The smoke cleared in the 2nd week of college football with LSU and Clemson standing above the rest. LSU went into Texas and defeated the Longhorns and Clemson turned back upset minded Texas A&M in Death Valley. With the wins, the two programs join Auburn as the three programs with early top 25 wins on their resumes.
The SEC was lampooned for a poor start to the season. A week later, three SEC teams would probably make the playoff if it started today. Of course, those three teams (LSU, Auburn, and Alabama) are all going to play each other later in the season, so there will be playoff disqualifying losses doled out. However, the SEC is in good shape to get two teams in the playoff due to their early victories over top teams in the Pac 12 and Big 12.
Let’s look at this week’s Eliteness Tracker. Based on past CFP Committee selections, here is what the path to Eliteness looks like after week 2:
As mentioned above, Clemson and LSU notched their belt over the weekend. LSU now has the biggest win of the season and is ranked #1 above. While LSU’s win over Texas has the ability to get better and better, Clemson’s win over A&M could get worse and worse. Texas A&M has one of the 2 toughest schedules in the country. As of right now, A&M would be an underdog against Georgia, Alabama, and LSU and could fall out of the AP poll altogether with 4 losses. Clemson’s other big non-conference opponent this year, South Carolina, has the same problem as the other team with the toughest schedule in the country. The Gamecocks, after already losing to UNC, face Alabama this weekend and are staring a 1-2 start in the face. With the potential of Clemson’s best win of the season being unranked, their inclusion in the CFP would go a long way to proving the validity of the Elite Program concept here.
California is the first Non-Elite Program on the board after their 2-0 start and victory over Washington. The Golden Bears were off the radar to start the season, but not anymore. They have just as good of a chance as the Pac 12 favorites. Cal travels to Ole Miss in week 4 where they will have an opportunity to beat an SEC team on the road. Washington’s loss puts them in the position where they have to run the table to make the playoff.
Thanks to week 2 losses by Syracuse and Stanford, week 3 isn’t looking like as good of a Saturday as week 2. But as we’ve seen in the past, when a ranked team gets upset, it becomes a big game in hindsight. Week 4, though, is absolutely loaded with good matchups and playoff implications. There will definitely be some movement in the Eliteness Tracker after the dust settles in two weeks.