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LSU's College Football Playoff ranking only creates unnecessary drama

Sporting News logo Sporting News 11/7/2018 Bill Bender

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A two-loss LSU team at No. 7? 

That was the only unexpected wrinkle in the second set of College Football Playoff Rankings released on Tuesday. We were supposed to argue Notre Dame or Michigan at No. 3, or Michigan or Georgia at No. 4.

The committee lined up the top six right. No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Notre Dame remain undefeated and hold the top three spots. No. 4 Michigan, No. 5 Georgia and No. 6 Oklahoma are the best one-loss teams on the board now — and you can make some creative interchangeable arguments between the three teams.

MORE: Week 10 Playoff rankings

That’s fine. If that is the way you want to set up a two-SEC Playoff argument, go for it.

The next logical step for the committee would have been to go with one of Washington State, West Virginia or Ohio State — the last of the one-loss Power 5 teams.

But no, the committee had to get cute by shoehorning the Tigers in at No. 7. At what point do losses matter?

Sure, LSU lost to the best team in the country in Alabama. But they lost 29-0 at home. There shouldn't be a reward for that, especially when their other loss was to a Florida team that lost by three touchdowns to Missouri on Saturday. Then again, the Gators are the highest-ranked three-loss team on the board — only three spots behind of No. 12 UCF (8-0).

Quite frankly, UCF should be ranked ahead of LSU. At minimum, the Tigers should be ranked closer to Florida than to Alabama. We know the strength of schedule argument for the Tigers. The Georgia win is great, but let's not over-value the wins against Miami, Auburn and Mississippi State. Those teams have a combined record of 17-10 heading into the final three weeks of the season.

The ranking is more a disservice to the three one-loss Power 5 teams that should be ranked ahead of LSU now. We'd happily watch all three of those teams go head-to-head against the Tigers, too.

— Washington State. Sure, Ed Orgeron vs. Mike Leach would be fun.

— West Virginia. Yep, we'll do a Spellcheck bowl with Holgorsen and Orgeron, too.

— Ohio State. Who wouldn't watch Joe Burrow, who transferred from the Buckeyes to play at LSU, go against his former team? That is the most-alluring matchup of all.

MORE: Get ready for these Playoff debates

We like those matchups in the proper setting — and that's the New Year's Day Six. The Cougars, Mountaineers and Buckeyes still belong in the Playoff conversation until they suffer a second loss. Two-loss teams that don't have a chance at conference championship don't have that luxury. As the Playoff has shown us, two-loss teams do not belong in the Playoff discussion.

The Tigers had their chance to stay to stay in the conversation on Saturday. But, again, they lost 29-0 at home, and all this ranking does is conjure up unnecessary arguments about the notion of SEC bias.

A two-loss LSU team at No. 7? That doesn't work now and won’t work in December.

There is no reason to do it.

Related slideshow: Best of the college football season (Provided by photo services)

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