By Justin Parmer
The Big Ten really had to return, didn’t they? After all the rule changes the eliminator made and all the accommodations the eliminator provided to the Group of fives, it all was for nothing. Well, maybe not all of it. With the Big Ten announcing its return to the college football landscape, the gap for error has shrunken tenfold for every team across the board.
Hopes for two teams coming out of a conference have significantly diminished, the AAC’s best shot at getting into the playoffs has been neutralized with four of the five major conferences in, and the remaining teams’ shots at making the playoffs are 1 in 14,000,605.
So, how does the return of the Big Ten shake up our rules?
The rules (again):
With the return of the Big Ten, changes needed to be made to balance out the eliminator. First and foremost, with football being played, most of the Big Ten teams will receive a revive from the eliminator, bringing 13 teams back into the fold. However, a lot of the generosity given to the ACC, Big 12 and SEC will be the price of the revival.
Because the Big Ten returns to play, the conference championship games of each Power 5 have that much more meeting. To counter this, the three-loss rule has been buffed back down to two losses and done. However, a team may still be in consideration for a playoff spot if both losses are to teams ranked inside the top-10, or if the second loss comes in the conference championship game.
As for the AAC, no changes will be made to their stature. The AAC will still play under the 2019 Power 5 elimination package, with one exception. The only way the AAC deviates from the 2019 package is the blowout rules lowering to 25 points instead of the required 30 points from 2019.
Finally, no changes will be made to the remaining Group of fives and Independents package. While the Big Ten’s return will significantly decrease the chances for Conference USA, Sun Belt, Army, BYU, and Liberty, the season is already in full swing for most of the schools who are still standing. In addition, it would be completely be unfair to go back and eliminate teams for not having a tough enough schedule in a year where non-conference games are kept to a minimum. Chances are none of these teams make it in, but the eliminator won’t outright eliminate them either.
With that being said here are the rules as of now …
Preseason Elimination Method:
Any team not playing in the 2020 College Football season during the Fall
Regular Season Elimination Method:
Group of five Method (Minus AAC)/Independent:
- Suffering a single loss on the season
- Losing two games
- Losing to a Group of Five school
- Losing to an FCS school or lower
- Losing by more than 25 points
Power 5 (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC):
- Losing two games (unless against two top 10 opponents or second loss in conference championship)
- Losing to a Group of Five school
- Losing to an FCS school or lower
- Losing by more than 25 points
Cincinnati, East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, SMU, Temple, UCF
Boston College, Clemson, Miami, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Virginia, Virginia Tech
Big Ten (13)
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin
Big 12 (7)
Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech, West Virginia
Conference USA (6)
FIU, Florida Atlantic, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Rice, UTSA
Army, BYU, Liberty
Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Sun Belt (4)
Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Louisiana, Troy
Strike One (4):
Bye Week. Nothing new to report.
Does Louisville even have a defense? Having Western Kentucky put up 21 points is bad enough, but letting up 47 to the Hurricanes is worse. Even for a strong Louisville offense, the defensive ineptitude cost Louisville dearly in this clash of two offensive juggernauts. The eliminator gets that Louisville is a basketball school, but unlike in modern day basketball, defense actually matters. Did the eliminator forget to mention Louisville’s defense was horrible?
While the Cardinals were embarrassed in the ABC primetime slot, they did manage to keep inside the AP top-25 and still have a shot at the playoffs. The arc of redemption will have to go through the ranked Panthers of Pittsburgh next week though to remain eligible. It will be interesting to see how long the Cardinals can hang around after already going down one in the hole.
Tulane, what was that? How did you blow a 24-0 lead to a team that lost by 52 the last time they took the field? The eliminator hasn’t seen a choke that hard since 41-10. In fact, that choke was so horrendous the Atlanta Falcons felt like they were getting out-choked and decided they would choke harder on Sunday. You had a 99.4% of winning with 8 minutes left in the third.
