It was a long shot anyway, but there was the possibility that Tennessee football would have maybe a five or 10 percent chance of making the College Football Playoff when the rankings came out Tuesday night. That chance is now down to 0 percent.
The Vols came in at No. 7 in the new rankings. No. 1 through 4 are obvious in the Georgia Bulldogs, Michigan Wolverines, TCU Horned Frogs and USC Trojans respectively. However, after that, the Oho State Buckeyes and Alabama Crimson Tide are ahead of them.
We wrote Monday about how ridiculous it is for Alabama to be ahead of Tennessee football since both teams have the same record, the Vols beat Alabama, and they beat the best common opponent for both teams while Alabama lost to them, the LSU Tigers. None of that matters at this point, though.
Unfortunately for Tennessee football, Ohio State and Alabama won’t play anymore games before the final ranking, just like they won’t. As a result, there’s no way the Vols can leapfrog them, meaning they have no chance to reach No. 4.
Any of those teams’ path to No. 4 was the USC Trojans losing. USC is the only one-loss team in the top four, so if they lost the Pac-12 Championship, one of the other teams would have a case. As a result, Ohio State at No. 5 has a very good chance of getting in.
Still, the No. 6 ranked team would have a shot if USC and the TCU Horned Frogs lost their game. That was more dependent on the committee, though, as TCU, while it wouldn’t win its conference, would have just one loss. Schedule strength would come into play then.
No matter what happens, though, Georgia and Michigan are in, even if they lose this week. If Georgia loses this week, they and the Vols will have the same number of losses with UGA having beaten UT and played an extra game.
That also holds true with Michigan and Ohio State. A loss by Michigan in the Big Ten Championship simply means Michigan has the same number of losses as Ohio State while playing one more game and having beaten them. Ohio State can’t leapfrog them no matter what.
Taking all this into account, the Vols being No. 7, not playing this week and behind two teams also not playing this week means they are the first team without any shot of reaching the playoff. They can’t leapfrog Georgia, and they can’t leapfrog Ohio State, who can’t leapfrog Michigan.
Credibility may look bad for the committee right now to have Alabama ahead of them, but honestly, it’ll look worse if they switch it up next week. They have to keep up the facade that this is entirely based on what they have seen from all the teams.
Despite missing out, Tennessee football had a great run. They finished 10-2 and in the top 10 at the end of the regular season, which nobody thought would happen in Josh Heupel’s second year on the job. Perspective matters, and they’re still going to a New Years Six bowl.