Starting 11: Start the Playoff Now Edition

I’ve been on this kick for a year now, but why can’t we start the playoff this year?

It never made sense to me that college football finally did the right thing — created a playoff — but held back from starting it for a year. 

Why do this?

Because it left open the possibility for BCS disaster in one last year.

And BCS chaos looms.

Big time.  

Right now if you seeded a playoff based on the BCS standings #1 Alabama would play #4 Ohio State and #2 Florida State would play #3 Oregon. 

Would anyone — aside from Baylor fans who would still have a chance to make their case to be included in the playoff before the season is over — have any problem at all with that?

You could play the games on campus on December 21st — that’s two weeks after the conference title games — and still have two weeks to get ready for the BCS title game. 

TV isn’t even an obstacle here since ESPN is already paying for the playoff. Don’t you think ESPN would be willing to extend the playoff agreement an extra year and pay for two semifinal games a year early? Particularly when, as here, we’re talking about four major TV draws that would produce massive ratings.

Not to mention, eternal goodwill among college football fans. 

So why can’t this happen?

I’m going to keep banging this drum as long as the BCS mess continues to grow.

But for now let’s dive into the Starting 11.

1. Florida State waxed Miami.

This only managed to surprise the people who pay no attention to college football and hence didn’t know that the Seminoles were a 21 point favorite — namely, the computers, who now have Florida State ranked as a unanimous number one. 

Newsflash, Miami is not that good.

Some voters were impressed by the FSU win, but most maintained their top two rankings.  

2. Oregon at Stanford and Oklahoma at Baylor represents the best slate of Thursday night games we’ve ever seen. 

But here’s the deal — Oregon and Baylor are both double digit favorites. 

If we don’t get an upset in these games then you’re talking about true BCS issues down the stretch. 

Oregon will be more than a two touchdown favorite over every other team it plays. Given that FSU and Ohio State are also massive favorites, at least three undefeated teams becomes very likely. 

3. The two most inexplicable losses of the college football year: South Carolina losing at Tennessee and Oklahoma State losing at West Virginia.

Oklahoma State losing at West Virginia as a 19 point favorite is the biggest upset of the year. But I’d argue that South Carolina losing at Tennessee, while not as substantial of an upset on the number, is the second biggest. When you look at every other game South Carolina and Tennessee have played, it’s hard to fathom how the Gamecocks lost to the Vols. 

As an honorable mention, I’d toss in LSU losing on the road at Ole Miss, which is one of the worst defeats of the Les Miles era.

All three of these games are hard to reconcile with the rest of the college football games we’ve seen.  

4. Ohio State needs Michigan State to win out so they can finally play a top 15 ranked team. 

Unfortunately for the Buckeyes I think Michigan State will lose at Nebraska in two weeks.  

State could also lose at woeful Northwestern. 

It’s almost as if the Big Ten has adopted a counterintuitive strategy to beat Urban Meyer — not by actually beating him on the field, but by sucking so bad as a conference that Meyer can’t win anything beyond a Big Ten title. 

5. God bless you Homeland. 

Last night’s episode was truly spectacular. 

I’m praying they’ve finally written Dana Brody off the show. 

And if Saul doesn’t win an Emmy this year then there is no justice in the TV world. 

6. Alabama is the only team in the country that will play four top 15 teams in the BCS standings. 

So can we stop with the Alabama hasn’t played anyone griping?

This week the Tide plays #13 LSU, the last week of the season Bama plays at #9 Auburn, and in the SEC title game Bama will likely play either #8 Missouri or #12 South Carolina. Already Bama beat #15 Texas A&M on the road in College Station.

Of the other undefeated teams against top 15 competition:

Florida State will play two — Clemson and Miami. 

Oregon will play one — Stanford. 

Baylor will play two — Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. 

Ohio State still hasn’t played a top 15 team under Urban Meyer in two years. I don’t believe that will change this year, but Michigan State would finally be in the top 15 if they ran the table.  

7. Florida is in real trouble.

Two crazy stats: Ron Zook is now guaranteed to have a better SEC record than Will Muschamp after three years as coach. 

Muschamp is now 0-7 in Cocktail Parties, 0-4 as a Georgia player and 0-3 as a Florida coach. 

The Gators have been to 22 straight bowl games.

But a 23rd is not a foregone conclusion.  

The Gators close with likely losses at South Carolina and at home against Florida State. That’s six losses. Even this Gator offense can’t lose to Georgia Southern so that’s the fifth win.  

That means the Vanderbilt game this weekend will determine whether or not the Gators get to six wins to qualify for a bowl game.

8. Here are the SEC East tiebreak scenarios:

Mizzou wins the SEC if it wins out to go 7-1. 

Mizzou also wins a three-team SEC 6-2 tiebreak between Georgia, Mizzou, and South Carolina provided it beats Kentucky. (Mizzou would be 5-1 against the SEC East while the other two teams would be 4-2).

Mizzou loses a two-way 6-2 tiebreak with South Carolina. 

South Carolina wins a two-way 6-2 tiebreak with Mizzou so the Gamecocks need Georgia to lose to Auburn and Mizzou to lose at least one game as well. 

If Georgia beats Kentucky and Auburn and Mizzou beats Kentucky and Ole Miss then Mizzou’s final game against Texas A&M wouldn’t matter, the Tigers would clinch with a win at Ole Miss.

Georgia wins the SEC East if the Bulldogs win out and if Mizzou loses two of its final three games.  

9. If you haven’t already watched, an Alabama fan called a local TV lawyer to ask whether Bama fans could sue for me calling them dumb.

Bama fans really are the gift that keeps on giving. 


10. Outkick’s national top ten: you can read a more detailed explanation of these rankings here.

1. Alabama

2. Oregon

3. Florida State

4. Baylor

5. Stanford

6. Ohio State

7. Missouri

8. Auburn

9. South Carolina

10. Texas A&M

11. Outkick’s 1-14 SEC power ratings: You can read more detail on the rankings here.

1. Alabama

2. Mizzou

3. Auburn

4. South Carolina

5. Texas A&M

6. LSU

7. Georgia

8. Ole Miss

9. Florida

10. Vanderbilt

11. Tennessee

12. Mississippi State

13. Kentucky

14. Arkansas 

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.