As much as the eliminator would like to roundhouse kick this team into the elimination corner, blowing leads is not a legal way of elimination. However, the Green Wave pushed the limits on its one free loss. Next time there will be no mercy for Tulane should they screw up again. All it will be is a world of pain.
This was one of those games where the score doesn’t reflect the final outcome. Tulsa had to play a perfect game in order to beat Oklahoma State on the road and boy did they come close. Tulsa was up for most of the game and was able to keep the Cowboys away from points. Eventually though, with a lack of movement on the Tulsa side thanks to an even stronger Cowboy defense, the game turned into a war of attrition where neither side was able to break through until the bitter end. Oklahoma State was the ones to break through and it was all over from there. Tulsa just couldn’t keep the fight going and the Golden Hurricane whimpered into the air.
While Tulsa may have lost the game, there are a lot of positives for the Golden Hurricanes. Tulsa’s defense is phenomenal, and they went toe to toe against a team that has a strong chance of making it into the playoffs if they can get their act together against their in-state rival. However, whatever wounds Tulsa received in losing will need to be patched up next week against Arkansas State before the Golden Hurricanes take on back to back AP top 15 teams in UCF and Cincinnati. The eliminator will be in great anticipation for what may lie beyond those games if Tulsa can exit week five with a record of 3-1. If not, then this team is won’t have the eliminator’s attention at all.
Eliminated until proven capable (1):
What’s eviler; bringing back Rutgers only for them to be immediately disintegrated Week 1, or to just keep them in the grave? This pushes the question of morality to its limits for the cruel and unforgiving eliminator. However, the eliminator has decided to go with the later. This is for your own good Scarlett Knights fans, and you know it.
Let’s be real, it would be a waste of space to talk about how Rutgers got smacked 42-0 opening week against Michigan State and it’s not fun to write about. The Scarlett Knights are the punching bag of the Big Ten, the punchline of every joke and the red headed stepchild of the Big Ten only there for the sheer purpose of having the New York/New Jersey market.
A Big Ten football program that should be relegated back to the FCS’s Big East conference where they might have a chance at a .300 season. It’s a free win for every single Big Ten out there. Reviving this team for just showing up is a waste of the eliminator’s time and breath.
However, the eliminator cannot pull the plug on this team just yet. Nor is the eliminator going to bother to bring out the defibrillator. No if Rutgers wants to be revived; they will have to earn their place. So, here is the deal. If the Rutgers somehow manage to win against the Spartans, the eliminator will happily give the Scarlett Knights their revival. However, should Rutgers be Rutgers, the eliminator will not hesitate to write this team off for good.
If it seems unfair to the reader just remember one thing. It’s the eliminator’s rules, and we are all living in the constraints of it.
Appalachian State (loss)
The road for Appalachian State was simple. Coming off their best season in program history, going 11-1 under the direction of former head coach Eli Drinkwitz, Appalachian State was looking to take that extra step to get themselves into the playoff conversation. That dream of taking that next step will need to be put off for another year.
Whatever ruminates of last year’s Sun Belt champions must’ve missed the bus to Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Marshall had their way with the Mountaineers, keeping their offense at bay, and their defense on the ropes all game long. It was a bend but don’t break game, where the both sides gave everything they had, but in the end, it was the Thundering Herd that prevailed.
With the Mountaineers out, Louisiana remains as the only team ranked inside the AP Top-25 from the Sun Belt and with that, the most likely shot at a playoff spot or at worse a New Year Six.
As for the Mountaineers, they’ll have a chance at redemption against Louisiana when they come to Boone, North Carolina on October 7 in a game that will in all likelihood determine the trajectory of the Sun Belt Conference.
Georgia State (loss)
No big upset early on in the season this time Panthers. The eliminator will give Georgia State credit where credit is due, they took the Ragin’ Cajuns all the way down to the wire in arguably the best game of the week. They even took Louisiana to overtime. However, in the end, it just wasn’t enough to keep Louisiana out of the win column. Louisiana lives on as a ranked team for another day, while Georgia State meets the end of the road after playing only one game.
