Takeaways: The 12-team playoff is coming one year too late

1 week ago 20
  • ESPN.com

Nov 20, 2023, 08:00 AM ET

With Thanksgiving (and Rivalry Week) close astir the corner, to beryllium followed intimately by Championship Week, thoughts invariably crook to imaginable College Football Playoff scenarios and the decisions the CFP enactment committee volition face.

There are much contenders than we usually spot astatine this signifier of the season, but 1 of them -- unbeaten Florida State -- was dealt a superior stroke with an wounded to backmost Jordan Travis, further complicating an already analyzable picture.

For teams extracurricular the playoff sphere, it's a clip to admit astonishing occurrence (such arsenic astatine New Mexico State) oregon look for a caller commencement and a caller manager (like Syracuse).

ESPN's assemblage shot reporters instrumentality it each successful with the Week 12 takeaways.

The 12-team CFP is coming a twelvemonth excessively late

This would person been the cleanable play to commencement the 12-team playoff field, which doesn't statesman until adjacent year. There haven't been this galore contenders this heavy into the play earlier during the four-team playoff era. Four of the Power 5 conferences inactive person astatine slightest 1 undefeated squad remaining, the lone objection being the Big 12. There are inactive 8 teams with a way to the playoff -- 9 if you see Louisville, though the enactment committee would person a hard clip getting past the Cardinals' nonaccomplishment to Pitt, and different league champs volition apt person stronger résumés.

Ohio State-Michigan volition settee itself connected the field, but this could inactive beryllium the enactment committee's toughest task successful a decade. While the play Tuesday rankings person lacked play and large movement, the much they enactment the same, the much hard it volition beryllium connected Selection Day.

Possibly the astir challenging script would beryllium if Alabama beats Georgia successful the SEC title game, one-loss Texas wins the Big 12 and 2 different undefeated league champions -- successful summation to the Big Ten champ -- remain. The Longhorns' head-to-head triumph astatine Alabama volition proceed to loom ample arsenic agelong arsenic their records are the aforesaid and their résumés are comparable. -- Heather Dinich

Florida State presents trial lawsuit for CFP committee

Florida State's fortunes whitethorn person changed connected a dime with the wounded backmost Travis suffered precocious successful the archetypal 4th of its 58-13 triumph implicit North Alabama, a crippled successful which Florida State scored 58 unanswered points to extremity the game. Because of his enactment and multidimensional capabilities retired of the game's astir important position, Travis' lack triggers a pivotal origin and effect.

Florida State enters its yearly rivalry crippled with Florida astatine 11-0 for the archetypal clip since 2014. Redshirt inferior Tate Rodemaker apt volition instrumentality the reins to the discourtesy for the remainder of the season. Rodemaker, who had thrown lone 8 passes this play earlier being thrust into the spotlight, finished Saturday nighttime 13-of-23 passing for 217 yards and 2 touchdowns. Rodemaker, who sparked a triumph astatine Louisville past September aft Travis was injured, volition marque his archetypal vocation commencement successful the Swamp portion starring an discourtesy that is seventh successful the FBS successful scoring (40.1 PPG) and 17th successful full discourtesy (451.6 YPG).

With Washington besides 11-0 for the archetypal clip since 1991 -- erstwhile it divided the nationalist rubric with Miami -- up of the Apple Cup with Washington State, an absorbing statement could aboveground if some teams proceed to win.

ESPN's Heather Dinich referenced the 2014 playoff, erstwhile the committee moved Ohio State into the apical 4 for the archetypal clip aft Cardale Jones led the Buckeyes to a thrashing of Wisconsin successful the Big Ten rubric game. Led by Jones, Ohio State would spell connected to triumph the inaugural CFP rubric aft dispatching of some Alabama and Oregon.

Rodemaker and the Seminoles volition person that aforesaid accidental to amusement what they're worthy and susceptible of. But what happens if Washington jumps them this Tuesday aft winning astatine Oregon State? Florida State has Louisville waiting successful Charlotte for the ACC crown successful 2 weeks portion Washington whitethorn person to spell to Las Vegas and bushed Oregon a 2nd clip to gain the Pac-12 title. How overmuch does the prime of contention matter? We whitethorn extremity up uncovering retired if some teams tin adhd 2 much wins apiece by the clip Dec. 3 rolls around. -- Blake Baumgartner

Babers, Syracuse look stark reality

Syracuse parted ways with manager Dino Babers connected Sunday aft the Orange fell to Georgia Tech 31-22. Babers ends his eight-year tenure with the Orange with an ACC grounds of 20-45 (41-55 overall) and conscionable 2 vessel bids. Given those numbers, the determination is hardly a surprise.

But excavation a small deeper into the concern astatine Syracuse, and Babers' dismissal signals a larger acceptable of problems -- problems that echo the uphill conflict truthful galore low-end Power 5 teams volition look moving guardant successful the caller epoch of assemblage football.

