The Louisville Cardinals opened the college football playoff door wide open with its latest loss. Wisconsin, Washington and Penn State may now get lucky.
I don’t agree with the sentiment you expressed in your final paragraph earlier this week, saying that teams slide up as others slide back because of when teams lose. That ignores the details of the losses. Just because someone loses later, doesn’t make the loss inherently worse. For example, if Alabama was to lose this weekend (Well, not this weekend because it plays Chattanooga. So that’s a bad example. Let’s say next weekend against Auburn instead.), it would surely remain in the top four and perhaps even in the number-one spot. The Crimson Tide’s resume would remain the best in the country regardless of whether their lone loss came in September or late November.
Timing should not affect the impact of a loss besides the fact that it could clinch a spot in conference standings. Otherwise, each game should be valued the same. I understand the argument that a later loss means a team isn’t playing well “at the right time,” but that seems like a thing blustery talking heads say and not something that real voters should fall victim to. Again, using Alabama as an example, if it loses to Auburn, no one would argue the Tide is collapsing at the wrong time and should be dropped from the playoff.
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Here’s perhaps an even better argument. What if the timing of each loss happened at the same time, but Michigan was the team that lost to the now-top-10 Penn State Nittany Lions and Ohio State had lost to unranked Iowa? Which feeling would trump the other in your mind, the “better” loss or the recent loss?
The interesting thing about college football is that the action on the field necessitates decisions when you least expect it. Louisville lost Thursday night to the Houston Cougars. We both had the Cardinals in our top four for the playoff on Monday. Now, we both have to eliminate them. But, let’s be clear, it’s not because of when Louisville is losing. It is because they lost and lost comfortably to one of the few solid opponents they have faced. This loss to Houston ruins Louisville’s resume whether it happened now or a month ago.
We had been, or at least I was, swayed by the Lamar Jackson experience and the Cardinals’ performances against Florida State and Clemson. But the bottom line is those are the only two games this season they have played against top 25 teams, and adding Houston means those are the only three games against top 45 teams. And they lost two of the three! This team is out. Jackson may still win the Heisman Trophy because the competition is so spotty this season, but Louisville’s season is over.
Maybe I can’t shake the old BCS mindset, but in a ‘what have you done for me lately’ world its impossible not to put more weight on a more recent loss by a top team. If a team losses early in the season, but then wins for two months straight afterwards, those wins are what matters. If they lose the last game of the year, that hurts more than anything.
I can’t argue with the logic of dissecting the actual teams one plays and whether or not they win or lose. Louisville only beat one top ranked team, losing to the other two it has played. But I can’t give Michigan a pass for losing to Iowa, and it matters more now that the playoffs hang in the balance. If the Wolverines lose to Ohio State, they should get knocked from the playoffs. But with your logic, that is a good loss that shouldn’t hurt them.
I’m not in favor of good and bad losses. A defeat is a defeat, especially late in the year. We have to dissect them in order to rank these teams, opening the door for someone like Wisconsin to have a real shot at the playoffs. They lost to Ohio State and Michigan. One of them will also have two losses and Wisconsin’s defeats will be better. Right?
The one loss teams will fill-up this year’s playoffs if everyone keeps winning. But I doubt that happens, leaving the door wide open for Wisconsin and Washington and Penn State to sneak inside.
Dan Salem is Lead Editor, Staff Writer, and Featured Vlogger at BuzzChomp. He’s also a Staff Writer for NFL Spinzone, as well as an Actor, Writer, Director and Producer. Get lost in his Youtube comedy channel PillowTalk TV. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or Instagram.
Todd Salem is a Contributing Editor at BuzzChomp. He’s also a Staff Writer for NFL Spinzone, a Featured Columnist at College Sports Madness, and an Analyst for Tipster Labs, among others. Follow him on Twitter.
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