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Playoff Status Report

by Big Al

With the year almost done, it's finally time to take stock of where we are. The playoffs have made these reports less fun: it used to be at the halfway point of the season that there was something meaningful to say. Now it's just before the end of the year. When they make the playoffs 8 teams, there won't be anything worth saying at all.

Who's In

LSU.

That's it. Regardless of whether they win against Georgia, they are in. The only question is whether they are #1, #2, #3, or #4. They are likely #1 if they beat Georgia. Or they may beat Georgia and Ohio State will stay on top... but I consider that unlikely. They will be #3 if they lose and Clemson loses. They will be #4 if they lose and Ohio State and Clemson both win.

Who May or May Not Be In

Ohio State.

A lot of people are saying Ohio State is in regardless of the Big Ten Championship, but I'm not as sure. If Utah and Oklahoma both win their conferences, then Ohio State would be a playoff contender without a conference championship. That may push them out. Their resume is better than most other teams', but there is something to be said for being a conference champion. They may be fine, but they could really use one more win to guarantee it. But if Baylor wins the Big XII, I think Ohio State is in.

Who Is In If They Win (And Out if They Don't)

Georgia and Clemson.

Georgia, obviously, will get in with a win over LSU. They are #4 already, and would be SEC champions with a win over the #1/#2 team in the country.

As much as Clemson are the undefeated, defending national champions, they have the worst resume of all the contenders. Zero wins over teams ending the year ranked. Virginia is only the second team they play that will be ranked when they play them. It's not their fault that the ACC stinks this year. Nor is it their fault that Texas A&M fell off the map: the Aggies were ranked #12 when Clemson played them. All the same, they need to beat Virginia to get their spot.

Who Are Huge LSU and Virginia (and Maybe Wisconsin) Fans This Weekend

Baylor, Oklahoma, and Utah.

Utah, in particular, could definitely use assistance. They are finishing the year with a game against Oregon, while the other two playoff options are playing each other and getting a monster boost. Not that Oregon is a pushover, but beating a playoff contender in the conference championship improves a resume immeasureably.

On the other hand, Baylor and Oklahoma aren't really sitting comfortably, either. Will the committee move one of them ahead of Utah? Baylor is in more danger, as they do not have name recognition. Should a famous name matter? Nope. Does it? Undoubtedly.

Conclusion

That's where we're at. One team is locked in, one is iffy, two need to win, and three need help. It's almost over, but not quite yet.

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