Because it's Alabama – and only because it's Alabama – it's going to be more complicated than necessary.
If we live in a logical world, the loss of LSU 46-41 Saturday would be ranked. Alabama, who does not win against a top-25 team, let alone a good team, will not win either the SEC or even the SEC West and will lose at home in the match he needed. to win, should not be in college football Eliminations. Unless there is a national disaster, the selection committee will have enough good options from a group of teams that have faced better opponents and won conference titles, so Alabama should not be on the margins of the discussion.
And yet, we know what will happen next month. The SEC's propaganda machine will move up a gear, excuses will pour in and the benefit of the doubt as to whether the university football institution gives Alabama exclusive insinuera in the discussion.
How will it end? Who knows? But if we kept Alabama on the same principle as everyone else, the conversation would be rather black and white. When you meet one of the top 10 home opponents and you are the only top 10 team to play all year, you must win this game. And if you do not, you must win your conference.
Alabama will not do any of these things. So, what are we really talking about here?
Even the aura of Alabama should not be enough – not this year. Crimson Tide's defense was at best average and had a hard time tackling LSU, yielding 559 yards of offense and failing to stop in the fourth quarter as the match was potentially up for grabs.
While Saturday's game was certainly tense and entertaining, it is not credible to suggest that there is a discernible difference between what we saw at Tuscaloosa and many other top teams this year. Alabama and LSU have extraordinary offensive skill and speed. They could both do some damage in the playoffs, but they are not physically upset enough to say for sure that they are two of the top four.
With Ohio State and Clemson en route to the playoffs with LSU, it is highly likely that Alabama will have a worse case for the playoffs on paper than the Big 12 or Pac-12 champion. To ask the committee to disregard that and to apologize for losing LSU at home would not happen to anyone in Alabama.
Here are nine other observations from the 11th week of the college football season:
The Heisman looks more like a two-man race
If LSU quarterback Joe Burrow wins the Heisman Trophy, the game that will remain etched in the minds of voters is obvious. Third and second, two minutes from Alabama, we are five points ahead. If the Alabama is stopped, it's suddenly a goal in the pressure field, and even in the best scenario for LSU, the lead would be only eight points. So what does LSU do? He clears the backfield, calls a designed draw and puts the game in the hands of his best player for 18-yard gain. For all intents and purposes, the game was over.
Burrow was almost flawless in the decisive match of the college football season, completing 31 of 39 goals for 393 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 64 more. With LSU's 46-41 win, this established him as the clear favorite to win the Heisman.
BRAGGES RIGHTS:Ed Orgeron, LSU coach, told the team: "This is our home now"
At this point, in fact, it seems that the only player in position to be able to face Burrow is Jalen Hurts of Oklahoma. No disrespect for Alabama 's quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, who has been outstanding all year, but the time that he has missed with an ankle injury and the pair of Costly turnarounds that he committed during the face-to-face duel against Burrow will spill him significantly in the eyes. many voters. Chase Young's candidacy may well derail his suspension based on his length.
This leaves Hurts, largely because of the absurd figures that he may present, as the most likely challenger. Hurts did not play his best in the second half of Oklahoma's 42-41 win over Iowa State and, in fact, launched an interception with a time remaining at 2:43 that gave the Cyclones a chance. Still, Hurts was 18-for-26 for 273 yards and added five touchdowns (three assists). For the season, he has scored 39 touchdowns in eight games.
The coach of the year looks like a great race
If the vote of the national coach of the year was taking place today, it would be almost impossible to pick one for the price.
One option would obviously be Ed Orgeron, whose team is ranked No. 1 and has just beaten Alabama for the first time since 2009. But more than that, LSU is 9-0 because Orgeron made a big change in the program. Hiring Joe Brady to pass the coordinator of the game and unlock an offense that was stuck in the mud for the entire decade. LSU still has a lot of talent, but finding the best way to use it is the essence of coaching.
P.J. Fleck of Minnesota also would write the most unlikely story of the year with the Gophers now 9-0 after beating Penn State.