Babers was 12-12 successful the past 2 seasons, which is really amended than Miami's Mario Cristobal oregon Iowa State's Matt Campbell, and the aforesaid arsenic Houston's Dana Holgorsen and Pitt's Pat Narduzzi since the commencement of 2022. But the instrumentality basal had soured connected Babers aft Syracuse wasted back-to-back beardown starts -- 6-0 successful 2022, 4-0 this twelvemonth -- and diversion manager John Wildhack opted for a change.

But look astatine the cards Babers was dealt: The nonaccomplishment to Georgia Tech came with a converted choky extremity playing backmost for the 2nd consecutive week. It came successful a play successful which Babers replaced some coordinators aft the incumbents near successful lateral moves. Babers recruited good capable to person 2 players from past year's squad drafted and different marque an NFL roster. Indeed, 4 others near for antithetic Power 5 programs -- the portal offering entree to amended NIL opportunities astatine bigger schools.

Six weeks ago, Babers was asked astir Syracuse's extent amid rising wounded attrition, and helium offered a blunt answer.

"It's the aforesaid aged thing: Depth is gone," Babers said. "Our extent is successful the transportation portal. You cognize however galore guys we lost. You cognize what schools they play at. Schools similar us, we're not going to person a batch of extent due to the fact that it gets bought away."

More than a fewer Syracuse fans and critics suggested this was an casual excuse for different downward spiral, but Babers wasn't wrong. This is beingness connected the fringes of big-time assemblage shot today. Winning astatine a spot similar Syracuse has been hard for a agelong time, but Babers proved successful 2018 that, with the close QB and a fistful of diamonds successful the rough, it was possible. He led Syracuse to a 10-win play and a No. 15 ranking successful the last AP canvass -- 2 things that hadn't happened successful Central New York successful 17 years.

But past COVID deed (and deed Syracuse harder than astir immoderate squad successful the country), the portal opened, NIL became the instrumentality of the onshore and, yes, a hefty fraction of Babers' champion endowment walked retired the door.

That's not to accidental Babers didn't marque mistakes. Witness Syracuse's second-half illness against Clemson past twelvemonth oregon the woeful show against Virginia Tech past period coming disconnected an unfastened date. There's simply nary country for mistake erstwhile the margins are truthful thin.

Perhaps the adjacent manager volition triumph much than 12 games successful 2 years. It's surely possible. But the problems astatine Syracuse tally deep, and immoderate of them simply can't beryllium addressed by hiring a caller manager oregon funneling much wealth into the shot program. -- David M. Hale

New Mexico State's Jerry Kill a coaching treasure



Auburn suffers setback vs. feisty New Mexico State

The Aggies drawback the Tigers' three-game winning streak with a stunning 38-10 upset astatine Jordan-Hare Stadium.

On a Wednesday successful precocious October 2015, Jerry Kill sat earlier a microphone successful Minneapolis, flushed with emotion, and announced helium would beryllium retiring arsenic Minnesota's coach. Kill, past 54, had been suffering much predominant seizures arsenic a effect of epilepsy.

He had endured a seizure during a crippled successful 2011, and near Minnesota for 7 games successful 2013 arsenic helium tried to get his information nether control. But connected proposal of his doctor, Kill said helium could nary longer continue.

"This is not the mode I wanted to spell out," Kill said. "But you each cognize astir the struggles. And I did my champion to change. But immoderate of those struggles person returned. And I don't privation to cheat the game. And I ain't going to change. I cognize idiosyncratic volition ask, 'Coach, what are you going to do?' I don't know. I ain't done thing else. That's the scary part."

Turns out, Kill would manager again. And again. And again. Even erstwhile his wellness forced different status successful 2017 astatine Rutgers, helium would return. Kill is 1 of assemblage football's champion coaches. He's rather perchance the astir resilient. He survived kidney crab portion coaching astatine Southern Illinois.

Nearly 3,000 days aft the Minnesota status announcement, Kill led New Mexico State to a 31-10 triumph implicit Auburn. Although the Aggies came successful astatine 8-3, overcoming a 2-3 commencement to triumph six straight, they were 25.5-point underdogs. Didn't matter. Kill's unit dominated Auburn, astir doubling the Tigers successful archetypal downs (23-12) and full yards (414-213) en way to their archetypal triumph against an SEC opponent.

New Mexico State hadn't beaten a Power 5 squad since 2011 against Minnesota, the time Kill had his seizure connected the Gophers' sideline.

Kill is 16-9 astatine New Mexico State, undeniably 1 of the toughest jobs successful the FBS. Before Kill arrived, NMSU had made 1 vessel crippled since 1960, the past clip the programme made consecutive bowls. The 9 wins people the 2nd astir successful squad past and the astir during its clip successful the FBS. New Mexico State is 6-1 during its archetypal play successful Conference USA and volition look Liberty for the league rubric adjacent week.

At 62, Kill continues to constitute a chiseled and inspiring coaching story, and determination are intelligibly much chapters to follow. -- Adam Rittenberg