Oregon's loss on Saturday night was a reminder that things were going a little too easily. It felt like we'd all gotten a bit too comfortable when it came to the College Football Playoff. No. 1 LSU, No. 2 Ohio State, and No. 3 Clemson were all going to be in. The fourth team was either going to be Georgia if it won the SEC or the winner of the Pac-12 Championship, assuming neither lost beforehand.
Well, one of them did, but things still seem a little too easy, don't they? There aren't many games left in this regular season. We have rivalry week to finish the regular season for most teams and conference championship weekend. In other words, playoff contenders have to play both rivals, as well as other good teams in conference title games. Those are precisely the kind of games that could be lost. So like many of you, I've been running through scenarios about what would happen if this or that happened.
My favorite scenario is one of complete and total chaos, so this week in The Monday After, I'm doing a bit of a thought exercise. What if the world of college football is completely turned on its head for the next two weeks? Yes, that's right; it's time for doomsday scenarios.
ACC: Clemson loses to South Carolina on Saturday, making the Gamecocks the most-accomplished 5-7 team in history. Meanwhile, in Charlottesville, Virginia has finally done the impossible by beating Virginia Tech. Now, 11-1 Clemson moves on to the ACC Championship, where it faces a 9-3 Virginia team that would likely be unranked. And it loses. The Tigers fall to 11-2, and the 10-3 Virginia Cavaliers are your ACC Champions.
Big Ten: Ohio State heads to Ann Arbor and finds a Michigan team that's playing its best football of the season. That best football continues as the Wolverines beat Ohio State for the first time since 2011. The Buckeyes are staggered, but at 11-1, the playoff is still a possibility, so long as they win the Big Ten. Meanwhile, in Minnesota, the Gophers and Badgers battle for the West. Wisconsin wins the battle, giving Minnesota a second loss, and the Badgers a division title at 10-2. Wisconsin then beats Ohio State in Indianapolis, dropping the Buckeyes to 11-2 and winning the Big Ten with its own 11-2 record.
Big 12: Both Oklahoma and Baylor are set for a rematch in the Big 12 Championship, but before they get there, Oklahoma loses to No. 21 Oklahoma State and Baylor loses to Kansas. Both are now 10-2, and somehow Baylor shakes off its devastating loss to Kansas to get revenge on Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship. Oklahoma falls to 10-3 while Baylor wins the Big 12 at 11-2 with a loss to Kansas on its resume.
Pac-12: Utah looks to be cruising to a Pac-12 title when the unthinkable happens. It loses to the same Colorado team that just beat Washington on Saturday night. Now the Utes are not only out of the playoff hunt -- so they think -- but they can't win the Pac-12 because USC has the tiebreaker and wins the South. The Trojans will meet Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship. Oregon didn't let Arizona State beat it twice, and rebounded to beat rival Oregon State. They don't beat USC, however, as the Trojans shock the world to win the Pac-12 at 9-4. Oregon is 10-3, and Utah is 10-2 and didn't win its division.
SEC: Texas A&M has built its identity this season on losing closely to the nation's elite, but the Aggies get out of character and beat LSU on Saturday. Now the Tigers have a loss heading to the SEC Championship where they'll face Georgia. Only Georgia will be coming off a shocking upset loss to Georgia Tech and is now 10-2 with losses to 5-7 South Carolina and 4-8 Georgia Tech. The Bulldogs do not lose to the Tigers, however, and win the SEC. Georgia is 11-2 with two horrible losses and an SEC title. LSU is 11-2 and on a two-game losing streak. Oh, and did I mention that Alabama lost to Auburn in the Iron Bowl?
OK, that's a lot, so let's recap with a handy table. An asterisk denotes a conference champion.
|Team||Record||Likely Top 25 Wins||Losses|
Oklahoma, Oklahoma State
LSU, Notre Dame, Florida, Auburn
South Carolina, Georgia Tech
Ohio State, Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa
Ohio State, Illinois
Clemson, Virginia Tech
Notre Dame, Miami, Louisville
Oregon, Notre Dame, Washington, BYU
Texas A&M, Wake Forest
Virginia, South Carolina
Alabama, Florida, Auburn
Georgia, Texas A&M
Ohio State, Notre Dame, Iowa
Wisconsin, Penn State
Ohio State, Minnesota
So who are your four playoff teams? I would think that the three two-loss conference champions get in, but I feel like Wisconsin is the only lock of those three. Still, even if those three get in, who is your fourth? And would a two-loss Georgia team really deserve the spot with losses to South Carolina and Georgia Tech? Good luck to the College Football Playoff Selection Committee in this scenario. They're screwed no matter what they decide to do.
Quote of the Week
Now, you could argue that's excessively cocky for a kicker who has made fewer than 70 percent of his field goal attempts this season, but he made 100 percent of his kicks on that play. Plus, it's nowhere near as cocky as this quote from FIU linebacker Sage Lewis after the game.
