LSU/Alabama Loser Has "Good Shot" To Make Playoff

Tom Fornelli explains how the LSU/Alabama loser could benefit from losing their Nov. 9 showdown

Reiter Than You
October 29, 2019 - 8:25 am
Nick Saban Alabama

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No. 1 LSU (8-0) and No. 2 Alabama (8-0) will square off in Tuscaloosa on Nov. 9 at 3:30 p.m. ET. While the winner has a great chance of reaching the College Football Playoff, the loser, well, has a great chance of reaching the College Football Playoff.

“If the loser finishes with only one loss, I still think there’s going to be a good shot of them getting in,” college football writer Tom Fornelli said on Reiter Than You. “Say LSU loses a close loss on the road to Alabama and wins out, doesn’t get to play in the SEC title game – but still has those wins over Florida, Auburn and Texas. Or if you’re one-loss Alabama and your one loss is to LSU but you’ve beaten Texas A&M, you’ve beaten Auburn to finish the season, you have good quote-unquote wins and losses. I think that those resumes are going to stack up against a one-loss Oregon or a one-loss Oklahoma or a one-loss anybody simply because of the schedule that they played.”

But what if the LSU/Alabama loser doesn’t play for the SEC Championship? Doesn’t that matter?

In a word, no. In 2017, Alabama reached the playoff despite not playing for the SEC Championship, losing its last game by double digits, and having zero top-15 wins.

“The committee has clearly set a precedent,” Fornelli said. “When the playoff first began, everybody thought there would be an emphasis on conference championships. That’s clearly not the case anymore because the Big Ten is one of the more powerful conferences in the country, and its conference champion hasn’t been in the last few years. And we saw a few years ago when both Georgia and Alabama got in – Alabama didn’t even play for the SEC Championship, and it still got into the playoff. So it’s hard to know for sure based on what they’ve done.”

Alabama has not beaten a team currently ranked in the top 25. If the Tide lose to LSU, they would have to beat No. 11 Auburn on Nov. 30 to remain in playoff contention.

“You don’t know how these people think until we start seeing the rankings, and we’re not there yet,” Fornelli said. “But I definitely think based on the way they’ve played, based on what we’ve seen and based on the remaining schedules, yeah, whoever loses – Alabama or LSU – as long as they’re not blown out, if it’s a close loss, it’s almost beneficial because then you miss out on having to play that SEC Championship game, which gives you one less game that you could lose. Whoever you get to play in Atlanta, whether it’s Georgia or Florida, it’s going to be a tough game – and tough games are hard to win. It’s somewhat of a beneficial loss in some ways.”

Click below to listen to Fornelli’s interview in its entirety.