The case for rooting for LSU over Alabama this Saturday

Submitted by Communist Football on November 1st, 2018 at 10:37 AM

The conventional wisdom among Michigan fans is that it's in our interests for Alabama to beat LSU, because that increases the likelihood that only one SEC team makes it into the CFP.  I'd like to argue the opposite, which obviously is mainly of relevance only if we win out.

1. If Michigan wins out, they will not be left out of the CFP, no matter what. No other non-SEC conference champion will have as many victories over winning teams (>.500) than Michigan, which is apparently a key metric for the Committee (the Committee is literally not allowed to discuss things like S&P+, according to Bill Connelly).

2. If Alabama has one loss, there is at least a possibility that they lose twice, eliminating themselves from the playoff and making it more possible for someone else to win. (Alabama's remaining regular-season SEC games are against #3 LSU, #18 Miss St, and Auburn.)

3. If Alabama finishes the regular season with one loss, there is at least a possibility that they are left out of the CFP, due to the weakness of their schedule. This is an unlikely scenario, but the likely beneficiary here would be Oklahoma.

Hence, if the goal is to win the national championship, which cannot happen unless Michigan wins out, Michigan fans should root for Alabama to lose to LSU, because that would make it at least possible that Alabama could be upset twice and thereby left out of the CFP.

That's my theory and I'm sticking with it! (At least until midnight Saturday.)


Communist Football

November 1st, 2018 at 10:38 AM ^

The reason why Scenario #3 is even possible is that the CFP is supposed to weigh conference championships, and by including a one-loss Alabama along with ND, you'd be leaving out the champions of the Big 12 and Pac 12 and the B1G. Normally, only one Power Five conference champion is excluded.


November 1st, 2018 at 4:45 PM ^

Except it's highly unlikely an 11-1 Alabama team that didn't win its division or conference, did not beat a team with a winning record on the road, and which played a terrible schedule overall could possibly make it over a 12-1 Michigan team on a 12 game winning streak that will have beaten multiple teams with winning records on the road and which did win its conference.

Just not going to happen.


November 2nd, 2018 at 12:45 PM ^

You can say this all that you want, but it is utterly untrue.  Alabama has been the consensus #1 team in the country from the get-go.  If they get crushed by LSU, or lose to any other team, then they are out.  But a narrow loss by #1 to #3 is going to see #1 and #3 swap places. Alabama with one loss will be the best one-loss team, just as they are now the best unbeaten team.

If LSU beats Alabama, odds are overwhelming that Michigan is out of the playoffs.  If Alabama beats LSU, LSU is out of the playoffs and Michigan is likely the replacement.


November 1st, 2018 at 12:04 PM ^

If Bama loses to LSU, and then Georgia, LSU, and Bama win out, then it would be Georgia and LSU in the SEC CG.  It won't matter which team wins, the winner is in the playoff, and the loser is out with 2 losses.  I really, really do not see how it would be possible for a team that didn't make it into their own championship game, that has a weak strength of schedule, and played nobody out of conference to make the playoffs.  If they put Bama in over any 1-loss P5 champion, it would be unbelievable favoritism towards the SEC.  Worse than the year they had Bama/LSU in that garbage BCS title game.

Maize and Blue…

November 1st, 2018 at 12:28 PM ^

Alabama got in last year in the exact situation you described.  If you don't think it will happen again you are extremely gullible.  Our best chance is Bama running the table eliminating both Georgia and LSU in the process.  Clemson is the joke in all this as their schedule is about as easy as it gets.   Their best win is against current #25 Texas A&M who is 5-3.


November 1st, 2018 at 1:01 PM ^

No, it did not happen last year.  There was no 1 loss P5 champion to take that spot.  There was even a lot of talk of letting OSU in instead even though they had 2 losses because they were conference champs.  I agree with him.  There is no way even Alabama takes the spot of a 1 loss P5 champion.  We would have a new playoff system within 2 years.


November 1st, 2018 at 5:15 PM ^

You won't have to sweat it out because if LSU beats Bama and wins the SEC west, Michigan would pass Bama immediately after a hypothetical win AT OSU (while Bama is merely taking care of business at home v Auburn) a la Florida passing Michigan in 2006.

