College football playoff standings reactions: LSU overrated, Tennessee underrated in second-to-bottom top 25

College football playoff standings reactions: LSU overrated, Tennessee underrated in second-to-bottom top 25

The penultimate edition of 2022 college football playoff standings were released on Tuesday, and the intrigue ahead of the Conference Championship weekend has been heightened significantly as multiple teams vie for the last spot in the four-team field.

Georgia held on to No. 1, Michigan moved up to No. 2 after dominating Ohio State last weekend, and TCU moved up to No. 3 after finishing the regular season 12-0. One-loss USC slipped to fourth place, but the Trojans are in a perilous position knowing they can’t slip into the Pac-12 Championship game. If USC falls to No. 11 Utah, it will be skipped by either the fifth-place Buckeyes or No. 6 Alabama.

The discussions will heat up by Sunday selection.

Let’s see who is overrated and underrated in the penultimate edition of the ranking.

Why the hell is Tennessee ranked below #6 Alabama? Because he has a nasty loss to No. 19 South Carolina? It looks a lot better now than it did two weeks ago when the world thought South Carolina was an SEC East middle team with no advantage. Conversely, Alabama’s loss to No. 14 LSU — a Tennessee team strangled in Baton Rouge — looks worse after the Tigers’ loss to Texas A&M last weekend.

Oh, and there’s that pesky little head-to-head game on Oct. 15 when the Volunteers outscored the Crimson Tide 52-49. It should matter, but apparently it doesn’t. Why? Is it because Star Volunteers quarterback Hendon Hooker tore his ACL against South Carolina and Joe Milton is now at the helm? It’s been considered by the committee, but it’s not enough to convince me.

Tennessee has a signature win over Alabama and a road win over LSU. What is Alabama’s iconic victory? A Week 2 win at No. 20 Texas? A late-October home win over No. 24 Mississippi State? Tennessee is unfairly punished for not being a traditional power. It proved he deserved to be in line for a CFP berth if chaos ensues and, at the very least, to win the SEC Sugar Bowl berth if he is left out.

Overrated: No. 14 LSU

The LSU analysis is integrated into the Tennessee and Alabama analysis above, but it really shouldn’t be such a big talking point. There’s no way the Tigers are ranked No. 14 after that debacle in College Station, Texas, last weekend. They were smoked 38-23 by an Aggies team that hadn’t scored more than 31 points against an opponent this year, was decimated by injuries and looked unmotivated during its 6-game losing streak consecutive. If Texas A&M can set LSU’s defense on fire, what would Oregon State’s No. 15, Oregon’s No. 16, or UCLA’s No. 17 do? It would get very, very ugly.

A nine-win regular season in coach Brian Kelly’s freshman year is a tremendous accomplishment, and something very few outside of Baton Rouge, Louisiana saw coming. But he struggled against Arkansas and then lost to Texas A&M when the target on his back grew. It must count.

There seems to be a knee-jerk reaction to assuming that all Pac-12 teams are overrated and undeserving of national recognition, and Washington’s No. 12 ranking proves it. The Huskies have the nation’s leading passer in Michael Penix Jr., a top-10 receiver in Rome Odunze, a top-five offense (40.8 ppg), and the second-best defense in the Pac-12 by yards. per game (5.52).

The loss to No. 17 UCLA is understandable, but the loss the following week to Arizona State is what’s holding them back. But Utah — which is one spot ahead of Washington — has three losses, including one against a Florida team that went 6-6. Kansas State has three pretty solid losses (No. 18 Tulane, No. 3 TCU and No. 20 Texas), but it’s still three losses. An argument could even be made that Washington’s resume with wins over No. 15 Oregon State and No. 16 Oregon is more impressive than Clemson’s win over No. 13 Florida State.

Washington deserves to be in the top 10.

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