So long, Alabama.
The No. 6 Crimson Tide was in a precarious position from the start, and a spectacular overtime loss to LSU on Saturday night essentially eliminated Alabama, with two losses, from the college football playoffs this year. No, it’s not 2019, and it’s a long way from cigar-smoking, undefeated national champions under Joe Burrow, but LSU coach Brian Kelly’s first year has the opportunity to make a different story as the Tigers could become the first team with two losses in the CFP.
If they can beat Georgia, of course.
A clear number 1 was decided on Saturday afternoon for the selection committee as Georgia should be left alone in first place in the second CFP rankings on Tuesday after a convincing 27-13 win over Tennessee. Week 10 has been pretty revealing for the SEC as Georgia completely outplayed the No. 1 selection committee team to take the lead in the SEC East, with LSU now leading the SEC West. Had LSU been top of the table and won the SEC, it would have beaten Alabama and Georgia along the way, offsetting a 24-23 season opener loss to Florida State and a 40-13 loss to Tennessee.
This is the most realistic scenario where the SEC can still get two teams in the playoffs – LSU gives Georgia the only loss in the SEC championship game and the selection committee accepts both the Tigers and the runners-up Bulldogs. The possibility of the committee hosting three SEC teams no longer seems realistic as Tennessee suffered a crushing defeat in a game that was less competitive than the final score indicated.
While the likelihood of Alabama still winning against the West is high, it is very unlikely that LSU will lose again. Sportzshala’s FPI favors LSU to win both remaining SEC games against the Arkansas and Texas A&M, unranked teams that have an 8-10 combined record. With LSU holding the tiebreak, Alabama would have to win and LSU would have to lose (conference games only). If LSU wins next week and Alabama wins against Ole Miss, the Tigers will become SEC West champions.
Outside of Georgia, throw some darts, see where they land. It wasn’t exactly a glorious day for the G-10, although Ohio and Michigan won and Clemson failed spectacularly at Notre Dame. Clemson’s loss helped Pac-12’s hopes, but TCU remains undefeated after beating Texas Tech with five losses.
Five teams entered Saturday with at least a 50 percent chance of making the CFP, according to the Allstate Playoff Predictor, and three of them — Tennessee, Alabama and Clemson — lost.
In addition to the split that happened in the SEC, here’s how the rest of Saturday’s results will affect who ultimately finishes in the top four: