The SEC has absolutely dominated this year's AP and Coaches' polls, and that stranglehold wasn't really threatened when the College Football Playoff Selection Committee started putting out their weekly rankings late last month. There have been serious questions over whether the SEC could send two or even three teams to the playoff...so how could the conference completely miss out?
It isn't that crazy at all - in fact, there's a very real scenario that would lead to the conference being completely shut out of the playoff. This wouldn't be because other conferences are suddenly going to get better - the way the top SEC teams set their schedules, there's a real possibility that the best squads all take wins off each other, leaving everyone just short. Here's what would have to happen:
- Mississippi State loses to Alabama and Ole Miss
- Auburn loses to Texas A&M or Georgia
- Alabama loses to Auburn
- Florida State, Oregon, TCU and Michigan State win out (you can substitute Kansas State, Arizona State, Notre Dame, Baylor, Nebraska or Ohio State into that top four if you'd like - as long as the final four doesn't include two teams that still have to play each other, it doesn't really matter)
If this is how things go, the committee then has to decide whether they want to send a two-loss SEC team to the playoff over a one-loss team from another major conference. When you consider that Ole Miss is all the way down at #11 with two losses, it doesn't look good...
So, how likely is this scenario, really? Since it's highly likely that several of the undefeated and one-loss teams stay that way, the biggest question mark has to be Mississippi State. Even if they lose to Alabama OR Ole Miss, they probably still make the playoff based on the impressive wins they've already racked up...and that's much more likely than the Bulldogs dropping both. Still, Alabama and Ole Miss have racked up impressive wins on the year, and both the games are on the road for Mississippi State. Auburn losing to Georgia would be a major upset, but the Dawgs will be at home and Todd Gurley will be back in action. We wouldn't advise you to put money on this scenario playing out...but it's a very real, and very interesting possibility.
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