Welcome, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, to the unveiling of perhaps the greatest technological innovation of our time: THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF HOPE-O-METER! Over the course of the 2019 season, we will put our ultra-violet spectrum of college football emotion to the test, processing each weekend's scoreboard—and it's array of hopes, dreams, and delusions—to determine the state of the all-important CFP push. Here's where things stand as of today...
Two weeks into the official College Football Playoff rankings, and we already have sweet, glorious chaos. Two of the initial top four lost this past weekend, which means a pair of new contenders—including the first one-loss squad of the year—have stepped into the ring. How will the manic musical chairs shake out this week? Only the great, all-knowing Hope-O-Meter can say.
Mortal Lock – LSU
We want this on the record: If LSU manage to mess this up from here, it’ll be one of the most colossal collapses in program history (and frankly, that’s saying something.) After whupping Alabama for 46 points on Saturday, LSU jumped Ohio State into the pole CFP position. Left to play for the Tigers? Ole Miss away, Arkansas at home, and Texas A&M at home. If they win those, they might even be able to drop the SEC Championship game to Georgia (more on them in a moment) and still squeak in depending on how the chips fall. The worry, though, is that Coach O and co. have reached the summit of their season and that it's all downhill from here. A tricky road trip to rival Ole Miss on Saturday should let us know where the Tigers stand mentally, but at this point there’s no reason to doubt them.
Cautiously Optimistic – Georgia
The Golden Gophers certainly deserve a mention here, making the largest-ever leap into the top 10 in CFP history with a 10-spot lunge from 18 to 8 following their impressive victory against formerly 4th-ranked Penn State. The real winner of the rankings, however, was Georgia, who became the highest-ranked one-loss team in America, sneaking into the top 4 with a shutout victory over Missouri. Georgia did a great job making sure their shocking loss to South Carolina back in October didn't turn into two or three and now they’ve got something to hold on to. And from the Committee’s perspective, it’s a no-brainer: Georgia have a tough trip to Auburn this weekend. If they win, the Committee was right! If they lose, they just bump Alabama up a spot and everyone forgets it ever happened. Genius or diabolical, you decide.
Cautiously Pessimistic – Oregon
Oregon hasn’t lost since August. On the final play of the game. To some kid named Bo Nix. Since then, they’ve quietly racked up the wins long after you’ve gone to bed, taking down every ranked Pac-12 contender in their path, most of whom, thanks in part to Oregon, aren’t ranked anymore. And here they sit at #6, victims of the broader (and frankly earned) Pac-12 bias. If they win out, which they should, and then beat #7 Utah in the Pac-12 Championship Game, are they going to leap frog a one-loss Alabama or a one-loss Georgia? If #8 Minnesota wins the Big Ten championship, will they be able to hold them off? No and no, and all because of one game four months ago. Life ain’t fair, folks, and neither is college football.
Fuggedaboutit – The Big 12
The lowest-ranked undefeated in FBS? Baylor. The lowest-ranked one-loss in the Power Five? Oklahoma. After the Sooners nearly coughed up another one to Iowa State on Saturday, the Committee more or less punted on the Big 12 this year. Sure, the Sooners and Cardiac Bears play each other this weekend, but there’s not enough of rankings gap between them to facilitate a Minnesota-like jump should, say, Baylor hand Oklahoma their second loss. The reality is—especially with those two aforementioned Pac-12 teams lurking between them and the top four—the Committee has set up the rankings so they don’t have to seriously consider the Big 12. So much for “everybody plays everybody,” amirite?
Just Put ‘Em In
Ohio University, who despite losing in soul-crushing fashion to Western Michigan on Tuesday, actually ran and executed a trick play featuring an offensive lineman doing a cartwheel. In a year in which the AAC has threatened steal the MAC’s wacky college football crown, it’s good to see that MACtion is finally fighting back.