After taking a few weeks off to mourn and Ghost stealing my "How can we win the West?" thunder, I decided to take a look at Playoff chances in this week's Learner.
Before we get started, obligatory GIF:
The Rebels came in at #11 in last week's College Football Playoff poll. Ole Miss was the highest rated 2-loss team, but they stood behind three other SEC teams.
Let's take a quick glimpse at last week's poll and results.
Four teams ahead of Ole Miss took losses last week, while Baylor, Arizona State, and Ohio State notched quality wins for their playoff resumes.
While the AP and Coaches polls were released Sunday, we have to wait until Tuesday for the Committee's poll to give
ESPN something to show on a Tuesday night the members time to analyze teams and discuss the rankings. Which means I won't waste my time trying to figure out the poll before hand.
A few notes on these rankings before I move onto what Ole Miss needs to land a spot in the inaugural College Football Playoffs:
- Yes, I have Ole Miss ahead of Auburn. "But head-to-head," you exclaim! I get that, but remember that the Committee gets to use whatever criteria it wants to justify a ranking. Right now, Ole Miss has a more impressive win and is lacking a "bad loss," so to speak. Losing to A&M, at home, is just inexcusable. Besides, it's not like this week's ranking of #8 and #9 really matters all that much.
- Baylor jumps us due to its impressive manhandling of a Big Game Bob's best team yet (or something). A 1-loss team that now has wins over TCU and Oklahoma is sitting in better position than Ole Miss. Just the way it is.
- Ohio State's win over Michigan State was impressive, but that result is more of an eliminator for the Spartans than it is a qualifier for the Buckeyes. Remember, this Ohio State team lost a 4-5 Virginia Tech team at home by two scores.
- For the same reason that Auburn and Ole Miss were #3 and #4 in the first CFP poll, Alabama edges out TCU for #4 this week. Alabama still has two elimination games remaining. TCU has three games against opponents that are a combined 10-16. They just have to keep winning, and they are in.
So, what has to happen for Ole Miss to make it into that coveted 4th spot?
- Alabama MUST beat MSU. Aside from SEC standings, why would Ole Miss want Alabama to strengthen their resume? Short answer: MSU and FSU have strangleholds on the top two spots so long as they are undefeated. Thus, the remaining teams are really fighting for just two spots. However, if Alabama beats MSU, then that means three spots are up for grabs.
- Georgia could beat Auburn. Another Auburn loss would effectively eliminate them from both the SEC West race and the playoff chase.
- Oregon MUST lose in the Pac-12 Championship game. Or to Oregon State for that matter. A 2-loss Pac-12 team is not getting
- Arizona State MUST lose to Arizona. Like I said, a 2-loss Pac-12 team is not getting in.
If those 4 things happened (and Ole Miss wins out, duh), then the final four would likely look like this:
Yes, I do think that a 2-loss Ole Miss could get in as the 4-seed over a 1-loss Big Ten Champion. In the world of the Power 5 conferences, the ACC champ, SEC champ, and Big 12 champ would be 1-3. This would leave a 2-loss Pac-12 champ and a 1-loss Big Ten champ as the only teams that can claim points in the "conference champions" column.
I would like our chances of making it in over either of those due to weak SOS and bad losses holding down their resumes. Of course, if the chaos that Ghost described were to happen for Ole Miss to win the SEC West, then yea, we would be in even better shape.