SEC Bowl Projections after Week 8: The Playoff dilemma

Jim Tomlin | 7 months ago

Is LSU one of the four best teams in the country? I think so, yes.

Does that mean the Tigers are going to the College Football Playoff? Probably not, but the issue is a bit more complicated after Saturday’s action.

Ohio State’s blowout loss against Purdue probably ends the Buckeyes’ bid for a CFP spot. Their “quality wins” over Penn State and TCU look worse every week and, just like last year, a four-touchdown loss against a mid-pack Big Ten team probably dooms OSU. Michigan is now the Big Ten team with the best CFP argument, and the Wolverines have the defense to get there, but the offense might not be good enough to carry Jim Harbaugh’s bunch all the way.

What does all of this have to do with LSU? Or the winner of next week’s Florida-Georgia game, for that matter?

If Alabama runs the table and wins the league title unbeaten, the SEC won’t have any one-loss teams. I said last week that the CFP won’t take a 2-loss non-champion. I still believe that.

The gap between the SEC and the rest of the Power 5 has grown so large this year that we can’t completely rule it out. But it still is very unlikely.

So remember all of that when you see Texas projected in the CFP semifinals this week and think I’m a complete idiot. That latter notion can’t be totally ruled out either, I suppose.

But again, and we repeat this almost every week, this is not a list of the four best teams in America as of today. This is a projection of how things are going to shake out after the conference championship games on Dec. 1.

The CFP committee has chosen 1-loss non-champions before — Alabama got to the semifinals that way last year and Ohio State the year before.

But those were 1-loss teams. Not 2-loss teams. I simply don’t see a scenario where a 1-loss league champion — let’s say Texas, for now — stays home in favor of a 2-loss team that does not win the SEC.

Not even a team as good as LSU. Or Georgia, or Florida, or Kentucky, whichever team shows up in Atlanta as the East Division representative for the SEC title game.

Of course if LSU or anybody else beats Bama, then we have a whole new ballgame. We shall know more in two weeks when the Tigers and Crimson Tide meet.

Oh, one more thing: If it is Bama and Texas, the Crimson Tide does not necessarily have to play in the closest geographic location (the Cotton Bowl). That’d be homefield for the lower seed. So Bama moves back to Miami for now.

In the meantime, on to the SEC bowl projections after Week 8:

CFP Semifinal (Orange Bowl)
December 29, 2018
Miami, FL
vs.

Sugar Bowl
January 1, 2019
New Orleans, LA
vs.

Fiesta Bowl
January 1, 2019
Glendale, AZ
vs.

Peach Bowl
December 29, 2018
Atlanta, GA
vs.

Citrus Bowl
January 1, 2019
Orlando, FL
vs.

Outback Bowl
January 1, 2019
Tampa, FL
vs.

TaxSlayer Bowl
December 31, 2018
Jacksonville, FL
vs.

Liberty Bowl
December 31, 2018
Memphis, TN
vs.

Belk Bowl
December 29, 2018
Charlotte, NC
vs.

Music City Bowl
December 28, 2018
Nashville, TN
vs.

Texas Bowl
December 27, 2018
Houston, TX
vs.

2017-2018 POSTSEASON
CFP NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
26
vs.
23

CFP SEMIFINAL (SUGAR BOWL)
24
vs.
6

CFP SEMIFINAL (ROSE BOWL)
54
vs.
48

PEACH BOWL
27
vs.
34

CITRUS BOWL
21
vs.
17

OUTBACK BOWL
26
vs.
19

TAXSLAYER BOWL
31
vs.
27

MUSIC CITY BOWL
23
vs.
24

BELK BOWL
52
vs.
55

TEXAS BOWL
33
vs.
16

The

Comments Section (Hot Takes Welcome!)

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  • Sugar vs. the horns. It’s time.

  • Has anybody thought of just putting the conference champs in from the 4 conferences with the best list of out of conference wins. No politics needed. Just the facts. If you didn’t win your conference, there is always next year. Except for AL and OS. The should have to forfeit a big bowl game appearance because they got selected in a year when they shouldn’t have been selected. What a screw job to Penn State and any other conference champ. Why belong to a conference if that bs is going to happen.

  • I’m good with the Sugar Bowl. But, just wondering, if the CFP committee really wants the 4 best teams, wouldn’t they pick a 2-loss team over a 1-loss team, if they are convinced the 2-loss team is the better team? What’s to stop them?

    • They could and should, I just think it’ll be really hard for a 2 loss team to convince them. There’s no way they’d take a 2-loss LSU over 1-loss big12 or b1g champs, even if LSU took bama into OT.

  • As an Auburn fan, I only see us winning one more game this year (Liberty). So how do we end up in the Outback Bowl??

    We’ll be playing a Sun Belt team in the Birmingham Bowl or the Belk Bowl or something…

  • I don’t understand why they don’t expand it to 8 teams. Give the power 5 conference winners an automatic bid, and then have 3 at large bids

    • What if we do 6 teams? 5 power 5 champs and 1 at large bid. Here’s the kicker, we keep the committee around because the teams ranked 1 and 2 get a bye in the play offs which is HUGE!!!! That keeps the regular season games importance at a premium. Yeah you can make the playoffs with 2 losses but you aren’t gonna earn a bye week with any more than 1 loss.

    • Because you would have the same problems and complaints that you have now. The NCAA Basketball bracket at 64 teams with 4 “win and in” games and there’s still teams that get butt hurt over not getting in. Just leave it at 4 and the teams that didn’t get in can cry about it.

  • These projections are trash. There is no way A&M goes to the Texas Bowl. They have a strong possibility to win out. I think they could beat LSU this year.

  • Looking at the schedules, it seems unlikely that both UT and South Carolina will make a bowl. The winner will be in decent shape, but the loser will be in deep trouble.

    Remember that SC had a game canceled. They have to finish with 5 losses. With Florida and Clemson still on the schedule, they couldn’t expect to get there with a loss Saturday.

    And a 3-5 Tennessee team (with a loss) would be an underdog in 2 of their final games.

    So yeah, it’s not quite a bowl elimination game, but I certainly wouldn’t project both to make the postseason. The winner is likely in and the loser likely out.

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