By: Matt Van De Sompele
This year the NCAA is taking a step in a new direction. After years of debate and criticism of past National Championships, the NCAA is implementing a 4 team playoff system to decide who gets to take the crystal ball home. Now how does this work? Each conference assigns a few athletic directors to be on a committee. The football committee will receive a “jury charge” from the commissioners and will be asked to rank teams on the basis of strength of schedule, where the teams’ games were played, conference championships and whether teams lost games because of injuries to key players. This is a great idea, it includes all of the public’s talking points for criticism all while making the playing field level when it comes to the Cinderella’s of the season.
The SEC continues make waves in the college football world but not with its biggest names. With Alabama struggling to reclaim its throne and Auburn losing this past weekend you would think this would be a down year for the SEC but on the contrary it might actually be its strongest. The state of Mississippi has shown they can play ball just as well as the state of Alabama. With Mississippi State taking the Number 1 spot and Ole Miss claiming the Number 3 spot, the road to Arlington, Texas runs through the state of Mississippi. Assuming both of these teams remain undefeated, the Egg Bowl should make for some fun. I find it ridiculous that I even say this, but with Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M, and Auburn struggling early, the door to win the SEC West has shot open. With 6 games left to play, nothing is written in stone and that’s great for the mentioned teams. But you have to start to wonder who will emerge out of this group. Remember, only one of these teams gets to play for an SEC title at the end of the year. As we move on from the cream of the crop we move to a less than stellar SEC East. With Georgia losing Todd Gurley, Missouri developing an anemic offense, Kentucky not finding an identity, Florida not having a permanent Quarterback, and South Carolina dropping 3 games already you have to think who is going to come out of this alive? Georgia seems to have the advantage here, while losing Gurley hurts, Georgia didn’t have a problem scoring points against and shutting down a ranked Missouri squad. Georgia’s hardest game for the remainder of the season seems to be a matchup against Auburn and even that’s at home.
People have often joked that the SEC is so good that they can fill all 4 spots in the championship playoff. Well… joking aside this can actually happen. With the sudden rise of Miss. St. and Ole Miss the SEC now has 6 qualified teams to be in contention for the playoff series. Do I think it’s going to happen? I do not. But if you’ve seen Dumb and Dumber, you can say there’s a chance. With Florida St. and Notre Dame facing off this Saturday one of the AP’s top 5 will drop leaving a space open for another SEC team to possibly join. #5 Baylor plays Kansas this weekend so I don’t see a loss in Baylor’s future this Saturday and I don’t see a loss in #6 Auburn’s future either. So with a team exiting the top 5 the SEC is in a perfect position to put themselves in this miracle scenario. If Baylor, Notre Dame, or Florida State lose in the near future we could have ourselves a top 5 of all SEC teams. Something that we haven’t seen been done in the history of college football.
Again, I don’t think this can happen. But this is America, we believe in the unobtainable, we believe that nothing isn’t within our grasp, so if you are a believer here’s what has to happen in order to have an all SEC college football playoff.
Still to play: Mississippi State, Auburn, Texas A&M.
What needs to happen: Alabama would need to win out of course but they would also need Ole Miss to continue to win and Baylor to lose as soon as they can. The big thing with Baylor is their schedule gets rather soft after they play Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.
Still to play: Mississippi State, Auburn
What needs to happen: Ole Miss needs to win every game up to Mississippi State and get a little help from the Fighting Irish this Saturday. With Ole Miss in control of every tie breaker except one over Mississippi State and Auburn, Ole Miss is looking pretty good right now.
Still to play: Mississippi, Ole Miss, Georgia, Texas A&M, Alabama
What needs to happen: WIN OUT.
Still to play: Ole Miss, Alabama
What needs to happen: Don’t slip up. I know this goes without saying but it’s important for an up and comer like the Bulldogs to stay focused. If Mississippi State can get passed Bama then the Bulldogs should be able to get a spot in the playoff.
Still to play: Auburn.
What needs to happen: Georgia would love to be in position to take home an SEC title and even a playoff birth. But the Bulldogs need some help when it comes to jumping up in the rankings. They need to win out and hope that ND, Baylor, FSU, and Michigan State all lose 2 games.
Still to play: Alabama, Auburn.
What needs to happen: Win out and hope that all of the mentioned teams on this list drop 3 games and also have ND, FSU, and Baylor all drop 2 games as well. If all of the teams on this list lost 3 games this article would be irrelevant.
COLLECTIVE WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN: For this miracle to occur Notre Dame, Florida State, Baylor, Oregon, Michigan State and Oklahoma all would have to lose 2-3 games.