SEC Bowl Projections after Week 8: The Playoff dilemma
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:
New Orleans, LA