production, much less exceed it.

But that’s exactly what happened. Without any help from the passing game to keep safeties out of the box, Badie set Mizzou’s single-season program record by rushing for 1,604 yards. That leads the SEC by a wide margin. And he still has a bowl game.

Badie came out of nowhere. There’s a very good chance you never saw more than a few highlights. But Media Days to Rivalry Week, he’s been the best running back in the SEC in 2021. He deserves to be recognized as such.

1. Perfect finish to imperfect ending for Coach O

Not much has gone right for Ed Orgeron since the night in New Orleans it rained touchdowns and confetti as the Tigers celebrated their 2019 national championship.

Saturday night, Coach O took the sidelines at Tiger Stadium for the last time.

With a minute left, it looked a lot like the past 2 years: not good.

LSU trailed 24-20 and still needed 70 yards to reach the end zone.

That’s when the magic happened. Max Johnson hit Jaray Jenkins for 31 yards. He then hit Malik Nabers for 11 more. After 2 incompletions, Johnson went back to Jenkins, this time for a 28-yard game-winner just inside the right corner of the end zone.

LSU 27, Texas A&M 24.

It was a fitting sendoff. Coach O, who dreamed of celebrating nights like this for his home-state school, got to celebrate one last time.

I had all kinds of issues with Coach O’s indifference to LSU’s serious off-field issues, but I’m not sure the SEC has seen a coach who loved coaching a particular team more. It was a perfect match. In that regard, he will be missed.

Geaux Tigers and forever live 2019.