ATLANTA, Ga – The list of games that will truly affect the playoff field is far shorter than we expect this time of year.
Two full weekends of games, virtually all bye weeks are done and we’ve got Championship Saturday, to boot. Surprisingly, there are only a few games remaining that will have an actual affect on which four teams will head to the playoffs.
Part of that is I’m convinced Georgia is the only 1-loss team that 100% controls its season. Part of it is the remaining games involving the top 3 only don’t seem likely to produce an upset.
The short list of games that actually “will” affect the playoff field? You really have to go outside the top 5 right now, to find the most intrigue.
Some of those games are the Oregon-Utah variety, truly a coin flip. Others are the Maybe, But That’s All I Got scenarios of Penn State beating Ohio State, Michigan beating Ohio State, Wisconsin learning enough from the 38-7 loss a month ago that the Badgers earn the dub in the Big 10 title game. All three of those teams are good enough to represent a Power 5 conference, just not THIS Power 5 conference this season, not with the Godzilla that Ohio State is.
Even the LSU – Georgia game, if the Bulldogs get the upset, that’s not chaos, that doesn’t throw the playoff field wide open. It actually makes it narrower, it claims half the playoff seeds instead of SEC taking just one.
The most likely outcome is the current top 3 of LSU, Ohio State and Clemson, with the 4th seed to either Georgia with a win in Atlanta or Oregon beating Utah paired with an LSU victory in the SEC CG and your playoff field is set.
Yes, I’m aware I haven’t mentioned Alabama at all here. I don’t believe the Tide gets in regardless of any realistic outcome in the Iron Bowl. 60-3? Alright, different conversation. But that’s not happening and it’s likely what it would take for Bama to get in the field this year over at least two more deserving teams, if not four.