“We wasn’t even calling them the University of Miami during the week,” FIU linebacker Sage Lewis said. “We were calling them the University of Coral Gables. We’re the true Miami school. We have more students internationally. We did it for the university and really for the world.”— Manny Navarro (@Manny_Navarro) November 24, 2019
They did it for the world!
Evisceration of the Week
Rutgers did what Rutgers does best on Saturday, losing to Michigan State 27-0. It was not the only loss the program suffered, however, as word leaked on Sunday that negotiations with Greg Schiano had broken down for him to become the next coach for the Scarlet Knights. Schiano seemed like the most logical choice for Rutgers since it fired Chris Ash earlier this season, and now it's unclear where the program will turn next.
What is clear is that NJ.com columnist Steve Politi knows how to handle a blowtorch, because he took one to the Rutgers athletic department on Sunday.
For decades now, the tweed-jacket detractors at Rutgers have demanded that their university give up on big-time athletics. Go back to playing Lafayette and Lehigh, they'd rail after every blowout. Stop wasting money on a losing football program that is clearly out of its league. Just give up already.
Turns out, all these years later, they were right. Rutgers doesn't belong in the Big Ten. It doesn't have the stomach for big-time athletics. It is a small-thinking, decrepit corner grocery store run by incompetent middle managers trying to compete in a world with Walmart and Target, doomed to fail before it even opens its doors to customers.
And those are just the first two paragraphs! It goes on from there!
Stat of the Week
Texas A&M will make history this weekend when it faces No. 1 LSU in College Station. It will be the third time this season that the Aggies have faced the No. 1 team in the country. They played No. 1 Clemson in September and No. 1 Alabama in October. Now it's No. 1 LSU, and according to Ralph Russo of The Associated Press, it is the first time in history a team has played the No. 1 team three times in a single season.
So, congratulations, Texas A&M.
Disturbing Trend of the Week
You know how every time a fan runs on the field during a televised sporting event producers do everything in their power not to show the person? You'll then hear the play-by-play announcer say something to the effect of "we don't want to show this idiot because we wouldn't want anybody else thinking this is how they can get on television."
Well, damn it, nobody thought about this when it came to cats in NFL stadiums. A few weeks ago, a black cat made headlines in New York when it ran on the field and they kept showing it everywhere. Now we have a copycat in Raymond James Stadium.
Something must be done to stop this tomcatfoolery!
Tom Fornelli Team of the Year Dropouts of the Week
Beginning in 2019, The Tom Fornelli Team of the Year Award, presented by The Tom Fornelli Foundation For Football Exceptionalism, is to be given out to one incredible football team that best displays the values of The Tom Fornelli Foundation For Football Exceptionalism. Every week, teams will be eliminated from the running for reasons. Those reasons are at the sole discretion of Tom Fornelli and The Tom Fornelli Foundation For Football Exceptionalism, which is comprised of Tom Fornelli and nobody else. Here are the teams eliminated from consideration in Week 13.
Reason for Elimination
If you'd have covered against my lock in San Diego State it would've been fine, but a push felt mean.
This was your best chance to beat Michigan in an ultimate trap game and you failed.
Can't be losing to Charlotte this late in the year while in a division race.
It's been a fun year, but this ride ends now.
The loss to WKU was a killer.
For a full list of eliminated teams and the respective reasons, click here.
Stat of the Week II
UMass allowed 42 points in the second quarter of a 56-24 loss to BYU on Saturday. It dropped them to 1-11 on the season, which has mercifully come to a conclusion. And what a historic season it was, for you see, the 56 points allowed in that game means UMass allowed 632 points this season. That's worth an average of 52.7 points allowed per game. Both are records for an FBS program, breaking the mark set by UConn (605 points allowed, 50.4 per game) all the way back in 2018.
AP Voter of the Week
This week's AP Voter of the Week is The Omaha World-Herald's Sam McKewon. Sam had an interesting ballot this week for a lot of reasons, but none of them more so than ranking 6-5 Arizona State at No. 24.
Yes, that's right, he put 6-5 Arizona State at No. 24. Now, on the one hand, I can acknowledge the desire to "reward" Arizona State for its win over Oregon (which McKewon still had at No. 11). But this is the same Arizona State team that has losses to 5-6 Colorado, 4-7 UCLA and 5-6 Oregon State on its resume. It also lost to the 8-4 USC team that McKewon has at No. 19, higher than any other voter placed the Trojans. Perhaps he did so to help justify ranking Arizona State where he did?
Also, if you wanted to rank Arizona State to reward it, why not put it at No. 25? Why rank it ahead of an 8-3 Virginia Tech team? And while we're on the subject of Virginia Tech, if you have it at No. 25 because it hasn't beaten anybody, why do you have an 8-3 Virginia team ranked at No. 21? What has Virginia done that Virginia Tech hasn't?
Also, why do you have a 10-1 Minnesota team ranked three spots below the 9-2 Penn State team it just beat?
It's a wild ballot, Sam.
College Football Playoff Projection of the Week
- Ohio State
Until the next Monday After!