LSU and COVID-19 Shake Up the College Football Playoff

By Joe Scibelli, Esq.

“I was VERY wrong about Florida.”

Going back to my last article and my time on the Transfer Portal Podcast with Walt and Fonz, a lot I predicted went up in flames. If you’re unaware or didn’t read my “Week 14 College Football Predictions,” I predicted 1. Notre Dame 2. Florida 3. Ohio State and 4. Alabama. Well after week 15, 2 of those 4 are in a position that can cause a lot more chaos for the committee.

This week, the LSU Tigers shocked the world as they travelled to Gainesville to take on Kyle Trask and the Florida Gators. The Florida Gators were favored by 23 points over the Tigers after the defending national champs’ season has been disappointing to say the least. The 3-5 Tigers were written off in most people’s analysis when it came to predicting the college football playoffs, including my own. However, LSU shocked the world and defeated the Gators 37-34 in a thriller.

Kyle Trask, my Heisman favorite, had the worst game of the season. Prior to last night’s game, Trask only had 3 interception with 322 attempts. LSU gave the Florida quarterback nightmares with 4 sacks, 2 interceptions and a forced fumble. This was his worst game of the season with a quarterback rating of 64.9. Prior to LSU, his lowest quarterback rating was 82.1 in his 41-17 win over Missouri.

Florida now is getting ready for its matchup with Alabama in the SEC championship game, and boy, after last night, I am very worried about my prediction. Last night, Alabama steam rolled Arkansas, 52-3. Mac Jones only threw for 208 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions, but their defense got 5 turnovers, their running backs had 6 total touchdowns (Jase McClellan [1] Brian Robinson, Jr. [3] and Najee Harris [2]), and a punt return for a touchdown. Alabama is the best team in the nation, even when their star players like Jones, Harris who only had 48 total yards, and DeVonta Smith, who only had 3 catches for 22 yards, don’t play up to their Heisman potential, the Crimson Tide still dominate teams. I have been asking myself, “was I on something thinking a team can beat Alabama?”

Now Florida and Bama are getting ready for their trip to Atlanta on the 19th, the CFP committee is praying that Bama make their decision easier for who’s in or out. If Bama wins they’re in, but if they lose what then? Does a non-conference champion stay in the top 4 while a 2 loss SEC champion looking from the outside in? Does a team like Cincinnati or Texas A&M argue that they should be in the dance over Florida? I know that Clemson and Notre Dame sighed in relief after LSU beat Florida. LSU’s win took some stress off the importance of the ACC Championship game. I believe the committee would rather take a 2 loss Clemson or 1 loss Notre Dame over a 2 loss Florida. But who knows, this is a wild season and there’s a whole other issue the CFP committee has on their plate.

“The Big Ten Keeps Giving the CFP Committee Headaches.”

The Big Ten made major headlines by changing the amount of games it takes to be eligible for the Big Ten Championship. Prior to 2020, for a team to play in the Big Ten championship, the team had to play at least 6 games. However, on Wednesday, the Big Ten announced that’s no longer the case. This was great news for Buckeye fans, now being eligible to win their 4th consecutive Big Ten Championship. Ohio State had scheduled this week conference rival Michigan, but it was cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. This was the third game cancelled for the Buckeyes, but with an undefeated record the Buckeyes are getting ready for the Big 10 Championship.

However, teams and fans across the country feel that the Big Ten is picking favorites. “Why change the rules for Ohio State, all teams knew the risk of playing during the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Yet even with the unfairness of the rule change, Scott Dolson, Indiana Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, understands the unfairness, nevertheless stays classy.  He stated:

“Although we understand the conference’s decision, we are disappointed. From the start of the year, we have said we can only control what we can control. We had a chance to earn our spot in the Big Ten Championship Game, but ultimately fell a touchdown short on the road against a great Ohio State team.”

The Buckeyes are set to play Northwestern in a very anticipated Big 10 Championship game. Northwestern is currently ranked #14 in the nation with a 6-1 record. Ohio State is currently #4 in the nation, but only played 5 games. If Ohio State loses to the Wildcats, Ohio State is out. However, if Ohio State wins, should they be eligible to represent the Big 10 in the CFP? Teams like Cincinnati and Iowa State who are predicted to win their conference will have a strong argument why they should be in and Ohio State out. The Buckeyes opponents have been disappointing or cancelled, while Cincinnati has played 8 games against 2 ranked opponents, with a match against #24 Tulsa still to come. While #8 Iowa State has played against a ranked Oklahoma, Texas, and Oklahoma State with another chance to beat the Sooners again next Saturday.

 

Week Championship Predictions.

 

Though I should learn not make predictions anymore, here are my picks for next week’s conference championship games.

 

  • USA Championship Game (Marshall over UAB)
  • MAC Championship Game (Buffalo over Ball State)
  • PAC-12 Championship Game (USC over Washington)
  • Big 10 Championship Game (Ohio State over Northwestern)
  • Big 12 Championship Game (Oklahoma over Iowa State)
  • Sun Belt Championship Game (Coastal Carolina over Louisiana)
  • ACC Championship Game (Notre Dame over Clemson)
  • Mountain West Championship Game (San José State over Boise State)
  • American Championship Game (Cincinnati over Tulsa)
  • SEC Championship Game (Florida over Alabama)

 

You may be asking yourself, why did you still pick Florida? I am not one to change my takes, even if it is clearly a “hot take.” I will stick with my predictions even during the madness of 2020.

 

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