And just as deserving is Matt Rhule, of Baylor, whose team comes from behind and won another tight victory against the TCU, 29-23, in a third overtime. When Rhule arrived from Temple, Baylor was facing a situation close to the death penalty, but he brought the Bears back to 9-0 in just three years. While both Oklahoma and Texas travel to Waco this month, Baylor has an incredible chance to compete in the Big 12 Championship game.
Maybe future results will determine who will ultimately win the prize, but these are three incredible coaching jobs with very little to separate this year.
Clemson is finally flying
Dabo Swinney may think that it's not worth brain cells discussing his team's rank in the college football playoff standings, but it's clear that the Tigers have felt a lack of respect in being ranked 5th by the committee this week. Swinney may have a point in his accusation that people are unfairly discounting Clemson based on a faltering performance.
As usual, the Tigers are picking up speed at the end of the season and now look much more like a reigning national champion who brought back most of his offensive talents from last season. Clemson's 55-10 victory over the state of North Carolina was as convincing a statement that the Tigers could do well to have fun. The game was a rout almost from the start, while Clemson scored touchdowns on his first four possessions, led 42-0 at halftime and played backups until the end.
The only offensive note was recorded at the end, when Clemson decided to add an extra touchdown in the last few seconds rather than going into victory formation when it was clear that NCC was able to let the s & rsquo; s time # 39; drain. The Tigers did not need to score with 11 seconds to claim their point, but they did – even throwing the ball a game before the touchdown – which seemed a bit sticky from Swinney. Perhaps it was a statement of "style" for the committee. Or maybe it was the product of an animus from coach Dave Doeren, who accused Clemson of using a laptop off the sideline two years ago ( what Clemson said was intended for download on social networks).
Aside from this tragedy, it is a bit misleading for critics to say that Clemson has had trouble this year. Outside the tight encounter against North Carolina in which the Tigers had to stop a two-point conversion to win, their margin of victory was 38, 14, 35, 42, 31, 35 and 45 in the rest of their matches. Of course, the CAC is bad and Clemson had some tough times in attack early in the season, but they dominated all the way and finally clicked on the offensive as we all thought.
The ranking of the Gophers will be fascinating
No one in college football had to prove Saturday that Minnesota, and no one has done as much to completely change the way people see their program. The Gophers' 31-26 win over Penn State # 5 was a performance that was worth it because it did not look like a stroke of luck at all. Although Minnesota was a bit conservative late and almost gave Penn State a chance to steal it, there was no doubt the best team had won.
Minnesota is now 9-0 and many for real, at least from the point of view of winning the Big Ten West. Even though there were many reasons to be skeptical about the Gophers' record given the panoply of canned tomatoes that they had beaten earlier this year, they took advantage of their great moment with 460 yards of offense and got two key interceptions on the part of Antoine Winfield early. Jr. Minnesota also played a fairly disciplined game with five penalties for 40 yards and a turnover.
It will be interesting to see how the CFP committee will evaluate the Gophers, which were No. 17 last week. How many teams at a loss, like Utah, Oklahoma and Georgia, are they going? This will tell us a lot about the seriousness with which they take Minnesota. The Gophers still have two tough games against Iowa and Wisconsin, but they certainly feel like they have a chance to win the Big Ten West.
King of the Carolinas
Hats off to Appalachian State for a pretty special double this season, imposing both in South Carolina and North Carolina. The Mountaineers managed to hang in Colombia to win their first victory against the SEC, beating the Gamecocks 20-15 after South Carolina beat first and last goal while remaining 19 seconds.
The Appalachians have received $ 900,000 for the game, but as a college football giant killer, the pride of beating a Power Five school is far more than just money. The Appalachian state has come a long way since the Michigan turmoil in 2007, when it was a powerful FSC program. It is now in the sunshine belt and a constant parasite whenever it appears in the program. Although North Carolina and South Carolina are two rather mediocre teams this year, beating them the same year is huge for the regional credibility of the Appalachian state. And if things do not go as planned, winning two wins in the Power Five could strengthen the Mountaineers' 8-1 record for an offer from Cotton Bowl if Boise State and the American Athletic Conference Conference champion a second defeat.
