You may want Bama, sure. But if you’re a Penn State fan, it might not hurt to start cheering for Auburn. A little.
OK, a lot.
“I think if you end up with an SEC title game of undefeated teams [Georgia and Alabama], both of those teams are in the playoff,” CBS Sports bracketologist Jerry Palm told Land of 10 this week.
“The Georgia game that matters is Auburn, not Alabama. Because if Georgia beats Auburn, then you end up with two [perfect teams] in the SEC championship game. I also think that there’s a better chance they both make [the playoff] if Georgia wins.”
The 19th-ranked Tigers (6-2) host No. 3 Georgia (7-0) on Nov. 11; they host No. 1 Alabama (8-0) on Nov. 25. And the College Football Playoff fates of a handful of programs, including the No. 2 Nittany Lions (7-0) figure to hang in the balance.
We’re a week away from the release of the first CFP rankings, when speculation gives way to conspiracy theories and rage. And speaking of the latter, Palm raised some eyebrows last week with a forecast that proffered this as one of the CFP semis:
An all-Big Ten Rose Bowl?
“I don’t think the committee would care about that,” the bracketologist explained. “The committee is going to do what I did: They’re going to rank the teams and they’re going to go in their [slots]. And the fact that 2 and 3 could be in the same conference or 1 and 4 are from the same conference is not going to faze them.
“In order for that to happen, they both have to be 1-loss teams. An 11-1 Penn State who’s played a Big Ten East schedule is also good enough to be in the playoffs.”
Of course, whether that’s good enough for the Lions to win this weekend in Columbus remains to be seen. In order to arrive at a Penn State-Ohio State rematch in Pasadena, Palm projects Ohio State beating the Lions at home Saturday, then winning out from there. He also projects Penn State winning out after Oct. 28 and remaining on the committee’s minds despite not playing in the Big Ten title game — similar to what happened to the Buckeyes last year.
So even with a loss …
“They’re a contender, sure,” Palm said of the Lions.
“It depends on who else is there. My only question is where they would put Clemson. Penn State, to me, would be sandwiched — the committee could have 12-1 Clemson and 11-1 Penn State [in that order]. But I don’t think a 1-loss Big 12 champion, which I’ve got as Oklahoma State, I don’t think they’ve played the schedule [to make it]. I just don’t think the league is good enough.”
He noted that while Clemson could jump the Lions to either No. 2 or No. 3 in this scenario, he’s not taking the Pac-12 champion seriously for a playoff look, even if it’s Washington.
“And the only team in the Big 12 that could make the playoff is undefeated TCU, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. Or 12-1 Oklahoma,” Palm continued. “Oklahoma at 12-1 with a win at Oklahoma State messes this up, too. Obviously, I don’t think Oklahoma is going 12-1. And I’m going to believe in Notre Dame when they win at Miami.”
So if I’m a Lions fan, I may want Bama. But I’m rooting for Mark Richt. And for shirtless Mike Gundy and his magic mullet:
— 2 Works for You (@KJRH2HD) October 17, 2017
“If you’re a Penn State fan, take care of your own business,” Palm replied. “You’re the No. 2 team in the country. Go beat Ohio State again. Go take care of your own business.”
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