Then M would be playing in the B1G title game already ahead of Bama and only needing to take care of business there to go to the playoff while Bama sits at home and hopes one-loss teams like M, OU, WSU or anyone else lose their title games a la Wisconsin last year.


November 1st, 2018 at 12:11 PM ^

People keep saying the committee will allow a 1-loss non-conference champ (Alabama) in over a 1-loss B1G conference champ, but I don't see it. They got in last year because OSU had 2 losses. OSU got in two years ago because PSU had 2 losses. We have no reason to believe any 1-loss non-conference champ will get in over a 1-loss conference champ.

Win out and we are golden. 


November 1st, 2018 at 1:59 PM ^

There's no way. If Alabama loses they will have beaten only #25 ranked Texas A&M. Auburn isn't currently ranked, though they may end up ranked by the time the Iron Bowl comes. The only reason they're ranked where they are is because they've been destorying teams. If they lose everyone will assume they were frauds and just winning based on schedule. 


November 1st, 2018 at 12:16 PM ^

Pro tip: you should lead with your best (only) point. Excluding 3 conference champions really might be too much for the committee. Alabama might lose three more games but it's unlikely. Your hopes should focus more on keeping other non-Michigan teams out and less on extremely unlikely things happening to keep Alabama out.

Also, if your first point (M goes if they win out) is true, the rest of your post is meaningless. If we don't win out, we aren't going.


November 2nd, 2018 at 12:12 AM ^

And even with FSU and USC down, that's a good enough schedule that undefeated is good enough to get in.  They don't have much margin, if any, depending on how other teams do, so if they lose one, they're probably out and thats not something most P5 teams have to worry about.  But 12-0 against their schedule is enough to be in the final four.

Ali G Bomaye

November 2nd, 2018 at 9:29 AM ^

One of the nice things about being in a conference is that it's almost impossible for everybody in a conference to suck in a given year, so your schedule is basically guaranteed to have a nice mix of good and bad teams. ND made the choice to not be in a conference, and if their strength of schedule suffers because a bunch of pre-scheduled teams have down years at the same time, well, that's the choice they made.

Yes, the players can only play the teams on their schedule, but the fact is that they haven't proven as much as most teams. That's the same reason why UCF doesn't belong in the playoff.


November 2nd, 2018 at 10:55 AM ^

"it's almost impossible for everybody in a conference to suck in a given year."

If ND played in the ACC and avoided Clemson until the conference championship they would have an easier schedule than they do this year.

Pretty much the entire PAC 12 sucks this year.

The B1G West is awful.

A couple of years ago the entire SEC East was bad meaning you could play a weak schedule until the conference championship. That's no better than ND playing Michigan this year.



November 1st, 2018 at 4:36 PM ^

This is wrong. Because a committee will absolutely leave out Michigan if it comes down to 12-1 LSU with a win over Alabama or a 12-1 Georgia SEC Champion that avenged its only loss to LSU, 11-1 Alabama with their only loss being on the road to LSU, 13-0 Clemson, and 12-0 Notre Dame. That being said, the odds of that happening are incredibly slim. I would bet both Clemson and Notre Dame pick up a loss. 


November 1st, 2018 at 11:06 AM ^

Sad but true.  The pollsters wouldn't dare drop them low enough to not be in contention.  LSU will be, by far, their best opponent this year.  And even if they somehow lose that game, they're still going to the title game.

I got burned out on Alabama long ago.  I've been forced to root for them in recent years (against OSU, MSU and ND) and unfortunately, we're all forced to root for them this weekend.  We desperately want the rich to get richer to eliminate LSU.

I'm trying not to get over concerned about this right now because we have to beat PSU, OSU and the B1G title game, which is already going to be a tough enough task.  But Alabama overload and SEC overload remains a sickness. 


November 1st, 2018 at 11:13 AM ^

It is as if the people who don't understand this have a 10 year blind-spot as to the insane amount of love the ESS EEH SEE always gets.  I don't know if it is willful blindness or what, but it is though they are discussing this thing in an alternate reality where the established rules of the pecking order do not apply.