The defense did not look the greatest Saturday against Ole Miss, but the rest of what the LSU Tigers had to offer is still good enough to be the No. 1 team in the country according to the College Football Playoff committee.
The Tigers (10-0, 6-0 Southeastern Conference) remained on top in the CFP ranking Tuesday for the second straight week, staying ahead of Ohio State. The Buckeyes also went to 10-0 with a 56-21 victory at lowly Rutgers, but it was not enough to overcome LSU after the Tigers’ wild 58-37 victory over the Rebels.
“LSU remains impressive with its powerful offense,” said CFP selection committee chairman Rob Mullens, athletic director at Oregon. “They have three wins over teams in the top 25. Ohio State has made a statement all year long.”
The Tigers piled up 714 total yards of offense, a school record for an SEC game, but surrendered 614 yards including 402 on the ground. LSU also lost a top 25 win as Texas, which the Tigers beat 45-38 in September in Austin, dropped to 6-4 with a loss to Iowa State and fell from No. 19 to out of the ranking.
Clemson (11-0) stayed at No. 3 while Georgia, which went to 9-1 and clinched the SEC East with a win over Auburn, stayed at No. 4.
Alabama (9-1), now without injured quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, remained at No. 5. The rest of the CFP top 10 included Oregon, Utah, Penn State, Oklahoma and Minnesota.
In reference to his comment about LSU’s offense, Mullens was asked about how much attention the committee paid to all phases of a team’s performance compared to the overall result of who a team played and the score.
“In the committee room we do talk about the different phases of the game, for sure,” Mullens said. “We look at the game and watch how it happens, but we are talking about phases.”
Still, Mullens said, “results are the most important thing.”
Mullens said the 13 selection committee members spent considerable time discussing Alabama and Tagovailoa’s season-ending injury at Mississippi State. But he said the committee remained impressed by the Crimson Tide’s 38-7 win over the Bulldogs and was not in position to project what Alabama may do without Tagovailoa moving forward.
“Our charge is to rank teams based on their body of work,” Mullens said, before adding, “we’re aware of who is available in what games.”
LSU, which is also No. 1 in the AP and coaches polls, needs one victory against Arkansas (6 p.m. Saturday, ESPN) or Texas A&M on Nov. 30 to win the SEC West and meet Georgia on Dec. 7 in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta. Were the season to end today, LSU would likely be back in Atlanta on Dec. 28 to play a CFP semifinal in the Peach Bowl. CFP protocol compels the CFP to place the No. 1 team in the closest semifinal to home, though there can be exceptions.
Star Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is out for the season after suffering a hip injury against Mississippi State on Saturday afternoon, ac…
The other CFP semifinal is also Dec. 28 in the Fiesta Bowl, where LSU beat UCF on New Year’s Day. The winners meet in the CFP National Championship Game, Jan. 13 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
There are three CFP rankings to go: 6 p.m. Nov. 26, 6 p.m. Dec. 3 and 11 a.m. Dec. 8, which is when the CFP final four teams will be announced. All rankings will be shown on ESPN.
Remaining CFP rankings schedule
• Tuesday, Nov. 26 , 6 p.m.
• Tuesday, Dec. 3, 6 p.m.
• Sunday, Dec. 8 (Selection Day), 11 a.m.
All rankings will be announced on ESPN