November Massacre Claims CFP Teams 2,3, and 4
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A trio of upsets like this hasn't been seen in college football since 1985.
That'd be when Jim Harbaugh was QB for a Michigan team that lost to No 1 Iowa on a last-second field goal.
Déjà vu can be a bummer. So can teasing it, as Clemson discovered.
And Washington had better learn from it, or its remaining playoff hopes will go the way of the dodo bird, just like its Rose Bowl chances in 1982.
Conventional perspectives aside, Saturday's results were proof yet again that chalk can have it day every now and then, but come November, it cannot be worshipped.
That's often a result of conference suits backloading schedules so their projected contenders will be on Front Street when the implications are magnified.
This season, as in most, it worked. Combined with the usual collateral damage -- hellooo, Texas A&M and Auburn --- the chaos unleashed by the Selection Committee's Nos 2-3-4 teams is gonna put their collective feet to the fire as to how they interpret their own criteria for playoff inclusion.
We'll soon see if the Committee's word is its bond. Especially regarding head-to-head play and holding championships in high esteem.
So how did the floodgates of playoff possibilities open? Let us count the ways:
1. Michigan gets clipped in Iowa
Who knew Iowa's notorious pink visitors' locker room would actually have an effect like this? Whatever the reason, Michigan was in no mindset for a streetfight:
The Wolverines can still win out -- ie- beating Indiana and, ahem, Ohio State in the Horseshoe -- and take the Big Ten East. If they don't and Penn State does by handling Rutgers and Sparty, the Nittany Lions advance to the conference title game.
That, of course, would shut out both the Wolverines and Buckeyes from a conference championship opportunity.
2. Clemson tempts fate once too often
Dudes may have sailed too close to the wind against Pittsburgh, but the fact remains they're still in the driver's seat in the ACC Atlantic, if they hold serve at Wake Forest and at home to South Carolina.
Full marks, though, to the Panthers:
The college football season is one long knockout process. It comes with a qualifer, such as the illogical when a team loses -- who's hot and who's not at closing time should stick to Tinder -- and to whom.
So does the Committee toss Louisville aside because it's gonna fail to meet two playoff criteria? After all, like every other FBS program, the Cardinals knew the rules going into the season.
What is it parents tell their kids? Words have consequences?
3. Washington's youth isn't served
The Huskies have a grand total of 12 seniors on their entire roster. One of them woulda been useful against USC.
LB Joe Mathis was Washington's top pass rusher until he was lost for the season with a foot injury. It also didn't help that junior LB Victor Azeem, the team's top tackler, suffered a leg injury that knocked him out of the USC game in the early going.
The Trojans took advantage of those absences, big time:
If the Huskies bedevil Arizona State in Seattle and Wazzu in Pullman, they'll get to the Pac-12 title game. If USC beats UCLA next weekend, they'd still need Utah to be upset by Oregon and Colorado to drop both games against Washington State and Utah.
They may have gotten hot too late.
As to Washington, maybe they scheduled that creampuff non-con schedule this year because they thought their underclassmen would still need more tuning up. As this loss to USC indicated, maybe they were right. Jake Browning, for example, missed wide open receivers enough times to tilt the game to Troy. Coulda been because he'd not seen a D like he did in this one.
Put all that together, and the CFP may well agree that the Huskies need another year.