Florida State bounces
After a tough and emotional week in Tallahassee, the Seminoles responded to Willie Taggart's dismissal by heading to Boston College for their most impressive win of the season, 38-31. "The guys went out and played for coach Odell," receiver D.J. Matthews told The Associated Press. Matthews was referring to Odell Haggins, who is in his second acting coaching position in the past three years and has been a coaching staff at Florida State since 1994. And that was a pretty important win for the Seminoles because is within range of a bowl game at 5am-5am with Alabama State coming next week Of course, this also raises an interesting question: if Taggart had remained coach, had won this match and had finished the season 6-6, would it have been enough to come back next season? Maybe not, but doing a Taggart cup game in second year rather than two consecutive losing seasons would have potentially brought a slightly different light to his tenure.
Western Kentucky beats Arkansas with the old QB
Although he said Saturday that he was the good guy to turn Arkansas and that he knew how long the reconstruction would be long and hard, the 45-19 defeat of the Razorbacks against Western Kentucky was a defeat Chad Morris would have a hard time coming back. .
Like Florida State and Taggart, no one wants to send a coach back two years later, especially when a $ 10 million buyout is to be considered. But Morris did not beat a Power Five opponent and accumulated humiliating defeats against North Texas and Colorado State last season and against San Jose State earlier this season.
Given this standard, no one could have been surprised by Saturday's loss to a fairly competent program, even if he was playing in Conference USA. But what makes the defeat even more difficult for Morris is that quarterback Ty Western, of Western Kentucky, played well by completing 22 of his 32 passes for gains of 213 yards and 77 others. Storey was a four-star rookie from Charleston, Arkansas, who played 10 games with the Razorbacks, but lost his starting position and was transferred when it became apparent that Morris was hiring another group of quarterbacks.
That kind of thing happens all the time in college football when new coaches come in, but that certainly does not flatter Morris that the guy he did not really want to have prospered in Western Kentucky, including a triumphant return to Fayetteville.
Once Arkansas has officially decided to leave Morris, one of the biggest challenges in the sport will be whether the Razorback will still race at the Auburn Gus Malzahn, as they did two years ago. .
Malzahn decided to stay in Auburn for a massive seven-year deal worth $ 49 million, but he had just played an appearance in the SEC's title game at the time. Malzahn is much less popular now, and if the Tigers finish 8-4, the choice may be much more difficult if Arkansas offers him a lucrative lifeboat.
Fuente on fire
About six weeks ago, Virginia Tech fans were ready to send Justin Fuente out of town after a very bad loss to Duke. But among many questions about whether a large number of player departures have corrected the culture of the Hokies locker room, as promised by Fuente, it seems that Virginia Tech is back on stable ground and plays his best football in late season.
Although the Hokies were disappointed last week for giving Notre Dame a deserving victory, they bounced back on Saturday with an impressive 36-17 win over Wake Forest, No. 20, and may well be heading for a Scenario where the title of the ACC Coastal Division would return until their season finale against Virginia.
Although Virginia Tech may not be as well placed as its fans hoped for, it has a good chance for a season of eight or nine wins and the team has improved significantly since September. It is about a million times more likely at this point that Fuente will be sued by someone opening in December than Virginia Tech dismissing him. In other words, it will not happen.
Illinois goes bowling
One of the most beautiful visuals of this Saturday was Lovie Smith, who was taken off the field by his players after Illinois went from three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to knock out Michigan State, 37-34.
It's really an incredible story to see Illinois become eligible at 6-4, as it was earlier this season. After consecutive home losses against East Michigan and Nebraska, followed by a road rash in Minnesota, the program began to look like a program that could prepare for a change. At this point, Smith's Illinois record was only 11-31, with very few quality wins suggesting he was heading in the right direction. But almost from nowhere, Illinois has won four straight wins and beat two of the traditionally successful Big Ten programs in Wisconsin and Michigan. In both games, they lost several scores and made a furious comeback in the fourth quarter, crowned by heroic exploits of the last second. This time it was Brandon Peters who found Daniel Barker for a five-yard touchdown with five seconds to go.
Illinois has not had that kind of hope for its program for a long time. It may be just a silly thing, but given the depth of the school, it's undeniable that the return to the playoffs is worth celebrating.