Patterson: LSU/Alabama Loser Will Likely Make Playoff

The committee sent "mixed messages" in its initial rankings, Chip Patterson says, but it seems likely that two SEC teams will make the playoff

Reiter Than You
November 06, 2019 - 8:23 pm
Nick Saban Alabama

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The College Football Playoff committee released its initial rankings Tuesday, as Ohio State (8-0), LSU (8-0), Alabama (8-0), and Penn State (8-0) rounded out the top four, with Clemson (9-0) and Georgia (7-1) following at five and six, respectively.

Initial thoughts?

“I think we’ve got a lot of mixed messages,” CBS Sports college football writer Chip Patterson said on Reiter Than You. “Your profile matters unless it doesn’t, and the way that the committee is able to bounce between those two sort of at will allows them some flexibility.”

Patterson understands why Penn State was ranked ahead of Clemson. After all, the Nittany Lions have quality wins over No. 14 Michigan (7-2) and No. 18 Iowa (6-2). But why weren’t they ranked ahead of Alabama, which has beaten…Duke?

Many fans and analysts also thought LSU deserved the top spot over Ohio State.

“I think LSU has the best profile on paper in the entire country. I think Ohio State has looked like the best team,” Patterson said. “It’s just a reminder that the selection committee has no strict rules and they are given the freedom to interpret what best teams means as it’s convenient to them.”

LSU and Alabama, of course, square off in Tuscaloosa this Saturday. 

Don’t be surprised if they meet again in the playoff.

“I think that LSU has quality wins that would help it in an argument against a conference champion,” Patterson said. “I think Oklahoma is in a really bad spot right now, all the way down at No. 9. I’m not totally certain Oklahoma will be able to win the rest of its games and the conference championship, end up 12-1 and in that conversation. But I think the LSU/Alabama loser, going up against a 12-1 Oklahoma, probably is going to end up getting in. The SEC is going to end up getting two in that way.”

That’s not a knock on Oklahoma or the Big 12. Patterson thinks the same holds true with LSU and a potential one-loss Pac-12 champion.

“If you are the 12-1 Pac-12 champion, I think that even with that conference championship, it’s going to be tough to go up against a team in LSU, for example, (if) it’s only loss would be on the road at Alabama,” Patterson said. “I think it gets more interesting if Alabama loses because we’ve seen Alabama not even win its own division, but then make the College Football Playoff and then win it all – which makes all of this very hard to wrap your mind around. But if Alabama is that 11-1 team, them compared to an Oklahoma, them compared to an Oregon, that debate gets really, really interesting.”