Duke (two losses)
Getting destroyed by Notre Dame was bad enough. Losing to Boston College was the death blow. This game may have been closer than what the score may tell you, but Boston College was the better team at the end of the day. And with our recent changes to the rules, Duke will not be competing for a natty later on this season. They’ll just be lucky if they can make it above .500 at this point.
Wake Forest (two losses)
Wake Forest just couldn’t hang on in the end. In yet another bout that could be labeled as the game of the week, the offensive might’s of both Wake Forest and NC State were put to the test in a game that favored the ground and pound. Both teams giving no attention to the defense scoring on every drive, a firework display of offense that would put the Big 12 to shame. A game that makes even the harshest of critics admit this was a fun game. However, in this affair, someone had to come out the loser. That so happened to be the Demon Deacons.
With their second loss of the season the Demon Deacons will not be booking tickets to New Orleans nor Pasadena this late December. The road will not get any easier for Wake Forest as they will have to beat Notre Dame in order to get away from the dreaded 0-3 start. And with a stacked coastal division, the Demon Deacons might not even get five wins this season after going 8-5 last season. Ouch.
Georgia Tech (blowout)
Yellow Jackets, the eliminator apologizes for you not being able to play your archrival Georgia later on this season. So instead here is a ranked UCF looking for vengeance after the misery they suffered last year. It has the same effect as Georgia, right? Maybe from the scoreboard alone it does. As is tradition for the Yellow Jackets, Georgia Tech got exposed in humiliating fashion against a team looking to prove itself to the playoff committee. The Yellow Jackets had three minutes where they could keep up with the Knights before the nest got smashed to bits.
UCF gets a statement win against a non-conference opponent while Georgia Tech gets their annual prize of going out early. At least it was only 28 points this time. Remember that when you play five more AP top 25 teams in the next seven weeks.
South Florida (blowout)
The eliminator doesn’t know what’s worse; South Florida getting blasted 52-against a temporary ACC team or South Florida justifying all the arrogance coming out of South Bend, Indiana? Thanks to this monstrosity, the eliminator still has to worry about the Fighting Irish getting into the playoffs. At least this time they are in a conference.
As for South Florida, the less said about this game the better. The Bulls season won’t get easier either with upcoming matchups against FAU, Cincinnati in the coming weeks and Memphis/UCF later down the road. It looks like a long season ahead for the Bulls. One without a playoff berth either.
North Texas (blowout)
The eliminator may have been too harsh to the Cardinals of Louisville earlier in this piece. North Texas’s gamelan against the Mustangs was all attack and no defense. While North Texas may have scored 35 point in their bout against SMU it was still 30 points shy of the victory. SMU’s offense proved to be too much, which puts North Texas out on both the one loss stipulation and under the blowout rule.
Teams Remaining: 67
The following games are elimination games, because no matter who wins, one team will meet a criteria that will deem them unworthy of entering the college football playoffs. Here are the elimination games for Week 3 (all times are eastern standard time).
9/26 Georgia Southern vs Louisiana (12:00 PM)
9/26 FIU vs Liberty (12:00 PM)
9/26 Troy vs No. 21 BYU (10:15 PM)
Week 1 (10):
Iowa State (Big 12)
Kansas (Big 12)
Kansas State (Big 12)
Charlotte (Conference USA)
UAB (Conference USA)
UTEP (Conference USA)
Western Kentucky (Conference USA)
South Alabama (Sun Belt)
Louisiana-Monroe (Sun Belt)
Week 0 (5):
Middle Tennessee (Conference USA)
Southern Mississippi (Conference USA)
Arkansas State (Sun Belt)
Texas State (Sun Belt)
Preseason Covid-19 Eliminations (41):
Big 10 (1)
Conference USA (1)
New Mexico State, UConn, Umass
Mountain West (14)
PAC 12 (12)
Edited by Emma Moloney