Georgia (11-1) will turn the playoff world upside down if the #4 Bulldogs can upend #3 LSU (12-0) this Saturday.
If so, the question for the College Football Playoff committee will be whether it is better to have two one-loss teams from the same conference who just played each other or if it would be better to look to Oklahoma or Utah.
I’m going to guess that if Georgia wins, both SEC teams get in because the only way they would play each other in the CFP would be if they win their way to the national championship game. With opponents like Ohio State and Clemson, that is not likely and I think the committee might like the added drama of that possibility.
It seems to me that the bigger question arises if Georgia loses. That would eliminate the Bulldogs and require the committed to decide between Oklahoma (11-1) and Utah (11-1), should both of those teams win this weekend.
If so, Utah has playoff-worthy metrics in our power Index whereas the Sooners fall well short.
Can Georgia beat LSU?
Our system is listing LSU as a four point favorite (seven points by oddsmakers) which, along with other factors, places this game into the realm of “high upset potential”.
Except for last week, LSU has not posted a single game with performance trends netted in the positive since mid-October. Two weeks ago, the net of game trends was actually in the negative. In other words, the Tigers have probably reached their peak.
Meanwhile in those same six weeks, Georgia has posted more net positives and not a single game with accrued negatives. Metrics suggest that Georgia is still rising.
As a team, Georgia may be playing better and quarterback Jake Fromm has done his part (62% completions, 2385 passing yards, 1% interceptions).
But, Joe Burrow of LSU has been even better (78% completions, 4366 yards, 1.5% interceptions). Neither is a threat to run but Burrow carries the swag of being 22 times better, albeit with a meager 2.92 yards per carry.
Last year, LSU beat Georgia 36-16.
Top ranked Ohio State (12-0) should have little problem with #14 Wisconsin (10-2). The Badgers won’t stray far from their genetic heritage as they get skunked 38-20.
We’re not trying to be unkind. If we were, we would remind everyone that Wisconsin lost to these same Buckeyes on October 26th by a 38-7 score. Instead, we will keep that to ourselves.
Second-ranked Clemson (12-0) should have enough by halftime to dispatch #23 Virginia (9-3) in a score our Index has set at 42-14. Yeah, Clemson is that good.
The PAC-12 Conference champion will be decided Friday as #6 Utah (11-1) and #10 Oregon (10-2) meet in the Bay Area. Utah is playing for an outside shot at the play off while Oregon is still trying to prove it can beat a nationally-ranked power team. Our system is predicting a 28-20 Utah win.
Sixteenth ranked Memphis (11-1) beat #21 Cincinnati (10-2) just last week. We predicted a final score of 33-24. Memphis won 34-24. Drat!
Memphis is once again the home team and our Index once again predicts the Tigers, 33-24.
With just the Army-Navy game remaining, the Index will finish the 2019 regular season with 77% prediction accuracy.
To see predictions and game notes for all of the conference championship games this week, please visit us here.