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ESPN Analyst: 1 College Football Team's Playoff Ranking Is "Mind-Boggling"

National Championship trophy College Football Playoff

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - JANUARY 10: The National Championship trophy is displayed after the Georgia Bulldogs defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide 33-18 in the 2022 CFP National Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 10, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The College Football Playoff committee revealed the updated rankings before rivalry week.

The top four (Georiga, Ohio State, Michigan, and TCU) remained intact while LSU, USC, Alabama, and Clemson each rose a spot over Tennessee. Those teams still harbor some title aspirations, but Greg McElroy believes the Trojans should have a more straightforward path to a CFP spot.

Reacting to the rankings on his Always College Football show (h/t Saturday Down South), the ESPN analyst called it "crazy" that USC could still get left out even if it defeats No. 15 Notre Dame this Saturday and wins the Pac-12 title.

"This is where I'm having a very difficult time with this whole deal," McElroy said. "The committee is telling us that the Pac-12 is awesome. The Pac-12 has half of their conference members ranked in the top 21, and yet clearly the committee's not really sold on USC. That's mind-boggling to me."

He conversely believes LSU will punch a ticket to the four-team tournament by beating Texas A&M this weekend and Georgia for the SEC championship. That presents a scenario where the 12-1 Trojans still miss out behind LSU, Georgia, the winner of Ohio State and Michigan, and an undefeated TCU squad.

"That doesn't sit well with me," he said. "You can't tell me how great a conference is and then not have the winner of that conference -- and by the way, the one loss USC experienced was by one on the road at Utah, who also is in the top 14. I just think that the committee might've gotten that part of it wrong."

USC has scored 42.9 points per game, third behind Tennessee and Ohio State. However, the Trojans have also allowed at least 35 points in four of their last five games, including last Saturday's 48-45 win over UCLA.

ESPN's Playoff Predictor gives USC a 15 percent chance of making the CFP. That probability increases to 43 percent if the Trojans win out.

Meanwhile, LSU can improve its 7 percent odds to 50 with two more victories.

The Trojans must defeat the Fighting Irish in Los Angeles this Saturday night to keep their playoff hopes alive.