CFP chase: Can LSU, Clemson and others afford a Week
Heather Dinich, ESPN
- Senior WriterSep 1, 2023, 01:20 PM ET Close College football press reporter
- Signed up with ESPN.com in 2007
- Graduate of Indiana University
You do not have to wait till the Camping World Kickoff between Florida State and LSU on Sunday to see a game that will affect the College Football Playoff. In addition to the match in Orlando, Florida, Week 1 features several contenders in what could be some challenging matchups.The CFP selection committee does not release its very first of 6 rankings up until Halloween, however groups can begin to build their playoff résumés today. Here are the leading four highest-leverage games, according to ESPN analytics, and what’s at stake for each playoff contender. LSU vs. Florida State, Sunday The loser of this game(7:30 p.m. ET, ABC)is
in serious trouble, however not removed. LSU can lose and still win the SEC, and any team that wins the SEC is a near lock to end up in the top 4. The problem is how difficult it will be for LSU to run the table and finish the regular season with one loss. LSU is at Alabama on Nov. 4, and ESPN’s Football Power Index provides the Tide a 74.1%opportunity to win. That’s a game that will go a long method in determining the winner of the SEC West. If LSU ends up as a two-loss team that does not win its department, it will be in the precise very same dilemma as Alabama last season– on the outside looking in.Editor’s Picks 2 Associated According to the Allstate Playoff Predictor, LSU’s possibilities of reaching the playoff will drop from 19 %now to 6%with a loss on Sunday.If Florida State loses, it would likely have to beat Clemson two times en path to winning the ACC title.
FSU is at Clemson on Sept. 23, and ESPN’s FPI provides Clemson a 69.8 %chance to win. Florida State could still go on to win the ACC and surface as a two-loss conference champion, however it would be a long shot at best for a top-four finish.Without regular-season wins against LSU and Clemson, it will be challenging for the Noles to impress the selection committee, even with an ACC title. They would require to beat competing Florida and hope the Gators are a top-25 CFP team, and hope other ACC challengers are ranked. Even then, there likely will be other Power 5 champions with more powerful résumés, or Notre Dame, to be determined versus. With a loss, Florida State’s chances of reaching the CFP drop from 7%to 3%. FPI says: LSU has a 64.7%possibility to win. Clemson at Duke, Monday Clemson is a heavy favorite in this game(8 p.m. ET, ESPN), however if– if
— there occurred to be an
upset, it would be ravaging to the Tigers’playoff opportunities. With Florida State , Notre Dame, North Carolina and a road trip to equal South Carolina– all most likely top-25 challengers– on the schedule, it will be tough for the Tigers to run the table and surface as one-loss ACC champs. The bright side for the Tigers is those other opponents could also continue to keep Clemson in the discussion. The concern is how the committee would view the loss to Duke. If heaven Devils go on to end up as a top-25 group, that would assist Clemson profoundly. However if they end up below.500, it would stain Clemson’s résumé through Selection Day. Clemson gets in the game with a 25%chance to reach the CFP, and that would drop to 6%with a loss.FPI states: Clemson has an 86.8%possibility to win. If the Nittany Lions are going make the CFP for the first time under coach James Franklin, they have to leave no doubt they’re the better team in games like this. That doesn’t indicate they need to run up ball game, but if Penn State loses to Ohio State or Michigan and doesn’t win the East, games like this will go under the microscopic lense when it comes to a three-way tie. If West Virginia wins, (which would be a significant upset given the Mountaineers have yet to reach seven wins under coach Neal Brown ), it’s hard not to call it a removal game. Not only would it be a bad loss(in the house!)for Penn State, but it would also put pressure on Franklin to beat Ohio State and Michigan in the exact same season– which he hasn’t been able to do. The Nittany Lions enter the game with a 13% opportunity to make the CFP, and that would drop to 2 %with a loss, according to the Allstate Playoff Predictor.FPI says: Penn State has an 88.7%chance to win.
Ohio State at Indiana, Saturday
According to the Allstate Playoff Predictor, no group in the nation– including Alabama (56%) and Georgia (50%)– has a much better opportunity to reach the CFP than Ohio State (71%). That would drop to 34% with a loss, however it could be overcome if Ohio State were to run the table and win the Huge Ten. The Buckeyes’ résumé would still consist of wins versus Notre Dame, Penn State and Michigan– all most likely CFP top 25 groups. If Ohio State can’t beat Indiana, though, how is it going to run the table?It’s tough to imagine a one-loss Ohio State being left out of the CFP, even if that only loss is an ugly one to Indiana, provided all the other opportunities on the schedule to impress the committee. Where it gets a little dicey, however, is if there are other Power 5 conference champs that either a) went unbeaten or b) had a “much better” loss. It might likewise be tricky if there are numerous SEC teams in the conversation.Remember, there are likewise
common opponents that come into play, as Clemson and USC also deal with Notre Dame. A loss to IU would put pressure on Ohio State to not only beat the Irish, however to do it better than the other contenders could. Bottom line: A loss to IU would call into question whether the Buckeyes were truly top-four material this fall, and they ‘d deal with a heavy burden of proof for 11 straight weeks.FPI states: Ohio State has a 97 % chance to win.