Playoff Before Playoff? Standings, Heisman Updates

by Mark Everett Kelly | Nov 29, 2020 | College Football | 0 comments

December is upon us! As we imagine a world without
COVID (vaccines coming this week), the College Football world continues to entertain us.

Updated CFB Standings
Since the NCAA puts out their standings on Tuesday, I will put mine out on Sunday. I use my own formula, which I think is more accurate in placing the teams.

2020 CFB Playoff Standings
1. Alabama8-0228
2. Notre Dame9-0199.7
3. Clemson8-1196.2
4. Florida7-1141.9
5. Texas A&M6-1134.9
6. Ohio State4-0134.2
7. Cincinnati8-0128.9

Despite their loss to Notre Dame, Clemson’s overall numbers are outstanding. Florida moves down from three to four, and like Clemson, holds destiny in their own hands. As a result of their lackluster performance against LSU, along with playing fewer games than each of the top four teams, Texas A&M’s numbers saw them drop out of the top four.

2020 College Football Standings
Playoff Resumes
W-LSOSW-L vs Top-25PPG Diff.YPG Diff.
Notre Dame9-0141-016.2160.5
Texas A&M6-151-1990.4
Ohio State4-0162-019.3146.5
*Adjusted to eliminate totals vs subdivision opponent

Kyren Williams’ three TD runs helped Notre Dame fend off Clemson, 47-40 in 2 OT at South Bend on November 7th.

The “Unofficial” Playoff Round?

Assuming each team finishes their regular seasons without a blemish, these four teams will participate in a pre-playoff playoff. Alabama (1) meets Florida (4), and Notre Dame (2) takes on Clemson (3) on December 19 in the SEC and ACC Championship Games. While the SEC stayed with division winners earning a spot in the conference championship, the ACC instead features the conference’s top two teams.

ACC Championship Preview
2020 Offensive Statistics
ClemsonNotre Dame
Yards PG525.6463.8
Plays Per Game81.772.4
Yards Per Play6.46.4
TD Passes2312
TD Rushes2227
Total TD4539

Barring a massive upset (all four teams are huge favorites in each of their remaining two games), the top four teams in the nation will square off on December 19.

College Football Playoff Standings Committee Nightmare Scenario

Figuring in likely undefeated programs Ohio State and Cincinnati, would increase that choice. Ohio State, assuming they defeat Michigan State, Michigan and their opponent in the December 19th Big Ten Championship Game, would give them seven wins. How could one justify the Buckeyes inclusion into the College Football Playoff when they played at least three fewer games than all the other qualified programs?

Cincinnati’s undefeated resume appears more complete, as they would finish with ten wins (includes assumed victories over Tusla and their opponent in the AAC Conference Championship Game on December 19th).

One substantial reason for the argument suggesting the College Football Playoffs expand to eight teams in 2020 holds weight looking at the scenario if Clemson and Florida win their conference championship games. Such an outcome (assuming Texas A&M, Ohio State, and Cincinnati do not lose) produces impossible choices for the committee. Texas A&M, Florida and Alabama each would have one loss and hold advantages over the other (Florida over Alabama, Alabama over Texas A&M, Texas A&M over Florida). Clemson and Notre Dame would cancel each other out, making a choice between the two difficult.

Trevor Lawrence missed the Tigers meeting with Notre Dame on November 7.

Lawrence Returns

The certain number 1 pick in the 2021 NFL draft, Trevor Lawrence, returned to action Saturday after not playing since October 24 due to COVID. Lawrence showed no signs of rust, completing 26-37 for 403 yards and 2 TD in the Tigers’ 52-17 victory over Pittsburgh. In seven games this season, Lawrence registered 319 Pass YPG, 19 TD and 2 INT, 11.1 Pass Yds Per Attempt, while completing 70.6 percent of his pass attempts. 

Clemson completes their regular season schedule this Saturday, traveling to Virginia Tech (4-5). The ACC has yet to confirm the December 12th rescheduling of the Tigers postponed matchup against Florida State. The postponement of their originally scheduled meeting saw harsh words thrown between Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney and Florida State Head Coach Dan Norvell.

Mac Jones has a clear path leading Alabama to the 2020 College Football Playoffs.

Heisman Takes Shape
Mac Jones set a career-high with five TD, while posting his fifth 300-yard passing game this season, in the Crimson Tide’s 42-10 victory over Auburn. Jones connected with DeVonta Smith on a 66-yd TD pass in the first quarter, along with a 58-yard TD pass which put the game away early in the second half. Smith has 16 TD receptions of 30-yards or longer, in addition to breaking Amari Cooper’s school record for TD receptions earlier this season (31 – Smith now has 35).

Heisman Watch
Through Eight Games
Joe Burrow>>Mac JonesKyle Trask
Pass Yards2,8052,7282,810
Pass YPG350.6341351.3
Comp. Pct.78.876.271.4
Yds Per Att.10.81210.3
>>2019 Heisman Trophy Winner

Alabama’s explosive offensive attack has registered 71 TD from scrimmage 30-yards or longer since DeVonta Smith’s Freshman season in 2017.

DeVonta Smith and Kyle Pitts represent the key targets for the 2020 Heisman hopefuls

Alabama’s Quick Strike Offense
TD from Scrimmage, 30-yards or longer
TotalDeVonta Smith

Meanwhile, Kyle Trask registered his second-highest career completion percentage (77.8 – min 25 att.), going 21-27, 256 yds, 3 TD, as the Gators moved closer to clinching the SEC East. Both Alabama (at LSU) and Florida (at Tennessee) will make their SEC Championship Game matchup official with a win this weekend.

Most Division Titles Won
SEC Since 1992
Division TitlesSEC Championships

Two Most Successful Programs Since 1992

The Tide and Gators anticipated matchup in the 2020 SEC Championship Game will mark the 13th division title for each program. This would mark the tenth time these programs would battle each other for the SEC Championship (Alabama leads, 5-4).

SEC Championship Preview
2020 Offensive Statistics
Yards PG535.6509.3
Plays Per Game48.543.4
Yards Per Play7.97.4
TD Passes2436
TD Rushes246
Total TD4842

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