LSU couldn't even get to the SEC Championship Game before its playoff hopes went up in smoke.
The fifth-ranked Tigers fell to Texas A&M, 38-23, at Kyle Field on Saturday night. Despite having already clinched a berth in the conference title game, head coach Brian Kelly's team needed to at least win this game to have a chance at finishing in the Top Four.
LSU certainly would have moved up the rankings with a victory after Ohio State's loss to Michigan earlier in the day. But the Tigers have three losses on the season heading into their showdown with No. 1 Georgia next week.
Jayden Daniels struggled once again as a passer. The junior quarterback finished 21-of-35 for 189 yards without a touchdown or interception. He failed to throw for 200 yards in three of LSU's four games in November.
The loss snaps LSU's five-game winning streak that included victories over Mississippi and Alabama.
Kelly still has two opportunities to reach 10 wins in his first season with the program, but Saturday's game was devastating for the team's playoff aspirations.
There were several analysts and LSU fans ripping Kelly for coming up short in his team's biggest game of the season.
There is a valid argument that this season has already been a huge success for Kelly. He took over an LSU program that went 11-12 in the previous two seasons combined.
LSU secured the SEC West on Nov. 12 after beating Arkansas, and Ole Miss lost to Alabama. This marks the program's first appearance in the conference championship game since 2019.
But the burden of expectations changes everything about perception. LSU had climbed all the way up to No. 5 in the playoff rankings heading into this game against a Texas A&M team that was 4-7.
The Tigers can redeem themselves by beating Georgia to win the SEC championship next week, but with three losses, it seems unlikely they will get into the playoff no matter what happens.