By My Count Everything Worked Out Swell Except The Debate Over No.1

Chris Dufresne

By my count the SEC will not get three teams in the team playoff, the Big Ten will not get two and the Pac 12 will not get one.

And it all worked out perfectly thanks to Ohio State’s huge comeback win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game.

The sound you just heard coming from College Football Playoff headquarters in Texas was “whew.” A Wisconsin upset in the Big Ten title game would have made things really tricky, maybe for Oklahoma.

Yet foreboding mayhem and the saber-rattling for an eight-team playoff was temporarily put to rest with a perfect roll of the dice over final weekend.

This year’s college football playoff will include undisputed and magnificent champions from the SEC, Big 12, Big Ten and ACC conferences.

Those champions are LSU, Oklahoma, Ohio State and Clemson. That’s a blue-blood special, folks.

The only power conference sitting home, the Pac 12, is the only league with a multi-loss participation trophy. But go ahead, West Coast, and fill out the entry form for next season.

The only big question—and it’s a doozy—is how to order the playoff schools.

Will it be Ohio State at No.1 or LSU?

The committee is going to have a sleepless night over that issue because it currently has the Buckeyes in the top spot.

No. 2 LSU, however, made a strong case by defeating No. 4 Georgia, 37-10, in Georgia’s backyard.

Ohio State trailed No. 8 Wisconsin, 21-7, at the half before rallying to a double-digit victory.

No.1 will get the “luxury” of playing No. 4 Oklahoma, while No. 2 will be sentenced to face defending national champion Clemson.

Ohio State and LSU are both 13-0 and have equally dominating resumes. The Buckeyes own five wins over the current top 25 while the Tigers have four. Ohio State owns the margin of victory (25.2 points to 12.3).

Ohio State, unlike LSU, did not play an FCS opponent.

That said, LSU looked more dominant over No. 4 on Saturday than Ohio State looked over No. 8.

Is that enough to flip the board?

If LSU is No.1 it will likely face Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl, with Ohio State vs. Clemson in the Fiesta.

If Ohio State remains at No.1, the Buckeyes will likely get Oklahoma in the Fiesta with LSU facing Clemson in the Peach.

The other big issue facing the committee is which team will face Oregon in the Rose Bowl.

The weekend started with Wisconsin (10-2) at No. 8 and Penn State (10-2) at No. 10.

The highest ranked school in the final CFP ranking will get the Rose Bowl bid. Of course, the 13-member selection committee can do as it sees fit.

The schools did not play in the regular season. Wisconsin now has a third-loss after its second defeat this season to Ohio State. The Badgers also lost to unranked Illinois. Penn State’s season ended last week. My best guess is that Wisconsin gets the bid.

Stay tuned.

By my count Memphis clinched the Group of 5 Cotton Bowl berth with Saturday’s win over Cincinnati in the American Athletic championship game. It is unclear whether the Tigers will be led by coach Mike Norvell, who is expected to be soon named the head coach at Florida State.

By my count, Georgia and Utah may have been the most overrated No. 4 and No. 5-ranked schools in recent history. Georgia had been feasting on inexperienced opposing quarterbacks all season and lost as 25-point home underdogs to South Carolina, which finished 4-8. Utah finished the year without a victory over a top-25 opponent.

Utah and Georgia were exposed in their conference title games by future first-round NFL picks playing quarterback.

Utah and Georgia entered the titles games with defenses ranked nationally in the top four. Oregon, led by quarterback Justin Herbert, scored 37 on the Utes while LSU, led by Joe Burrow, scored 37 on the Bulldogs.

By my count SEC/ESPN media star Paul Finebaum was proved right this week when he said America did not want to see Utah in the four-team playoff. Note to Paul: America also did not want to see this Georgia team…

By my count next week’s Heisman Trophy winner could be the biggest landslide in history…

By my count, with Lane Kiffin taking the Ole Miss job, there are now FOUR former USC head coaches working in the SEC. Ed Orgeron (LSU) and Kiffin (Ole Miss) are head coaches, Steve Sarkisian works as offensive coordinator at Alabama while John Robinson is a special consultant at LSU under Orgeron.

Amazingly, Kiffin, Orgeron and Sarkisian all held the title of USC head coach during the 2013 season. Kiffin started the year before he was fired and replaced by Orgeron, who went 6-2 as the interim before being told he would not be the permanent replacement. Sarkisian was named head coach before the Las Vegas Bowl and watched interim Clay Helton lead the Trojans to victory.


Chris Dufresne