College Football Week 11 Recap: We Were So Close to Utter Chaos!
Before we get to a recap of the weekend that was in college football, a brief PSA on whose opinion to listen to and whose to ignore when it comes to the expansion of the College Football Playoff from four teams to eight teams.
(SIDE BAR: It's hilarious that we haven't even been through the process for a four team playoff and everyone acts as if this glacial-speed moving decision making body is a lock to up it to eight teams in like a year or two. Keep dreaming.)
There are a lot of reasons the expansion of the playoffs makes sense. Some of them are sound reasons, like:
1. An eight team playoff, presumably with the "power five" conference champions and three at-large spots, would make the conference titles more meaningful and create a de facto play-in weekend in early December with all of the conference title games.
2. It would create more meaningful football, in both the regular season and postseason. There is a tipping point to where expanding the postseason diminishes the regular season. Basketball sailed past that point a long time ago. Eight teams in the playoff is still well to the side of "meaningful regular season."
3. It would make oodles of cash. Like PILES and PILES of cash.
Here is an argument that makes no sense:
"You know, there are going to be so many one-loss teams and even a few two-loss teams that will be deserving of consideration. The only way this will be solved us for them to expand it to eight teams."
No. Just no. NO, NO, NO.
Expanding the field to eight teams doesn't eliminate debate about who should be in the playoff field. It merely pushes the debate further down the chain, from one-loss teams to a slew of two-loss teams for the sixth, seventh, and eighth spots. So if you hear someone use the expansion of the playoff as some sort of salve on the hurt feelings that come with healthy debate, ignore them. Block them in the Twitter game of life.
Also, Mark May. Ignore him at all times.
Now, the big stories of the weekend....
LSU screwed up our chaos! Say what you will about expanding the playoffs and what will or won't be tipping points to do so, but one occurrence that I'm virtually certain would expedite change would be the SEC somehow getting left out of the playoff mix. That would require, at a minimum for all of the SEC schools to finish with at least two losses. As of Saturday morning, the zero and one loss teams remaining in the SEC were:
1. Mississippi State 8-0 3. Auburn 7-1 5. Alabama 7-1
Math will take care of some of this, as Alabama still must play both schools, but bonuses in our armageddon scenario would be unexpected losses inflicted by teams outside of this hallowed trifecta. Texas A&M gifted us chaos enthusiasts with one such lottery ticket earlier in the day, knocking off Auburn on the road as a 24 point underdog. LSU was in position to inflict the second loss on Alabama's season, after recovering a T.J. Yelodon fumble deep in Alabama territory with 1:13 to go in a 10-10 tie game. However, a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on guard Vadal Alexander moved the Tigers back and took a touchdown virtually out of play.
LSU instead settled for a field goal with 50 seconds left to take a 13-10 lead, but then the ensuing kickoff went out of bounds, giving the Tide a starting field position of their own 35 yard line. They would wind up kicking the tying field goal and winning in overtime, 20-13. LSU's choke job did a few things:
1. It kept this ridiculous song in our lives for another week, at least...
Seriously, why does she move and flip the cup? Doesn't it make the same clomping noise each time, regardless of placement and direction?
2. It removed this Vine as a possible metaphor for an LSU victory...
Um, that's just weird.
3. An LSU win would've meant that all that was needed for our sea of two-loss SEC chaos would have been for Mississippi State to lose road games at Alabama next week and at Ole Miss at the end of the regular season, both games that would have the Bulldogs as slight underdogs. (They would even have a chance at a second loss in an SEC Title game potentially as well.)
Make no mistake, we are still rooting for both of those outcomes, we now likely need Auburn to win the Iron Bowl. Totally doable, just would've been nice if Les' team could've held it together for another 1:13.
Aggies' regression to mean lasted a month The month of October was not kind to Kevin Sumlin and the Aggies, with three conference losses to three heavyweights (Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Alabama) by a combined 91 points. The low point was actually a victory, winning by five last weekend at home against a sub .500 ULM. It seemed as though the regression to Sherman Era won-loss records was underway. And then the Aggies, with a true freshman at quarterback, go and upset the third ranked Auburn Tigers in Auburn. Granted, they needed some Nick Marshall gifts down the stretch, but good for Kevin Sumlin. Now, there's no way they ever win anything substantial with this defense, and I'm not sure he can ever put a good defense on the field, but hey, the naysayers have settled down. For one week, at least.
Oregon and Arizona State got some gifts Speaking of gifts, Oregon should be sending a nice fruit basket to Utah wide receiver Kaelin Clay, whose boneheaded play here turned what should've been a 14-0 Utah lead into a 7-7 tie....
Totally different ball game after that play. Oregon got their legs under them, never had to really play from way behind and went on to win by 24. Of course, Clay's present to the Ducks was nothing like Everett Golson's spending spree on the Arizona State Sun Devils. Golson was a freaking gold helmeted Santa Claus, forking out five turnovers in a 55-31 loss that (weird to say) was closer than that score would indicate. (ASU scored 21 points in a sloppy final five minutes.)
TCU-Baylor beauty contest is coming One team that is very clearly on the bad side of the CFP committee is Baylor, who was 13th in the initial poll and made virtually no headway in thumping Kansas by, like, a gazillion points, moving up to 12th. The committee is unmoved by your fancy shmancy offense, Art Briles. However, with 6th ranked TCU pounding Kansas State onto the December bowl list on Saturday, an interesting little beauty contest may arise come selection time.
TCU is 6th and has a clear path to an 11-1 finish, with games remaining at Kansas, at Texas, and home for Iowa State. TCU will be favored by double digits in all of these games. (Ok, maybe by a touchdown in Austin. And ok, maybe by triple digits in the other two games.)
Baylor is 12th (for now) and plays their final three games home against Oklahoma State, in Dallas against Texas Tech, and at Kansas State. So if Baylor wins out, and both are 11-1, who would get in between these two?
TCU is starting with a six slot head start, but:
1. Baylor would've finished with a more substantial final impression, knocking off Kansas State in Manhattan in the final week. (It might be a good idea for Baylor to hammer KSU, since that's exactly what TCU did this weekend.)
2. In common noteworthy opponents, TCU beat Oklahoma by 4 in Fort Worth, Baylor beat them by 34 in Norman. TCU beat West Virginia by 1 in Morgantown, Baylor lost by 14 in Morgantown. Advantage TCU.
3. Both teams played trash outside of the conference, but if you care, TCU has the best win outside the Big 12 with a win over Minnesota. Yay.
4. Um, Baylor BEAT TCU head to head. This has to matter at some point, right? Especially since MOST other things are equal in the debate? Am I crazy here?
And if both of these teams have one loss then it's a virtual good night to....
The Big Ten ...who cannibalized themselves this weekend with Ohio State knocking off Michigan State in East Lansing. Bonus, though, we get at least four weeks of whining from Urban Meyer about how deserving his team (which lost at home to Virginia Tech) is.
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