Rece Davis and David Pollack engaged in a borderline contentious disagreement on ESPN’s television set, and I don’t blame them because a college football rankings without a debate is just a televised list.
The Talking Heads on Tuesday considered what the college football playoff selection committee might do if it decides for the finals between No. 5 Tennessee (9-1, 5-1 SEC) and No. 6 LSU (8-2, 6 -1) Must decide playoff berth if Tigers upset No. 1 Georgia in SEC championship game Dec. 3.
For Davis, Tennessee’s October 40-13 win at LSU would trump LSU’s conference championship and their wins over Georgia and Alabama. The Vols also beat Alabama.
“LSU can come in — but not before Tennessee. … (The Vols) beat them senseless on their home field,” Davis said.
And yet, if LSU tops the table, their resume would include a conference championship, the nation’s best win (win over Georgia), and a win over top-10 Alabama.
Pollack doesn’t think the committee should take on two SEC teams, Georgia and Tennessee, but does Not an 11-win SEC champion who would have just defeated the nation’s No. 1 team.
“If LSU is an SEC champion and beats Georgia, which Tennessee couldn’t, … are you saying that doesn’t change your mind?” Pollack squeezed Davis.
Davis looked like his head would explode at the suggestion that the committee would choose LSU over the Vols, despite their head-to-head record.
Brace yourself Davis, because I think that’s what’s about to happen.
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The committee clearly loves LSU’s resume, even ahead of the SEC championship. Throw in a neutral win against the nation’s top-ranked team and I think the committee would be swayed.
Davis’ head-to-head argument hits a wall for this reason: If the Tigers win the SEC championship, Georgia, LSU and Tennessee would each have a 1-1 record in those teams’ round-robin triangle.
From Davis’ point of view, Tennessee beat LSU, so how could the Tigers be in the Vols?
Well, Georgia beat Tennessee, so how did UT beat the Bulldogs?
Well, LSU would have a win over Georgia in this scenario we’re considering, so how could the Bulldogs outperform the Tigers?
LSU would be the only team with two losses in that trio, but it would also be the only conference champion in the group. And the committee favors conference champions.
Do you see the problem?
That’s why LSU’s win over Georgia is the committee’s nightmare scenario. The committee could have three SEC teams for two spots with no undisputed resolution.
Well wait, maybe there is a solution.
Step 1: No. 7 Southern Cal (9-1) loses another game, leaving the Pac-12 with a two-loss champion.
Step 2: No. 4 TCU (10-0) loses.
Step 3: No. 2 Ohio State beats No. 3 Michigan.
Georgia, Tennessee and LSU can then each reach the playoffs alongside the Buckeyes. Davis and Pollack can breathe easier while fans smoke outside of the SEC’s footprint.
Camouflage for Lane Kiffin?
Lane Kiffin isn’t a fan of cold weather. The Ole Miss coach has spent much of his career in temperate climates like Los Angeles or Boca Raton, Florida.
Kiffin’s No. 14 Rebels (8-2, 4-2) play Arkansas (5-5, 2-4) Saturday (6:30 p.m. CT, SEC Network). Expected evening temperature: 19 degrees.
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Kiffin has been in touch with the Realtree folks, and they provide him with “heated hunting gear” to wear under his Ole Miss robe.
Deer season is underway in Arkansas. I’m trying to picture Kiffin in a deer pen. I can not see it.
Jimbo Fisher as the fashion police
Nothing gets past Jimbo Fisher.
Yes, Texas A&M (3-7) is in the midst of its first six-game losing streak in 50 years, but Fisher has a snappy dress code.
Wide receiver Moose Muhammad III, one of the Aggies’ best players, tweeted after Saturday’s 13-10 loss to Auburn that he was benched for wearing sleeves. During a night game. As temperatures dipped into the 40s.
This guy’s nerves!
The Houston Chronicle reported that Aggies coaches believe wearing sleeves in cold conditions increases the risk of fumbles.
Not wearing sleeves in cold conditions increases the risk of freezing.
“We’ve brought it up, and we’ve all talked about it, and (we) are moving on,” Fisher told reporters.
I wonder how many Aggies players will carry on after this miserable season.
Mike Leach will officiate the criticism – for a fee
A reporter tried to get Mike Leach to criticize officials during the SEC conference call, but the Mississippi state coach had none of it. Criticism of officials by the media can result in a fine, so Leach wisely withholds his assessment — unless the reporter is charging money for a citation.
“That’s a ridiculous question and you know it,” Leach said. “You can send me a check. I think $30,000 would do, although I would have to check the market. You can send me a check and I will give you an answer.”
A wise man would take $10,000 from that check and buy an I-Bond.
email of the week
James writes (in response to my column in which he suggests that the SEC restrict a school’s alcohol sales as punishment if fans rush the field): It’s obvious that you have no idea what you’re writing about and should be fired for the puritanical garbage you wrote. Selling alcohol has nothing to do with it, and anyone who’s ever gone to play instead of layup (sic) in a sorority knows that. Study history, little boy, and you might learn something.
My answer: The emailer protests too much I think.
Three and out
1. If you’re unhappy with recent playoff committee standings, you’re probably operating with some kind of bias. The committee’s most recent top 5 — Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan, TCU and Tennessee — correspond to the order they would be in if the BCS rankings still existed, the company said latest simulation of BCS leaderboard.
2. If the 12-team playoffs took place this season, Gus Malzahn’s UCF Knights would be in position to claim the Group of Five bid. Imagine Malzahn still piling up wins and Auburn looking for a football coach – should have kept the bloke who put together eight straight seasons at AU and beat Nick Saban three times.
3. A look at the latest 247Sports Composite rankings for the 2023 Recruitment Class: 1st Alabama, 2nd Georgia, 3rd Notre Dame, 4th LSU, 5th Ohio State, 6th Texas, 7th Oklahoma, 8th Florida.
That’s four SEC schools plus two schools that will be attending the conference through 2025.
That “Topp Rope” is his biweekly SEC football column that airs throughout the USA TODAY Network. If you like Blake’s reporting, consider it a digital subscription so you can access everything. Also check out his podcast, SEC Football Unfilteredor access exclusive columns through the SEC Unfiltered Newsletter.