With the fourth-ranked USC losing to Utah in the PAC-12 Championship, it leaves a difficult decision for the College Football Playoff Committee with the vote on Sunday.
The Las Vegas Vendetta
On Friday, The USC Trojans were trying to end their vendetta against the Utah Utes in Las Vegas at the new Allegiant Stadium. Earlier in the year, Utah dramatically upset the Trojans when they scored a touchdown with 48 seconds left and proceeded to convert on a two-point play to win 43-42.
USC looked to gain revenge on Utah in Las Vegas on Friday in the PAC-12 Championship. However, Utah’s defense was far too much for Caleb Williams and USC’s powerhouse offense. Utah defeated USC 47-24 to win their second consecutive PAC-12 Championship.
Utah quarterback Cameron Rising had an impressive stat line with 310 yards passing and three touchdowns, and running back Ja’Quinden Jackson had a terrific game carrying the ball 13 times for 105 yards and two touchdowns. USC quarterback Caleb Williams battled all night, throwing for 363 yards and three touchdowns. Williams played half the game with a noticeable limp but continued to play until late in the fourth quarter.
Playoff Committee Decision Upon Us
With USC losing their second game of the season (both to Utah), the Committee has the decision to make on who will make the playoffs. Many have speculated that the Trojans should not be penalized for having to play an extra game on the year and should stay in the playoffs.
Ohio State would have a lot to say about that narrative. Ohio State recorded its only loss at home this year to the Michigan Wolverines. The Wolverines ranked second in the nation, bolding well for the Buckeyes. With this being their only loss, they have a fighting argument over USC holding two losses.
Alabama would have a voice if USC were to get in over them. Alabama has also lost two games, both being to top-ten teams at the respective time. However, Alabama has only lost those games by a combined 4 points, three points to a game-winning Tennessee field goal, and one point to an LSU 2-point conversion in overtime. Both of these games were on the road in tough environments.
The Bottom Line
With the College Football Playoff officially expanded in the 2024-2025 season, this is one of those examples of why the NCAA should have mandated this sooner. So many teams deserve the chance to compete for a National Championship. But unfortunately, the year is 2022, and only four teams can compete for the coveted title.
USC losing this game can only mean the worst. I don’t believe they let in a two-loss Trojan team over a one-loss Ohio State Buckeye team. It’s very unfortunate because USC had to play this extra game not on their schedule all year, and to make matters worse, it was to a team with the upper hand.
The race for the top four spots this year has been an absolute headache. Many teams have shown they are worthy of a chance to win. Georgia has proven again this year that they can and will compete for a National Championship once again, and I believe they will be in no matter the outcome of the SEC Championship. Michigan also falls into this category, especially after Michigan dog-walked Ohio State at the Horseshoe. I don’t think they would drop Michigan if they lost to Purdue just for Ohio State to sneak in.
If TCU is to lose, I can see a scenario where Ohio State sneaks in at the three spot, and TCU stays in over Alabama with only one loss. How electric would that Michigan/Ohio State rematch be for a chance to play for the National Championship? TCU can lose and still be in the playoffs; however, if TCU somehow gets blown out, I would beware of the Committee trying to sneak in Alabama because of the close losses on the road.
We will likely see a Georgia, Michigan, TCU, and Ohio State College Football Playoff in that order. This year has been electric, and we, as fans, got robbed of what could have been one of the best 12-team college playoffs ever. Tune into the College Football Playoff Selection Show on Sunday, December fourth, at Noon Est on ESPN.