Joel Klatt: Should Ohio State, Alabama make CFP if TCU, USC lose?

There isn’t much consternation over the latest College Football Playoff rankings as the order of Tuesday’s top four was apparent Saturday evening. The only debate remaining is who will be included in the CFP if any of those four teams lose their respective conference championship games.

Joel Klatt asserted the nation’s three unbeaten teams — No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Michigan and No. 3 TCU — should (and will) make the playoff regardless of this weekend’s results. 

“I don’t believe that those top-three undefeateds are going anywhere, even if they lose,” he said on Wednesday’s edition of “The Joel Klatt Show.” “In this championship game weekend, I don’t think these teams, in particular the top three, should be penalized for qualifying for these games and for winning every one of their games up to this point. They’re all 12-0, they’re all playing for their conference title, and even if they were to lose, I think they belong in the College Football Playoff.” 

The CFP committee got it right with USC, Alabama, Michigan and others

The CFP committee got it right with USC, Alabama, Michigan and others

Joel Klatt discusses the College Football Playoff rankings and how the top six are correct.

The conversation will be moot on Selection Sunday if Georgia beats No. 14 LSU for the SEC championship, Michigan beats Purdue for the Big Ten title, TCU tops No. 10 Kansas State for the Big 12 championship and No. 4 USC beats No. 11 Utah for the Pac-12 title. But losses from the top four open the door for No. 5 Ohio State and No. 6 Alabama, neither of whom are playing this weekend. 

Klatt is adamant that the Crimson Tide, who would presumably need at least two teams ranked ahead of them to lose, shouldn’t make the CFP. His primary logic is Alabama, with two losses in the regular season, doesn’t deserve to usurp an unbeaten team that qualified for an extra game. 

“I don’t see a way in which Bama wins an argument against any of those three,” Klatt said. “I think that’s pretty clear with Georgia. … Michigan would only have one loss and they have the best win in the country. … Everyone’s saying if TCU and USC lose, maybe Bama’s got a path. Really? I actually don’t view it that way. First, lets at least evaluate with clear eyes that TCU has 12 wins. Bama can’t get more than 10. That, in and of itself, really should do it. But then you can even go to the résumé.”

It would show that Alabama’s best win came at Texas, a team that TCU also beat on the road. The Horned Frogs, however, also have a win against Kansas State, which would also represent their lone defeat if they were to fall in Saturday’s Big 12 title game. 

Should TCU make the CFB ahead of Alabama?

Should TCU make the CFB ahead of Alabama?

Joel Klatt takes a look at TCU’s 12-0 record and explains why the Horned Frogs deserve to make the CFP ahead of the Alabama Crimson Tide.

That leaves Ohio State as the only team outside the top four that Klatt feels has a case to make the CFP. But he wouldn’t select the Buckeyes over the Horned Frogs, should the latter lose to Kansas State on Saturday. Such a scenario would likely stir the strongest debate possible regarding the final field.

“At that point, Kansas State is going to be right next to Penn State,” Klatt said. “So, the two wins that the two teams have are basically equal, and in this regard, you’d just be penalizing TCU for losing a game that they qualified to play as an extra game. … I don’t think Ohio State is a threat to TCU, if they were to lose, clearly not to Michigan, and I don’t think to Georgia, either.

“I believe that Ohio State’s only opportunity to get into the playoff is if USC loses.”

While Klatt objects to penalizing a team for reaching its conference championship, he feels the Buckeyes’ regular-season résumé narrowly eclipses the Trojans’. Ohio State’s best win came at No. 8 Penn State. USC’s is at No. 15 Oregon State. The Buckeyes’ loss was a blowout at home to unbeaten Michigan. The Trojans’ came on the road by a point, but to a Utah team that would still likely be rated below Penn State. 

Add in another loss to the Utes on Friday, and USC’s case to be the first team selected to the CFP with two defeats isn’t that compelling.

“We’re playing for one final spot,” Klatt opined. “USC win, you’re in. If you lose, you’re probably going to lose that argument to Ohio State. Everybody else – win, lose – you’re in. Georgia, Michigan, TCU, go start preparing [for the CFP]. By the way, probably Michigan-TCU are already matched up against each other in the Fiesta Bowl.” 

Read more:

Top stories from FOX Sports:

Each week, FOX Sports college football analyst Joel Klatt dives into his Top 10 teams, answers questions and discusses the biggest storylines in college football on his podcast. Download “The Joel Klatt Show” here.

Get more from College Football Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more

in this topic

Adblock test