Written by: John Stocco
It finally happened. LSU pulled off the upset by going into Alabama and defeating the Crimson Tide. What a wild ride after years of getting beat by Alabama in defensive tug of wars, 2019 will be the year that we will all look back and say that was the year that changed the College Football world. We’re closing in on this decade, and as the decade ends, so might has Alabama’s run of dominance. LSU looks like a program that cannot be stopped. On Saturday, they had an answer for everything Alabama threw at them, and Alabama couldn’t keep up. First the humiliating Clemson loss, and now getting beat by LSU in their own stadium that could spell the end for the 2019 season.
What else can you say about this team? Joe Burrow has stolen the spotlight from Justin Herbert, he might have stolen the Heisman from Tua Tagovailoa, and now he has a clear path to the SEC Championship game that he stole away from Alabama on Saturday. LSU is just the total package this year. They have everything. Joe Burrow turned into one of the best quarterbacks in college football, their running game is consistent, elite targets on the outside, and a defense that is straight-up nasty by being able to hit hard and creating turnovers. Also, some people may scoff at this, but their special teams are also one of the best in college football, and their kicking game could be what separates them and everyone else in the College Football Playoff.
2, Ohio State
No Chase Young? No problem. Well, maybe just against Maryland. When Ohio State plays Penn State, Michigan, and Minnesota in the Big Ten Championship game you better believe they’re going to need every part of Chase Young on that football field. Not because the Ohio State defense falls apart without him, but because he’s a difference-maker. He’s the best defensive player in the country, and he might even be the best overall player in the country. Ohio State drops to number two and that isn’t a demotion by the slightest. LSU has the better resume, they play in a tougher conference, and they have more impressive wins. If both LSU and Ohio State stay undefeated these rankings should not change. They are the two best teams and they are the two deepest teams in college football right now.
You have no choice this week, you have to put Clemson in the final four. Penn State losing to Minnesota opened the door wide open for Clemson to enter the final four, and stay in the final four for the foreseeable future. The committee leaving out Clemson wasn’t them sending a message to Dabo Swinney that meant they didn’t think Clemson was any good at all, it was a message they were sending that the entire world knows that Clemson has an easier ride than most teams in the college football playoff mix. The ACC is one of the weakest conferences in the country, and Clemson hasn’t even come close to being challenged this year. So what do they have to do? Dominate. They did exactly that and dominated North Carolina State on Saturday night. For the first time this season Clemson showed anger, and they showed hunger. They played like they needed to prove something, and I’m glad they came out that way. Your success in the previous season shouldn’t matter, and Clemson leaned on that a little. Clemson came out looking to make a statement, and they did more than just make a statement. Unless LSU and Ohio State shock the world and lose, it looks like Clemson has this third spot locked up for the remainder of the season. We all know how college football works…
I couldn’t do it. I thought about it, but honestly, I couldn’t leave Alabama out of the final four this week. Now things aren’t looking good for Alabama at all. As of right now they will not be playing in the SEC Championship, and their fate is completely out of their hands. They have no easy way into the College Football Playoff. Saturday against LSU something didn’t feel right. I’m not taking anything away from LSU because they played incredible, but when LSU was up early, you felt the low energy and morale decrease on Alabama’s sideline. Usually when an Alabama team is losing you’re just anticipating the comeback, but on Saturday it was different. Saban didn’t have the same fire and intensity, Tua might still be injured, and their defense isn’t the same old NFL ready defense we’ve seen every year under Saban. LSU was the better team from start to finish and the score doesn’t do it justice. Alabama stays at four, but not for long.
This is a team that’s getting the most disrespected out of everyone in the College Football Playoff discussion. They’re a one-loss team in an underrated tough conference, and their one loss came from a very good Auburn team in week one, and when you go back and watch that game, Oregon played better than Auburn for the majority of that game. Bo Nix made a heroic throw and Auburn won that game by the skin of their teeth. Justin Herbert has played much better since then, and their defense is one of the best in the country. Right now, for Oregon to be behind Georgia is a huge mistake made by the committee. Oregon is really good, and if they’re a one-loss PAC 12 Championship team, how can the committee not put them in the final four?
I know I just got done blasting Georgia, but I believe 6 is a good spot for them, I debated Georgia between Oklahoma for the 6 spot, and honestly, it’s a tough one to debate. You compare the schedules and Georgia wins that debate, then you look at losses and Oklahoma wins that debate, but then you go to head to head matchup and who do I think wins the head to head to head game on a neutral site? I sided with Georgia. You can’t go wrong with either or because I feel like both of these teams are so evenly matched. When you break it all down, Georgia has a chance to win the SEC, and I’m picking a one-loss SEC Champion over a one-loss Big 12 Champion every week.
Real quick, shoutout to one of my all-time favorite coaches, Lovie Smith. Years of work, years of rebuilding, and the Fighting Illini are finally bowl eligible again. Couldn’t be happier for Lovie Smith. The man deserves it.