Can a 2-loss team make the playoff?
The issue of a 2-loss conference champion making the College Football Playoff became a hot button issue last season when Penn State beat Wisconsin for the Big Ten crown.
The Nittany Lions just missed out, finishing fifth and settling for a berth in the Rose Bowl.
Flash forward to this season and we may once again be talking about the same thing potentially with Auburn and maybe Ohio State.
Auburn is 8-2 and is coming off a drubbing of previously No. 1 Georgia, 40-17 – perhaps as impressive a win as there has been this season in college football.
Their two losses are both on the road – at Clemson 14-6 and LSU 27-23.
If they were to run the table and win the SEC championship, beating Alabama in the process, the case could certainly be made for the Tigers.
Penn State should once again be brought up in this discussion as well, with a pair of very close road losses – 39-38 to Ohio State and 27-24 to Michigan State.
The Nittany Lions are a different case however, as they would need a rather large miracle to get back to the Big Ten championship game, and I just don’t think a 2-loss team that doesn’t qualify for its conference championship game has a very compelling case.
It’s not that I think that should restrict a team, because I don’t believe in qualifiers, but it would still be awfully tough for Penn State.
The Buckeyes, however, could be that 2-loss Big Ten champ, much like PSU was.
So where do I stand on all this?
Well, there’s a couple in factors in play here, much of which is dependent on what other teams currently in the Top 10 do the rest of the season.
For the sake of argument, let’s say there’s a case to be made for both Auburn and Ohio State at the end of the season. Despite the fact I feel the Big Ten is a much better conference, the no-brainer choice would be Auburn if it came down to one or the other.
The committee made a statement last year and it had nothing to do with not being able to make it with two losses.
No, the statement they made is that you can lose, you just can’t get blown out. In my mind, that eliminates Ohio State. They were absolutely routed at Iowa. If that had been a loss by seven or less, then I’d feel much better about making an argument for them.
The fact of the matter is you can’t get embarrassed – much like USC and Penn State last year. Many felt they were two of the best four teams at the moment the playoffs were announced, but it didn’t matter. They both got humiliated early in the season, and you just can’t do that and expect to be able to play for a title.
It’s the same reason I think Notre Dame is now out of consideration as well.
There are going to be some very good 2-loss teams at the end of the season, and maybe a few of them will be under consideration for a playoff spot, but it won’t be the Irish and likely not the Buckeyes either.
That being said, ‘Bama, Clemson, Oklahoma, Miami and Wisconsin could all win out, and then we’ll be having an entirely different debate.
Isn’t that what makes it fun though?