What if Ole Miss beats Mississippi St. and Alabama loses to Auburn? Then all SEC teams would have 2+ losses. Would the most dominant conference in College Football even get one team in the College Football Playoff, let alone two?
What if Alabama beats Auburn, but loses to Georgia, does Georgia get in the Playoff as a 2-loss SEC Champ despite the SEC East being clearly weaker than the SEC West?
What if TCU and Baylor both finish with just one loss? Does one of them belong? Does TCU get the nod over Baylor even though they have identical records from the same conference and the Bears beat the Horned Frogs in their head-to-head matchup?
What if Ohio St. wins out, including a Big Ten Championship game that the Big 12 doesn’t have, do they leap frog Baylor and TCU to steal that final spot?
What if Oregon loses the Pac-12 Championship to whoever wins the competitive Pac-12 South (all of which have 2+ losses)?
What conference is truly better, the Pac-12 or Big 12? How far behind really is the Big Ten? Is the ACC as awful as we all think? How would Florida St., Oregon, Ohio St., TCU or Baylor do if they played in the SEC West?
Man! So many questions yet to be answered this season–a season in which the new Playoff system was supposed to fix everything!
Well here’s my 2 cents:
I don’t care who Florida St. plays or what the final scores are, if they win out as defending National Champs and the only undefeated team among the Power Five Conferences, it would be highway robbery to leave them out of the Playoffs. That fills one spot.
The SEC has been dominant for nearly a decade now–primarily the SEC West. We even had two SEC West teams in the National Championship when only two teams were allowed in the fight for BCS national supremacy, so AT LEAST one spot should be filled by the SEC as long as there’s a 1-loss team remaining or the SEC Champ is from the West division.
Now for the fun. Allow me to answer my own questions posed above.
I answered the first one–yes, the SEC gets a team in, unless they all have 2+ losses and Georgia or Missouri win the SEC Title Game. Georgia and Missouri’s schedules don’t compare to Alabama’s, Mississippi State’s, Auburn’s, LSU’s or Ole Miss’. A 1-loss Miss. St. not playing in the SEC Title Game is more deserving of the Playoffs than a 2-loss Georgia SEC Champ. The SEC is clearly the best conference, but if none of them can finish with only 1 loss and the West can’t prove it’s significantly better than the East, then I’d say that means the best team in the country isn’t in the SEC, even though they’re still the best conference top-to-bottom.
TCU and Baylor? I’d like to see them both get left out so the Big 12 realizes it needs to add two teams, cough, cough–BYU–and have a Conference Championship game. Furthermore, it just seems totally wrong to have TCU go when they lost to Baylor and they’re from the same conference (unless Baylor loses a 2nd game). The Big 12 can sneak in if the SEC gets 0 teams in, and possibly even if it gets 1 team in, but they’d need help from Ohio St.–meaning the Buckeyes would need to lose again. Which leads to my next question I posed, yes, the Buckeyes should surpass Baylor and TCU if they win out and win the Big Ten Title Game.
The Pac-12 is a great conference, but not good enough to send a 2-loss team to the Playoff, which means Oregon needs to win out or the Pac will be left out.
If we wind up with a bunch of 2-loss teams, that will make things even more interesting, but that’s not gonna happen. These things always find a way of working themselves out and I’m confident that at the end of the season, it will be obvious what four teams belong in the Playoff. My prediction stays as posted a couple weeks ago (patting myself on the back with every passing week):
Who’s up next if any of them slip? Ohio State.
What are your thoughts though?